Over the summer, the kids used a poster designed by the folks at Ghosts of Gone Birds as a model for their own protest posters, which they made to criticize Toronto’s mayor and his proposed cuts to city services. Due to the vigilance of our city’s citizens (maybe even kids like mine!), it looks as if our mayor is now backing off on a great number of his cuts. We’re still monitoring city hall like hawks…When the kids found out that Ghosts of Gone Birds and All Tropical were hosting a T-shirt Design Contest to call attention to bird extinction and social responsibility, we just knew we’d have to give it a go.
Last night, I took a long look at the list of 123 extinct birds on the All Tropical site, so as to have a sense of what birds I thought the kids might like to choose for their designs. I spent some time jotting down the names of a few birds we might look up online or in some of our own reference materials here at home. High on my list: The Passenger Pigeon. I was pleasantly suprised, however, when my daughter, excited that we’d finally be tackling the longed-for project this morning, took down a copy of All the Birds of North America from her very own bookshelf and directed me to the front few pages. “In here,” she said, “you can find some lovely drawings of extinct North American Birds.” I didn’t mind so much when she passed right over the Passenger Pigeon and all of its winsome spots, because she had a definite idea of where she was going. She wanted to point out the picture of her favourite Carolina Parakeet a few pages on. And, as she turned the pages, she made sure to let me know that, just like her grandparents, the Carolina Parakeet used to live in Ohio. The birds’ home, she told me, had affected her choice, for sure. And even more importantly, she wanted to reassure me, “it had been beautiful, that bird.” Mission accomplished. And, when we brought the book downstairs, the Labrador Duck on the facing page caught the eye of the little one. So, the entire morning’s worth of research I had planned in advance got whittled down into my daughter’s 15 minute reading aloud the Duck and Parakeet descriptions in her book!!
Once they had chosen a subject, the kids started to do some preliminary sketching. We set up shop on the dining room table, with the book opened up between the two kids. The kids got out some scrap paper to use on these initial sketches. Once they had a general feel for their overall designs, we discussed if they wanted to place any text on their t-shirts. Thinking back, again, to that fabulous gone birds poster, with its warning of demise, the kids decided to ask a few questions on their prints. Bea wanted to know “Why” the Carolina Parakeet was extinct. And Tobes wanted to know “What Heppened to the Labrador Duck?” The t-shirts, they decided, should “definitely demand explanations from people,” as my daughter put it. After they had sketched out their images and phrases, the kids got to work on their formal submissions.
Once again, the kids used their favourite techniques from our Still Life Drawing Class on Crazy Fruit Day and our Comic Strip Weekend Workshop with Papa. First, they used pencil to sketch another rough draft out on thick watercolour paper. Then, they lined over their pencil markings in permanent ink. Finally, they chose four colours of marker and filled in their outlines with those colours. Bea decided to leave the background of her picture white. Tobes decided to use his colours to denote a very “hot sun, too hot, maybe that’s why it died,” as he said, as well as the blue blue waters of Labrador.
Here are the results!!!
We’ll be scanning and submitting them to the contest in the next few days.
The deadline is still a week away: October 6, 2011.
Why not try one yourself?