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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Inspiration in Children’s Art, by illustrator Frank Dormer

I am a voracious lurker.

Actually my grandfather’s last name was Lurker, but that’s beside the point.

I look forward to finding new art to look at. Not so much to steal as to feed the artistic appetite.

I get hungry about once a month.

When that happens my wife takes the kids to a ball game, or to view chest x-rays at the local hospital. They’ll do anything to get away from the Hungry Artist.

Recently I have been able to limit my travels. And this is where my confession comes in.

I like to visit the hospital and view chest x-rays too.

Only kidding.

Ok, here it is.

I am not just an illustrator. I am also an art teacher.

There, I’ve said it. Whew. I feel better already.

Not only that, but I’ve been seen joyously exclaiming my love for my students art. It inspires me after I’ve seen the original Monet’s far too long, and have seen Van Gogh on everything from coffee cups to polish sausage casings.

Children’s art is simple, uncluttered, and all about them. How can you not love it? In their art one can find out many things about how they feel about someone, what is important to them. It’s all there.

Now, I will admit that it can take some information to decipher these 2-dimensional jewels. But who hasn’t looked at a Jackson Pollock and wondered if it’s real art, or his breakfast on that canvas? It’s the same for children’s art, too.

Children see the world in simple terms. And here is where I will put down my dusty soapbox, and stand on it in my fuzzy slippers and hold my coffee cup, ready to overpower you with my feelings.

If you like, go find a hospital and look at some x-rays. I won’t be insulted.

If you are still reading this, I’ll make it simple.

And in case you are in doubt about my sanity, I am a certified teacher, and have been teaching, or faking it well, for over 15 years. I have a Masters in Education and been known to have beginning teachers actually visit my classroom.

Ok, here it is, that thing I wanted to tell you.

While I am standing on my soapbox.

Children’s art reflects pure lines and shapes. The beginning elements of art. The First thing any art maker does after placing pencil on paper. It also reflects pure emotion.

No subtlety, no layers to hide things in.

I have been known to try and emulate it. I fall far short, as my art education fights with the inner child in me. But I get the child out most times these days.

So leave the hospital X-ray room, wander out of the museums of artistic perfection, and go over to the local school art show. Visit with the art teacher, and gaze in wonderment at what these miniature people can do when given the power.

You can visit my students’ work. It is much more interesting than mine, I assure you.

Their work can be viewed at: www.slineyart.blogspot.com

If after all this you still have an interest in what I do for books, you may visit me at: frankwdormer dot com.

I promise I won’t bite.

You’ll notice I haven’t gotten off my soapbox, though.

Posted by Frank Dormer, illustrator of Aggie and Ben and Not So Tall for Six and the upcoming Good Dog, Aggie.

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