Russ Cox-Smiling Otis Studio | Pittsfield, Maine |207.951.5009 | russ@smilingotis.com |© 2008-2019 Russ Cox. Do not use images without written permission from the artist. All rights reserved.

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As an author and illustrator, there is more to just creating books, it is about touching lives and sharing experience, especially with my audience, the kids. I approach presentations and workshops from an author and illustrator's perspective. I do not have one boss but dozens of different people that I work with to complete a book or project. Each day is different with new objectives and deadlines. Reading, writing, drawing, and communication all work hand-in-hand. Every child should learn that it takes hard work and dedication to reach their goals, but they can do it, from anywhere in the world. 


PRESENTATION

I offer a fun, interactive presentation on how I choose the words and create the illustrations for my books. I use Powerpoint to show samples of my work; the writing process, including drafts, revisions, and final copy. I discuss how I create illustrations using research, storyboards, character development, sketches, a dummy, and final art.

The presentation also touches on the importance of revisions, edits, and constantly reworking a book in order to get it ready for print. Many people are involved in the process so students learn that it is not just me creating the book. 

I bring in physical artwork to share, usually sketchbooks and/or what I am currently working. It is important for children to see an actual piece of artwork so they can understand the process. I am open to answering questions throughout the presentation. Depending on the age group, we end the presentation with the children creating drawings, drawing exercises, and/or stories that involve writing and drawing.

The presentations can be broken down into smaller groups (maximum of 30 children per class), which are ideal for workshops, or into larger groups for a general overview of my creative process. The workshops allow me to give each student some personal time and allows them to share their work. Exceptions can be made, but please contact me in advance.

During the lunch break, I enjoy sitting with a group of children who are interested in writing and drawing. This gives them a chance to chat one-on-one with me, especially if they are shy or are quiet. Please limit the group to 4-6.

We can discuss the option of me coming down to do a series of visits for a school district.

I am available for college and conference lectures.  Please contact me at russ@smilingotis.com to discuss.

 


Testimonials
"We had a busy day filled with sketching, group drawing activities and the sharing of favorite books.  Students, teachers and librarians were charmed by Russ’s genuine personality, the gracious delivery of his presentation and most importantly, how well he connected with students."
James H. Bean Elementary, Sidney, Maine

"Russ Cox has visited a number of schools with Island Readers & Writers and he is always a joy to work with. His unflappable nature serves him well in a room of wiggly kids and he responds and adapts to their energy with skill. Russ shares his sketchbooks and reinforces the idea that everyone is an artist and it’s all about practice. His relaxed nature breaks down their inhibitions and he offers quick and easy prompts to keep them interested.  During a recent visit, one young man declared,“This artist being here just makes me want to draw more.” Russ is flexible, fun, and easy to work with."
Alison Johnson, School Program Director, Island Readers & Writers

"Russ kept the students VERY engaged and they LOVED that he taught them aspects of drawing. It was the right amount of time (not too long or too short). The students...were inspired to doodle more."

Lynn Mayer, Library & Information Specialist, Old Town Elementary
 

"Russ spent a day at our K-4 school (370 students) and did a presentation with each grade (and met with a small lunch bunch). He started off talking about his life and showing examples of his work, and then switched to having the students do some drawing exercises, and then some group artwork.

As an adult, I loved that he gave the students examples of how he sometimes draws something over and over again until he is satisfied with his work. He also told students that he has been rejected by publishers. Since ‘Grit’ is one of our school’s core values, it was so good for the students to hear that someone famous still has to do things over and over again, and is still dealing with rejection.

The students LOVED him. He was funny, his artwork samples were very entertaining. They thoroughly enjoyed the drawing exercises he did with them. 

Here are some quotes from students:

“I give him a 10 - times 10!”

“He was so funny!”

“I liked getting to draw.”

“I learned you can turn a scribble into something.”

“He was the best!”

“He was much taller than I thought he would be.”

I highly recommend having Russ present at your school or library."

Debbie Meservey, Camden-Rockport Elementary School Librarian

HONORARIUM

1 Presentation: $200
2 Presentations: $350
3 Presentations: $475
4 Presentations: $600
Full Day*: $750

*General assembly plus 4-5 workshops. 

First 50 miles of car travel is free. Gas mileage after the first 50 miles is 50 cents per mile. Any travel time outside of 2 hours, may require overnight lodging and food plus mileage.
Travel outside of the Northeast Region (Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, 
Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont) will require a full day rate, plus airfare, as well as food and lodging. 

EQUIPMENT

I will provide the following:
Laptop (Mac)
Projector (if needed)
Overhead projector (for demos)
Projector cables
Large drawing pad 
Easel (when driving)
Drawing supplies for demos

The venue will need to supply the following:
Apple TV or Projector (Mac compatible)
Easel and paper (outside of New England)
PA system for large groups
Paper and drawing supplies
Access to a photocopier (handouts) 

 

2019-2020 Bookings