Tuesday, March 18, 2014

My 8 week stint at El Roble Intermediate school

A few weeks ago, I wrapped up an 8-week assignment at El Roble Intermediate School in Claremont, CA. I was co-teaching the class with art instructor Wendy Kubiak. This was for the ARTOON program produced by the Claremont Museum of Art. CMA member Lori Lamas, who runs the ARTOON program, actually had me come in one day last year as a guest speaker for the program, and this time around she asked me to co-teach the full 8 week program.

The program, which ran after school on Tuesdays, featured over 30 students who were instructed to create a one page story. They were told to think of that page as part of a longer comic or graphic novel of their own design.

Wendy Kubiak outlined the parameters of the project to the class, and I provided some initial storytelling demonstrations in how to lay out a page, moving the narrative from panel to panel, and basically provide guidance throughout the creation of the page.

We also had a guest artist visit the class, Jules Rivera, a cartoonist whose work includes VALKYRIE SQUADRON and MISFORTUNE HIGH (currently being run as a Kickstarter for Book 2). Jules provided the students with entertaining and informative tutorials on character design and coloring with markers. 

I really enjoyed working with this group, as it's always inspiring to see young creative minds at work. Whenever there were any questions about drawing or storytelling, I'd offer suggestions, and it's always great when you know you've helped someone solve a problem. But really, just seeing the types of stories they're telling, and their process in creating that story, that's a real learning experience.

One thing that's always interesting to me is while I walk around the class and look at their stories, I get an inkling on which of the students are heavily into manga and anime (Japanese comics and animation) and which ones are superhero comic fans. Video games and movies are also big influences, and sometimes the students will create stories based on themselves and their passions:

She's got her music, drink and snacks messily strewn about her table while working... Pretty much the way I make comics, too!

ARTOON Director Lori Lamas checking in the assignments. 

With the completion of the course, the last step was for Lori to take all the original art and have put them together in a digital file, where they'll printed and mounted onto a large 8' x 24' display piece. That will be on view outdoors at the Packing House in Claremont, CA. 

The unveiling for the piece will happen this week, on Friday, March 21. The ceremony, which will be attended by the students and their families, takes place at 5:30pm. Regrettably, due to a business trip up North, I won't be able to attend. But if you're available, please stop by and support the hard work by the students.

A great moment: This was the last day, class had already ended about 5 minutes previously, and these boys jumped in to help their classmate finish his piece. That's the collaborative spirit of art...and friendship!

My thanks to the Claremont Museum of Art, Lori Lamas and Wendy Kubiak for the opportunity to be a part of this excellent program. And to all the students for their creative energy and great comics!

Friday, March 14, 2014

SUPER 75ers.... A brand new comic!

So I've got a brand-new comic I've produced for online consumption, a 4 page story featuring the debut of...

The SUPER 75ers!

They're a superhero team active in the mid 1970s (the same era I started reading comics...). Taking cues from the pop culture zeitgeist of the era, I came up with a group of characters drawing from kung fu, blaxploitation and exorcist films & comics. And also, I haven't actually done a story with a team, so it was fun juggling the three characters around.

And of course, heroes really shine when confronting villains, so I present this monster amalgamation:

Here are the individual promos I made for the heroes:

The 4 Pager featuring the SUPER 75ers is the second one I've done (the first featured my brash, blue T-rex DINOSAURIO), and I've got another in the pipeline. But right now, it's time to head back almost 40 years ago and read the premiere adventure of the SUPER 75ers!

Click here to read the SUPER 75ers on my DeviantArt page. If you want to enlarge it, click on the comic page. Use the NEXT > arrow to advance to the next page (located in the top left-hand corner).

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Latino Comics Expo coming to San Jose, CA this October!

As the Co-Founder to this event, I'm very happy to announce we're having our Expo this year in San Jose, CA. This is our 5th show we've had since starting the Expo back in 2011. I actually debuted my first comic book (EL MUERTO) at a convention in San Jose back in 1998, so it's nice to be heading back to the town where it all started!

We'll be announcing in the days and weeks to come, including our Special Guests, exhibiting creators, panels, workshops and more. Check out our official site at: Latino Comics Expo.Com