I was over at the Maine Welcome Center, which is three miles from the ME/NH border on I-95 North. I was just going to wander a minute and look around. Since moving to southwestern New Hampshire, we haven't done nearly enough exploring. I picked up the above Maine Department of Agriculture, Food & Rural Resources AGRICULTURAL FAIR COLORING BOOK just to look at it. The drawings were so wanting that I just could not believe that this was out there, representing the same state that boasts Wyeth and McCloskey.

This book will inform your child about agricultural fairs and it will then break your child's heart, if your child is (God help him/her) a budding cartoonist.

Above is the first image of Gabriella and her cousin Mason who is "fours [sic] years old and loves John Deere tractors ...." You can see right away, that Mason's torso is too long for a 4 year old. And there's the beginner's cheat of hiding 2 of the 3 possibly visible hands.

I don't like the look of these characters. Maybe I'm in the minority. I didn't like any of those E.T. plush toys either.

It's hard to put 100% of the blame on the uncredited artist. I know whoever drew this had to submit roughs. Many roughs. State employees sat around tables, ate donuts and drank coffee, and probably fussed over the content for some time. If there was an intriguing original vision, it was watered down through the committee process.

Above is a typical page. You can see that Mason just doesn't look "right." By placing Gabriella's head in the foreground, the artist did not have to draw the cow's legs. I find this lazy.

And finally, a call to the kids to submit their own art!!! What fun!!! But, look here, kids -- you are assigning your rights to the Maine Department of Agriculture, Food & Rural Resources and there will be no compensation even if your art is a HUGE hit and people are wearing it on t-shirts or it's a catchy new bumper sticker or if it'll be used in a BIG TV ADVERTISING BLITZ. All you get is glory. Well, you may not get that. The person who drew the drawings in the coloring book certainly went uncredited. Isn't this all heartbreaking? Well, there's a little life lesson learned, eh, kid?

Related: Tom Richmond writes eloquently in What's Going on with the Orphan Works Actl?

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