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All That Jazz
Paul Machlin (music) gets Fats Waller down on paper.

Pen to Paper
Ben Griffin '02 is already an illustrator.

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A Useful Doodle

By Alicia Nemiccolo MacLeay '97

If Gumdrops Fell Like Raindrops
Written by Thalia Marakas with illustrator Ben Griffin '02
TM Publishing (2000)

Because Ben Griffin '02 spent a lot of time doodling at Ridgefield (Conn.) High School, his senior ceramics teacher referred him to Thalia Marakas, a local writer who was looking for an illustrator for her collection of children's poems. "I would draw all the time," Griffin said. "She probably thought, 'Why don't you do something useful with it?'"

Griffin showed Marakas a few doodles, illustrated three trial poems and was hired for If Gumdrops Fell Like Raindrops. . . . "She gave me all the poems and I had to come up with an illustration for each one," said Griffin, who used color pencils and a black pen to create each vivid and imaginative drawing.

Griffin had already developed his own style but modified it slightly--adding brighter colors--to appeal to children. "I grew up reading tons of children's books and I went off what I remembered I liked when I was little," he said.

To tie together the 48 poems, with subjects from adoption and race to tonsils and siblings, Griffin created Wilson--a faceless black and white line figure--to visually guide the reader through the text. Amid Griffin's original and occasionally psychedelic art, Wilson can be seen swinging on a trapeze, riding a fish or relaxing in a daffodil.

"I'd love to do it again," Griffin said of the project. An anthropology major, he hasn't taken an art class since, but continues to draw constantly. "Mostly in class," he joked.


Small Triumphs: Alex Quigley '99 finds reason for both hope and despair in the Mississippi Delta
A Ray of Hope: Brittany Ray '93 inspires where she found her inspiration
An Education CEO: Robert Furek '65 brings accountability to Hartford public schools
Charting Success: James Verrilli '83 directs charter school turn-around in Newark
Perspectives on Reform: Colby experts discuss reform and the purpose of education

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