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    Becky and I were recently at big home school fair in Florida showing off our issues of Moo-Cow Fan Club magazine and our latest book Sword of the Ramurai. On the first day of the fair, a girl named Grace bought some issues of the magazine because she liked the way it looked. Just knowing we've reached one more person with Moo-Cow Fan Club always makes us happy, but this was just the beginning of our meetings with Grace that weekend. 

    Ryan & Becky meet Grace

    The next day of the fair, Grace and her mom returned to our booth so Grace could tell us how much she enjoyed reading Moo-Cow Fan Club the night before. We were extremely happy to hear that, and then she said she wanted to show us some drawings she did after reading the issues. I was really excited to take a look at what I expected to be a couple of drawings (fan art is my favorite thing!) and then Grace handed me a notebook that was half full of MCFC drawings! I couldn't believe how many she had done and how good they were! In fact most of the characters even looked way cuter then I draw them. This actually happens a lot with the fan art, and I have a suspicion that all MCFC fans happen to also be great artists.

     Grace let me take pictures of her drawings so I could share them with you. Here are most of them (sorry that I didn't use them all Grace but some of my pics came out too blurry). Let us know which ones are your favorites because we'll be picking a few to frame and put up in Willy T.' s Gallery.

     

    Fan Art

     

     

     

    Fan Art

     

     

     

    Fan Art

     

     

     

    Fan Art

     

     

     

    Fan Art

     

     

     

    fan art

     

     

     

     

    fan art

     

     

     

    fan art

     

     

     

    Thank you so much Grace! We love all the drawings and we love having you as a new Moo-Cow Fan Club Fan! 

     

     

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    Bonus, web only, super special, top secret, official Sword of the Ramurai illustration ! 

    So, you've gotten our book, Sword of the Ramurai (right?), and you've read it 3 or 4 times already (hey, don't laugh, this phenomena has been reported by multiple sane individuals), yet this illustration doesn't look familiar to you.

     

    Moo-cow has trouble with chopsticks

     

    There is a reason for that. That reason being, I forgot to put this image in the book!

    I do have a little excuse (not really). I'm claiming that it's been left out because I never quite finished it, I wasn't happy with his front leg which is a little wonky.  Sure, I could have fixed that up in under twenty minutes, but you know I didn't think of it once all the other pictures were laid out and everything fit together so nicely. Okay, maybe there is a spot in the book where I could have put this, and maybe I will in the next edition, but for now it will remain a "bonus, web only, super special, top secret, official Sword of the Ramurai illustration !" (I've got to make it sound like this was all planned).

     

    Would like an original Moo-Cow Fan Club drawing by little old me? All you have to do is come to one of our signings and participate in the chopstick challenge! Each participant (12 and under) gets an original drawing of Kiweenie trying to catch his lunch with chopsticks.

     

    kiweenine with chopsticks

     

    You're next chance to attend one of our book signing events is May 16th at Main Street Books, 16 East Main Street
    Warner, NH 03278
    603-456-2700 

     

    We are now booking signings and events for June and July so let us know if you are interested.

     

     

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    The Winter Yurt

    Meat tray print with water colors on handmade paper.

     

     

    meat tray print of MCFC Yurt.

     

    Since Becky shared some images of the MCFC headquarters in winter, I figured I would take this opportunity to share a recent print I made.

     

    This is how headquarters looks on a clear winter night and for years I was unable to capture it on film (although, as you can see by Becky's post we finally have). I started making what I like to call Meat Tray Prints, using the foam trays that vegetables and meat are packaged in to create an image and print it. Once I started to get the hang of it, I realized I could try to convey the feeling I get looking at the yurt on a winter night. This is just a random one out of the 25 prints I made of this image. The thing I love about making prints is that they each come out a little different and have their own character (especially because I hand colored them). But even though each is different, and each captures different aspects of the winter yurt better than others, I know looking at any of these prints in the summer will instantly bring me back to that place.

     

    I'll put up some more meat tray prints soon, and maybe I can even get F.W. to do a Craft Corner about it so you can learn how to make your own.

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    W
    ell, you might have noticed that we've been taking a bit of a break from the website after we finished the camping trip. We're sorry about that but it's for a very good reason. We're finally getting to work on the art for what will be the first MCFC book release, and the first in a series called "Oraculous Tales." Each book in the series will find the gang being transported to a different time and place in history to have an adventure and meet Rhetorical at the age he was then. Here is a sneak peek at the very first illustration that kicks off the first Oraculous Tale called, "Sword of the Ramurai!"

     

     

    Rhetorical's cave

     

    It all begins at Rhetorical's cave on a rainy day.

     

    So, please bear with us for a few more weeks of scant updates while we continue to work on the book. We'll keep you informed about our progress on the book as we work on it, and of course we'll let you know when it is finally done.

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    sun sets over the pond

     

    Our last night of camping was perfect. We had a beautiful sunset, a good fire, a perfectly clear night, and we even convinced Rhetorical to finally tell a scary campfire story (a little too scary for me).

     

     

    Rhetorical telling campfire story

     

     

    We packed up early the next morning and all piled back into the car to head home. Not far from our campsite we saw this little turtle trying to make his way across the road.

     

    turtle crosses the road 

     

    Moo-Cow had us stop so he could provide the turtle with ferry service to the other side.

    Turtle rescue

     

     

    Thanks for coming camping with us, we hope you enjoyed it! Why don't you leave us some comments telling us about some of your past camping adventures, we'd love to hear about them!  

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    Just last weekend we here at MCFC helped organize, and had a table at, broke: Affordable Arts Fair! It was a huge success with hundreds of people coming out to buy art from 50 different artists. The best part about it was that most of the artwork was 50 dollars or under!

    Moo-Cow table at broke arts fair

     

    Original MCFC art

     

    It was also the first time we've ever sold any original Moo-Cow Fan Club art! We've always just kept our original artwork because we found it hard to part with, but we think it's time to give the MCFC fans out there a chance to own their own piece of Moo-Cow history. We only offered a few pieces for sale there, but we will be preparing some more for the store.

    Ramses & F.W. Bestest Friends

     

    We pre-made some felties to sell as well as the feltie kits.

    Felties

     

    And we had one more new thing for sale there. Something Ramses whipped up at the last moment . He was pretty proud when he sold some of these.

    Ramses Comic zine

    That's right, Ramses' Comic now in print! A longer version of this (with lots of bonus content and a new cover) will be available in the MCFC store next week!

     

    We had a great time organizing and attending broke and we'll probably be doing it again in November. We'll let you know.

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    Gang runs across forbidden bridge

     


    T
    he Forbidden City is not actually a city, but a grand palace that was given the imposing name because entrance to the inner chambers were forbidden to anyone except the emperor, his family and their servants. 24 Emperors lived in this palace from the 1400s to 1924, when the new Kuomintang government forced the last emperor out. The Forbidden City is located right in the heart Beijing, the capitol of China.

     

     

     

    Forbidden City from above
    The Forbidden City is a huge complex covering 177 acres. It is broken up into two main parts, the inner court and the outer court. The outer court is where large ceremonies and official meetings were held. The inner court was reserved exclusively to house and entertain the emperor’s family and concubines.


    The palace took 14 years to build, and was finished in 1420. It is said that it took one million workers to build the Forbidden City. An astounding 100,000 artisans were responsible for creating all the beautiful carvings, paintings, tapestries and details that decorate much of the ornate palace.

     

     

     

    The grand Dragon Steps

     

     

    There are many incredible pieces of artwork in the Forbidden City but one of the greatest is also the largest stone sculpture on the grounds. Despite being so large, it is worked right into the middle of a grand stone staircase. The sculpture depicts 9 dragons soaring through clouds and it weighs 250 tons! The stone used in the carving was from a town located 45 miles away from the palace, and it took 25,000 workers to pull it that distance. On cold days, the workers would dig wells, and pour water on the roadway to make it icy, and therefore easier to slide the heavy stone over.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Large doors at the Forbidden City

     

     

     

    There are supposedly 9,999 rooms in the Forbidden City, because in China the number nine is considered lucky. The number nine is repeated all through the art and design of the buildings. Can you see where the number nine is used in this picture?

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Roof Statues Forbidden City

    The sloping roofs of all the buildings have protective statues at the corners. The more statues on the roof, the more important the building was. Minor buildings have three or four at each corner, while major buildings have up to ten protective statues.

     

     

     

    Gate at Forbidden City

     

     

     

     

    There are five main gates in the Forbidden City with great poetic names like Gate of Supreme Harmony, Gate of Heavenly Purity, and Gate of Loyal Obedience to name a few. Each gate is the entrance to a different key area of the palace. For instance, if you want to go to the stunning imperial gardens (which was my favorite part of the palace), you have to walk through the Gate of Heavenly Unity.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Mao Painting Entrance to Forbidden City

    The Communist Government of China still keeps the famous painting of Chairman Mao, the controversial leader who began communism in the country, over the Meridian Gate entrance across from Tiananmen Square. There are also statues of lions in front of the gate. In China, lions represent bravery, good luck and power. There are lion sculptures all throughout the Forbidden City, and at entrances to buildings all over China.

     

     

     

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