LUNCH DOODLES with Mo Willems! Episode 06

– Today is Monday March 23rd. It’s our second week of Mo lunch doodles. I hope you had a great weekend. I hope that you played some super bounce if you got a chance. And I hope you’re feeling okay and ready for another big week. You know? Sometimes I am really excited
because so many of you are making drawings and
doing really cool stuff. And sometimes I’m a
little sad because man, things are just weird right now. And sometimes I’m tired. Often I’m tired. But the thing that almost
always makes me feel better is to doodle. And I hope that you will think the same. Let’s see what we’re
gonna do with this one. Oh! (chuckles) We’re gonna do… Me. Kinda looks like me. All right. Welcome to the studio. Let’s start with a drawing demonstration of one of my characters. And this is Cat the Cat. It is in some of these books like “Time to Sleep Sheep the Sheep!” Even though there’s a
cat on the front of it. It’s all about sleeping and being tired. Now my drawers, remember I told you about how all my drawers
have all my books. Well the drawers with
the Cat the Cat books and drawings and originals are
actually behind the camera. So I pulled some of these out for you just so you could see. This is from “Sound the Sound”. That’s Cat the Cat number three. Here is the blue. You can see that and see
when I make a revision after I’ve shown it to my editor I do red. Just a little thing but I
changed the way the basket looks. That’s a way that I can keep
that in mind for myself. And then this was, it must
have been in an exhibit ’cause I usually don’t
put ’em things like that. And here we go. That’s me, hi, how are you? And then that’s the original art that we then put in the computer. And a question that I get
quite a bit from people is how do ya get, sorry, how do ya get the cardboard in the books? Right? Because sometimes kids think
that’s what makes a book real. Well that only happens much later when a book is published. Look at this. This is a folded and gathered. This is sort of a proof that we maybe sent to librarians or bookstores. And… It doesn’t have any cardboard in it. But it’s the exact same book. So what I say to young
authors and illustrators is, don’t worry if there’s
cardboard in your books. That’s not what makes it real. What makes it real is the content inside. Kind of like you. So let’s draw Cat the Cat. (groans) Cat the Cat is also gonna be, like a lot of these drawings have been, a bunch of letters, a couple numbers. Let’s start in the middle of our page with a big letter O. Appears in words like Mo. And then inside we do a
squished Mo like that. It looks now almost like it’s
gonna be like Piggie, right? But instead of making that the snout, we darken it in, make it the nose. We take our big number eight,
we’ve done this before. And we do it sideways. And then we do a tiny line
and a letter U right there, touching the line kinda
like an arrow going down. And then like Piggie
when we took the letter M and we broke it in half, we do that, half an M, half an M. And then we do the number 111. One, one, one. On the other side, one, one, one. And we’ve saved the most
important thing for last. The eyeballs. I’m gonna, Cat the Cat is always happy. So I’m gonna do like that,
give her a cheeky little look. She’s always having fun. All right. And remember, I’m gonna write my name here so that if I see this drawing again I’ll remember who made it. That is my Cat the Cat. Ya like that? All right, would you hold
up your Cat the Cats. I wanna see those. Oh yeah, very catty. Oh yeah, I like that one. And I like how you guys
are making your Cat the Cat look like your own, that
you’ve got some expression. Now that you know how to draw Cat the Cat you can draw Cat the Cat
angry or sad or sleeping, which is always a fun thing to do. And there we go. Why don’t we go to question time before we meet my studio assistant, which I’m excited about today. But first let’s do a couple questions. March 23rd questions: “What is your next book about?” Well the next book, Courtney,
who’s in the 4th grade, that I have that is coming out is an Elephant and
Piggie like reading book that’s actually written
by my friend Ryan Higgins, but I did the beginning and the end of it, called “What About Worms”
and it’s about a tiger whose afraid of worms. It’s a hard hitting
look at tigers and worms and their relationships. Then the next book that I wrote is going to be a Unlimited Squirrels book that will come out in the fall when I hope everyone is back at school. “How old are Piggie and Gerald?”
asked Dakota, who is seven. That is a good question. I think Piggie and
Gerald are both grown up. I think that they are a grown up elephant and a grow up pig. They pay elephantine taxes and their job is that they work in books. “Why is Gerald so afraid of
everything?” asks Breelyn. “Are you afraid of the
same things as Gerald?” Oo, that’s intense. “I’m afraid of bats and snakes
because they can bite you. “Snakes can bite you with poison “and bats can drink your blood.” Oh, well now I am also afraid
of snakes and bats, Breelyn. (beeping) That’s another truck. You know what’s happening
is I think a lot of people are getting things delivered
in the neighborhood. “I was wondering why the
pigeon likes hot dogs so much.” asked Luis, age nine from Seattle. And there’s a train. So we have an airplane, a
backing up truck and a train. But I don’t care about
any of those things. I care about Luis and his
very important question, “Why does the pigeon
like hot dogs so much?” I think the pigeon likes hot dogs so much because they are so very delicious. That’s why. “How do you make your characters 3D? “Mine are all flat like pancakes.” Oh, that sounds delicious! Lauralye, age seven. Well my drawings are all
flat like pancakes too. I like flat drawings. Maybe when you say 3D maybe
you mean with expression. Maybe you’re saying how come
my drawings have expression. And the answer to that
is that I draw every day. And when I’m drawing a character I’m pretending to be that character. I’m having that emotion. So I am like an actor with a pen. Now hopefully that’s an
answer to your question. ‘Cause it’s a good question. “What was your favorite thing
to do as a kid?” asks Sarah. Well, almost exactly what I’m doing now, only without anyone watching. I liked to sit and draw
and doodle and think when I was a kid. Gracie says, “I want to
be an author and an artist “and I’m silly too.” “Do you have any advice for me “for becoming an author or illustrator?” Well Gracie, here’s the thing, I think you already are
an author or illustrator. I think if you’re silly and you draw and you write and you show
people what you’re doing then you are a real author/illustrator. That’s the great thing about
being an author/illustrator, it’s one of the few
things you can do for real right now in your home. Can’t be an astronaut for
real right now in your home. But you can be an author and illustrator. Now my advice to you is to
keep authoring and illustrating and keep doing it year
after year after year. And one day you will be
ready to be published. Being published is different than being an author/illustrator. It’s when it becomes your job. And I’m not worried, Gracie,
because you seem so silly and so serious that when the time comes you will write things that kids will read and will make you very happy. And more importantly it
will make kids very happy. “Have you been to a play?”,
asked Addy, who’s age five. I’ve not only been to a play,
I have written four plays. And it is one of the great joys of my life to be able to work with
actors and directors and there’s a type of
person called a dramateur, which is a really fun person to work with. It’s also really fun to say. Hello, this is my dramateur, Megan. It’s a really fun sentence. So yes, I’ve been to many plays and I hope that in the fall
you will go to a play as well. Okay, the last question is
from Rupert, who is age six. “Do you like fire breathing ducks? (laughs) “If you could visit anywhere in the world, “where would you go?” It’s a two part question. Obviously the first part
leads into the second part. So let’s go back to this. “Do you like fire breathing ducks?” No, I do not like fire breathing ducks. I love fire breathing ducks. “If you could go anywhere in the world, “where would you go?” I would go where the
fire breathing ducks are. That is actually a great segue to meeting my studio assistant. Because most artists, when they work, they don’t just work alone. They have a studio
assistant who can help them. And I want to introduce
you to my studio assistant. His name is Vincent. Come here Vincent, why don’t
you come to the camera. Oh I know, I know. (groans) Good boy, I’m gonna get you a cookie. You want it? Quick lick. This is my studio assistant, Vincent. Now Vincent looks adorable. We have the same beard. We first got Vincent ’cause we were hoping he would be my stunt double
that I could go to signings and Vincent could sign my books for me. But unfortunately Vincent
is afraid of children. Yeah, Vincent is afraid of children and people who have been
children, ex-children. Yep. Vincent is afraid of
children, former children and manufactured goods,
things that have been made. Vincent is also afraid of nature, weather, sounds and silences. And if any of these things happen, Vincent wuffles. And so for years my
studio assistant Vincent has been, I don’t wanna
say a disappointment, but since he can’t understand
what I’m saying to him, I’m gonna say a disappointment. But he has a very good heart and it turns out that
like a John Irving novel, he is perfect for these times because he is the ultimate
social distancing dog. If I am walking Vincent around the block or in the neighborhood and a child, an ex-child, a manufactured
good or nature approaches in any way, he will wuffle
and keep those things six feet from me. So in that sense he’s turned out to be a really, really great pup. And if you want to meet my
past dog when I was younger, I wrote a book called
“City Dog, Country Frog” that John J. Muth illustrated in beautiful, beautiful paintings. And on the cover and in the book, the model for that was my old dog, Nelson who loved children and manufactured goods, unlike my current studio assistant. All right? How you doing, buddy? Yeah, that’s good. Vincent though, is very good if my arch enemy fights me. My arch enemy is called Printour. Printour has the power to ruin things when I’m trying to print them. And when Printour makes a strange sound and eats the paper and
doesn’t print right, Vincent knows it is time
to come sit on my lap and be my studio assistant friend. He’s a good boy. All right, let me put you down, buddy. I’ll see ya in a little bit. Oo, over there. Good boy. Oh did you want one here? You wanna go with your design? Okay, okay. Here we go, here we go. It’s over there. All right. So I thought for today’s doodle we would draw a pet. Either a pet we have (Vincent crunching) (woman laughs) or a pet we wish we had. So let’s go, we have our paper. And I’ve got my markers here. I am gonna draw a pet I wish I had. You draw your pet. I am going to draw, this is a pet I was thinking
about the other day. And then because of Rupert, I just had another idea. I am going to draw, ’cause
I wish my pet was… I wish my pet was a giraffe. And I wish my pet was a giraffe who liked to wear underwear. An underwear wearing giraffe with giraffe dots all over and there we go, maybe another dot there
and one on the tail. Got that. And like Rupert, I would like my giraffe to be able to breathe
a little bit of fire. Maybe not that much fire,
but just a little fire. All right? And you say where would he do that? Now guys, you notice what I’m doing is I’m drawing a lot like kids do. Not in the style, but
I’m drawing as narrative. The first thing I’m
asking is who, giraffe. And then I’m asking what, fire breathing. And now I’m gonna ask where. And I think in, I think he’s or she,
doesn’t really matter, they, I think they are a fire breathing giraffe pet in the woods. So grown ups when you look at a drawing and first you look to see the name and say who made this drawing and you say oh, Mo made this drawing, as opposed to saying what is this or I like this drawing, you could say tell me the
story of this drawing. What did you draw first? Oh I drew the giraffe. And then I wanted to give
the giraffe some personality and nothing says
personality like underwear. So I gave him underwear. And then I knew that an
underwear wearing giraffe had to do something, so
I had it breathe fire because I thought of that idea from Rupert and then ya can’t just
breathe fire anywhere. So I decided he would do it in a woods where it’s safe, right? So almost every kid’s
drawing is a narrative. It’s a book. And so to the question of Gracie who wanted to be an
author and illustrator, just by doing this you’re almost
an author and illustrator. The next thing you have to
do is share it with someone. Always think of your audience and never think for your audience. Well, that’s it for today. I am very excited and I’m gonna give you a sneak peek for tomorrow. I want you all, if you can, to dress up in a fancy costume, or a silly costume or just a costume or maybe your favorite clothes. I am also gonna dress up tomorrow. So I will see you here
tomorrow all dressed up. All right, this is Mo Willems,
saying goodbye for now.

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