Thursday, July 29, 2010

Kids draw the darndest Beans!

One of my greatest joys since the Beanworld reboot has been just how popular the book has become with the kids of the 21st century.

I get reports from parents and teachers all the time--a boy or a girl sits down with a Beanworld book and something starts zapping back and forth from the printed page directly into the child's mind back to the page and so on.

Is it the deceptive simplicity of the iconic art?
Can it be the intertwined concepts that make up the rules and laws of the Beanworld?
Maybe it's the maps and glossary.
Maybe it's just that this generation is totally poised to grok what I mean when I say: Beanworld isn't a place; it's a process.

This is all rather remarkable to me because I've never actually had a target audience in mind as I've written and drawn Beanworld tales over the decades. As I say all the time: Beanworld more or less writes itself and I often feel like a glorified scribe getting it all down on paper as fast as I can once it starts to emerge and flow.

Who the Beanworld audience/readership is really has little to do with whatever I (or my publisher) wants it to be.

It's a contract between Beanworld and its readers of all ages.

Beanworld has been around long enough now that folks that read it when they were kids can now share it with their own children and Beanworld appreciation becomes a shared family activity. This is something I could never have imagined when the first Beanworld stories came together in a comic book stories I genuinely believed no one would ever read.

But those stories are in fact the first few chapters of Wahoolazuma! and are the entry point for kids into the Beanworld.

Interaction with Beanworld fans (of all ages) is why I go to comic book conventions.I love the questions and observations.I like to talk about my influences.I like to talk about whatever a Beanworld fan wants to talk about.

That's why I'm there.But the most fun is interaction with young readers who "get it" and immerse themselves in the whys and wherefores of the Beanworld.

One of the true highlights of my 2010 Comic-Con was when this kid kept coming back and very politely requesting the loan of some blank beans and the use of a Sharpie and proceeding to make his own personalized Beanworld Action Figures. He's show them to me and saunter off. He came back several times--both alone and with his older brother.

Some one carried this drawing all the way from Tallahassee FL on behalf of Fiona Grace Jacoby-age six. Her Dad, Brian Jacoby is the proprietor of Secret Headquarters: Comics and Games for Everyone! and a very good friend of the Beanworld's. Fiona Grace's drawing skills have come a long way since her first contribution to the Leguminous Fan Art gallery in 2009.

Another repeat young Beanworld fan artist: Treasure Olson!
This year, Treasure was able to write her own letter and showcased her own Bean characters for me--plus she used a Beanworld Action Figure in a bit of multi-media collage. Really cool for age 6 if you ask me.

I had a lengthy chat with her Dad who delivered her drawings and he filled me in on all the Bean adventures Treasure is creating on her own. Her favorite character of her own is "Cookish" so that the one I drew for her in trade.

I think I was given this trade-in drawing at the LA Book fair and it hid out from me until today. The name Greg is on the back. I haven't found any other information. Thanks, Greg!

This goth Bean was a trade in from Teresa Gonsoski.

I love these trade-in drawings at conventions.
Next opportunity will be at New York Comic-Con in October.


Mark I. said...

Glad you're having fun, Larry. :)

That goth bean sure looks like a Beanworld take on the character Death from Neil Gaiman's Sandman.

jackd said...

My own daughter read my Beanworld collection when she was six or eight, continuing the affection her mother and I had for the comics back when.

Now I've found the hardback collections and have added the blog to my RSS feed. Wahoolazuma indeed!