Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Blackwing Experience Event

When I told folks that I was attending a party for the Blackwing Pencil, I got some pretty strange looks.  But once I explained to them "what better place can a graphite artist have fun than at a pencil event?" They readily agreed this was "my kind of show".  The Blackwing Event was indeed a party for a pencil, but it was also so much more.  The Blackwing pencil can be considered a symbol of all things creative.  Whether you are an artist, writer, musician, architect, mathematician or engineer, a pencil and paper are the simplest tools to start releasing your creative muse.

Organizations like the Blackwing Foundation and the Creativity Center understand and promote efforts to give our youth opportunities explore creative avenues.   This is what the Blackwing Event was really all about. Each part of the event was carefully planned to spark and expose visitors to the creative process.

The Blackwing Experience Event was a 3-day (6/25-27) event held at the  Chuck Jones Center For Creativity located in beautiful Costa Mesa, California.

Here are a just a few of my photos documenting the event:

Chuck Jones was the creator and animator of popular cartoon characters such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Wiley Coyote and the Road Runner. Chuck's drafting table and artworks were on display. 

Day camps were held for kids age 7-12.  Here is a photo of Stephen Reis, animator of the Simpsons, showing the kids how to draw Bart.
Various sketches and paintings of Chuck Jones animations are on display through out the center.

Tuesday evening's party launched the 3 day event.  A store displayed many items sold on the website.  Of course, palomino and blackwing pencils were for sale as well as luxury sketchbooks.

Two of featured artists Mike Theur and Diane Wright (me!) had artwork on display.  Here are snapshots of signage going up and the finished display.

A silent auction of several works of art was hosted to raise money for the Blackwing Foundation.  A framed Chuck Jones print with one of  his original blackwing pencils, a blackwing gift set box and a Diane Wright framed print were among the items auctioned.

The evening event was really a lot of fun.  Many of the displays were interactive exhibits, engaging the visitors to explore word and visual games.  These quickly "broke the ice" and everyone had a great time.  I met some of the nicest folks and the start of friendships that will last longer than my brief stay in California. I specifically want to mention 3 illustration artists that really made me feel welcomed,  Frank Howa, Mark Doublin, and Micheal Smith.  

Stephen Reis spent the evening sketching Simpson characters.

The pencil timeline (showing only a snippet here) covered on whole wall.  Lesli Scott, graphic designer, did an awesome job bringing the entire production to life!  Her personality glowed through her incredible work and displays.  

I want to thank Craig Kausen, President of Chuck Jones Center and (grandson of the famous animator) for the warm welcome and gracious host of the event.  I also want to thank his staff  as well as all the staff - Alex, Grant and the rest of the crew for the great job of putting this all together.

Lastly, I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to Charles and Ginger Berolzheimer.  Thank you for inviting me to participate.  It was delightful to finally meet you!  I hope to continue to collaborate with you and your team for many years to come as well as sharing our passion for creativity.

Here is a link to more photos and a summary of events:



  1. I bet it was a great party, Diane. Wish I could have been there! Thanks for posting. Your fellow 'featured artist' Mike Theuer.

  2. Absolutely wonderful, Diane! Thanks for sharing this. Not only were you in the "right place", you thoroughly deserved to be there.

  3. Diane, we were all so pleased to have you participate and it was great to meet you and spend time together. Thanks for your support of this event and I too hope it is a collaboration that will continue to grow . It was also great to have Mike's participation with all the great portrait drawings he did of musicians that really worked out great with the Blackwing Sessions musical event the final evening.

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