There was a "chill" in the air at Warren Woods Middle School
That's because Darrin Brege, illustrator
of Johnathan Rand's popular "American Chillers" and "Michigan Chillers"
series, was in town to discuss art with Katie Duffy's seventh-grade art
Brege has worked on animated storybooks for Disney,
Hasbro, Universal and Warner Brothers. Winnie the Pooh, Bullwinkle
and Tonka Joe are among the characters he's drawn. His visit was
geared to motivate students. He also passed on several drawing tips
and sold copies of his new book "The Chill Art Sketchbook," which
demonstrates how to draw the "Chillers" book characters.
were really excited about it," Duffy said. "It is nice to see a
working artist and what he's doing."
During his presentation,
Brege, who brought his wife Karen Bell-Brege, used an easel to demonstrate
how he creates his drawings. The students, with blank sheets
of white paper and pencils, sat on the floor and followed Brege's
lead. When drawing his characters, Brege often starts with a stick
figure, shapes are added, and Brege then focuses on perspectives, shading,
outlining, and detailing.
"As artists, we need to look around
us," Brege said. "Drawing takes time. If you want a cool
drawing, it's going to take some time."
included Brege breaking down a face. He drew an egg-shape head on
blank paper and then drew a line to split the head in half. Taking
suggestions from the students, Brege decided to go with a "squatty
"Let's give his jaw a bit of excess. We're going to
make this guy angry and make some thick, angry eyebrows." Brege
said. "Let's give him bags under his eyes. Let's give him a
big mouth and let's put some messy teeth in there."
"All we did was place shapes around where we wanted
them," Brege said.
Along with being an artist, Brege has a talent for celebrity
impressions. His WWMS visit left some time for the students to enjoy
his and Bell-Brege's character voices. The couple, whose son Mick is
9, met when Brege auditioned for Bell-Brege's comedy troupe "Totally
Unrehearsed Theatre" at Mark Ridley's Comedy Castle in Royal
The couple performed a brief sketch to become Ozzy and
Sharon Osbourne, and then switched gears to do their best Marge and Homer
Simpson impressions. The students egged them on for more, so Brege
brought to life Yoda and Chewbacca from "Star Wars" and Adam
Sandler. Beavis and Butthead are among Brege's favorite to
"You can live in Michigan and work in the arts,"
Bell-Brege said. "All kinds of opportunities open up for you when
you find that one thing you love."
"Whatever you do, it takes a
lot of practice," Brege said. "It takes a lot of
"You take on phrase or one sentence and practice it
over and over," said Bell-Brege adding comedian Joan Rivers is her
favorite to impersonate. "She's so out there."
Brege is available for school visits, book signings, personal appearances
and freelance graphics. For further information, contact
Chill Art Sketchbook" is available at local Borders and Barnes & Nobel
bookstores and at www.chillerart.com.
reach Maria Allard at email@example.com.