The following is an explaination of why my teachers have come to be a large part of my work, a chronology of related art from the very first drawing I ever did of them, and Frequently asked Questions about my affiliation and comic.
My comic series and most of my favorite work was inspired by the most rewarding and influential school year of my school career, 7th grade. What made this school year so special was the very people that left an impression on me forever- something I would have never expected before that time. My previous school years were rough; a death in the family, and I had a very low self-esteem.
I think what initially inspired me to start drawing my seventh grade teachers was the interesting relationships they had with each other, and the uniqueness in their personalities and teaching styles. These teachers were none like I have ever had before- something about them drove me to want sucess- It ripped me out of the depression I was in, and gave me something to look forward to in the future......and thanks to them, here I am today. ....My Story continued in more detail here
Frequently Asked QuestionsWhat is 5 Days A Week?
5 Days A Week (5DAW) is the comic I started developing officially since June 2008. It is inspired by my seventh Grade year and involves personalities that are real and made up. Because I work alone, posting of strips is roughly every month. The home website is katmomma.com/5daysaweek
but I put up strips and concept art on DeviantART also.What "personalities" (or characters) are made up, and which of them is fully represenative of a real person?
Robert, Alex, and Amber are the only main kid characters that are "made up" - meaning they aren't real people. However, their personalities are real in a sense that they are indirectly inspired by kids I went to school with. There will be several of these types of characters especially as the comic grows.
All of the main character teachers, including Principal Weidenbaugh ARE REAL. Their physical appearence and personalities are directly inspired by actual people. Some aspects of their cartoon persona's personality is exaggerated for sense of purpose. However these exaggerations aren't far from the truth...making it all the more entertaining.Do your Teachers know about you drawing them?
:thumb126025614: OBVIOUSLY How do your teachers feel about having characters so closely modeled after them?
I've never really asked them the question, but when I think about their reactions to what I've been doing for the last 7 years, I get the feeling they don't mind at all. Plus with them being so closely modeled with their caricature, it makes such an unusual reality....I think it made what I did with them even funnier because of the "what if" factor. At least I know a few of them think that way. I don't think safety from popularity is an issue with them because that is something they all consented to allow me to post online. On another note....I've heard stories of them passing my art around amongst other teachers and posting it up like propaganda around the school.....and along the way, I did make a few that were intentionally propaganda Based on American Schools, is 5DAW themed High School, Middle School, or college?
MIDDLE SCHOOL. If I have to repeat myself again, I'm going to hit myself with a frying pan.How did you get over the inital awkwardness of your teachers knowing that you are drawing them....and not just drawing them-- but putting them into "Looney Tunes" like situations?
To be honest, my first drawings of the teachers, I actually kept to myself and my friends. It was actually sheer coincidence I was drawing in History class and Mrs. Erb walked by my desk and discovered what I was doing. She asked me to show it to her.....and she died laughing
She told me, "You have to show this to the other teachers- this is amazing, Marilyn!" I said I didn't want to because I was embarassed. She insisted though, so I did.
Every single one of them acted like it was the most beautiful thing in the world-- kinda like when your kid comes home from kindergarten and you want to hang their art on your fridge. They told me to "do another one".....so I did.
hahahaha it's still amazes me that Mrs. Erb was the one that broke the ice. I guess I have her to thank bigtime. I see a lot of Mr. Hollingsworth and Mr. Shafer in your work; Why and how have these two come to represent your work so much?
Mr. H and Mr. Shafer are special- with all do respect to the other teachers, these guys were, and still are my favorite teachers to draw because both of them ooze with incredible personality. When I was still in school, they would be calling each other names back and fourth; and I'd hear them cracking jokes and making funny faces out in the hallway. Mr. Shafer always seemed to have a one-liner to drop, and Mr. H had a comeback ready to fire. Not only that, but the both of them implemented humor into the classroom, which really made school enjoyable for me. Their relationship provided so many opportunities to develop my own sense of humor.......I'll never forget the day I first showed Mr. Shafer a doodle of Mr. H falling backwards in his chair
Not only did these two guys provide the most enjoyable school year of my life-- they also taught me more than science and reading and continued to support me throughout my tough times at home. To this day, I still seek their advice. Mr. Shafer's words enlighten and inspire me, and Mr. Hollingsworth brings me down to earth and motivates my ambition. I took them both to the "Senior Impact Awards" at the end of my senior year of High School to thank them for what they have done for me.
Why they represent me? Simple. They are my favorite two dudes of all time
I tend to lean towards Mr. H as a symbol of my work because he's probably the most unique person physically and personality I've ever met. It' only takes one word to describe him... quirky. But I cannot deny the EPICness of the Shafeman. The most awesome older fellow I've ever run into.Now that we know a little about you drawing your teachers...WTF is with drawing them as cats???! Where did that come from? You have people teachers...and then Kitty teachers...and they are the same?
I think even after I was having fun with drawing them as humans, I started to run short on situations to put them in. Also, at the time, I was deeply involved with my Ting Tang Too
story. It was my pride and joy....and I was finding out my teachers were high on my priority list too. So I made the decision to combine the two- and introduce my teachers into the world of Ting Tang Too. This is where my first experience with Anthro came into play. It took me 7 years to develop a final character design of each teacher because I kept revamping my design and trying to find a healthy balance between the teacher's attributes and a feline. I wound up making them into anthros...but at the time, I knew nothing about that term-- I thought of them as cartoons. (and I still sort-of do).
This also explains why my anthro work is pretty clean in the eyes of questionable material. I kept everything PG rated because for crap sake- I was drawing my dang teachers!
The book I wrote with the teachers involved has been discontinued at this point because I found that it wouldn't hold as strong and as wide of an audience than something more easy to relate to as 5 Days A Week has come to prove. But the characters will forever exist as my personal learning experience and I will continue to draw kitty teachers because they are still made of WIN in my eyes. To Clarify, Why is Kitty Mr. Hollingsworth used to represent your work here on dA?
1. because he makes a cute fuzzy animal.
2. always was my favorite cat character to draw because he was the most difficult.Who are all the characters in 5 Days A Week? Where can I read about their personalities?
<-- Right there.Who is the Villain in your comic? Are you afraid to include a teacher or classmate you weren't on good terms with?
To be technical- there are no specified villians in the comic. The antagonist of every situation could be anybody. Every charatcer has good qualities, and qualities that can jeopardize their likability. It is only through behavior that one character becomes an antagonist and another, the good guy. Everyone has flaws so it is open for the reader to decide who is the bad guy. As for bad teachers and classmates of mine, I think I would feel a bit uncomfortable placing them in the comic under their real appearance. I've had only 3 really bad teachers-- If I had to put them in, I probably would create a character indirectly inspired by them instead of the real deal. Besides...bad teachers do not deserve to be in awesome comics.
and mean kids are smelly.Is your comic published? Will you publish?
I would like to publish in the future but at this time, there is still a lot to be done. The only publishing that has been done is that off a computer printer at school Do you have photos of the real teachers and the school you went to?
Absolutely! They are all here--> [link]What was the event that led to the taking of this epic photo?
Mr. Shafer and his son (pictured) were at an Alumni golf tournament and they were messin' around. LOLSo does this mean you are going to be a teacher yourself?
Kinda...hahaha Well my real dream is to be an animator/ cartoon artist / designer or better yet- a director. But I am getting my Bachelor of Science in Art Education first-- and then I'll get my masters in something awesome like Communication Design. I know I can be a teacher but it's not something I want to do forever. My dream is to make 5DAW into a movie and make my teachers pee their pants ......well ok they don't have to do that but you get what I mean. One random fact about anything to do with what we covered here
Mrs. Erb and I share the same first name. We are both Marilyns.
Chronology of Teacher Related Art
Here is a brief chronolgy of Highlights in my 7 year artistic career involving my inspirations- starting with the very first drawing my teachers ever saw from me.March 2002 - November 2002 "The Early Days"
Starting in my second month of seventh grade and continuing into November of that year (entering eighth grade). The first image shown is THE very drawing Mrs. Erb caught me doing and made me share with the rest of the teachers. The second is an updated version I made a few months later. The last is a panel from a comic I did portraying how evil Mr. Hollingsworth and his coffee was. Miss Wagner screams her head off at him.October 2002: Ting Tang Too Cameo Appearence Begins
These were the draw everything in your notebook with lined paper and write a story about it days
Good times. Well this all happened to be the time I made the bold decision to include the teachers in Ting Tang Too....and Mr. H and Miss Wagner are at it again. They often faught in my earlier work-- Shafer would come into play when explosives were involved later on.December 2003: Gold Team Portrait Revamp
I hadn't drawn them as people in a while so I gave this to all of them as a Christmas Gift that year. 2004....The Year of Anime Fantardism and Pointy Noses
For some reason..this was one effed-up year for me. I don't know what the heck I was doing with the character designs- they didn't even look like cats anymore 2005-2006 - The Softer Years
After taking a hard critique from my mom, I finally got myself in gear and started drawing characters that actually looked like cats again. Most all of the pieces were done in Full color pencil, and This was the period that I actually did backgrounds in.2007 - Early Digital Days
These were the days when I was just starting out with digital- and of course, I had only a mouse to work with. XD but I made do with what I had available and churned out some interesting work.2008 - Digital Expansion, Anthro Recession & 5DAW Begins
These were the last days of illustration work dedicated to the Teachers involvement in Ting Tang Too. It was dying out here. On the Flip side, 2008 housed the birth of the 5 Days A Week comic concept.2009-Present - Freelancing and Mass Eperimentation
Nowadays, you get a little taste of the past with Kitty Mr. Hollingsworth, and a bunch of new ideas boiling over for the continuation of the Teacher comics I used to draw as a seventh grader.
.................................to be continued.
If there is any question I have left unanswered, please feel free to ask. This concludes everything I can think of to say about my teachers and how they influenced my work and continue to this day inspire me.
Thank you for reading about one of the things that drive my motivation