I was contacted recently by the Miami Wolfsonian Museum of Florida International University to design and teach a workshop for Miami teens. It was a welcome invitation for a number of reasons.
(I’m also a fan of Miami, and happy to spend some time there, even in the heat of late June, and even with our two-and-a-half-year-old daughter Aldara, and our three-month-old son Jasper in tow. Matt will take care of them while I’m teaching in the mornings, brave soul.)
The upshot of all this is that I’m designing a whole new curriculum, which, though based on others I’ve done, still poses a lot of interesting new questions and problems. I thought I’d throw it out here as I go and see if anyone has any ideas about what I’m planning. I’ll continue to post updates as I develop this workshop, and I plan to blog it while in Miami Beach in late June. I also hope to be able to create a class blog for the students’ work, but it remains to be seen whether this will work.
The structure of the class is M-F 9-5, with a half hour lunch. This is a ton of time to fill, but comics are very demanding, and we’re doing a lot, so it’ll still be overcrowded, and there will still be homework (sorry kids!). I will be teaching the morning sessions, 9-1, for the first seven days. I have a very able assistant teacher lined up, Caiphus Moore, who will handle afternoons, and guide the class after my departure for the last three days. I’ll be very sorry not to see it through to the end, but budget constraints make that impossible. And after 10 days in a hotel with two kids, I’m sure I’ll be happy to get home!
The lesson plan in its current form is below. I welcome any feedback on it; it’s still a work in progress. A couple of points: There are several main projects, designed to teach various skills.
10-day workshop for teens
9-5, half hour lunch break at 1 pm.
Morning session: Jessica Abel
Afternoon session: Caiphus Moore
What are comics? How does the juxtaposition of words and images create narrative?
random selection of newspaper or magazine photos with captions all removed.
Introductions: Students and teachers introduce themselves, discuss interests and history/experience with comics
Jam comic (DWWP pg 13)
use one preprinted grid each
Critique jam comics (incl compositions) in small groups (see crit guides DWWP pg 237)
Sum of its parts (DWWP pg. 23)
Use random selection of photos
Read about figure drawing (DWWP pg 170-186)
Drawing from life activity: The head’s in your hands, DWWP pg 186
Reading: DWWP chapters 1-4, 9, 10
Reading ch 1-4, 9, 10
story structure. How do you take your ideas and mold them into a story?
Panel lottery activity
Look at how adding panels to a story changes the narrative meaning.
Show one-pagers, such as:
-McCay, Rarebit Fiend, Sammy Sneeze
-Kurtzman, Hey, Look!
-Katchor, Julius Knipl or Metropolis strips
-Robt. Armstrong, “Dizzy Ratstein”
-Crumb, “Short History of America”
-Jessica, “Oh My Sisters”; “Maybe Next Year”
-Matt, “House Music,” “Salida”
Begin work on thumbs
Lecture/discuss Perspective (chapter from upcoming DWWP2)
Rough draft of thumbs for 4-page story
Get your comics on the page. Thumbs and layout.
Individual critique thumbs
On location comics 1: layout/prep.
Indesign template creation for on location
Work on thumbs revision for 4-pager
Lay out and pencil comic with no pictures
Inking, editing and revising.
Group critique thumbs for 4-pager/revise
Ink imageless comic
On location comics 2: field trip/drawing
finish on-location comics drawing
InDesign and scanning, revision and editing.
Individual crit/review revised thumbs for 4-pager
demo scanning and layout in InDesign
demo one-sheet minicomics folding
On location comics 3: scanning and indesign.
Print out masters
print and fold minis to trade Monday
lay out pages for 4-pager.
Continue and set up/design blog
continue work on 4-pager
color if desired.
Post finished work on workshop blog