Meet people with the best jobs, read a long-running comic strip, draw a zine, design a book cover, and discover who Christo was: it’s a busy week here at the Playhouse Comics Club! (The image above is Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s Surrounded Islands, their art installation off Miami Beach in 1983.)

Children’s book author and illustrator, graphic novelist, and friend of the Playhouse Comics Club Brian Biggs was recently the subject of the YouTube show Cool Jobs. The video explores how Biggs became an author (“I read books obsessively as a kid…I loved books, I loved movies, I loved stories, I liked comics”) and his advice for building a career drawing fun pictures and making lovely books (“Whatever’s inside your head and in your heart, put it on paper, and just keep doing itdon’t stop”). Other Cool Jobs episodes profile a fashion designer, a face painter, an art therapist, and other artists located in Philadelphia. Browse the Cool Jobs channel here.




One of the other artists featured on Cool Jobs is Robb Armstrong, the cartoonist for the syndicated newspaper comic strip JumpStart. A charming, all-ages strip about the Cobb family, two working professionals with four children and lots of eccentric friends and work colleagues, Jumpstart has run since 1996 and currently appears in over 300 newspapers. All the JumpStart comics are available on the GoComics site. Click here to read JumpStart from the beginning; click here for a brief prose introduction to Armstrong’s cast.





Last week, we linked to Malaka Gharib’s comic about the Coronavirus, and this week Gharib gives us a comic strip explaining how to make a zine—a self-created and published booklet—about your life and hopes during quarantine. (Or you can make a zine about any topic you choose!) As Gharib writes, “All you need is a sheet of paper, a pen, 30 minutes, and a little creativity,” though if you also have access to a Xerox machine, you can make copies and given them out to your friends. Cool examples of zines made by folks following Gharib’s instructions are up on Twitter, with the hashtags #quaranzine and #NPRLifeKit.




Drew Willis is the creative editor of TIME for Kids, and on his web show Draw with Drew and Rosie! he and a young friend make art together and explore how books and magazines are produced. The most recent episode of Draw features a special guest—popular kids graphic novelist Raina Telgemeier (Smile, Drama, Sisters, the comic adaptations of The Babysitter Club books)—and all three create covers for books about their quarantine lives. Other episodes cover creating a drawing from scratch (with North Carolina artist Kyle Webster) and self-portraiture, so be sure to explore the show page.



Christo died this week. Christo and his collaborator and wife Jeanne-Claude (who passed away in 2009) were artists who created site-specific pieces that interacted with stuff already present in the environment: water, sand, municipal parks, buildings. In 1968-9, they covered part of the Australian coast to create Wrapped Coast, One Million Square Feet, Little Bay, Sydney, Australia, and they worked for six years to get permission to wrap Germany’s Reichstag Building in heavy cloth for two weeks (pictured above, 1995). The reason: to defamiliarize the sights we take for granted, to make old objects and vistas new.

Here is the New York Times obituary for Christo. At the Christo and Jeanne-Claude website, there are photos of all their projects, including their most famous U.S. installation, The Gates (2005), described as fabric panels that “seemed like a golden river appearing and disappearing through the bare branches of the trees.” “The work of art is a scream of freedom, “ wrote Christo. (Below: Christo with his London Mastaba, 2018.)

This weekly blog post is written and compiled by Craig Fischer. To send along recommendations, ideas, and comments, contact Craig at [.]

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Resources for Talking to Kids About RacismPlayhouse Comics Club, Issue #7 (June 12, 2020)

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