BOOK ME FOR AUTHOR EVENTS, BULLYING PROGRAMS, CARTOON WORKSHOPS,
SCHOOL & LIBRARY VISITS, SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS . . .
Thanks for your interest in bringing me to talk with your kids. Before I tell you about some of the things that I do, that other visiting authors may also do, I want to tell you about what makes my visits totally unique.
To begin with, I LOVE kids! And they can tell. That's important. I interact with them all the time, whether it's as an author, a cartoonist, a dad, or a coach. Next, I can tailor my visit to be a part of any type of class (not just art), or any age group.
I also interact with your kids the entire time I'm at your location. Sometimes it's eating lunch with them. Sometimes it's shooting hoops at recess. And with one school that I visit annually, I stop by detention to talk to their kids.
Next, when I give my talk on bullying, I talk about my anti-bullying book, "The Offenders: Saving the World While Serving Detention!", so the whole time I'm talking, I'm also drawing the characters and asking kids questions. So since it's not a lecture, I NEVER have to worry about kids tuning out. In fact, most times after I'm done, I am approached by stunned faculty members who explain that they have never seen their kids so attentive! Take a look at some of the references below and you'll see what I mean.
THANK YOU. Thank you for one of the most awesome author/illustrator visits ever! Students continue to share how much they loved drawing with you and how funny you are. Staff members continue to share how great you were with the children and how engaging, funny and clever your presentations were. Several have asked for you to come back.
Two weeks after your visit, the excitement still remains in our students’ conversations. Children who may not gravitate to reading on their own are now busting into the library asking for your books. They are overjoyed and awestruck that you actually wrote responses to their questions! Even at lunch time, your visit remains the topic of discussion. While at recess, one student excitedly showed me a paper and said, “Look, I’m drawing like Jerry Craft!” Your visit will live on inside of our students for a very long time. Thank you for sharing with them how much fun reading can be. Thank you for guiding them to unleash their inner artists. And thank you for sharing with them what is possible for their lives. Just by them seeing you be awesome and seeing themselves in you, they now know just how awesome they are.
Thank you and Take Care,
Mrs. Tamara C
Library Media Specialist
If you want to see me in action, I invite you to watch the following two videos.
The first is from my annual visit to the fourth grades at Fieldston Lower School in NY, where I teach them how to make their own comic strips based on their favorite book.
This next video will give you information on me personally,
so you can get more of a sense of who I am and why I do what I do.
Okay, now for the other stuff:
DESCRIPTION: Join award-winning syndicated cartoonist Jerry Craft as he shares his experiences as a professional cartoonist and illustrator. He'll show you the secrets behind creating his Mama's Boyz comic strip and teach you how he creates his children's books from start to finish. Then it's your turn to draw! Mr. Craft will give you step-by-step instruction to show you how you can use simple shapes to create your own cool comic book characters.
Sessions may be done as a workshop with kids (and their teachers or families) drawing along with step-by-step instruction, or lecture-style (without the kids drawing along). Workshops can also tailored to fit any class. Here are some examples:
English Class: Kids create a comic strip based or poster on their favorite book. History Class: Draw a character who you are studying. Romans, Greeks, Civil War ... Science Class: Design a poster on topics such as water or energy conservation.
In addition to drawing, there will also be emphasis placed on the following:
Finding your passion and making a career of it
The importance of trying and taking creative risks
Learning from your mistakes
Finding your creative voice
Education, and how both English and Math are used to make Mama's Boyz successful
Choosing friends who will support you
How the decisions you make now can have an impact on the rest of your life
I also do a visit that addresses the problem of bullying. But unlike many other programs that simply give a list of dos and don'ts, I base my program on my books. Therefore there is a lot of drawing and interaction with the kids. I share the process of creating the characters from one of my anti-bullying books called "The Offenders: Saving the World While Serving Detention!" Together we make a list of the ways that kids bully each other and why. Plus there is also a lot of drawing. The kids are actually having fun while they are learning how their behavior can have a real impact on their classmates, either positive or negative. I've found this to be a lot more effective way than just a lecture where the kids simply tune out. Also, several schools have purchased my book to use as a community read, either before or after my visit. I had one teacher email me to tell me that while she was reading my book to her class, one girl gasped then admitted that, "she had just done that to someone this morning, and didn't realize that it was bad." She then told her teacher that she would seek the kid out and apologize. You can't ask for more than that!!!
Here is a comment from one of the schools:
Thank you so much for visiting our school and providing our students with a fun filled day while incorporating "Bully Free" messages. The students and staff were mesmerized by your art, and loved hearing about your life experiences. You are a true inspiration to all.
- Theresa C
Van Wyck JHS
After attending one of my workshops where I showed kids how to draw Charlie Brown, 9-year old Ryan V. went home and made a giant version in the snow!
To me, the best ones come from kids, here is one of my all-time favorites:
"Dear Mr. Craft. Your amazing and almost impossible illustrations look so simple and easy, that you inspired lots of kids to try their best. For my class and me it sure was a big pleasure to know some of your little secrets of art. Thank you so much for using your golden time with us. It was a huge pleasure! At that moment I knew that you were one of us! If you have extra time, then please come back to us to share some more of your art. We will welcome you with great pleasure! Thank you so much"
Pretty awesome!I always have as much fun as the kids. And when you bring me in for a full day school visit, the kids get a FULL DAY. I eat with them and even shoot hoops at recess!
And here are comments from a second grade class that I spoke to in Atlanta.
"It's as if he was reading our mind about friendships."
"I like that it was important to Jerry that he was considered
to be a nice guy. He really is a nice guy."
"He reminded us to be nice to each other."
"Jerry never gave up when he got those rejection notes."
"He just kept on trying."
Now here are a few from grown-ups. (I like them, too!)
Your engaging personality, passion for drawing, and simple techniques
captivated my students. Their latest project, illustrated children's stories, truly revealed the impact of your visit. Bravo!
- Kitty D
Middle School English Teacher
Thank you for a fabulous program. This is such a hard age group (11-17) to reach at the library and the kids were enthralled. What an amazing percentage of boys in attendance too! We can't wait to have you back!
- Sascha G
Hagaman Memorial Library
Jerry Craft had a wonderful way of teaching his skills to my 5th grade students. He showed all of us that there is an inner artist within each and everyone. Thanks Jerry! We loved the art you donated to our classroom!
- 5th Grade Teacher.
Jerry's program was an absolute blast! I had a wide range of ages from 4th grade through juniors in high school and they all had an equally fun time. Jerry is very skilled in quickly building a rapport with the students that allows them to try drawing without judgment. He's hilarious and knows how to interact with teenagers very well and he breaks down the drawing step-by-step so participants of any level can succeed. I highly recommend Jerry Craft's program, and I hope to have him back at my library soon!
- Katie F
Scranton Memorial Library
Our students had a wonderful time meeting you at Brooklyn Public Library. Your presentation kept them engaged and inspired them to follow their own dreams.
School for International Studies
Jerry plays well with kids and grown-ups! At Read Out Loud!, our family literacy event, Jerry led a comic book drawing workshop that was packed with very engaged youngsters. Not only does he inspire young artists and writers by sharing and educating, but Jerry is a super person to work with on the grown-up level. He makes good things happen. The success Read Out Loud! was due much in part his ideas, people, and go-getter attitude.
- Christine P
Morningside Area Alliance
New York City
"Jerry Craft did an amazing job entertaining and teaching the students and staff at Wolfpit Elementary School. He was able to simplify cartooning and share some of his techniques while relating his professional experiences. His "anyone can do this" approach to cartooning inspired the students to create some incredible characters. The 2013 Author's Day visit was a great success!"
-5th grade assistant
Jerry Craft attended the Turning the Page Community Night program and was absolutely mesmorizing. His repore with our students at Garfield Elementary was so warm and thoughtful. The staff at Turning the Page really appreciate his work with our students and look forward to a long lasting partnership.
- Tyra F
As a program specialist at a nonprofit that works with public elementary schools in Washington, D.C., Jerry Craft was a great resource to our family literacy events. Our guest author programs are always a favorite of our families, and having a comic book illustrator like Jerry speak to children and their parents was a real treat for everyone. Jerry visited Garfield Elementary in Southeast D.C. last fall and shared his stories, sketches, and quotes from Mama’s Boyz, which the kids absolutely loved. Not only did Jerry’s stories entertain the children, but his patience in showing them how they could draw their own comic book characters inspired them to believe that they could be artists, too. We got such positive feedback from our families that we have decided to invite him back to visit another elementary school this Spring.
- Laura S
Our kids really look forward to Mr. Craft’s visits. He engages the kids with lively conversation while showing
them how to unlock their creativity. And they LOVE his Mama’s Boyz books!
Jerry is amazing with kids, adults, seniors, pets… He has a way of leaving a lasting impression on any and all walks of life. I have had the pleasure of working with the creative genius behind Mama’s Boys on more than one occasion. The first time, Jerry was recruited to work with me at the YMCA of Norwalk in an effort to spread cultural diversity through ingenious and dynamic art and art instruction. He was such a hit that even after the project came to an end; the YMCA continued to have him come in to teach drawing on a program by program basis. The second time, we worked together in a summer school art program and I had to literally steal kids from his class just so I could stay busy! His means and methods reach all children. His books, cartoons, videos and drawing techniques are truly inspirational and I really believe they touch the kids who might not have otherwise been interested in art! He is talented, kind, dedicated and I am proud to know him as the artist and the man!
-Alex R YMCA of Norwalk AND
Crayon and multimedia artist
Color for Life, llc
New York City
I invited Jerry Craft to come in and aid my youth group in creating posters for our child literacy campaign. I had doubts about whether the members would enjoy it, but they were put to rest on the first day. The group had their hang-ups on their artistry but was compelled by his art and therefore motivated to make their own. His humor and patience helped with extracting ideas from the group and gave us a clearer direction with our project. Needless to sa, when his three weeks were up, the kids didn't want him to leave.
Westchester Youth Councils
Family Services of Westchester
The Norwalk Education Foundation (NEF) hired Jerry to work on a program with middle school students. We invited students to take classes at our local community college where they would meet highly energetic, enthusiastic professionals who wanted to share their passions. Jerry fit the bill perfectly and he taught a cartooning class. Students loved the class and Jerry’s enthusiasm. NEF would highly recommend him. His positive outlook, sincere interest in students and professional skills are a guarantee for success in any situation.
Norwalk Education Foundation
Our 5th grade students thought Jerry Craft was awesome when he came to our school as an artist-in-residence for two weeks. They were so thrilled with his fun-loving manner and outrageous Mama's Boyz characters that everyone wanted his autograph. The students were more then a little surprised when they found that with Jerry's help and guidance, they too could design their very own cartoon creations. It was an experience they will never forget!
Davenport Ridge Elementary School
(With my sons and Jeff Kinney, author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series)
Mr. Craft was warmly embraced by the middle school students in the YDP program at the Carver Center. Students who lacked confidence in their artistic abilities were amazed at the art work that they were able to produce independently at the end of the program. Mr. Craft’s program was a definite asset to the Carver’s YDP program and even though Mr. Craft’s program ended two months ago, the students are repeatedly asking us to bring him back again.
When Jerry Craft conducted a workshop at the Boys & Girls Club of Stamford, he not only wowed the children, but adults were instantly drawn to his easy display of drawing techniques; it was obvious that all those in attendance enjoyed his presentation, stories and sketches. Mr. Craft your message of self love was very inspiring! Thank you for the drawing lessons and thank you for signing our sketches...I still have mine!
President The Boys & Girls Club of Stamford Parent Association
Jerry Craft has worked with Art Partners for a number of years and receives accolades from the classroom teachers and students. He inspires students to read and visualize and teaches students how to put pencil to paper to convey ideas. He is a Pied Piper for the students with lasting results from his workshops. Students are fully engaged and look forward to his workshops.
Silvermine Guild Arts Center
New Canaan, CT
Jerry Craft’s presentations to our students has been one of the more invigorating events of our school Fall Book Fair. He is a spirited and personable presenter. Jerry easily related to the students by sharing tidbits of his life as a kid interested in art. He offered easy access to the magical world of cartooning to them by the way he broke down the idea of cartooning to a series of lines(curved and straight) and dots. The children were truly awed by how simply, but magically, his figures were drawn into life in one of his workshops.
It has been fortunate for us that Jerry has been available while the students were working on a comic strip project. This project was a book report in which the students summarize the events of the novel that they were reading in a series of comic strip panels. He inspires and helps kids figure out how to draw comic strips. He also explained about the relationships between characters and what meaning the characters and the strip “Mama’s Boyz” has for him. He uses humor and makes connections. On his last visit, because time allowed, he sat and talked with the students during their lunch time following the workshop. He, also, signed autographs for each of them on postcards that he had brought. Jerry truly relates well with kids and we have recommended him to our parent events committee for this past Book Fair and would recommend him in the future. We look forward to future workshop and projects with him.
Junius H and David S
4th Grade Teachers
Fieldston Lower School
Bronx, New York