The image above is the first drawing I had published. Before you judge it too severely, keep in mind that I was in sixth grade! Back in the days before copiers, schools used ditto machines. The ditto machine (or spirit duplicator) used two-ply "ditto masters". The first sheet could be typed, drawn or written on. The second sheet was coated with a layer of colored wax. Writing on the first sheet created a mirror image on the back of it. The first sheet was fastened on the drum and copies could be printed -- in our school, usually in blue. I remember getting those worksheets hot of the presses and taking a deep whiff of the rapturously fragrant aromatic ink. Maybe that explains a lot.
Well, suffice it to say, children weren't usually allowed to write or draw on ditto masters. One day in sixth grade, a teacher put one of those masters on my desk and asked me to design a cover for the Spring Concert Program. I didn't really cut loose too much because I was afraid of messing it up. I can remember being thrilled to see a stack of the programs and knowing that my drawing was on every one of them! And then, looking out at the sea of faces at the concert and seeing that everyone in the audience had my drawing in their hands. This could be where I got bit by the publishing bug. The only other thing I remember about the night is that we sang "Blowing in the Wind" by Bob Dylan.
Anyway, as teachers, I think we should take the opportunity to use the work of budding artists, rather than take the easy way out and grab a clip art image. It takes just a little bit more time, but we can provide publication opportunities to the future writers and illustrators in our care.
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