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Using the drawing board for a young audience

November 26 2009 at 12:38 PM
from IP address


I am hoping that someone may have some ideas for me.

I am not a ventriloquist. When I use the magic drawing board for children aged 3 to 6, I tell them that I think that a ghost has got into the drawing board and that is why the eyes and mouth are moving. This usually works very well, but yesterday a child started crying and the teacher had to take him out of the audience. She later told me that he kept repeating "I don't like ghosts, I don't like ghosts".

I think I should use a different story line than the ghost.

One idea I had was to tell them that a wizard has cast a spell on the drawing board. I think this would be less scary than a ghost.

Does any one have any other ideas?


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Steve Axtell


November 26 2009, 1:22 PM 

With young kids I wouldn't explain it ahead of time....just let it be FUN! ... draw a picture (not telling them it's going to move) of a person (famous, the principal, a friend, some story figure) then let the eyes move. You do NOT see it. The kids go crazy.... You look but don't see... (extremely effective with young kids) it moves again... you look and it moves you jump...they talks.... you jump...they talk with it for a bit (use jokes, present some message, whatever) .... erase it.... wow I guess that's why they call these magic markers.


Steve Petra


November 26 2009, 2:21 PM 

Yup, there is no need to explain the effect. Young kids aren't actually trying to figure it out, they're caught up in letting YOU know what's happening and they want to PLAY!

With young children and the MDB I always had success with the guessing game scenario. Ask them if they are good at guessing. Draw a shoe - they shout "shoe" then a fish, a tree etc. Then start drawing the parts of the face, by time you get to the eyes they're guessing "face" so ask them what else you need to make a face and so on.

have fun - almost impossible not to!

Mr. Jay

Fun on the MDB

November 26 2009, 6:48 PM 

I know that when I use the MDB its mostly involvement all I do is draw a circular type face and bring a few kids up to add mouth nose ears and hair I add the eyes...when they say the eyes are moving I say of course my eyes move so do all yours, they scream no the faces eyes are moving, I'll turn and look and of course they wouldn't be and ask them not to fool me and they eyes will move again...Then go about the fairytale and how witches make people see and do things... maybe your thinking the eyes are moving, they will move again they will scream but I will catch it this time....then the fun takes off....

john hadfield

drawing board ideas

November 27 2009, 10:02 AM 

I tie it in with imagination, and talk about imaginary friends, and the one I had when I was little. His name was Tippytoes and I draw a picture of him and start to tell a funny (true) story about him.
Then he comes to life. Of course, he has some funny stories to tell about ME.
There's a clip from it on my video -

Good luck!
John H


Steve Axtell

Kids and the Occult

November 27 2009, 11:46 AM 

Everyone has their style I guess... but I would urge you NOT to present occult concepts like ghosts, demons and witches to young children in your shows.

This message has been edited by axtell from IP address on Nov 27, 2009 11:47 AM

Mr. Jay

No Witches, No Ghosts No spooky stuff like that

November 27 2009, 12:30 PM 

Ax Thanks for the heads up It could be a story about anyone maybe a teacher, or the principal, maybe someone famous and while the kids are drawing him or her it will come to life because you already told them it would and the face goes about telling the kids educational funny information as as the kids come back up to erase each part of the person he goes back to where he came from only to return again for other short stories...


youtube video

November 29 2009, 6:09 AM 

Thanks for all your suggestions.

I have made the following youtube video describing how I use the magic drawing board:

As always, I would appreciate any constructive feedback that you have.


Tony Borders

live performance

November 29 2009, 8:20 AM 

There is a live performance of the Ax-Trax Art-o-matic on youtube.
This is particularly good for getting more time out of your board or for non-ventriloquists who want to use the board.

Mr. Jay


November 29 2009, 9:50 AM 

There are many ways to use the magic drawing board when you are working with kids you can make a snow ball who tells you about winter and the fun people have playing catch with him.

If the kids are young enough instead of a nose make clock hands of course the eyes and the mouth make the numbers around the clock face and it could be a clock teaching the kids to tell the time... as you are placing each item tell them what your doing and that clocks TELL the time..well so does this clock its a special clock and you can erase the hands and reset the time or ask what timew the kids get up in the morning what time they go to school what time do they have dinner home work or go to sleep there are so many different times of the day....

Hope this helps you

Terry Wild

I totally agree, NO OCULT!

November 29 2009, 9:27 PM 

Life is hard enough without us introducing bad stuff into our kid's minds. There's plenty of good ideas about without that. In Australia, there's not a Halloween custom, and I hope it stays that way. A face for the drawing board could be Dora Explorer, a children's flavour of the month out here. She has a round face, round eyes and a simple hair style and best of all a smiley mouth! Even I could draw her! Ask your littlies, I'm sure they know her!
best always,

Neale Bacon

My favorite

November 30 2009, 10:28 AM 

I start out saying I have someone who makes all my puppets for me. I draw a sketch and they do the puppet. I then say I am thinking of having a new puppet made and tell them to see if they can guess who.

The big hit right now is when I draw Sponge Bob, and no matter how badly I draw, they get it and laugh themselves silly.

I have little "in" jokes in the routine

N: How do I know this is the real Sponge Bob?
B: Can I get you a Crabby Patty?

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