Last fall I got a call from an old friend of mine. Back in 1993 she and I were both in a production of Fiddler on the Roof together (she played Tzeitel while I played the random bearded villager), and then later on in 2011 we were in a production of God of Carnage (Where I trimmed up to a mere goatee. Maybe one day we’ll be in a show where I’m clean shaven.)

But I digress…

Comic Artist BadgeShe called me up asking if I would be available to help her Girl Scout Troop get their Comic Artist Badge, and teach them some cartooning techniques. Of course I said I would. Not just because of our friendship, but because–in my life–I was once a full fledged Girl Scout.

True story.

When I was a student at the Savannah College of Art and Design, in Savannah GA, I was a tour guide at the Juliette Gordon Low house. And for those who might not know who this remarkable woman is, she was the founder of the Girl Scouts. And when you work there you have to sign up into the organization.

Usually this little tid-bit about me will have the listeners raise their eyebrows, and they will slowly tilt their head to the side in a questioningly sort of way.

The first question that I usually answer before it’s even asked is: No, I didn’t have to wear the uniform. Men got to wear a tie.

The second question: No, they don’t sell the Girl Scout cookies there.

I am no stranger to teaching lessons to Girl Scout troops. I have helped a few troops earn their Comic Artist Badge over the years, either privately, with the help of the leaders, or through the Figge Art Museum here in Davenport. My long time friend wanted to do something special at the same time. Not just to have me teach the lesson, but asked if she could hire me to do a cartoon of the troop as well. Which I thought was a fun idea.

Girlscouts 2015 smallI went in and the girls were really great. They all listened and participated, and, all the while, asking really great questions about my cartooning. And at the end of the lesson we presented the girls their cartoon. Their eyes lit up as they looked at it and pointing at it, recognizing each other and laughing. Especially since I put in little bit of their own personalities in the piece.

It was a fun afternoon.

File_000 (3)But last week my long time friend shot me a message and let me know that her daughter, who was in the troop, was still cartooning. And not just cartooning, but had drawn a cartoon of yours truly. How cool is that, right?? Not only can I see some of the techniques that I taught her that afternoon, but I can also see others influences as her talent grows. And most importantly… you can see that she’s having fun with it.

That’s the point, isn’t it?

One of the best things about being an artist is when you hand over a piece of work that you created and seeing the person’s eyes light up. How their smile starts to broaden. And, especially if it’s a personal gift, see how it touches them. It’s one of the best things to witness. I just so happened to be on the receiving end this time. And how awesome is that?

It totally made my day.

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