Crafting Comics Recap

So this is a little late, but I wanted to write a post about how my Crafting Comics class went at OCAC this last term.

A short recap: The class went well. I got a little overambitious with a small amount of time and I should have assigned a little more work to implement the ideas we were discussing in class. The plus side is that I learned a lot and it will help me prepare for the next time I teach the class. My students were great and had a lot of really good ideas, I just forgot how long it can take to do things, and a lot of people didn’t get enough time to finish things.

For a more detailed overview, keep reading.

One of the raddest things was that I had a really great diverse group of students, and I think it lent a lot to the class. It was also pretty great that a lot of them only had a small exposure to comics, and for the most part they were really open to all the artists and comics I was throwing at them. This was a stark contrast when I was in school and for the most part everyone was a fan-boy of some sort. Whether they were a Batman fan-boy or a Chris Ware fan-boy, you were a fan-boy and most people held that pretty narrow view of what comics were and what they liked. Since they were so open, I could show them the best of a lot of different styles and genres from all over and they wouldn’t have the knee-jerk reaction of poo-pooing it because it didn’t fit with what they likes.d .

Something else that was a stark contrast from when I was in school was that 2/3 of the class were women. Was this because interest in comics is becoming larger and spreading across the gender gap, or was it something else? Regardless, I was happy to have more women interested in making comics, and it was a great opportunity to show off work from some great women involved in making comics now – Vera Brosgol, Eleanor Davis, Becky Cloonan, Lynda Barry, Gabrielle Bell, etc.

As I mentioned before, I think my biggest fault was being overambitious. When I was preparing the class, my first thought was going to be to walk the students step-by-step through the many different stages involved in making comics from beginning to end. When I planned it out, I devoted one class to each stage, which ended up being about eight classes. This totally did not take into consideration that some stages take much, much longer, especially for people that don’t draw on a regular basis. Also, because I was basically introducing a concept and then jumping into the next stage, there wasn’t a lot of time to soak in the  ideas that we had talked about the previous class. I quickly realized it was a ‘wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am’ approach.

A good example is that I thought I could cram digital corrections and scanning into one class. With some people who have never really used a computer besides word and sending e-mails. Or that the basics of inking could be one class and that would be enough for them to feel comfortable to start working with it. It was just too much.

I just wanted people to get an idea for everything that goes into making comics from beginning to end, from the thumbnails to the publishing. But after teaching this class for the first time, I realize that they don’t need all of that. I just need to focus on the making of comics –  learning how to tell a story and how to approach the bazillion problem solving hitches that you come across when you’re making comics.

My original intention was that we would collect everyone’s final project stories into a zine so that everyone would have something to take home from the class, but there were a lot of people that just weren’t able to get their comics done on time. I’m giving them a little more time to get me some stuff, but I know that people are busy with school or work, or whatever else is going on.

Anyhow, here are a few of the comics that I received in the last class. Hope it’s okay with my students that I’m sharing them:

Ira VS the Oooo

Squirrel Issues

What’s In A Name?…

Hopefully some of the other students will get their comics to me soon so we can put the zine together.

I will be teaching the class again in the fall, as well as a summer intensive for teens at OCAC. Once I get it more set in stone, I’ll make sure to post details.

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