Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Austin Roller 2 Crate and gathering Supplies for Manga Cartooning Class

Last Thursday I started teaching Manga Cartooning lessons after school for 4rd, 5th, and 6th graders at a Immokalee Elementary school for the United Arts Council (UAC). Some of the students had attended the Miracle Plus holiday cards class last fall, so I was pleasantly surprised when one of my groups actually cheered when I walked in.
Selected several child-safe sketching tools and premium 24 lb papers for the initial sketching worksheets. The heavier paper stock is less likely to suffer ink bleed through and handles erasures better than regular 20 lb copy paper. The successive classes for the three different groups of students require moving these art supplies from classroom to classroom between periods.
Some of the manikins and plastic figurines used as reference models for sketching practice.
To carry all these art supplies from class to class more efficiently, I used my X-mas Jerry's gift card to pick up an Austin Roller 2 Crate. In the past I relied on different carts and assorted cardboard boxes, but they have a tendency to fall apart when maneuvering throughout campuses and multi-storey buildings.
This new roller crate should also come in handy for taking supplies to outreach programs, school events, and children's parties. The supplies for the Conservancy Turtle Craft and coloring sheets will fit easily in this cart for the upcoming event at Waterside Shops this Saturday, January 16th 11 am to 3 pm which I will be doing as part of the von Liebig Art Center's educational outreach program. We'll have some Manga Cartooning worksheets available as a preview of the Artscool classes, and I plan to sketch some souvenir cartoon portraits of the attending children as part of the entertaintment. I understand the Conservancy Scientist will be bringing a live Red-eared Slider Turtle for show and tell. Thus it should be quite fun weather permitting.
While folded the roller crate is only 3.5" wide, so it does not take up much storage room and easily fits in a car trunk.
Unfolding the crate sides and lowering the bottom tray is all that takes to assemble it in seconds.
Funny how the sales clerk did not know what the plastic bars stored on recessed slots on the bottom tray of the crate were used for. Not even the graphics in the box showed the reinforcement bars in use. Yet it was not too much of a leap to slide them right on top of the crate sides for increased stability.
Once assembled this crate can reportedly hold up to 100 lbs. While I did not actually weigh it, I managed to fit tons of art supplies in it. Its adjustable handle expands from 23" to 39" for optimal comfort while pulling it.
Fully loaded crate and ready for the next Manga Cartooning class. It rolled fairly effortlessly and worked quite well for my first lesson last week, and so far all I have noticed is some wear on the exterior plastic frame on the bottom of the crate. Its ease of use, space-saving design, and good capacity made it an easy choice to try. All that remains to test is its durability during the coming weeks.
Update: Still pretty happy with the performance of this cart, though I have noticed recently that this very same rolling crate tends to retail for about 33%-50% less at other online sources and at office supplies and big-box retailers. They are all made in China typically branded with the store name and can often be found at $19.99.

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