Learning the Alphabet Through Paddling

Montana illustrator Seth Neilson creates the paddler's alphabet

ABCDEFG, next time won't you shuttle me. That's what today's paddling kids might soon be singing, thanks the new paddling version of My Outdoor Alphabet, helping kids learn the alphabet through…boating.

Perfect for outdoorsy parents looking to art their kiddo's walls, Montana illustrator Seth Neilson has come up with a way to instill outdoorsy vocabulary in today's youth. His Encyclopedia-like posters called My Outdoor Alphabet pass along a lexicon special to the people who are passionate about their respective sports—skiing, climbing, backpacking, cycling and, yes, paddling.

PaddleAlpha

Brand new to the collection is the Paddler's Alphabet — up on the web site now for pre-orders for early August shipments. Some of the classics include "G" for Groover, "P" for Portage, "S" for SUP, "K" for kayak, and more…

"The paddling poster had been on my to-do list from the beginning, but it really came into its own during a 50-mile canoe trip with my boys on the upper Missouri River," he says. "Having all day to sit in a canoe and talk about thing gave us the chance to brainstorm and laugh as we figured out the A to Z for waterborne travel. As someone who appreciates the history and heritage of these outdoor sports, I wanted to make sure there was a way that I could help illuminate some of the details that otherwise might get missed. It just made sense to combine a little of what I do every day (design and illustration) with what I wish I was doing every day (playing outdoors) and put it out into the world."

The posters are printed on thick paper with vibrant color so they pop, permeating kids' brains with a boating way to learn the alphabet.

Neilson, a creative director from Bozeman, Montana, is the father of four kids and a passionate climber, biker, hiker,and skier. A few years ago, he recognized an opportunity to connect the three biggest parts of his life into something of greater value—illustration, the outdoors, and family—and My Outdoor Alphabet was born.

"The alphabet that was ultimately finalized comes from quite a bit of personal research, as well as reaching out to experts in the field," he adds. "Author Al Kesselheim was a resource, as well as photographer Forest Woodward, who recently released the Grand Canyon movie The Important Places. Their feedback was invaluable. I'm not an expert by any means, but know enough to be dangerous and appreciated the insights they shared as this came to life. Ultimately, it comes down to whether or not a term is able to be simplified and expressed visually in a way that makes sense, and obviously this isn't a comprehensive list of the paddling vocabulary. But it's a place to start, and if it helps inspire someone to daydream a bit about being out on the water themselves, then mission accomplished."

Montana illustrator Seth Neilson.

Montana illustrator Seth Neilson.

Neilson also plans to soon release new versions covering surfing, fishing, running, yoga, sailing and more, each with its own 18"x24" screen printed poster with original illustrations of the 26 quintessential terms for each. The posters serve as a tribute to the "building blocks" of our collective outdoor experiences.

Info: www.myoutdooralphabet.com