Monday, February 2, 2015

'Tooning up

So, that's a sketch I did today while I was on campus waiting for a professional development session called Using Comics in the Classroom to start. (As usual, we were waiting for latecomers so they wouldn't miss anything.) The session was presented by Greg Stump, a local artist & writer (pretty indie/alt) who also happens to be adjunct college faculty (elsewhere). We were supposed to learn how to shape ideas into simple-to-comprehend pictures using visual representation of everyday objects and emotions and to encourage students to do the same and integrate these skills and practices into assignments.

Well, I think we succeeded more on the former and less on the latter, but it was still an enjoyable and useful session. I have attended several art classes and workshops directed specifically at cartooning or drawing comics/comix/graphic novels, and Greg did a fine job compared to any of them, especially considering he only had us for 90 minutes (well, more like 85 minutes). I think the more art-shy in the class really appreciated his accessible and supportive instruction, and he seemed to move people toward a better consideration of their own efforts. I particularly liked that he emphasized that cartooning was story-telling and not just illustration, and made some nods to McCloud and others in that area.

As enjoyable as it was, there really wasn't much there I hadn't heard (or practiced) before. The bit I was really after - some classroom practices or activities - wasn't as developed as I had hoped. We had a bit of a discussion toward the end of the session, and Greg's handout has some good stuff in it, but mostly we were learning to cartoon. Which is always fun!

First we tried some model sheets to practice character consistency, and the ol' eyebrows+ mouth exercise. I made a bison-guy.

Then Greg modeled a six-panel story for us - set-up, complication, resolution - and set us to producing one of our own. I sent my bison-guy to an amusement park.

 #2 pencil on copy paper; 20 minutes

So, while it wasn't exactly what I wanted (and what ever is?), I think it was valuable for the campus community and I had a great time. Thanks, Greg!

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