Get in “Toon” for the 2022 Be the Artist Series


June is nearly here, and with it comes another Be the Artist series for the summer months.

For the past seven summers, we’ve dove into the styles of all sorts of artists, contemporary and classic, covering such topics as “Enhancing Your Artistic Word Power,” artists from “Around the Globe,” a trip through ages with “Artists Through Time,” a look at everything from advertising to activism with “Art With a Purpose,” and thinking outside the mainstream idea of “artist” with “An Eye for Design.”

This eighth season of kid- and family-friendly art projects will focus on something a little lighter in subject but heavy on imagination: TOONS!

The projects this summer will include the amazing variety and importance of cartoon styles in the art world, but they won’t just include cartoonists who made their mark in the animation world. There may be those who lent their style to magazines, comic books or comic strips, illustrators whose recognizable works accompanied children’s or young readers’ books, and possibly those who worked in video games or advertising. There may also be “toons” similar in style to works from artists who are better known for something other than their illustrations. Toons can be everywhere, and we are all the better for having them in our world.

This wouldn’t be the first time we’ve celebrated the cartoon and simple illustration world, as past Be the Artist projects have featured early filmmaking visionaries like Max Fleischer, the nature-loving beauty of Beatrix Potter’s children’s book illustrations, and the offbeat Kustom Kulture pioneer drawings of Ed “Big Daddy” Roth.

Toons have been a part of past Be the Artist summer projects, but this summer they are front and center! Image: Lisa Tate

All the projects will remain fairly simple, too. We won’t be trying out any animation techniques, although many artists in the ‘toon world are certainly groundbreakers in the animation realm as well. No, this will be about the wonderful, unique cartoon and illustration styles that are often still copied and celebrated by others.

A new Be the Artist 2022 hits every other week during the summer months and opens with a first for the series: a revisiting of a favorite artist featured in a past Be the Artist for a new project. I won’t tell you who it is, but I encourage you to look back and practice with some past projects. It is a “small world after all,” and no, it isn’t who you think.

See you next week and get ready to ‘toon in for some fun this summer!

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