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Zen Pencils Design Challenge

1st Entry in Zen Pencils Design Challenge
1st Entry in Zen Pencils Design Challenge, by Nasrin Lin

Not long ago, I mentioned on this blog that I am a huge fan of Gavin Aung Than, creator of Zen Pencils.  If you have not seen his work, you should definitely check it out.  He is a wonderful illustrator, and creates fabulous cartoon representations of inspirational quotes.  Recently, he posted a fantastic graphic about Bill Watterson, creator of Calvin and Hobbes.

In coordination with Than, the Just Start blog  is sponsoring a Zen Pencils design contest asking students to submit their own cartoons illustrating the following Nelson Mandela quote, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”  The first submission is pictured above.  The deadline for submission is Oct. 1.  The top 5 will be featured on Than’s website.

It’s fun to look at Than’s archives, where you can see all of his cartoons in order of creation.   You might want to use some of these as inspiration for your students if they plan to participate in the challenge.  (Preview all artwork before showing your students, as some of the pieces use language not appropriate for young children.)  Teachers might be interested to know that Than recently posted a cartoon version of Taylor Mali’s fabulous poem, “What Teachers Make.” (Click here if you have not had a chance to view the video – meant for adults, not children.)

Here are a few you might want to show your students:

“The Important Thing” – Albert Einstein

“If You Want to Build a Ship” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

“Make Gifts for People” – John Green

“The Winds of Fate” – Ella Wheeler Wilcox


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