Look at Everything We've Made Together...
.. and a peek at what's next. (The DT newsletter turns 2 today!)
Helloooooooooo DrawTogether friends,
Today, instead of our regularly scheduled lesson, I’m pausing to reflect on all the DrawTogether community has accomplished and take a peek at what’s to come.
It’s the DT newsletter’s 2nd anniversary, and since all the way back to when DT was live on instagram, it’s been a phenomenal, unexpected, moving, challenging and joyful journey. And it was only possible thanks to the many generous, talented and committed people who jumped in to help out. I’m talking designers, artists, editors, animators, writers, educators, musicians, producers, funders, organizers, advisors, folks who share DT with friends and schools, and every darn kid and grown-up who has picked up a pencil to make a mustache. In other words, you.
As you read this, chances are you’ll see yourself reflected in this email. I hope it makes you feel proud and puts a smile on your face.
DrawTogether LIVE launched on March 16, 2020 as an emergency response to pandemic school closures. What began as just Caroline, Suso and me showing up on IG Live every morning at 10am with a fun, silly, feelings-focused drawing lesson, soon became tens of thousands of kids gathering from over 50 countries, awesome guest artists joining in, and becoming a huge international community - with everyone drawing, looking and loving (and singing the Friday Song) together. Over seventy live shows later, we were having so much fun, and the impact was so huge and the need so glaring, we decided to turn it into a proper show. As an artist, the obvious thing to do was DIY the whole thing.
We shot, edited and produced a full season (12 episodes) of DrawTogether on a 100% handmade set (yay Bryan Burkhart, Caroline and friends!) in SF’s Marsh Theater - complete with original theme song, guest artists, animation and an original score. To keep it free for all kids everywhere, we distributed it through Substack. And the DrawTogether Newsletter was born.
The DrawTogether Newsletter launched two years ago this week. The original newsletter crew (Kate Levitt, Patrick Hruby and Ishita Jain) created fun, educational context for the shows. It’s since grown and evolved, featuring the DrawTogether Podcast and now the Grown-Ups Table. Today I’m proud to say we are over 26,000 DT subscribers strong. (Huge high five to those of you who make it all possible by being paying subscribers. We are because of you.)
The DrawTogether Podcast. For big kids, we created the first ever drawing podcast! From funky robots to mystery animals to Ruth Asawa-inspired loops, kids learn all about drawing & artists while creating a drawing in real time. With editor Amy Standen we produced two seasons (35 episodes!!!), each beloved by kids and listened to at home and in classrooms. (And may we suggest while traveling in an airplane and on long car rides!) You can listen to them all here on Substack and on Apple Podcasts.
The Grown-Ups Table (the GUT) is a place for DrawTogether minded grown-ups to gather, learn and draw together. Every week I offer a drawing+ lesson here in the newsletter. Paying subscribers get access to bonus info, a weekly drawing assignment and keys to the GUT community chat. That’s where the real magic happens. That’s where we share our work, support each other’s creative endeavors, and have formed a really beautiful, growing community. Someone just called it “The Artist’s Way of today.” I’d never dare say that myself, but…
And… here’s one more thing, and a big teaser for what’s to come:
DrawTogether Classrooms: DT’s educational non-profit! From the very beginning we’ve heard that educators were using DrawTogether in classrooms. Turns out, with public funding for art and social emotional learning all but eliminated, educators turned to DrawTogether videos and podcasts to fill that gap! So with Kate Levitt (now DrawTogether’s Director of Impact and Education) we launched a pilot program of 100 classrooms in 30 states, raised a bunch of money, created a whole program for educators. In less than two weeks we will launch DrawTogether Classrooms… EDUCATORS & ADMINISTRATORS: SPREAD THE WORD AND STAY TUNED!
Whether you joined us live on the first day of School Closures or if you just joined the DrawTogether Grown-Ups Table last week, you are part of this journey.
DT literally would not exist without you.
DrawTogether Classrooms: National Launch! On March 16, the anniversary of the first day of DrawTogether, we will officially launch DrawTogether Classrooms, the national program that supports educators to offer SEL-based drawing lessons in learning environments around the country. Keep your eyes peeled, and get ready to tell schools, community centers, libraries, and all your friends. DrawTogether Classrooms is coming on March 16.
The GUT. This year I’m excited to build more GUT community while continuing to take risks in the art lesson department. I’ll be bringing you along on upcoming drawing trips in my mobile studio, featuring more guest artists from around the world, spotlighting GUT-member’s work and events, doing more studio visits with contemporary artists… Maybe we’ll even all draw together on zoom... If you aren’t already part of the GUT, I hope you’ll join us. And if you are, great adventure lies ahead!
DrawTogether/The DT Grown-Ups Table is 100% reader/drawer supported. Your subscription makes it all possible.
So really, thank YOU.
Seriously. None of this exists without you.
When we started this newsletter, we had huge dreams and but never expected so much of this…And here we are. Over 26,000 and growing. Drawing. Doing a silly dance. For those of you who are paying subscribers, THANK YOU. You make it possible for me to keep the DT lights on. I/we literally cannot do all this without your support.
We never know what’s going to happen, or where we will be in a week, a month, a year... But in my experience, as long as we listen to our heart and figure it out with our hands, we keep moving in the right direction. That’s the DT way.
So here’s to the future, whatever it holds. I wouldn’t want to do it without you.
Happy 2nd anniversary, everyone.
Everything is better when we DrawTogether. Pencils UP!
ps - TELL ME - what is one special memory you have of DT from inception till now? Share in the comments!
pps - the rest is for my GUT community - holllleerrrrr!! <3 <3
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