One Sunday afternoon last Spring we were promoting Skullastic in a 10×10 tent at a
local street fair when a girl and her mom approached us. We liked the girl’s sunglasses.
Started a conversation with her. She told us she was an artist, made some comments
about the designs we’d created…which ones she liked…which ones she didn’t. Picked out
a notebook and as she was walking away, we called her back to ask her a question:
How would you like to work for us and design a notebook of your own?
She was definitely interested and her mom was cool enough to let us talk some more.
So we all exchanged email addresses, they went on their way and we got back to work.
Well…an hour or so passes, we’re still working, and I turn around to see the girl and her mom
have returned. I look at the girl, then at the mom and the mom says “She wanted to show you
some of her artwork.” Needless to say, I was quite impressed. Did I mention the girl was 10?
That was the day I met…who would later inform she wanted to be known as…AVAssassin.
To give you some background, AVAssassin is NOT your typical 5th grader.
She collects ancient coins, marbles, fossils and animal skulls because “they’re a
part of history and fun to learn about. I really like fossils of ancient carnivores
because it makes me think that in the past, there were so many ways to get eaten.
She reads…A LOT! Her favorite books include Ghostopolis and Bad Island by Dough TenNapel,
The Invention of Hugo Cabret, The Hobbit and a BILLION others she can’t remember right now.
She plays the piano and a wicked version of Van Halen’s “Eruption” on electric guitar.
She doesn’t watch TV but loooooooves movies. Lord of the Rings. Miyazaki films.
School of Rock. And this TV series on DVD called Chased by Dinosaurs because
“its not like those corny old cartoons of baby dinos trying to find their mommy. They’re
these ultra-realistic “dinosaurs” that chased their zoologist around. They’re awesome!!”
She fences. Takes skateboarding lessons. Even custom designs her own skateboards!
She enjoys being crazy with her family that includes her little sister Esme.
But the ONE THING that stands out above everything else is that AVAssassin LOVES to draw.
She draws EVERY DAY! Has since she was old enough to hold a pen. And we believe her.
She’s got notebooks and notebooks and notebooks and notebooks FILLED with drawings.
(Including some she’s now started keeping specifically for her Skullastic work…)
Beyond drawing, it’s WHAT she draws that makes her special and unique.
AVAssassin like monsters. Horrifying monsters of her own creation.
Monsters with enormous jagged teeth and bulging eyes.
Monsters with interesting stories and histories that she herself creates.
When asked WHY she likes to draw monsters and other creepy subject matter
AVAssassin replies “I don’t know. I guess it’s cause they’re unique and unlike
living creatures today. Plus, they make my little sister scream.”
We asked her recently if she had any advice she would like to give other artists.
“Don’t think about whether your drawing is good enough to make history or not.
Just let your pencil (pencil of awesomeness!) fly on the paper, and just tell yourself
you’re really lucky…because drawing is the greatest gift anyone could have!”
And that..is one of the MANY reasons why AVAssassin is so important to Skullastic.
FEARBOOK by AVAssassin – a Skullastic project that is 1000% AVAssassin
So now that you’ve MET AVAssassin, let’s explain how we WORK together…
I met with AVAssassin (before she was AVAssassin) and asked her to design a notebook.
While snacking on green tea mochi, I painted a picture for her. “Put SCHOOL is one hand
and MONSTERS, ALIENS, ROCK & ROLL in the other. Squish your two hands together and
whatever drips out…THAT’S Skullastic!” Being the brain that she is…she got it immediately.
As I do with ALL the designers and artist who work with Skullastic, AVAssassin got paid.
She received a 50% deposit for the work and was instructed she would receive the balance
once the project was delivered. She was given a deadline for initial concepts and sent on her
way to come up with what SHE wanted to express about what SHE loves/hates about school.
We met a couple weeks later and she presented SEVERAL ideas. One of them was Fearbook.
We both agreed that we liked Fearbook best. And played around with some “what abouts?” as
to how the project would look when it was done. Then she went home to finish the drawings.
Once I received the final pencil drawings from her, I scanned them into the computer, digitized
them and returned to AVAssassin’s house with digitized artwork files on a laptop computer. I
spent about a half hour teaching her the basics of Adobe Illustrator. How to use the paint bucket.
The eyedropper. How to copy, cut, paste. How to save. Etc. After explaining it to her, I had her
show ME how to do it. She was proficient within minutes. So I left her alone to color her drawings.
She colored everything. We reviewed the final artwork. AVAssassin got paid the balance due.
I share this information with you because it’s important for you to KNOW that AVAssassin
is 100% responsible for Fearbook. It is her art…her ideas…her project. Start to finish.
Click here to check out FEARBOOK by AVAssassin in the Skullastic store.
And look for more exciting projects coming soon from AVAssassin. In fact, in the time
it took us to write this, she’s probably cranked out 10-20 new designs. RRRAHHHH!