What equipment is needed?
There is the common
tripod-type easel or a hand held easel which looks similar to an oversized
artist palette except with large clips on the top. The type of easel you want to
use depends on your setting. In a typical classroom, the tripod easel is fine.
If you’re going to be moving from room to room to teach, or teaching in an
outdoor setting such as a park outreach or Backyard Bible Club, the hand held
easel will work better. If you are an artist who can draw freehand, you can do
trick cartooning on any type of paper or even a chalkboard; if you are not an
artist, you will need to use newsprint paper. The two common sizes of newsprint
pads are 18x24 inches and 2x3 feet. Obviously, the larger your group, the larger
the pad that you will want to use. In a regular classroom setting, we usually
use the smaller pad. In a large children’s church, 100 kids or more, and in a
sanctuary service, we always use the larger pad. Tripod easels and newsprint
pads are easily found at office supply stores such as Office Depot, Office Max,
or art stores. The hand held easels can be found at Joann Etc. Other equipment
includes a wide-tipped marker and, if you are not an artist, you will want a
pencil, copier transparency, and access to a copy machine and overhead
Preparation is minimal.
If you are an artist, you
can skip the first part. For we non-artists, put the cartooning master from your
trick cartooning book on the copy machine and print the image onto a copier
transparency (You must use a copier transparency; write on transparencies will
melt.) Put your transparency master on the overhead projector and shine the
image as large as possible onto the newsprint pad. Using your pencil, lightly
trace over the outline of the cartoon that is shining on your pad of paper..
Note: it is very important to check your lines in the lighting of the place in
which you will be doing your presentation. For example, if doing your
presentation outside, your lines may be too obvious and need to be lightened
with an eraser. In a sanctuary lighted with cam lights, your lines may be almost
invisible and need to be darkened with your pencil.
There is a slight
difference in preparation for the fold-over cartoons (in the Picture
Perfect book). Whether or not you are an artist, the picture
must be pre-drawn in pencil. Transparencies are provided in
that book for you to do so. Be sure your projected image is
not keystoned (In other words, the square of light that your overhead projector
is shining needs to be square, not slightly “V” shaped. If
your projected light image is slightly “V’d” in appearance, tilt the head
of the projector down until the you have a square image.) Also your transparency
are dotted lines which need to be traced onto your paper. These
are your fold lines. Once you are done pre-tracing your
fold-over cartoon, tear the paper about 2/3’s of the way off the pad, leaving
about the left 8 inches attached. Now go ahead and fold your
cartoon on the dotted lines to be sure that the picture lines up properly when
folded. If not, just erase and adjust the lines slightly.
Unfold the paper and it is ready for the presentation. Have 3
or 4 pieces of clear tape attached to your easel so that when you fold the
cartoon during the presentation you can tape it in place.
During your presentation...
Needless to say, it is
important to know both your lesson (script) and your drawing very well. During
your presentation, you are actually doing 3 things at once—teaching, drawing,
and focusing on your audience’s response. If you don’t know either the
picture or your script well, in your attempt to recall the details, you will
appear distracted and be unable to focus intently on the children’s response.
. It is an innate characteristic in children to take advantage of your being
distracted. Also, you lose your authority in speaking to an audience if you are
not well prepared.
There are a couple of
slight differences in presentation with the optical illusion style cartoons
(used in the Switchable Sketchables). With the regular trick cartoons, the
2-step drawing is a matter of suspense, as the kids don’t what you are going
to draw. With the optical illusions, the whole picture is
drawn immediately so you should state first which of the 2 pictures you want the
kids to see. It is the power of suggestion, or a matter of
mis-direction as a magician would use. For example, when I
begin to draw the Duck to Bunny optical illusion, I will state, “I’m going
to draw for you a picture of a duck.” Why? Because
I am telling the children what I want them to see and hopefully, the power of
suggestion will help them see the optical illusion as the duck first, instead of
seeing the bunny first. Then, during the rest of the optical
illusion presentation, I also run my hand across the drawing (pointing with my
index finger) in the direction of whichever animal I am referring to.
For example, whenever I mention the duck during the rest of that
presentation, I run my finger across the picture from right to left, from neck
to beak, showing the children which way to look at the picture without verbally
telling them. The same goes for the rabbit; when I mention
the rabbit during the rest of that presentation, I run my finger across the
drawing in the opposite direction, from left to right, from the tip of the ears
to the nose, so the children know which way to look at the optical illusion to
see the rabbit. It reinforces in their minds the characteristic of the animal I
am talking about as well as assisting the children in knowing how to look at the
For a successful presentation...
There are a few key items
to keep in mind for a successful presentation. Be sure your easel is in clear
view of your whole audience. Most cartoonings consist of two pictures. Draw the
most significant parts of each picture last. For example, when drawing a cartoon
person, I always draw the facial features last. Whatever parts of your picture
give away what the picture is, draw last. Remember, the suspense is an essential
part of keeping the children’s attention and bettering behavior. Next, be sure
to make eye contact when each picture is done. When the first picture is
completed, you will be completing your first main point. At this time, step away
from your easel and make eye contact with the children as you make that main
point. Stepping away from the easel also ensures that everyone can see the
picture. (In a fan-shaped sanctuary especially, someone’s view will always be
blocked while you are drawing. In an outdoor setting where the children are
surrounding you, you will need to turn to the left and right to ensure that
everyone can see the completed picture.) The same action should take place when
the second or final drawing is completed. Move away from the drawing and make
eye contact while explaining your last main point. The eye contact gives you
increased authority as you speak. It also helps you discern whether or not the
children clearly understand your main point, so you can explain it more
thoroughly if there seems to be any confusion.
Want to make them remember for a lifetime?
It’s possible. A few
years back, we were doing a kids’ crusade at a relatives’ church. My
husband’s cousins were watching me prepare the cartooning for that night. They
asked if I remembered them coming to a single service at a church; they had
driven in for the day just to watch that service. They said, "Remember when
you did that cartooning of a fish to a man?" I said, "I have that
cartooning, but I don’t think I ever did it." They said, "Yes, you
did." They went on to explain to me not only the progression of the
picture, but the entire application as well. After recounting the story to Gary,
we figured out that it was 8 years earlier when the girls saw that cartooning.
If, by using such an easy and effective method as trick cartooning can cause our
kids to remember Biblical truths 8 years later, we are accomplishing the whole
goal of our ministry!
© by Alisa
Children’s Ministry Today
Cartooning Books are available in the Outlet Mall. Click
Here for a special value kit of books!