Friday, December 28, 2012

First Batch of CrittaColors Released!

Released the first batch of CrittaColors tonight starting in Raleigh, NC. 

CrittaColors are blocks of wood  with coloring book style art on the front and instructions for photographing and posting to our Facebook fan page on the back. Hot glued to each side are 3 crayons so you can color your CrittaColor.

Our first stop, the Tir Na Nog Pub in Downtown Raleigh  NC.  Released two CrittaColors there. Look for them next to the free magazines when you first enter the restaurant. 

Second stop, Cafe Luna. Cafe Luna is an Italian restaurant right around the corner from the fore mentioned pub. It is also right next to the bus depot where two other artworks have previously been displayed as part of the Art-On-The-Move program. Look for this CrittaColor right on the seat when you first enter the Cafe. 

Last stop for the evening was the Homewood Suites by Hilton in Apex, NC. Left on the table right by the fireplace. This is also part of the breakfast area so someone will have something to do while enjoying their morning coffee. 

If you find a CrittaColor or just want to follow along with all the Critter excitement, check out our Facebook page at

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Look Back at 2012

The New Year is always a good time to reflect on where you've been and set a course for where you are going. 

In some ways, 2012 marks and end to many things... for example I retired from hockey, decided not to show in galleries anymore and stopped making cut out critters.. 

In other ways, 2012 marks a beginning for new thing... I delved into the world of iPad art, signed up for a mud run and started a new band.

Here are my picks for the Best of 2012...

As part of the gallery exhibit, I was scheduled for a TV interview. Clcik below and watch the entire interview .. that is , if you need to catch up on your sleep :)

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In February I had my final exhibit. I decide after this show that I really didn't enjoy exhibits and needed to get back to my real love, interactive/public/street art.


In March I attended the 2012 NAEA Conference. you know, the conference with all the art teachers. I presented as well as distributed a handful of Critters. 


April: Dinocow Hits #1!

My publisher did a free promo for e-books. The promotion sent How To Milk A Dinocow all the way to #1 on Amazon's Best Seller for Children's eBooks list.


I know, I said I wouldn't do shows anymore but this was a special exhibit for Apex High students. I created this piece called Zonkey Says which really, really helped me decided to stop making these pieces. Time to move on. 


June: iPad Art

I got a stylus for my iPad and that really made drawing on the iPad fun! I started combining different apps to make ipad art. 


The Zonkey Army was another attempt by me to recreate the excitement and enthusiasm I created with my foam Critters. These were cute and fun to make but fell short of my goal. I'm telling you, 2012 was a rough year.


In August I was asked to teach a workshop on street art at the North Carolina Museum of Art.  So yes, I did that and it was fun!


September: Renoir's Red Hat

Renoir's Red Hat is a silly poem/story I wrote about a kid who goes to the art museum and steals art.. not really steals it, sort of imaginary steals it. You sort of need to read the poem then it makes sense. 


I was asked to create a video presentation for the 2012 K-12 Online Conference. When I first put this video together I thought I had made a big mess. But I got a lot of nice compliments and retweets on it. So maybe it's not as bad as I first thought. 


In less than two minutes you can draw a Zonkey! This informative and education video takes you step by step through the entire process. :)


December: CrittaColors

Did it really take me a year to get back to my roots? Will these CrittaColors produce the enthusiasm and excitement that my original Critters did? Or will they fade to the wayside like the short lived Zonkey Army or the even shorted lived Magazine covers?? 

Only 2013 will tell!!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

CrittaColor Prototype ...

I take the first interactive Crittacolor prototype out to be released.  Before I do, I stop off for a bite to eat with Kim.  We're sitting there having lunch and she asks, "What's that?" 

I start to explain but before I'm even done she rips off the crayons and starts coloring... 

I'm like, "What are you doing?!"


Then the waitress comes over and asks about it. So Kim tells her the story. Now she wants one. 

Needless to say, the first Crittacolor was not successful release. However, judging from the initial reaction, I'm thinking they will be a hit.

Luckily, I'm working on a first set.. -->


Ever since last year's Critter 2.0 project, I've been stumped for a good interactive street art piece. Sure, I've continued to send out some of the classic Critters and even created a Zonkey Army but nothing was WOW!ing me. 

This morning, I went to my studio determined to come up with something.. anything.. but hopefully, something I'd be excited about. On the floor lay papers covered in doodles, blocks of wood from the Zonkey army project and glue. Then it all sort of came together. I cut out one of the doodles and glued it to a block of wood. CrittaColors was born!

so what's a Crittacolor? A Crittacolor is an interactive piece of street art. It starts with a black and white doodle like the one above. This is a doodle I created on a copy of a manuscript I'm working on titled Crushing Turtles. Hopefully, I'll finish that book some day. Been working on it for two years.... but I digress. 

The doodle is then glued down to a block of wood. I put glue on both the bottom of the paper and then applied a thin coat on top. Hopefully this will protect the doodle from the elements if the pieces are left outside.

Attached to the block of wood will be a few crayons. you know, like those boxes you get when you get a children's menu at a restaurant. I got these crayons from Carrabbas. Hmm, wonder if I can get a corporate sponsor?? ;) Anyhows, the crayons are there so whomever finds the Crittacolor can color the doodle of the Critter. Hence the name. Clever, right? :)

On the back of the Crittacolor will be instructions for those who wish to post their colored Crittacolor on the Zonkey Street Facebook page. And who wouldn't want to do that? Share your coloring talent with the world!

OK, I was excited and wanted to share the Crittercolor idea with you. But now I need to get back to work and make a few more Crittacolors.

Free Kindle Ebook!!

For Christmas you got a Kindle, Kindle Fire or other ereader thingy. Cool! Now all you need are some books to read. Well, have no fear, I'm here to help!

My publisher has made available, as a special Christmas gift to all those ereader people out there, my book, How to Milk a DinoCow! Free!

That's right, a free book! Just go to Amazon and download it for, how much? Free! 

Story was great and fast moving. busy mom  |  3 reviewers made a similar statement
How to Milk a Dinocow made my daughter laugh at the antics of the boy in this story. pollyfrog  |  2 reviewers made a similar statement
It's very creative and has a great story for younger kids! D.C.  |  2 reviewers made a similar statement

To make your life even easier, just click here and you'll magically be transported via the Internet to the Amazon website were you can download the book, did I mention free?

This special offer is only available the week after Christmas so hurry and do it now!

If a freak milk accident that sparks life to a half cow, half stegosaurus isn’t weird enough, imagine how strange it’s going to get when Trip Stanley’s class starts drinking the milk! 

Trip Stanley’s best friend Jules spills a glass of creamery milk onto his uncle’s dinosaur machine and activates the contraption. 

A creature hatches and grows rapidly into a black and white spotted stegosaurus with and an udder. A stegcowsaurus. When the last bottle of creamery milk that Jules had planned to bring to school for show and tell is knocked over, Trip decides to milk the stegcowsaurus.

Makes the perfect stocking stuffer! Order your copy now on Amazon!

(Santa hat not included)

For all the latest updates, "Like" the How To Milk a Dinocow FaceBook page"

#FreeKindleBook #freebook #free #amreading #FREE #freeforall #ebook #Kindle

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Last Hockey Game

Ten years ago, my wife decided my daughter would enjoy figure skating. Every Saturday I would take her to the rink for lessons. The figure skaters practiced in the center of the rink and I was able to skate around. 

I really enjoyed skating. My daughter didn’t. When she decided she didn’t want to skate anymore I decided to take a learn to play hockey class (it was either that or become a figure skater ... I’m not that graceful).

ian sands hockey goalie for Jackals
Jackal Goalie

It didn’t take but a few lesson for me to realize that I didn’t much like playing hockey. Taking slap shots hurt my elbow and my stick handling ability wasn’t so great either. However, I really liked the smell of the ice. I also realized I was pretty good at getting in front of the puck. I decided to be the goalie.

I bought all my equipment used on eBay (all but the cup which I purchased brand new). My skates cost 50 bucks and I got an old, old pair of leather Koho goalie pads. They were horribly heavy, especially when wet.  I signed up to join a league and got a call about a brand new team that needed a goalie. The Jackals.

ian sands hockey goalie
Playing for DTS

The Jackals won their first game. We lost every game after that for a few seasons. We would get our heads handed to us. I remember one game I took over 60 shots on goal! We only play for 60 minutes. you do the math...

However, the guys on that team were great. Sure, we wanted to win but we were out to have fun. Over the years I’ve played against, and subbed for, lots of other teams. I’ve been in the locker room after a loosing game and heard team members rip each other apart over the loss. The Jackals were never like that. We were a great team despite losing. 

ian sands hockey goalie

I think it was because of this very fact that the Jackals losing streaks eventually faded away. Then. in 2007, for the second time in three seasons, the Jackals won the FAHL C Division Championship. I have the t-shirt and hat to prove it :) That season my captain got a call from Mike Stangler at 850 the Buzz informing him that the Jackals were the first team to win the Miller Lite Team of the Month. 

On Wednesday, April 30th, 2008 at 10:15 PM the Jackals took the ice for the last time. After three ice rinks and two championship wins, the Jackals hung up their skates.

First Round Draft Pick for Bobsleds

Not ready to hang up my goalie pads, I called the Rec Zone and learned there was a team that needed a goalie. The team paid for the goalie to play. In my eyes,  not having to pay to play is like getting paid to play. That made me semi professional :) So I took the semi professional position as the starting goalie for DTS which later was renamed the BobSleds.  

The BobSleds weren’t much better than Jackals but again I was teamed up with a great group of guys. The captain was much more interested in making sure the players were all a good fit for the team than he was worrying if they could shoot or not. This same philosophy worked in the BobSleds favor as we also won a championship.

ian sands hockey goalie locker room RBC
Borrowing Cam Wards Pads

Over the years I’ve had some great hockey experiences. I was at game seven when the Carolina Hurricanes won the Stanley Cup. I had the opportunity to sit in the Hurricanes locker room and meet some of the players. I even played goalie in RBC, in the same net and rink where the NHL has all their NC games.

ian sands hockey goalie at RBC
In Net at RBC

So after ten years of playing more than 800 games and probably stopping over 20,000 pucks, I’ve decided to retire. In fact, tonight, December 15, 2012, will be my last game. To all the players, team members, refs and zamboni drivers, Thank you!

Sunday, December 09, 2012

I Love That Piece! Who Painted It?

I was sitting in a restaurant on Friday. On the wall was a very cool painting of fish. It had a whimsical childlike quality. The stuff I like to paint. The longer I stared at  the painting, the more impressed I was by how well the artist had captured fun and playfulness in the work.

When the owner of the restaurant stopped by our table I  just had to ask, "Do you know the artists that created that painting?"

The restaurant owner leaned over with a big smile on his face. "I sure do." He said. "My kid painted that along with her elementary class."

How great is that?

The painting is pictured above. I hate that the photo is so low quality but it was dark in the restaurant and the photo was taken on a cellphone.

The painting was so inspiring that I decided to pick up my brushes again this weekend. It is the inspiration for my new magazine cover series. Here is one of the covers in the works....

Let's Meet Chug!

Meet Chug is a new art initiative I concocted this morning while drinking coffee. I thought to myself... "Self, what might be fun to paint on?" Then I went to my studio and the only thing there were some old magazines. How fun to redesign the cover of a magazine?

I pulled out some sketches I did during a Christmas party Friday night. You see, sometimes I go to parties and the people there talk about work. I don't know why people talk about work at parties. I wonder when they go back to work on Monday if they talk about the party.

But I digress.. While they talked about work, I sketched stuff. It keeps my eyes from completely glazing over.

The magazine I found was an outdoor sportsman magazine chock full of articles about hunting and fishing and fun stuff that could be talked about at parties instead of talking about work.

The sketch is a cartoon version of a backhoe. I am fascinated with backhoes. If you are looking to get me a Christmas present a backhoe could be on your short list. The backhoes name is Chug. And now you have met.

It's probably a little cliche to paint a backhoe on a magazine that is nature related but it happened by chance.. it's the sketch I did and the magazine I found... so i'm going with it.

Above is a blurry photo of the magazine with the cover painted. There is also a book just incase the magazine doesn't pan out due to technical issues (glossy paper might peel, might curl, etc..)

Want to find out about the artists and artwork that inspired this morning's painting session??


Tuesday, December 04, 2012

A Moosifesto

As the holiday tradition dictates
brought to you by the
Society of Moose Against Using Reindeer

I submit to you...

A Moosifesto

For hundreds of years Santa Clause has been delivering toys to children around the world. Though he is not beyond using outside assistance, Santa has been able to distribute presents on Christmas Eve without the help of FedEx, UPS or the United States Postal System. His primary mode of transportation has been a sleigh driven by an original team of eight tiny reindeer with the occasional help from a mutant red-nosed deer, and a misguided or perhaps delusional dog.

As members of SMAUR, we now provide the following reasons for the immediate elimination of the use of reindeer and the prompt replacement by flying moose.

1. More Torque:

Pound for pound, moose produce massive amounts more torque than reindeer. Where horsepower, or in this case reindeerpower, is needed for speed, torque is the ability to overcome resistance. Though it is true that speed is necessary to circle the globe in one night, it is the initial ability to pull the sleigh, weighted down by a ginormous amount of toys and often hindered by heavy, laden snow, which is needed before horsepower can even be applied.

2. Ease of Spelling:

Riendeer? Reindear? Raindeer? “I” before “E” except after “C” and sometimes “Y”? Isn’t rein spelled r-a-i-n? And deer spelled d-e-a-r? Let’s face it. Without a spell checker, reindeer is just too hard to spell! Moose on the other hand is simple. Only five letters and no confusing vowel arrangements.

3. American Made:

Moose are born and bred and raised in the good old US of A! Hiring moose to pull Santa’s sleigh is not only good for America, it’s our patriotic duty. Imports, such as reindeer, are manufactured abroad in such un-American places as Northern Europe and even Russia! Look for the “Born in Maine” label next time you consider hiring your sleigh team.

4. Better Night Vision:

All it takes is one foggy Christmas Eve and Santa can be shut down in a heart beat. An entire year’s worth of elf work, down the drain all because of low hanging cloud vapor. The issue, poor eye sight on the part of reindeer. This is more than a threat as it almost happened Christmas Eve 1964. Thankfully, the travesty was narrowly averted after a red fog light was attached to the nose of Prancer. Prancer was later said to have been so humility by the event that he and Cupid fabricated a tale of a red-nose reindeer that saved the day. These so called “close calls” can easily be prevented through the intervention of a deer removable, keen-eyed moose replacement task force.

5. No More Reindeer Games:

Reindeer are generally poor-spirited creatures that tend to weed out the vulnerable in the herd and deliberately poke fun of them till, tired and weak, they leave the comfort and safety of the compound. Many times the stronger of the deers will laugh and call the weaker reindeer names. On some occasions there have even been reports of the more feeble reindeers not being allowed to play any reindeer games.
Moose have a motto. No moose is left behind.


We believe every effort should be made to, and a call for, a cease and desist order to be implemented, for all reindeer regarding any attempts to fly, pull, or be in connection or association with, Santa, the elves, toy delivery or Christmas in any way, shape, form or means.

Furthermore, SMAUR is advocating for the establishment of the Meese Labs where moose and geese can be cross pollinated to form a new species of flying moose (code name: meese). Meese will merge the flight path navigational abilities of the Canadian goose with the strength, torque and American brand name that we have all come to respect and love, of the moose.

Merry Moosifesto!