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.
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!