Hallmark Illustrators & Writers Series


Grade: Kdg-6th
Length: 90 minutes
Available: Monday through Thursday
(Fridays not available)
Limit: 75 students

Please read over the descriptions for speakers available October 2015 through May 2016 and then call 816-274-8301 to make a reservation. (These sessions fill quickly!)

Students learn from Hallmark illustrators and writers. Each speaker brings unique expertise to make an educational, inspiring and fun presentation! Presentations last 20-30 minutes. Your students then enjoy the full Kaleidoscope creative experience (typically one hour).

Please note that if a presenter becomes unavailable for your scheduled date, every effort will be made to schedule another speaker.

  • Tim Bodendistel Sorry, all sessions are full.

    So what happens when you’ve been a fan of pop culture since the days of 15-cent comic books and three TV channels? You end up working with a bunch of characters. Tim is a master designer in Licensing where he gets to illustrate and design with the characters he has loved since he was a kid. From Mickey Mouse to Snoopy, each day Tim gets to immerse himself in their fun and magical worlds. Tim works on a wide range of products from greeting cards to plush, gifts, books and more. His favorite character is Winnie the Pooh because Pooh has that unique ability to transport us back to the carefree days of childhood, a world filled with imagination and adventure. All grades.

  • Peter Martin Sorry, all sessions are full.

    Hear how the ingenious illustrator and animator, Peter Martin, got his start telling funny stories in some wonderfully, non-traditional ways. Meet Peter’s animated Asteroid Andy character and find out what creative twists and turns it takes to get from idea to finished product.  All grades.

  • Molly Wigand Sorry, all sessions are full. wigand

    Molly loves helping kids discover the pure fun of creative writing. How do you write a riddle? What kind of verses make people get the giggles? A published children’s book author and Hallmark writer, she will use interactive writing games and imagination-boosting exercises to coach students as they stretch their creative muscles. Molly will share some tricks of the trade that make every kind of writing fun! All grades.

  • Mike Esberg Sorry, all sessions are full. esberg

    Interactive fun is in store with Hallmark artist, Mike Esberg, as he creates “mad-lib style”. Mike will explore creating a character from a story line that your students will come up with as a group. He’ll also demonstrate steps kids can use to develop their own characters. Best for grades 1-3.

  • Megan Haave Sorry, all sessions are full.

    Megan helps kids use their senses to inspire great writing. She encourages them to notice everything they see, hear, smell, taste and touch in the world around them. Students will discover how following their noses, eyes, ears, fingers and tastebuds makes writing more fun and how writing makes everyday things more lively.

  • Kevin Dilmore Sorry, all sessions are full.

    Ever since his mom taught him to read at age 2, Kevin has loved to figure out how stories work so he could make up his own to tell. In his career, he has told stories with novels, children’s books, screenplays and more, including Hallmark greeting cards. Hang out with Kevin to talk about what makes a story fun so you can get more out of what you read – and even make up your own!  All grades.

  • Joseph HumphriesSorry, all sessions are full.

    With a long history in designing and illustrating licensed characters, Joe will demonstrate the process in making a Hallmark card, with live demonstrations on how to draw Winnie the Pooh.  All grades.

  • Jake Gahr Sorry, all sessions are full. gahr

    Jake’s first poem was about a boy who didn’t want to eat his peas. As they say “Write what you know!” After that, he soon discovered that inspiration can be found anywhere-even in the most ordinary places. As a Hallmark writer, he uses everything from photos, TV commercials, toys, songs-sometimes even a single, solitary word!-to inspire creative and fun writing, and he’ll show your students how they can be inspired by everyday stuff, too!  All grades.

  • Ellen Brenneman Sorry, all sessions are full.

    Ellen explains that a writer has to put himself or herself in a lot of different “shoes” and think from different points of view. For example, what would you say to an astronaut Mom? We’ll use TV moms as examples of all the different types of Moms. We’ll play a game of “Name that TV Mom” and decide what would be the best thing to say to each on Mother’s Day.  All grades.

  • Daniel Miyares Sorry, all sessions are full.

    Daniel is a Hallmark Senior Illustrator who is never without his sketchbook! Drawing the interesting faces and places in the world around him is not only fun but plays a big part in his job. Daniel will show how keeping and working in sketchbooks can become an important spark to your creativity. All grades.

  • Craig Lueck Sorry, all sessions are full. lueck

    Craig creates wonderful watercolor paintings and enjoys inviting kids to explore art and the world around them. Students will watch Craig as he paints and listen as he talks about engaging in creativity. All grades.

  • Collin SmithSorry, all sessions are full.

    Jump in with product designer Collin on a whirlwind trip through imagination, creativity and innovation to discuss toy design.  He will use fun and wacky brainstorm methods to explain how to design our very own toys…but there is a catch; toys must be designed for someone else.  Leveraging empathy, divergent thinking and collaboration, everyone will have a blast exploring new toy ideas.  Let’s play! All Grades.


  • Amy Trowbridge-Yates Sorry, all sessions are full. yates

    Amy wrote her first story when she was a six year old about a frog who couldn’t stop jumping:  “He jumps and he jumps and he jumps…”  But it was she who couldn’t stop writing!  Now she writes and she writes and she writes all day to turn her experiences into cards that make people smile!  Best for grades 2-5.

  • Amber Goodvin Sorry, all sessions are full.

    Words have power! Come join Hallmark Lettering Artist, Amber Goodwin, as she explores how to evoke a feeling of a word through its written form. All lettering has its own personality, be it HaPPy, ANGRY, fancy, Funky, BOLD, peaceful, etc. Amber will demonstrate her approach to having fun with words.  Best for grades 4-6.