Hi, folks --
For those of you fortunate enough to own a Steve Axtell Magic Drawing Board--and for those of you who use it in a Christian context--here's an idea I tried before a large group of children. It seemed to work well.
I first used the board to do a few impromptu caricature sketches of various children's ministry staff members--I let the kids select who the victims would be. I had the victim stand to my left (I'm right-handed), with his or her back to the kids, and I drew their facial profile (this is actually pretty easy--if you find one feature to exaggerate, and draw the rest funny, and make sure the back of the head is big enough, the kids will love it. My own caricatures weren't that good, but the kids were delighted.) I didn't use the eye or mouth controls for these caricatures.
Then I asked the staff to choose four volunteers from among the kids--kids who'd been good citizens. (I didn't want to have some zany results on the board later.) I placed eyes--including oval eye-outlines--and a mouth-line on the board (notice that I'm not giving away the secret, Steve!), I then had one of the volunteers draw a "head," a large oval. Another volunteer drew hair (in one of my performances, a girl drew the hair--and she made the figure a girl! This caused me to have to go into falsetto later!). Another drew ears. Another drew a nose.
I then said, "Thanks for working so carefully to design a good-looking person. Wouldn't it be nice if this person came to life and could thank us for creating him?" Sure enough, that's what happened, and I had him (or in one case, her) thank each volunteer by name. I then mentioned that God took lots of time and care to create each one of us, and we should not only be content with who we are, but we should take time to thank Him.
To introduce the concept of Him being like a traffic copter pilot (being able to see more than we see, being able to see the future and warn us about it), I draw a front view of a traffic helicopter on the drawing board. I make the cockpit window about the size of the eye area on the board, and I draw eye-outlines within the eye windows, so the resultant eye-dots can be seen to move more dramatically. I draw the helicopter body just large enough to include the mouth area.
The way I develop the drawing is to tell the kids that I'll complete the drawing bit by bit and to have them guess what they think the drawing is, as it goes along. I start with the cockpit windows, the eye outlines, and then the body, and then the mouth-line (which I draw plenty long, and with upturned edges for a smiley look). Remember, this is a front view. Then I draw the wheel-supports coming out from either side of the body, and attach the wheels, with wavy lines on them for treads.
At this point, the kids recognized that it must be a helicopter, so I draw a short vertical shaft above the cockpit, and a lot of flat horizontal oval swirls to represent the whirling prop. At this point I take my eyes away from the board, and the eyes start to move back and forth. This of course startles the kids. And then I go through the little comedy (which I first learned from Mark Wade's Kid Show Ventriloquism book, but which you all probably do as a matter of course) of pretending that I don't know what's going on.
Then the helicopter starts talking (I use a modified distant voice which I hope sounds something like the metallic radio voice a copter pilot uses). The copter talks, but can't hear me. Finally he says that if I were to draw radio antennas on him we could communicate. This I do (little wires out each side with circle "buttons" on top), and we're in business. The copter then urges me to draw clouds around him, and underneath him, so he can fly. He also asks me to draw the Space Needle (I live in Seattle), and I warn him to watch out for it and not hurt it. He then tells me to draw the sun, and promptly criticizes me for my amateurish job, and I dutifuly erase the sun and draw it more to his liking, and then add a moon for good measure.
We then talk about the role of a traffic copter, and briefly get into the concept of how God's role is similar. Then I tell him it's time to go into the hangar. I make sure that the copter doesn't show any panic or anger at this, because I don't want the younger kids to feel sorry for him (maybe I'm being a bit too sensitive, but I want to leave a happy impression). I erase the sun, and tell him it's night. (At this point in one of my programs, a child called out, "Draw some stars!" so I did.) Then I erase the stars and clouds and Space Needle, and say we're in the hangar. I erase the wheels and tell him he'll have to sleep on his stomach, and then I erase the cockpit and eyes, and carry on a brief conversation with the mouth alone (the body is still visible). Then I erase the mouthline (at which point the copter says "mm-mm-mm," as though someone's hand is over his mouth. And then I erase any final lines and the illusion is over.
This went over really well. Both adults and kids were highly intrigued. By the way, if you don't have a Drawing Board--and I'm definitely not getting a commission from Axtell--get one. It's a superb illusion.
- I often combine the magic drawing board with a sucker prediction routine ; a boy / girl from the audience continues the portray drawing on the board (showing an oval O with a line for the mouth and two eye holes)and is asked to draw the person on the board with one hand holding a certain card I don´t know yet, and I´m to chose the right card. The card on the board is shown to the audience and then wiped out the card is - not visibly to me - written on a large piece of paper that is put into a larg envelope which is sealed. I try to figgure out the right card but somehow I fail and the board starts to call me stupid.....only the kids can help me out !
CHRISTMAS IDEA from customer Bob Shimer - On several of the shows this past week I have used Axtell's Magic Drawing Board. These shows have been from children to senior shows. When the host has a Santa coming, I try to coordinate with him. During the show I tell the audience I tried to get Santa to come but he is so busy I couldn't get hold of him. Knowing its second best but all I can do I'll draw Santa and if they use their imagination maybe it will seem to be alive. Of course it does and I talk to Santa and invite him to come to visit us. He agrees and shows up at the end of my show. The groups love it.
FROSTY THE SNOWMAN!
A natural routine for the Axtell Drawing Board for your Christmas shows is the Frosty The Snowman story whereas you tell the Frosty The Snowman Story and he comes to life after you draw his hat.
A natural for the Axtell Drawing Board.
(I sing the song as I draw Frosty because I was gifted with a wonderful voice) but you can talk sing like William Captain Kirk Shatner or heaven forbid if it fits your style rap to it which takes very little if any talent.
I think this is enough info for you to run with and fill in some blanks with your own creative ideas.
Merry Christmas Everyone,
Drawing Board for the Non-Vent
by Tony Borders
Choose any solo song and draw a picture of the singer while the song is playing, then the picture begins to sing near the end of the song. No ventriloquism necessary and the audience loves it! My personal favorite is "Good Samaritan" by Rob Evans (Donut Man) as I can draw band-aids and scuff marks on the face and begin the erasing of those as it starts to sing. By the end of the song all I have is a moving mouth!
by Tony Borders
The small drawing board can be turned into a book by adding a sheet or two of paper cut to fit and a piece of thicker stock for the book cover. The cover will have whatever title you want to fit the library theme. The first sheet is the title page. The second sheet is the table of contents (further enforcing your topic) and then you talk about the illustrator, as you draw the picture. Suddenly the picture begins to talk!
Left-handed boards would work best, but there might be just enough room to work a right-handed small board like a book.
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