Do Art Productions seeing growth with art workshops after getting its start in Rochelle

After getting into the swing of holding comic book workshops in and around the area early this year, Do Art Productions has seen growth in recent months.

‘This summer we did 50-60 workshops and we've traveled 23,000 miles so far’

ROCHELLE — After getting into the swing of holding comic book workshops in and around the area early this year, Do Art Productions has seen growth in recent months. 

Do Art Productions was established by Rochelle native Jerry Moffitt and his best friend, Chester Roush. The business creates comics and art and offers a variety of workshops in a variety of art mediums to inspire community members.

Moffitt said that this summer, Do Art Productions hosted 50-60 workshops and has traveled over 23,000 miles so far this year in the Midwest alone. Workshops have been done in six states.

“The summer was crazy,” Moffitt said. “We already have 32 workshops scheduled for next year. We're booked every Tuesday and Thursday now for the rest of the year. We've been at YMCAs and schools. On Sept. 19, we'll have our first comic workshop with the Flagg-Rochelle Community Park District. They've asked to have us back at least once every month for the next four months. We'll continue to build our name here in Rochelle. After so much traveling, it will be nice to see a lot of familiar faces. I'm very excited for the workshops with the park district and becoming a bigger part of our community. It's hard to even know what's coming next because it's been a tremendous roller coaster that doesn't seem to be going down yet. It just keeps going up."

Do Art Productions took time during the summer to attend comic conventions on weekends after noticing a lack of activities for children at them. Moffitt and Roush decided to host workshops while at conventions. They’ve been to comic cons in Indianapolis, Omaha, Minnesota and Iowa. 

Moffitt said he’s been striving to make his workshops more interactive for kids in the audience. He’ll ask kids to draw him while he’s juggling, on a unicycle or playing the guitar. He’s made an effort to learn a new skill each month, to give kids more inspiration and show them they can learn things when they put their mind to it. 

“We've progressed and evolved the workshops to get kids engaged and out of their shells and to be creative,” Moffitt said. “I feel like one of the main areas I thought I was doing was teaching art. I found I was trying more to create confidence in kids. Being able to see their energy and their light after that engagement with me was what I realized what I was actually doing. They're getting more comfortable and familiar expressing themselves to someone else. By the end of the session, I can guarantee that almost every kid I've had a workshop with has come out of their shell.”

Moffitt said seeing the response from and demand for Do Art’s workshops has been like “living in a dream come true.” He’s enjoyed seeing his energy reciprocated by crowds. 

“We open up every workshop with an affirmation,” Moffitt said. “I have them repeat after me, 'I am amazing. I am creative. I am an artist.’ And then we chant Do Art. I want them to be comfortable expressing themselves and know that their creativity has to do with their own uniqueness. I feel so much gratitude that I'm able to do this. There's been a tremendous amount of growth and evolution in such a short amount of time. All I can do is be grateful."

Upcoming changes for Do Art will include a rebranding. Moffitt said new banners are being created with drawings kids have made. Two more large banners are being created with drawings of different animals done by Moffitt, so kids will know what an animal looks like when they’re asked to draw it in workshops.

Moffitt called the recent traveling “super exhausting,” but said it brought a sense of adventure. His family has started to get more involved in workshops. 

“We ran a big comic book workshop at a convention for three straight days in Indianapolis,” Moffitt said. “To see my family come out of their shells and work together was a peak life experience for me. I didn't think it would grow and turn into this. I don't even know why I thought to start the comic book workshops. Six months have blown by. I wanted people to look at my art and be inspired. Now we have thousands of artworks inspired and boxes of art that people have given me. I'm just grateful it's still going. I would have never believed this was going to happen months ago. It's just a crazy, crazy experience."