When I was at Wondercon last month, I spontaneously put down a blank sheet of paper and asked people if they wanted to stay in touch via email. Surprisingly, people were more than happy to!
On Sunday, I had a list of about 40 people. Even though I had briefly interacted with each person, I couldn't remember anybody specific on the list. I didn't want to just have a list of unknowns and so I started to brainstorm how I could genuinely connect with each person.
That is how the “Panda and YOU” project was born.
I emailed everyone and asked them to send me a photo of themselves and a description of their personality. In return, I drew a picture of them doing something cool with Panda! I've done about 6 pencil drawings so far and it has been a blast squeezing in all of the fun facts of each participant's life. It has been so enriching learning about each person's life.
As a gift, each participant gets a digital copy (to share to friends online about Panda) AND the physical copy. It's important that each participant gets a physical copy because this may be their FIRST PIECE OF ORIGINAL ART EVER. As an artist, it is my goal to help every one experience the joy of owning a piece of original artwork. It's so easy to just go to IKEA and pick out the classic Van Gogh or Da Vinci artwork. Yes those masterpieces are beautiful, but there is something so special about owning a one-of-a kind artwork. A person's artwork collection SAYS SO MUCH ABOUT THEM. In other words, an art collector tells THEIR STORY through the narrative of the artwork they collect.
A personal goal with this project is to improve my drawing skills. I want to draw more efficiently and not draw the same type of person over and over again.
Each month I will be doing a fan feature in my email newsletter. It should be exciting for fans to see each other's artworks.