LUNCH DOODLES with Mo Willems! Episode 04

– Today is March 61st. We’ve been here a long time. Boy, am I tired. No, no, I’m kidding. It’s the 19th, it’s March 19th. Ah, let’s see what I can do with this. 19, that’s a… That is a tricky one. How can I make that 19
into something interesting? Bird day, a little day of a bird. Welcome to Lunch Doodles on March 19th. I hope everybody is doing well. I have some exciting stuff
to share with you today, something a little bit different, not exactly illustration. It’s actually toilet paper roll. I bet you’re gonna be seeing
a lot of these in the future and maybe even some of
these, which are bigger, and then maybe you’ll
even get one of these, which is for an enormous toilet. It’s probably the largest
toilet you could ever imagine. And these look like they’re
just pieces of cardboard, but they are actually art tools. They are actually things
that I can make art out of. And I’m gonna put them back. We’re gonna take them in a little while and play with them again, but I’ll give you an example. I made this book that just
happens to be right here called “Nanette’s Baguette”, and in “Nanette’s Baguette”, Nanette lives in a city and there is a fountain
and goes to a bakery. And that fountain right there, that little picture of the fountain, that’s a toilet paper roll. So, I actually made this entire city. Let’s see if I get another image where we really see the city. There we go, there it is in the rain. I built this city. And I did this book many, many years ago, so it’s been a while, but I went into my storage and I found some of the buildings. They were not meant to
last and they haven’t, but this is the pharmacy. And see, there’s the little pharmacy sign. And that’s sort of a joke ’cause this story takes place in France. In France there are a lot of pharmacies. Every little town has a pharmacy, and they have hair brushes and ointments. And I also found, outside of town, this farm, right? But it’s just a box that I drew on and I taped paper on. This is just a box as well. And I also found this. It’s a little bit falling apart, but it’s a little French
version of a deli, right? And there it is on the
side where people walk by, but it was next to another building, so it’s just a box. I built this whole city. I took over my whole studio and built building after
building after building for weeks and weeks. And you can’t have a
building without trees, so that is a big one and then here’s another, littler tree. And I thought this might be a fun little
activity to sort of do because you could draw a
tree and tape it on there and cut it, maybe, with one
of the grown-ups in the house, or maybe you can use scissors on your own and you can make a village. Look at that, that’s pretty cool. And I know what you’re asking now. You’re saying, “Mo, how did Nanette “and all of those characters
get to walk in that town, “get to be part of that town?” Well, I drew those characters flat, right? And then I put them
together with a computer. So, you wanna come see? Let’s go take a look
at my original drawings of Nanette from “Nanette’s Baguette”. All right. Here we go. Come on over here. Remember, these were the
“Elephant and Piggies”. Here are some of the pigeon ones. Here’s “The Pigeon Needs a Bath”, and that’s some early drawings
of another pigeon story. But we’re gonna keep going. We’re gonna go down to, oh, all the “Busy Creature’s Day Eating”, “Time to Set” there, and “Nanette’s Baguette”. Open up, let’s see what’s in there. So, if you remember, a
couple days ago, I think, I was talking about how I always started with the blue drawings first. And these drawings I drew pretty big, and that was because I knew
that I was gonna photograph them and they would lose some of their quality when I photographed them. So, I labeled every one, and I drew them where I
thought they would need to be. There’s Nanette petting something. It’s another layer. There’s the back of Nanette. There’s Nanette in the rain. Nanette gets a coin. See something special about that coin? Yeah, that’s one of the
places that I hid the pigeon is in that coin. And then, afterwards, I had to do all these different things, figure out where the characters were, and draw them and color them. There’s Nanette having the baguette. This was 2015 in December. There are some of Nanette’s friends. Look at that, that was
the day after Christmas. And this one I did the
day before New Year’s Eve. I love working during the holidays ’cause the phone doesn’t ring and then I can make my art. There’s Nanette dreaming of a baguette, and here is Nanette really scared ’cause Nanette
ate the whole baguette. And now Nanette is worried, Nanette’s gonna have to talk to her mom, and then Nanette is
gonna have to be brave, which we all have to be sometimes, even when we don’t feel like it. Those are the drawings
for “Nanette’s Baguette”. And I bet you’re wondering, if
you look at this big drawer, “Wow, look at all these drawings, “and you did the floor “of the place “and figuring out the doorknobs “and making the rough sketches. “How did you do all that?” Well, we’ll talk about
this on another day, but I have a chart where every single piece
of art on every page I mark to see if I’ve done it. This is the chart for
“Nanette’s Baguette”. Did I build the location? Did I make the building? Did I put it together? Have I drawn the sky? Have I photographed it? Have I lit it right? Did I do the rough drawing? Did I put it in together? Did I get it approved? Did I change it and check
it and do the typography? And did I get it approved
by my editor again? All these different things. Every time I do one of
these little things, I get to check off one of these boxes. Because it is impossible to make a book, so much work, but it is possible to do
one of these little things, and when you do it, you can check it off. Just like sometimes it
feels like it’s impossible to get through some of the
stuff that’s going on now, but we just need to check off box by box. And then eventually, hopefully, we’ve got this beautiful, big
thing that becomes a story. All right, let’s go back ’cause I forgot to show
you some of the things. I’m very forgetful later. Come on, we’re gonna head back. I built these big buildings. That was really fun. But I also got to build these little things. See this, this is in a tiny scene. In the back of a corner,
there’s an umbrella stand ’cause the French love
umbrellas and it’s been raining. We see that it’s raining earlier, so I wanna have our umbrella stand. Can you see that? I snuck in another little pigeon. And in the beginning when Nanette is very excited about going, Nanette is in the kitchen. And this is the stove top
and the oven in the kitchen. This is the first prop that I built, the very first one, to see if all this other
stuff was gonna work. And it did. And after today’s little broadcast, we’re gonna put on a short
film that’s a stop motion film of me very quickly building
some of these buildings and building the whole town so you can get a sense of
how big that really was. Maybe you can use this
to build a building. Or maybe, if you have one, let’s see if you have a toilet paper roll. Why don’t we pause. Pause. (mumbles) Go run around and see if you
can get a toilet paper roll or a paper roll or maybe, if you’re like
me, you have a giant toilet. Go find a giant toilet. Yeah, okay, and now get the roll. Right, so we can, you got it? Yeah, okay, I’m still pausing. Oh, okay, play. ‘Cause we can use this, also, just to make characters, right? We can do plays. And sometimes it helps me when I’m writing to think of characters talking
and to create dialogues. And so if I have a little puppet, maybe that will help me write. So, let’s see, this is gonna be a little bird. Gonna do a green beak. There we go. And let’s make it yellow eyes. Oh, well, the yellow
doesn’t look very yellow on this toilet paper roll. Looks more brown and grayish, so I guess I learned something
about toilet paper rolls. The yellow doesn’t work as well. But it doesn’t matter. See, this is my little
bird now, right, Rolly. “Hi, my name is Rolly. “How are you?” And I can put on a little play with Rolly. I like doing that, I like
putting on little plays. Matter of fact, I like writing plays and
I wrote a play called “Don’t Let the Pigeon
Drive the Bus: The Musical” that until very recently was
touring all over the country and I think will be again. And I mention that because in the program that we gave all of the theatergoers, there was this special thing. It was these puppets, these finger puppets that you can make. Gotta cut it, they come right out, and then you take a piece of
tape, which I have right here, and wrap it around your finger, and you’ve got the duckling. Let’s see what else. Oh, we also have the bus so that you can play the play, right? Now let’s see how the bus goes. Gonna make that right here. I did that a little, a little too fast. I gotta be patient there. Here’s the bus, going by
two birds, here we go. (engine sounds) Pigeon at the wheel, vroom vroom! (engine sounds) Oh no, don’t go over the edge! (tires squealing) (grunts)
Phew, that was close. The bus. Oh, yes, and if you remember
from “The Pigeon Wants a Puppy” it was also this. And I know what you’re saying right now. “What, Mo, why do you get to
play with these and I don’t?” Well, if you go to the
Kennedy Center website, there are these as downloads. Now, they’re not in color
because you get to color them, and they’re not pre-cut like these are, but you can cut them or
have someone cut them and then you have your
own little finger puppets that you’ve created, just like this. Oh, one second. Got the tape on. And you can make little plays, see? Like, “Oh, hi, I’m the, oh. “I’m in love. “I’m so in love, oh, ohhh.” Yep, there we go. So, all right, there’s a little beeping. Don’t worry about it. I think there’s a truck outside
because I am in a studio. It’s all fine. All right. Well, now you know how to make props and sets and puppets, and you can download them
and make your own plays. I really hope that you can do that, maybe with a grown-up in your life. That would be fun, too. I like to see grown-ups get silly again. I want the grown-ups out
there to get a shame-ectomy, be silly again. All right, that was really fun! So, now we’ve been getting
a lot of questions. I’ve been seeing a lot of
drawings online and sent to me, and there are some fantastic drawings. I really appreciate it. I think you guys are doing
really creative stuff out there, and so today I got these
questions sent to me, put together for me. Obviously, I can’t answer
all your questions, a lot of questions are coming through, but we have someone, initial B, age six, who says, “Which book
makes him laugh the most?” By him, I’m guessing he means me. Which book makes me laugh the most? I’ll be honest, any time I read
a “Calvin and Hobbes” book, I just start laughing, so probably “Calvin and Hobbes”
makes me laugh the most. When you get an idea for a
new character or a series, what do you do first? (gasps) I celebrate. And how do you get books published? I call my editor. So, asked Creed, of
eight, and Gabby, age six. Well, for me, I have been publishing books since well before Creed
and Gabby were born, and I have an editor. And when I have an idea for a book or the beginning of an idea for a book, I call up my editor and I
start talking to my editor. “Do you think this is a good idea,” or, “How can I make this happen?” And I make little sketches, and if my editor things it’s
a, yeah, it’s an okay idea, then I continue to work on growing that idea. “Which of your characters
is the most like you?” This is from Delaney, who
is age six in Michigan. Delaney, you, I guess, are gonna grow up to be a
psychiatrist or a therapist, and when you do, I will
pretend that an hour is really 45 to 50 minutes, and I will pay you and tell you
the answer to that question. All right. Theo, age nine, asked, “How do you not need to
erase every five seconds?” Oh, Theo, that is a great question. Well, I’ve been drawing a lot. I’ve been drawing for many, many years. I’ve made many, many, many, many drawings. But even so, when I’m
sitting at my drawing table and really working, I think I need to erase
not every five seconds, probably more like every
four and a half seconds. Remember, an eraser is part
of a pencil for a reason, and adding and taking away
are both types of drawing. All right, are you going, oh, sorry. This is Cassidy in
Pennsylvania, seven years old, “Are you going to make a pigeon book “and he gets what he wants? “That would be pretty cool. “I think that would be
pretty cool, don’t you?” Am I gonna make a pigeon book
where he gets what he wants? No, in the same way that Charlie Brown is never gonna be able
to kick that football, the pigeon is never
gonna get what he wants. Shh, don’t tell him. ‘Cause I’m kind of a stinker
that way with the pigeon. It’s a good question. And the reason not is books need drama. If I made a book called “Happy Pigeon Gets Everything
He Wants in Happy Land “and Boy, It’s Really Great”,
it’d be pretty boring, right? And by the end, you would
stop reading that book. Eli and Spence have a question. Eli would like to know if
you have a favorite fish. Okay, Eli, I do have a favorite fish. His name is Roberto. “How did Gerald and Piggie
become best friends,” asks Olive, who’s a
six-year old in California. How did Gerald and Piggie
become best friends? Gerald and Piggie met on a farm, and Gerald was working on the farm and Piggie came from the city as a tourist and they met each other and they decided they had
a lot of similar interests, and then it turned out
that because of rent that they needed to sort
of get a larger apartment with a bunch of different animals and then they became
very, very good friends. Or maybe there’s a better story. I really don’t know how they met. Maybe you could write a story of how Elephant and Piggie first met because, to be honest,
when I first met them they were already best friends. All right. Charlie is a seven-year old in Montreal. Bonjour, Charlie. How many pigeons are there in the world? Not enough. Nine, “My name is Zach,”
this is from Zach, “and I’m in the fifth
grade in New Hampshire. “I wanted to ask if you,
if anyone ever think “that you weren’t a good artist. “Some of my friends
don’t like my drawings, “but I still try my best.” Wow, Zach, that’s a pretty deep question. Yes, there are a lot of people who didn’t think I was a good artist. For many years, certainly
when I was growing up, people didn’t like my cartoons. Sometimes even teachers thought that cartoons weren’t real art. And I knew that if I drew every day, my drawings would get better. I knew my drawings weren’t perfect. My drawings aren’t perfect now, but every day after the
end of a day of drawing, I feel like I’m that little bit better. And I think when I was your age, it was good to have heroes who drew, so I would look at comic
strips in the paper and I would imitate them and
I would draw in their style just to see how they did what they did. And over time, all of
those things developed into what is called a style so that I could draw
in the way that I draw. Zach, you are 10. I look forward to a day when
I can see one of your drawings in a book in a book store. All right, and now, “Dear Mr. Mo.” This is from Luke, Eliza,
and Anna in New York. “Does pigeon have any friends or family?” Yes, the pigeon has lots of friends. I hope you’re one of the pigeon’s friends. And the pigeon has family. It’s the duckling. The duckling is family. All right, those were wonderful questions. Thank you for them. (craft supplies clatter)
Oops. I’m gonna put these things down. All right, we’re talking
about building today. We’re talking about not just
illustrating but finding boxes, and I suspect there are
gonna be a lot more boxes in your life over time, and taking paper and taping
on them and making buildings and making sets and characters with paper, so I thought for today’s doodle I want to make impossible buildings. Buildings that look like
buildings as a drawing but could never really exist. So, let’s see what we do, all right? Let’s doodle together. All right. There we go. So, this is a house with big, hairy legs. That is a hairy-legged house. And a bird in the living room with fancy hair. Look at that fancy-haired bird. And bear claws for arms. That looks like an impossible house. I wonder what your
impossible house looks like. Well, let me just write my name, so if I come across this drawing again I can remember who made it. And I’ve forgotten the last couple days, but I’m gonna stamp this so I can remember when I made it. And that is my impossible house. Can you hold up your impossible house? Oh yeah. That house is barely possible. Matter of fact, I would say
that some of these houses I’m looking at now are
completely impossible houses. Excellent, well, thank you
guys for visiting today. I hope that you enjoy the little clip that’s gonna come afterwards, and I hope that you’ll
start building and making and creating little, maybe
not-so-little houses and stores. And you can turn that
into a set for a play, and then you can take some of your puppets and make a little story. All right, this is Mo Willems
saying I’ll see you tomorrow. (playful music) (singing in French)

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