stacktastic

Three School Visits and a Tub

Hellllllo everyone!  May is almost done for me and June is upon us, but what an amazing May it has been!  I have 3 school visits to blog about so lets get to it! Well the Scribblers for Life Tour starting this month quite a ways north from where I live in a small community called Kinuso (which is close to Slave Lake).  I zipped up there the night before and I must have seen at least 20+ white tailed road hazards (Deer).  After the first 3 I was very glad the sun was setting much later.  I also saw more beaver lodges and dams than I have ever seen before in my life, which gave me a whole new appreciation for their hard work after seeing some of their amazing constructions (and how much it changed the land!!).  Finally, Slave Lake was like a small sea, you could see across it one way fairly easily, but length was it looked like it was the ocean looking out on it.  MOST OF ALL  Kinuso Elementary School was just amazing and we even created a new first - a Double Decker Stacktastic - Officially the tallest STACKTASTIC yet!!!  Here's some of the carnage:

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What was a nice surprise about a week after my visit to Kinuso was when I received a whole pile of notes and letters from the Students in Grade  5:

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Makes it all worth while!

Next stop on the tour was Ermineskin Elementary!  Now this school was cooooool.  When I first arrived I saw this amazing banner that the students had made for me (As seen in photo below) with cool drawing of my own pictures and it said "Tatawaw" which means "Welcome" in Cree!  I did a number of readings of my Gophers in Farmer Burrows Field book and they all informed me they knew ALL about gophers (though they handled them differently than Farmer Burrows did).  They had also made some amazing 3D paper scenes from my book!  It was ultra awesome and so much fun!  "Hai Hai" Ermineskin Elementary ( which I believe is Thank you in Cree).

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This month has taken me all over small town Alberta and shown me just how diverse and beautiful this province is.  Last week I had the pleasure to visit Alder Flats Elementary School which is between Drayton Valley and Rocky Mountain House, a few hours to the west of my home.  I was once again blown away (as I have been with all the schools I've been to) by their hospitality of the staff and by how great the students were.  We made a couple of books together using the BBF (Boldt Book Formula) a STACKTASTIC, and I was able to teach one class all about digital illustration.  These grade 5s and 6s are fortunate enough to get to dabble in photoshop and learn about digital mediums at a very young age.  Awesome!  I shared a bit of how I work and lent some tips to them, and then gave as many as I had time for a whirl on my own wacom tablet that I packed along.  I even created a quick sketch (that they donated the ideas for - a Dr. Crocodile with a beard) for them to color at a later date.  I look forward to seeing their own creations some day!  Thank you Alder Flats Elementary, you rock!  Here's that creation:

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If you feel like coloring Crazy Croc PHD and sending it to me too, go right ahead!  I'll post them on my blog with all the others that come in!!!

My final blurb of this marathon post is a recent illustration I did that I may have in print (in my store) at some point in the future.  I think I'm calling it "Bathtime".

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Take care everyone!

-Mike

Scribblers for Life tour 2010!

Hello everyone!  Spring is here and welcome back to the blog!  It's been rather inactive the last few months though I have not been - well relatively anyways. So the quick update from last month was that over $26,000 was raised in the Brownstones to Red Dirt Charity auction!  That's awesome!  It was fun to watch the many different pieces really rocket up in the end, and you could tell there were more than a few people dueling it out.

Since the beginning of this year I've been visiting schools, books stores and other places around Alberta promoting my book, doing some instruction, as well as just having a great time with the kids and students where ever I go.   I've decided to officially title my travels the "Scribblers For Life Tour 2010".  Here's a little map I did up for it. (clicky for bigger)

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And I'm hitting the next two stops this tomorrow and all weekend!

As I said these school visits have been an absolute blast!  Last month I was at Holy Spirit School in Devon and right at the beginning of April I was at the Indigo book store in the Edmonton International Airport.  Both were great experiences!  Last week I traveled north to the wonderful city of Whitecourt!  I had been invited some time ago by their amazing librarian and we finally had a few dates that worked.  I have to say I was overwhelmed at the way the school welcomed me and had anticipated my visit.  The staff was amazing and the kids were unbelievably incredible.  For two full days different classes came and did a number of different sessions with me.  We created some hilarious books together, some crazy Stacktastics, a couple book readings and many books signed!  Here are a few pictures from my last visit to Whitecourt Central School:

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I am awed by the way these students at these schools can come up with the most creative-ingenious-funny-original ideas and they just hunger for more.   So many of them have an insane amount of talent too.  They teach me probably a whole lot more than I believe they area learning from me haha.  Every time I return home from a visit, though I may be tired, I am inspired.  This has turned out to be a most welcome part of my career and I look forward to what I hope are many more school readings and visits!

If you are a part of a library, school, organization, or even a birthday party planning committee and are interested in having me come out to read, teach, do activities with the kids and students, please contact me for more information.  I would love to email and talk with you more about it.

Take care,

-Mike

Fun in February!

Hello out there!  So aside from turning yet another year older February has been a great month.  It started with another school visit.  Kathy Schoepp, the librarian arranged for me to visit her wonderful Elementary school right in my home town.  Brookwood School was a blast.  I was there for TWO FULL DAYS of presentations and readings.  We did a pile of STACKTASTICs with the different classes and grades that I saw.  They were a blast!  I should really start to take more pictures of them as I'm done as I like to leave the drawings there for the classes that helped me create them.  There were piles of hilarious moments too.  Here's one example.  We had started a STACKTASTIC (where I draw anything the kids can come up with in a stack like the gophers from my book make) which is generally a lot of fun.  There are definitely some steady requests for any stack I do - TRex, Giraffe, Barns, farm animals of any kind - but this was a new request.  I knew one day someone would ask for him, but I still was not prepared.  Spiderman.  Basically my all time favorite hero, just above Batman.  Though, as much as I love Spidey, I've never been able to draw him well.  But I had these kids ask for him, and so I had to give it a go.  As if I wasn't nervous enough, as soon as I started, one of the kids in the front said to his friend "Now we'll see if he's any good.  My brother can draw Spiderman perfectly, so I am going to judge this one against his."  Thankfully no one took a picture of that one, and I didn't hear it, but I'm sure I didn't make the grade - though it made me laugh for quite a while. Here are a few shots from the visit:

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While I've known for quite a while that these school visits were going to be a part of my future in doing kid's books, they were something I used to sweat bullets about doing.  I've never been much of a public speaker, always feared having to read out loud in class, and basically dreaded being in front of an audience at anytime in general.  However, these visits I've had so far have been just outstanding times.  I hope I can continue to do more in the future... and on that note ~transition~

February also had me at my first convention as an exhibitor.  The Teacher's Convention for the greater Edmonton area of Northern Alberta was also around the beginning of the month.  After my first school visit last month, my wife (who's an amazing teacher) spotted a brochure while she was subbing one day, and suggested that I could go and have the chance to meet a lot of schools and teachers.  Long story short - I got in at the last minute and had an amazing time - even if my booth looked a bit vacant.  I met so many great teachers who were very interested in having me come out to their schools, it was fantastic.  I also learned a few tips for the next time.  Make sure I have a sign saying "I DO AUTHOR/ILLUSTRATOR SCHOOL VISITS!!!"  Anyways, here are a couple shots from the floor:

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Like I said.  It was a great experience.  I sold enough Gophers books to pay for it too!  Plus I had a draw for 10 free books, 5 prints, and one original drawing and so my draw box became more stuffed than a Thanksgiving turkey.

This month also had my book, The Gophers in Farmer Burrows' Field, start to get some publicity.  I got a great review from CM magazine which is a resource for Teachers, Librarians, and Parents.  You can check it out here:

http://umanitoba.ca/outreach/cm/vol16/no21/gopher.html

I also had a couple places in some magazines this month.  Here is one sample in the Mumsense, a UK publication:

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Pretty cool stuff.

So finally, this month I have a little workshop coming up at the Young Author's Conference in Sherwood Park AB that I am extremely excited about.  I was asked if I could teach a few short lessons on creating a graphic novel or comics.  Seeing as how I've had my heart in comics for most of my life and Bill Watterson is one of my original influences, AND I just so happen to have a certain character called Chuck Chance who's been very patient with me - I jumped at the opportunity.  I created this little sketchbook too (which is just at the printers at the moment):

sketchbook-cover

I wanted to have something available for the students at this conference to pick up that not only had something to do with comics, but also a bit of a "How to/my process" type thing for them to take home.  I've been a fan of sketchbooks from artists I admire for a number of years and my collection is growing constantly.  I love seeing how people create and start off with their work.  So this sketchbook, which I'll have in my store soon, is mostly my comic stuff from the last few years.  It has my short comic from the Legendary Anthology that is still seeking a publisher, as well as a process section from that contribution, and then other odd comic bits and sketches.  I excluded the picture book stuff on purpose as I may do a different sketchbook or something with those works at another time.

So that's all for now.  I probably could have posted 4 times this month for each of these topics, but once is better than never eh?  So take care everyone and I hope you're enjoying the Winter Olympics as much as I am.

-Mike

Old man '09 has (almost) left the building!

I hope everyone had a fantastic and blessed Christmas!  Mine was an amazing time with family and friends.  It was so nice to relax and enjoy time together as a family and just eat a lot of very good food. So a new year is almost upon us.  So far around 300 copies of The Gophers in Farmer Burrows' Field have sold!  So we're ramping up for the new year and getting more sales done across the country.  The new year will also have some school visits and presentations as well as some workshops which I am very excited about.  I did a reading at a local Starbucks to a few children before Christmas and it was a blast.  Stacktastic was a lot more fun to do with the kids than I had even imagined.  My second children's picture book is nearly done and I am going to start to trickle out info and tidbits on it in the weeks coming up.

So a really good friend of mine alerted me to the fact that the iphone app I did last year is/was featured in almost every mac store in the world!  Well, at least every one that had the Christmas App tree display.  Not only that, but it was featured twice in the same display!!  Once at the largest size and another smaller one.  Jingle Jumble is the app, and it's free!  So go ahead and go get it here!

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This is the App Tree display in the mac stores (photo not by me)

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So we had to take a trip down to the mall to see if it was true and in our own mac store.  This was taken by my sister in law.  In our local mac store this was in the front window!

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And there I am with it.  The mac "guru's" and mac fanatics were all looking at me like I was crazy - and they didn't really believe me when I said that was the one I did haha.  Oh well.  Still sorta surreal to see it.

Lastly, I am still catching up with some long over due prizes for the winners of STACKTASTIC!  So here are what two of the original sketches that I will soon be shipping out to a pair of the winners!

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The character in both of these sketches is from the new book too!  I'm keeping the name on the down low as I will soon be having another contest and prizes that fall closely in line with the "name" of this fella.

Well take care all!  Thank you for a wonderful first year (or half of one) here at Boldtman Studios!  I cannot wait to get this new year rolling!

-Mike

The Votes are in!

Well the voting was close, but "Something Fishy" has won the STACKEE for the "Mostest Fan Favorite" Stack.  A very worthy winner for an exceptionally colored and imaginative stack!  Nothing "fishy" about this winning entry! mostestfanfavwinner

Congrats again and thank you to all those who participated in any measure for the first ever STACKTASTIC!  If you have not been contacted yet as a winner it should happen this week and you should have your prizes all shortly into the new year.  I am sort of shut down the next couple weeks as some of you, like me may be celebrating Christmas!

Stay tuned every one.  This will not be the last contest here on Boldtman Studios and I have some exciting news for the new year!

Take care,

-Mike Boldt

WINNERS ANNOUNCED for STACKTASTIC!!!!

Finally, after much deliberation and randomness, and many many laughs, the winners to STACKTASTIC! have been decided!  So without further ado we will start awarding the STACKEEs. Starting with the BESTEST TALLEST Stack we have:

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This particular stack was deemed the tallest of the lot.  There were others that definitely came close, but "Flowers to the Moon" is actually taller than the sun and higher than the clouds.  That is a lot of Flowers.  For entering this STACKEE the participant has won a 100% Original Sketch!!!

Next up we have the BESTEST NEATO stack

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I do believe as soon as I saw "MUCHA-TALLA-MUSICA" I said "neato".  There were also a lot of contenders for this STACKEE Award, in fact every entry was a in the hunt, but after many sleepless nights this was the entry I concluded was the BESTEST NEATO stack.  I would have liked to have seen it before it fell.  For claiming this title, the prize awarded is a one of a kind Giclee Print of a scene from the "Gophers in Farmer Burrows' Field" book!

Next up we have some of entries that I chose at random.  Each of these winners will be sent a signed (by me) copy of the book that started this all!  And in no particular order here they are:

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"Leaning Tower of Burrows"

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"U.F.S."

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"Meow-Oink"

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and the last Random Superness STACKEE goes to "Snowman Surprise!"

Congrats to all the winners and thank you to everyone who entered.  This was so much fun and I will definitely be doing it again in the future...

BUT WAIT!!!!!  There's still a STACKEE left unclaimed!

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The "MOSTEST FAN FAVORITE!" STACKEE will win a free 100% Original Sketch!!!  Check the poll on the side of the blog and cast your vote!!!

The voting will end on the 18th of December so people will have just over 1 week to get their votes in!  Best wishes to all those selected for the Fan Favorite!

Take care and thank you again to everyone!

-Mike

ps.  Those who won will be contacted by me and arrangement for delivery/shipment of the prizes will be made.

The STACKTASTIC final entries!

Well I said they were in the mail and well, they've arrived.  The rest of Lloydminster's Queen Elizabeth School Grade 4 class's entries arrived.  I've scanned them all will now share them!  I hope to do some serious judging with your help in the next week and announce the winners shortly after before Christmas!  Though once again I will be needing some group participation from everyone for the "fan favorites".  I'll figure out how to add some sort of poll on the side or something for that.  I have to say that ALL of these entries just blew me away.  Each one is so creative and unique! Massive special thanks to the teacher and my friend, Andrea, for organizing this project with her class!

So without further blabbery here they are!

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First up we have "And a Tire Swing".

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Next up is a beautifully colored entry I'm calling "something fishy".  Amazing details!

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"Blue House -Green Car - Brown Cat" is another cute little addition.  I think Farmer Burrows' dog would like to chase that cat!

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Now here is a stack that would anyone would love!  "Sweet Tooth" is just amazing!  So much detail with all the candy names too!

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A lot of big vehicles in this colorful entry!  I love the big rig and trailer near the top.  I'm not sure what those monsterish guys are in the middle - but their awesome!  So I'm calling this one "Spiky Teeth".

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"Leaning tower of Burrows" is what this piece of farm art is called!  Where did those gophers get the elephant?!

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"Apple Tree" looks great!  I think I spy another cat near the top too!

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This one came with a title.  And seeing that tower, I'd say "underwear" is a perfect fit!  Just one question for this hilarious stack, how many drawers of underwear does one farmer have?

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Another great farm fitting stack that would have fit right into the story!  "BIG RED BARN" is yet another super drawing from a student!

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There are a lot of different animal faces on this one.  "Count the animals" is exactly what Farmer Burrows and his dog are doing on this one!

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Another Entry that made me laugh out loud, though I probably should have been "Rocking out" instead!  Looks like the gophers have some seriously loud taste in music!  Just look at all those classic rockbands and extensive CD collection this stack has!

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"Barn and Silo Sandwich" is I think what that bull is thinking on this one.'

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WOW!  I think the gophers are getting into real estate and development!  We'll call this one "New Community" as it has all the basics from houses, an apartment, a restaurant the one shopping center that really is everywhere!

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"Look out below" is what I think that little pigeon is thinking looking down at the good farmer.  Really loving these farm themed stacks!

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"Leaning Tower of Burrows' - Auto edition" must be making Farmer Burrows a bit nervous.

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"FLOWERS to the moon" probably goes that high too!  Beautiful colors!

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"Blue Truck" has Farmer Burrows very perplexed .  Who is that in there?  Did he help the gophers?

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"Meow & Oink" cracks me up.  Not only is the drawing just fantastic but look at this one defy the physics of normal capabilities.  I think that horse and bull have to be some of the strongest animals around.  One leg and he's holding up a tractor!  Not only that, he's a race horse too!  Did he win?

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"Wild Wilderness" rounds out the final entries with style.  Just look at all the wildlife in this one.  Lions, Zebras, kittens!  FANTASTIC!

Once again thank you to everyone who participated!  Please go through these all and take note!  I am just blown away by everyone and their entries!

Thank you for making STACKTASTIC so much fun!

Take care and stay tuned for more soon!

-Mike

First ever STACKTASTIC! is finished!

Well as of 12am this morning the first ever STACKTASTIC! is closed and finished!  I would have posted late last night but I just got back into town and am feeling a bit under the weather.  So I am going to post a few of the final entries I received, but I have to make a special note that this is actually not all of them.  In my last post I mentioned that Queen Elizabeth Grade 4 class was participating and after a serious fight with a unruly scanner the teacher is mailing the contributions to me.  So I am going to hold off deciding and announcing the winners of STACKTASTIC! until I receive that mail and get them up here! So first up we have a photo from Teresa that I'm calling "And the kitchen sink" as it appears almost everyone (see the cat?!!) was game for this stack, and while it's not the tallest, it is definitely loaded with giggles - I can tell.

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Next up we have an entry from Benjamin.  It appears nothing can stop these monkeys from not only making one crazy bananas stack, but two!  "A Barrel of Monkeys" is what I am calling this one:

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Benjamin doesn't appear to be alone with creating multiple stacks though.  Sophie's entry "FLOWERS-CATS-&-Birds with HATS" is another amazing entry that just cracks me up every time I look at it.  That sun is also looking dangerously close to that barn...

sophie-stacktastic-entry

What will those gophers think of next?  Well, it appears "UFS" or Unidentified Flying Stacks was on the menu when Illustrator Jack Foster got involved with STACKTASTIC!  Who knows where the gophers met all these little green men?

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Next up we have an entry by the UBER-amazingly talented Jeremy Vanhoozer! Jeremy created this "Junkyard Mech" and it blew me away!  I love the cute little kitten in the top!

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And Finally for today, just making it in before the deadline is my friend and artistic sensation Cory Godbey.  Cory sent in what has to be one of the most intimidating entries I've seen so far with a stack of DRAGONS!  I'm calling it "Stack at your own Risk".  Farmer Burrows doesn't seem to be too worried about it though, and they do look awfully polite.  Maybe the gophers just asked nicely:

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I would like to thank everyone who has participated in the first ever STACKTASTIC!  It was an absolute hoot watching these come in and I have enjoyed every entry!  I look forward to "judging" winners and awarding the prizes for everyone, and I will do so once I am back in tip top shape and the last entries I am waiting for arrive in the mail!

Take care and don't let the "bug" getcha!

-Mike