Brian Yanish, a professional illustrator, was the guest at Lower School Assembly on October 22. In 2006 he created ScrapKins, a New York City-based Creativity brand for kids that follows the adventures of a tribe of monsters who build their world out of the things people throw away. Through his school visits and “scrap-venting” workshops, Mr. Yanish teaches children to think creatively to build pirate ships, puppet monsters, dinosaurs, etc., from milk cartons, towel tubes and other common materials.
Much to the delight of the Browning boys, he brought his show on-site, demonstrating the many ways they can invent their way to fun by recycling scraps. He showed them the books he has written, including “The ScrapKins Build-it Book” that can help guide them in the creative process, as well as his latest, “Junk Re-thunk,” which will come out next year in time for Earth Day.
Mr. Yanish fielded a number of questions from an enthusiastic audience of boys, who also told him about their own projects made with such cast-off items. In answer to one of their questions, he replied that he created his characters, Swooper, Stacker, Itcher, Wrecks, Digger and Chomper, as a result of his boyhood pastimes. “The ScrapKins were born from my childhood. As a kid my favorite things to do were drawing monsters and making things in my father’s workshop. Not much has changed. When my mother handed me a stack of drawings she had saved from my childhood, I cast the monsters as the ScrapKins who live in the world of ‘Scrap City’ where they build everything out of the things we throw away.”
Mr. Yanish has worked in the past for Jim Henson Productions in Los Angeles, trained as a special effects moldmaker, written and performed comedy, designed educational CD-ROMs and developed products for major children’s brands. He has also appeared on “Sesame Street.” For more about him, log on to his website at www.thescrapkins.com