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Author, Illustrator, Creative Guy willstrong.art@gmail.com

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My First Snowman (and second snowman)

I made my very first snowman ever today (I grew up in southern California.)  Yes, my first one even though I have lived in Utah for over 4 years now.

When I looked out my front door this morning I found this:

So very pretty.

I went in to my wife's class today to help with their Christmas party and help her clean up and organize and such for the new year.  And during recess I took advantage of all the snow to make my first snowman.

I had a few dozen 5th-graders help me make a wobbly snowman that was about 8 feet tall.  Rocking.

But then I wondered what I could really make with this new found medium of snow with a little more time and planning.  So, with the help of my good friend Jason, a different sort of snowman came to life.  We didn't finish until after dark.

Look familiar?

I hope it snows this much again this winter.  I've got more ideas that require attention.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

One of These Things Is Not Like the Others

Some early character sketches for a story I'm working on with a friend.  (click to enlarge)

Yeah, a real story, with a real friend too.  The story is called "I'm Not Afraid of Bunnies" and it was written by Rick Walton.  I'll keep you folks updated on the progress of this book.  I'm already having fun with it and I've only just begun sketching.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Animal Math - New Creative Writing Prompt for C.K.C.

Let's get to it.

Yeah, I like animals doing silly things.  When I'm stuck for something interesting to draw or write I usually try to take something normal and add something unusual to change it up.  Interesting stories often follow.

I find this prompt to be especially fun on the illustration side of things.

For an example of this type of story come to fruition, check out David Shannon's "Duck on a Bike." It's super fun.  And I LOVE David Shannon's illustrations.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Help Support a Worthy Cause

This is one of the best Eagle Scout projects I have ever heard of.  So I thought I would bring it to people's attention.  Support the charitable project if you have the time and a few extra dollars.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Magic Toaster Response

Tiff just had her class write responses to the Magic Toaster creative writing prompt.  Pretty much all of the stories were fantastic but there were a few stand out illustrations that I wanted to share with you.

Sock Monkey Toaster is totally rocking.

This is an amazingly well put together (and legible) comic for a 5th grader.  Betrayal!

And this Rainbow Toaster makes me laugh.  Probably because I hear a slide whistle sound effect in my mind when I look at the second panel.

Tiff's class is getting really good at this.  They've had a lot of practice.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Holiday Coloring Pages

Tiff asked me to make some holiday/seasonal coloring pages for her class.  So I whipped up these:

While Tiff was making copies before school this morning another teacher asked her if she could use the coloring pages in her class too.  Then another teacher saw them.  I think at least 5 teachers are using these same coloring pages in their classrooms this week.  Fantastic.  The more the merrier.

I'll put these up on the C.K.C. website as soon as I can find a better way to browse them on the site.  For now you can just drag and drop from here on my blog.  Enjoy.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Will Strong Recommends - Bookie Woogie

A blog you should know about:  http://bookiewoogie.blogspot.com/

The Bookie Woogie blog is one of the most clued in reviewers of children's lit around.  Why is that?  Because the reviews are done by actual children (with some assistance from their illustrator father.)  Isaac, Gracie, Lily and Elijah (assisted by Aaron Zenz) post conversational reviews that give some fantastic insight into what kids really like in their books.

If you create stories or illustrations for children I highly recommend their site.

Also check out Chicken Nugget Lemon Tooty for some fantastic art created by these kids.  Super creative and fun stuff there.  Honestly it's one of my very favorite blogs.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

New Content at Creative Kid Central

I just updated the Creative Kid Central website.  There are two additions to the Lesson Plans page.

First we have Vocabulary Comics.

And then we have Making Language Arts Fun (with Rick Walton).  Thanks Rick for letting me link to the fantastic content on your website.

Apart from that I added a page for coloring pages.  Right now it has all of the monster name tags that I did for Tiff's classroom this year.  Though, they are too hard to preview.  I need to make it easier to browse the different pages.

Wow, links all over the place.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Wow, Thanks Folks

Yesterday I looked at my ClustrMap (see the bottom right corner of my blog) and I noticed something awesome!

Yup, I got the big dot.  Woot!  So, thanks to all you folks in Utah for reading my blog.  And thanks to all of you other folks out there as well.  Somebody out there in the UK is paying attention.

If it weren't for the readers then I wouldn't have any reason to post.  You're pretty much why I do this.  So, um any requests?  I guess?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Ideas About Good Ideas

Check out this video by Stephen Johnson and RSA Animate.  It's about good ideas and where they come from.

So what do you folks think?  Do Mr. Johnson's thoughts on good ideas jive with how you live your creative life or is he missing the point?

Also, check out more goodies from RSA Animate.  They have some fun stuff going on.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

New CKC Creative Writing Prompt - Summer Gets a Gift

I've been sitting on this one for a few weeks.  Things just kept getting in the way of my finishing it.  But it is done.  So here it is.

I have to give a shout out to my Madre for giving me the original idea for this one.  Thanks Mom.

If you want to download a powerpoint presentation of this writing prompt then go to Creative Kid Central.  You can get it there.  Remember it's free if used for educational purposes.

I have plans to make the next couple of prompts much shorter so that I can get them posted faster.  No more month-long waits.  At least, that's the plan.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Mix It Up Day

Tiff asked me to make a sign for her classroom.  The theme was "Mix It Up Day" and it will be posted outside her door to let the kids know that they will be rotating classrooms for part of the day.  None of the kids really want to do this so the sign needs to be fun and colorful. 

No problem.  I like to have fun and to make fun.  And how can I resist a great theme like "Mix It Up?"  So I drew these guys:

Is it a chig?  Or a picken?

Then I drew some letters and printed it out.  I've had a hankering to use good ol' Crayola crayons on a drawing for a while now.  So I colored the sign with crayons and glued it to a piece of board.  Tah dah:

Actually, I made three of them.  The other rooms need signs too.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Creative Kid Central Is Go!

If you frequent this blog then you've probably noticed my recent fascination with making creative writing prompts for kids.  Since I now have a small collection of prompts I figured I should make a place on the interwebs where they can be easily stored, sorted and downloaded.  So over the weekend I put together a little website that I call "Creative Kid Central."  Trust me, it's gonna be big (at least in my own mind.)

So yeah, I made a website.  Click HERE to check it out.  And stay tuned to this blog for announcements and updates on new C.K.C. content.

(PS: I built the C.K.C. using Google Sites.  It's a nice little system.  Pretty easy.  And nice looking to boot.  I'd recommend it to anybody looking to build a free website.)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

New Creative Writing Prompt: Best Tree House Ever

This week's Creative Writing Prompt:

Preliminary reports from Tiff's Classroom show that the kids really like this one.  I have photographic evidence.

Note the intense concentration on the faces of the kids that hadn't yet realized that the camera had been taken out.  It's the look of someone deciding between putting in a water slide, rope ladder or elevator in that spot.  That intense look of concentration is the mark of a quality product, though it is short lived.  Most 5th Graders go all cheese ball as soon as they realize they are being photographed and that just can't be helped.

I'm really digging this writing prompt thing.  It's so much fun.  More to come.