I'm in Nebraska getting ready for a gig, but I'm committed to getting this review out as it's been over a week since my last post.
The item I'm reviewing has been out for quite a while, but I LOVE it and besides, some of the newer items I plan on reviewing will take a little while to get to me.
This week's review is The Manual Ultimate Sketch Pad by Sean Bogunia. It's available for $159.95 from Hocus Pocus. Here's the add copy:
This is it: the drawing pad that you have been waiting for!
Many customers have asked us over the years to make a MANUAL version of our Ultimate Sketch Pad. Well, here it is! This MANUAL version is a great option for those who want to perform this great effect, without the electronics. We have also included our improved mouth movement which really adds to the illusion!
Pick up an artist sketch pad any time during your performance and draw a face. Unexpectedly the Drawing suddenly becomes animated with eyes and mouth moving! After a conversation with your newly drawn friend, comes the killer ending...You lift up the single sheet of paper you drew the face on and tear it from the sketch pad in full view of the audience! NO SWITCHES! NO TRICKY MOVES! You tear out the actual drawing and can hand it to a spectator for a souvenir they will never forget!
Remember...DON'T ERASE THE MAGIC - - HAND IT OUT!
Pad size is 11" wide and 14" tall, perfect for stage performances! Also, since this uses a real paper artist's pad, there is NO GLARE! Comes complete with everything you need for dozens of performances. Easily refillable with same size pad from any art supply store or from us! Also includes DVD instructions that include bonus tips for your pad!
WHAT YOU RECEIVE: You get the gimmick itself, attached to a sketch pad, all set to go. You also receive some replacement "eyes" and "mouth" in case you lose anything. Finally, you receive a DVD which explains it all.
QUALITY OF INSTRUCTION: Sean teaches his effects very well and this DVD is no exception. You get some ways to alter the basic movements of the eyes and mouth, presentational ideas and most importantly, how to change the gimmick from one pad of paper to another once you've run out. Finally, you also learn how to remove and handout the SAME paper that was just animating!! This is stunning and kills.
Sean also gives users an alternate to handing out the same paper by making use of a switch...personally, I found this technique to be a little harder so I never do it. Handing out the SAME paper that was just seen animating is stunning! It makes for a terrific souvenir, too.
I personally LOVE the Axtel drawing boards but feel Sean's creation edges it out because of the fact you can leave audiences with such a memorable momento.
DIFFICULTY: Surprisingly, this is dead easy, a 1 or 2 on the technical scale, allowing you to really concentrate on presentation. And most happily, changing the gimmick from one pad to another is simple, too. It only takes a couple of minutes, as the pad of paper itself is NOT altered in any way, but Sean's gimmick is simply attached to the pad.
MY THOUGHTS: I bought this several years ago when I was looking for a 'character' to interact with onstage. I had been using Rocky Raccoon, and for repeat audiences I will still use Rocky, but I decided on this based mostly from past experiences with Sean's products and the reaction, from the very first time I used it was unbelievable! Much of the time there is a learning curve once I put an effect into a show, an adjustment not so much of the physical skill to pull it off but more from a presentation standpoint.
For instance, the first few times I performed the Losander Floating Table, the response was rather tepid, forcing me to tweak my presentation (regardless of technique), but the Sketchpad killed right from the first show.
Angles are quite good, as once you have the techniques down, hiding the gaffus is quite easy as the sketch pad itself does much of this for you.
Additionally, I have done this in people's living rooms before, so distance to audience is more than acceptable.
Replacement sketch pads are available from Sean himself or from local art supply stores - they are readily available.
I've performed this somewhere in the neighborhood of 700 times or so over the last four years and it's been a highlight of my school shows constantly, with teachers raving about it and asking me how in the heck I did it. If I had to list my top five purchases EVER in the world of magic, THIS effect would be on it. This receives my highest recommendations. The ONLY reason I did not review it sooner is because I don't want every one and their uncle doing this.
Thanks for reading - it looks like I'll get this posted just in time before my battery on my laptop dies. (I forgot to pack my power cord!!)
Until next week...