It’s World Breastfeeding Week and Month!

Wow it’s been a little more than a year now since my wife and I released our breastfeeding children’s book: ‘This Milk Tastes Good!’ 20130801-193916.jpg
and the fact that our little ol’ collaboration is the first breastfeeding children’s book that features a Black family AND that there is now at least one copy on every continent is so amazing to us both! Thank you!

It has also been a little over a year since we did a sing-a-long at the 1st ever Great Nurse-In on the grounds of the U.S. Capital. 20130802-064703.jpg Such an amazing experience! Grand parents, parents and children alike sang along with us and showed our family an abundance of love.

The networking has been invaluable. Meeting so many people from all walks of life, collaborations with different organizations…and the extended family that has been gained is terrific! Whoever said that “word of mouth” doesn’t work, lied! We’ve been contacted by friends of people that have met us, received phone calls from mothers of new mothers seeking nursing advice, we have our books in stores because someone “heard” about it. Word of mouth truly does work and we’re thankful!

We’ve had multiple opportunities to do workshops with expectant teenage parents (notice I didn’t say mothers) 20130802-093322.jpg20130802-093330.jpg20130802-093342.jpg

I know this is “MY” blog and I could pull out my soap-box if I felt like it but, I’ll just say this for now…

PLEASE INCLUDE FATHERS AT CONCEPTION!

We don’t become a parent after the physical birth of the child AND the mother isn’t the only one going through a transformation…with that being said, my wife and I have done presentations for healthcare professionals on how to involve fathers more (not how TO GET fathers involved) as well as on child and maternal health for healthcare professionals…20130802-094131.jpg

We also speak to the importance of what our children actually see long before they become parents. 20130802-094555.jpg

As I conclude, I’d be upset at myself if I didn’t mention a couple other highlights of this past year…The ILCA, (International Lactation Consultants Association) Conference in Orlando, Fl…again I cannot stress how important the networking has been…We’ve actually been asked to present at the 2014 conference in Arizona!
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This year, the acknowledgements that have come our way and still come our way are breath taking. I’m honored to say that I am the very first recipient of the Liberated Muse “heART” Award for utilizing my art to educate the community.

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Friends again called on us to present at the 2nd ROSE Summit in Atlanta, GA. Where once again, the love poured our way when we concluded!

20130826-160014.jpg It was another experience that has had an immeasurable reach in the Nationwide Breastfeeding Community…

Lastly, I’m am also 1of three newest inductees into the Medela ‘Breastfeeding Hall of Excellence’ and the community award recipient! An honor that I’m still in awe of…I am/ we are truly humbled by the support that we’ve received and continue to receive…

HAPPY BLACK BREASTFEEDING WEEK August 26-31, 2013!!! #BBW2013

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PEACE!

“Scapes” & Cubed Characters

Confession:

In my classroom, I often feel like I’m the guy in those insurance commercials, the ones where he asks a few children a question and they give the most unexpected responses…except I’m sitting down at a long table with a group of young artist having concentrated conversations…with that being said, I love the way my students think! (I should be recording them!)

We had fun today! Two groups. Two different projects.

The first, cityscapes and landscapes and boy did I receive a very well articulated art history lesson about them both! Four students re-enlightened me as well as their other nine peers with accurate usage of vocabulary, description and comparison.

So now they’re set to start and you could feel the artistic energy fill the room! Idea atop idea here are a few of the “scapes” that they created:

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The second group entered my classroom with questions in cue! Commence Q&A…”What are we doing today?” “Can we do…?” “Are we doing cartooning again?!, Please?!” (Of the three, the third touched a certain place in my pen!)

So, I instructed them do a “cubed cartoon” project…what that means is that they’d have to illustrate their characters from four different views…

1. Front
2. Right
3. Back
4. Left

20130801-190222.jpg Here’s one that was completed…

20130801-190734.jpg Try it with your children, see what they come up with!

Well, I’m off until the next art class!
Be creative, you may surprise yourself!

Standing Cartoons

It was early (8:15) on Monday morning. I arrived at the center ahead of schedule with chai and croissant in hand. My headphones were belting out some CFreedom, Maimouna Yussef, Nakia Henry, Rona and Teisha Marie tunes. (All very talented vocal artists, look them up!)

Contemplating on which cartooning project to have the young artist do (out of the many I have to choose from) I decided to instruct the two groups of active art campers to create a character, creature, tree or building… “Whatever you make, make sure it’s tall!” I said, megaphone like.

After sketching, coloring, inking and cutting out their work…they were given the task of making their creation stand and this is how it went:

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20130731-103655.jpg I was surprisingly impressed that all 27 of them completed their pieces and it appeared as though they enjoyed themselves!

Until next class…keep creating!

My creations Hooked and Loopyed into life

I’m in awe!

We met a two Saturdays ago at the Fenton Street Market. Since I was familiar with her work I placed an order. Two crocheted dolls of characters that I’ve developed. Each would be over a foot tall and have to have all of the detail that I utilize when illustrating them.

In the moment that Sarah, of “Hooked and Loopy addictive knit and crotchet“, saw the images on my phone she said, “Ooo those will be a challenge, fun but challenging!” I immediately began to rethink my double order. Perhaps reducing it to a one doll trial run would be the best way to go…but, I stuck to my gut and went for it!

I made the deposit and a few days later, I finally emailed my children’s book characters, Patrick (A Boy Called Patches) and Malcolm (‘I Won’t Eat That!’) to her…the ball was now in Sarah’s court.

Throughout the week Sarah expressed how excited she was to be working on them. I confessed of my anxiousness and that I was tempted to ask for some behind the scenes/ in progress photos but I refrained, wanting to be thoroughly surprised at what she created.

HOOKED AND LOOPY DID NOT DISAPPOINT!!!

Needing to pay my balance, Sarah and I corresponded to make arrangements and much to my surprise she informed me that both Patrick and Malcolm were finished! Which leads me to why I’m in such awe…

They arrive at our agreed upon location (and by they I mean, Sarah and her daughter) we greet, make the proper introduction and then the first awe moment happened. This beautiful young lady smiled with such a richness that it practically floored me. Turns out that she actually liked the characters and kinda watched Mom work on them. Then came that moment when Sarah starts to pull them out of their carrying bag and I instantly covered my eyes and turned my back…when the two them told me that I could turn around, I did and this is what I saw:

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Dope right?! Okay, okay, okay, you have to see them beside their illustrations and then PLEASE tell me what you think! Ready?!<a

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Sarah is GOOD and she’s QUICK!!! This was me right after meeting them both in this form:

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I’m V. Kuroji Patrick and I love HookedandLoopy.wordpress.com

Immortalized once more…

She’s 13 or so and her manga skills are strong! I gifted her-her first set of illustrator’s pen and a twenty minute tutorial after class was through…now I ask, when is class REALLY ever through? Anyway, she gifted me a piece of art..a portrait of me.

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I also gave it a go by attempting to capture her likeness…

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Overall, each of the more than twenty young artist left me with a piece of themselves and I with them…art works wonders!

Now, go create something!

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Two up and an infinite amount to go!

Today was DOPE!!! I had two appointments to get our book ‘This Milk Tastes Good!’ on the shelves that went almost exactly how I envisioned them to go…

First up, store 1.
I arrive.
They’re expecting me.
I start to pull the agreed upon amount of books out of my book bag and she says, “So, do you know how we’re doing this?”
Time stills.
My face says, ‘whadayamean HOW?’
Her face says, ‘whadyamean you don’t know either?’
Two phone calls placed, both seeking clarity.
One answers.
Resolve.
Contract signed.
Square swiped.
Off to the next store!

Store 2.
With whom I anticipated a lengthy meeting…
Asked for a copy for review and consideration.
Saw the book.
Flipped through.
Turned and said, “Oh yes we’ll carry this here! When can I get more copies?!”
I dig into my half emptied book bag and reply, “well, I just so happen to have ten more right here!
Contract signed.
First book sold off the self in less than an hour!!!
I couldn’t have written a better short film (life imitates art… 😉

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Educator vs Teacher

Preface: I’m not a blogger. Ok now that that’s out of the way…

I do not consider myself a “teacher” I prefer to be called an educator. An educator provides information and the student teaches themselves by using that information.

With that being said, I love my students! They are all very unique extensions of me…and I of them.

Last week, we had an open discussion about…wait for it…HUMPTY DUMPTY! Through reciting his tale, we discovered that the entire story was only three/four sentences! So, I gave them the challenge of creating a picture book using one keyword, a minimum of four sentences and an illustration for each one. Let’s just say that I didn’t know how receptive the two groups would be to the project but, the week proved to be very successful! Each of them presented their completed projects to their peers and parents!!! Laughter lingered into dismissal.

Now, if you know anything about me, this isn’t the first time I’ve had a group (or two) complete comics and/or children’s books. What makes this past week special is that they only had three days to write, sketch, storyboard, illustrate, ink, outline and finalize their books…I’m elated that I was able to, not only witness their achievements but, I actually completed my own eight page book along with them!

This week, I’m collaborating with two other educators by having the youth team up to create two scenes for the clay puppets that they’re making. They’re using tempera paint (primary colors only) in two ways…1) using the bold colors and their mixed secondaries as usual. 2) water the tempera paints so that they’re comparable to watercolor. I’m looking forward to seeing their stories and clay puppets come to fruition.

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