Monday, June 1, 2009

Keen on Pee-Chee

The teacher is going on and on about some boring subject, you shuffle in your desk chair, curse the clock, look down and there it is, the answer to your boredom. A trusted orange/yellow friend full of characters that you've gotten to know school year after school year, the humble, predictable, Pee-Chee folder. Those basketball players, that tennis girl...I think I'll doodle!

The Pee-Chee has gone away, it's actually been gone since the '90s, but most people don't even realize it. You mean I can't go down and buy a classic Pee-Chee? No, you can't. That's surprising, considering how much an icon of upper grade school days it was. It started in 1943, changed very little over the years (the art changed some), and is instantly recognizable to most Americans over a certain age. It was a simple idea, a card stock folder, side pockets (to keep papers from falling out), and an art design that didn't really change, it didn't need to. It was a Pee-Chee and the look was what made it that. The All-Season Portfolio depicted all the stuff I wasn't doing back in school, sports on the outside, learning on the inside. That's not to say it didn't help my with my education...quite the contrary.

It wasn't that I was bored in school...but I was bored stiff in school. The Pee-Chee offered me an outlet, doodles...but structured doodles. Every new Pee-Chee was a fresh canvas, but partially done. The challenge was to finish what the Pee-Chee design artist had started. Those aren't football players, they're two superheroes struggling on the ground for a Playboy least they were when I was done with them.

I'm making another blog to celebrate Pee-Chee art. I'll show some of my classics, I did some themes over and over. I'll also have the non-doodled Pee-Chee designs that you can print and doodle yourself. In this age of photoshop and computer art...Pee-Chee art is literally old-school. It's all about the "Chee" and how it helped me get through school. Check out

On a side-note: I never knew the Pee-Chee "girl on ski lift" was actually taken from a real photo, and not only that, it's Timberline Lodge's (Mt Hood OR) Magic Mile lift...Pee-Chee Keen.


  1. I remember turning the 'girl on the ski lift' into a 'girl in a wheel chair' on my Pee-Chee folder!

  2. That is so cool about the Mt. Hood ski lift picture. I never knew that!

    I've been reading a lot about Pee Chee's over the past few days. Talk about them seems to be turning up everywhere (though I realize this posting is two years old).

    Mead is once again making the folder, but not in the plain yellow that most of us remember, only in the weird blue, green and pink colors. And there is a yellow one, but the images are colorized with blue. Not quite the same imo.