Thursday, April 2, 2020

Draw a Bird

Instructions are a funny thing.



Magic words

Do this and you will be ok. I personally have a hard time obeying just anyone, however the right set of instructions are incredibly comforting.  

So, here I have a favorite list of instructions that I have absolute faith in. They come from a story that I like called “The singing soaring Lark,” and it is by the Brothers Grimm.

The words are what the North Wind tells a girl who is looking for a lost white dove, who is really a lion, who is really a prince.

The night wind then said to her, 
I will advise thee;
go to the Red Sea, 
on the right bank are some tall reeds, count them, 
break off the eleventh, and strike the dragon with it, 
then the lion will be able to subdue it, and both then will regain their human form. 
After that, look round and thou wilt see the griffin which is by the Red Sea; 
swing thyself, with thy beloved, on to his back, and the bird will carry you over the sea to your own home. 
Here is a nut for thee, when thou are above the center of the sea, let the nut fall, 
it will immediately shoot up, and a tall nut-tree will grow out of the water on which the griffin may rest;
for if he cannot rest, he will not be strong enough to carry you across, 
and if thou forgettest to throw down the nut, he will let you fall into the sea."

I trust the North WInd.
For now, Stay safe, friendly but far, the North Wind says so.

Draw DD and Winston

Everyone is missing somebody. Even Rosebud is missing some friends. I know this because we saw her doggy friends from a distance the other day and she gave a miniscule little almost imperceptible tail wag, which for her means “I like you.” DD and Winston were much more demonstrative, from a distance.

So these are her friends DD and Winston. I like them because they are lovely and also they are almost each others opposite. Where one is short, the other is tall, where one is a mop of hair the other has very tidy short hairs. 

Aren’t dogs wonderful.

I miss all the dogs.

Aren’t dogs better than people?

If I could have a canyon and fill it with dogs and a cabin, I would. I would do that. I would grow old and reclusive and legendary as the old lady with the dogs who lives in the canyon. On full moon nights you would hear me howling.

I have built a fortress of sanity in my attic.

Can you draw your dog? Please show me! Always show me your drawings. I love them. Every single one.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Draw Rosebud

I would love to show you how to draw a dog, but there are too many different dogs, so I will just have to show you how to draw all the dogs. I'll start with Rosedbud.

THis is my dog Rosebud.

If dogs are all so different how do other dogs know if other dogs are dogs? 

TO pronounce Rosebud’s name you should sigh it out long and whispery “ROOOoooosebudddd”  
Rosebud’s best trick is “Stay” because she never moves…unless there is bacon.

She is named after a sled and a Basselope and most resembles in personality my high school  U.S. History teacher, Rosie Mckay. If Rosebud was an inspirational wizard, she would probably have a lot of spells about bacon, and I think we would be in a lot of trouble.

I bet my dog is weirder that yours.


Yesterday was a bit sad.
There was a time when if people in my house got sad, we could Dance party it out or tickle it out of them, or play hide and seek. But people get older and teenagerly, and anyway it is kind of normal to be sad sometimes. When a schedule gives you goals and comfort and predictability and productivity then it isn’t going to be comfortable not to have those things and to realize that it won’t be the same as it was for awhile.
So here is one of my favorite things that I have ever read: “The best thing for being sad," replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, "is to learn something. That's the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.” ― T.H. White, The Once and Future King
So here is a Merlin wizard to remind us that learning a thing is beautiful in itself without expectation of any other reward than that.
Draw and eat ice cream. that is all.


It is time for a scribble break.
SCRIBBLE BREAK!!! Another wave of weird reality washed over us yesterday. Zero motivation, yet somehow expectations. Expectations of perfection and normalcy.
We need to get that mess out.
When I sit down to draw, I never start drawing cold turkey. When you exercise, you have to warm up and stretch. I have to warm up too. Get that mess out. There is no right way to scribble. There is no wrong way to scribble. And it feels great. Fill up that page. Crumple it up into a ball, then open it up again and go at it. Lightning bolts, curly-q’s, whirlwinds, lazy circles, light, dark, joyful, frustrated.
Get that out.
It should be ugly.
be proud of that
don’t compare that ugly to any one else
its yours
be proud of that
our minds are a little scribbly right now
then draw a cow if you really want to.
This fall you can read a book that I wrote. It is about scribbling and other things. It is called “When I Draw a Panda”


What do we really know about cows?
Is it true that cows usually stand in groups that face due north? I have heard that.
Why would they do that?
Even the experts don’t know why they do this. Which makes you wonder what we really know about anything. I would not be a good cow because I have never been good at understanding where due north is, or a hanging around in a group.
When we were hiking, my Grandpa used to say the trail was “as steep as a cow’s face.” He was right, go Look at a cow’s face. Its pretty steep.
Have fun today. please?
I will too, and show me your drawings, they make me so happy.


Today I am a frog.
My little girl said this after being found covered head to toe with green marker. Why limit yourself to paper? What animal could you be today?

2 weeks into this confinement you might be looking for some creative ways to curse and insult people. Let’s take a look into a book then:

One book that I love is Willard R. Espy’s “Children’s Almanac of Word’s at Play.”
Illustrated by Bruce Cayard

March 20

Some perfectly innocent words sound like curses if you say them angrily. Take for instance Flowers:

You lousewort!
You devil’s bit scabious!
You hen bit dead nettle!
You swine cress!
You pignut!
You moneywort loosestrife!
You creeping toadflax!
I will be sharing excerpts from Espy’s daily advice from time to time, because. Look for it at your library when it reopens.
Its out of print which is a shame, so isn’t it good that we have a library?

Oh library I love you.

You Pignut!

I love books. I wrote a book called “When I Draw a Panda” It is coming out this fall. And spring it here so fall will come eventually.
#how to frog