Monday, October 18, 2010

Happy Birthday Ed Emberley - October 19

Happy Birthday Ed Emberley- Born October 19, 1931

Pablo Picasso said, "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up."  I mentioned this quote to my wife and she said it reminder her of the Harry Chapin song, Flowers Are Red. (Click here for the lyrics). This song is about how a teacher stifled a young boy's creativity on the first day of school as he colored a picture.  Teachers, parents, and peers can have a tremendous influence on a child's creativity.  Ed Emberley knew in the first grade that he wanted to be an artist after his teacher, Mrs. Dance, made a positive comment about a ship he was drawing. As I read through many blogs this week it was clear that Ed Emberley has passed on the positive energy that he received from his first grade teacher.  Many artists credit him with providing the building blocks of drawing that gave them the confidence and joy to pursue a career in art.

Ed Emberley has published many how-to drawing books that focus on creating cool stuff out of basic shapes - triangles, rectangles, squares, lines, and squiggles.  Emberly said, "I figured the point of the drawing system is that you not necessarily be trained to become an artist but it adds to your feeling of success (source)."  My kids and I just drew lots of pictures this week. It was fun to just sit together and draw at the table.  As I was doodling, using the models from Emberley's book, I kept thinking that I should be working on thank you notes with my son to send to the people that bought him gifts for his third birthday. Then, I had the idea of creating my own thank you notes with the drawings I was making from Ed Emberley's Drawing Book of Weirdos  I drew four pictures: one of a skeleton, a frankenstein, a bat, and a witch.  My son then helped cut out the images and pasted them on the folded orange paper.  I can say that I felt quite successful after completing this craft! (Click Here to download my Halloween Thank You Drawings - I am a big fan of Thankenstein!)  Additionally, I must say that my son did some of the best cutting that he has ever done! Also, if you are interested in making your own Halloween Cards check out Ed Emberley's Drawing Book of Halloween in addition to Weirdos).

We enjoyed reading many books this week by the Emberley Family.  Ed and his daughter, Rebecca, have collaborated on numerous books including our favorites If You're A Monster And You Know It and There Was An Old Monster!.  Both of these books have a downloadable song (links are at the bottom of the page) from Scholastic which are sung by Ed's granddaughter Adrian Emberley.  Also, Ed and his wife Barbara collaborated on the books Drummer Hoff (Caldecott Medal Winner 1968) and One Wide, River to Cross(Caldecott Honor 1967). Quite a talented family!

In closing, I ran across a quote by Ed Emberley on a blog by Austin Kleon:

All art is always created from a base of someone else's work.  There is no 'new'.  No one invents art.  You always have a base of someone you're - I can't think of any other word to use - you're 'copying' them even if you don't remember it.  It might be Picasso, it might be Michelangelo's finger, it might be Da Vinci's earlobe...but you'll remember it.  That's the creative process: you look at things and you're impressed by it, and your job then is to show it to others and say, 'I like this, look at this.' Or 'I hate this, look at this.' That's what the artistic life is all about."

Check Out the Latest Book by Rebecca Emberley, Illustrated by Ed Emberley to be released October 26, 2010.  We loved Chicken Little and I bet this one is going to be just as good!


1. Ed Emberley's Website
2. Ed Emberley on Twitter
3. Chicken Little Trailer - YouTube
4. Lots of Ed Emberley Blog Posts - Austin Kleon
5. Video Review of Make a World - Vimeo
6. There Was An Old Monster by Rebecca, Adrian, and Ed Emberley - Download the Song
7. If You're a Monster and You Know It by Rebecca and Ed Embeley - Download the Song
8. Drummer Hoff  - YouTube
9. Drawing Made Simple with Step by Steps by Ed Emberley - Disney's Family Fun
10. Ed Emberley Interview - Scholastic
11. Review of Ed Emberley's Halloween Drawing Book with Drawing Pages - StellaCake
12.  Ed Emberley Craft - Making Books Blog
13. Scion Art Presents Ed Emberley Interview - Caleb Neelon

Scion Installation LA: Ed Emberley & Friends - Ed Emberley from Scion ART on Vimeo.


  1. My sister and I used to love the Ed Emberley drawing books! Probably no surprise that she grew up to be an art teacher... Those were books that I remember fawning over at the library and reluctantly returning at their due dates!

  2. You need to sign your thank you cards,as the artist. And then frame the four drawings to hang on the wall next year for Halloween! AVR


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