So after spending yesterday helping my students struggle with their nascent, shaky ideas, revising, reworking and shaping them according to the fundamentals that make gag cartoons work, what do I do? Introduce Anti-Gag Cartoons of course! Keep ‘em off balance, that’s what I say!
Early in Mastering Comics, Jessica Abel and Matt Madden discuss ‘the Horror of the Blank Page’ (Chapter 2). Every artist who has ever put pen to paper has felt it, and likely some of your students will be feeling it now.
Wondering what’s coming in our upcoming new textbook Mastering Comics? We’ve posted our table of contents in the Resources section, and will link items in it to posts here as we make them. Can’t wait to share this with you!
Nick Bertozzi is an amazingly talented and prolific cartoonist, a teacher, and a good friend. I was thrilled when I saw this post about the process he used to make his new book Lewis & Clark over at the First Second blog, and asked if we could repost it here. If you’re in NYC, come celebrate the book release with Nick at Bergen Street Comics on Friday, Feb 25. Matt and I will be there, too!
While I’m pretty decent at writing comics, when I started out writing prose fiction I had no idea what I was doing. Not only that, I didn’t particularly like doing it. On the other hand, I’ve had a number of students in comics classes who are prose writers first, and they all tend to hit certain sticking points. So here are a few observations about turning from comics to prose or vice versa.
Hothouse student Lisa Anchin worked intensely this summer toward mastering the language of comics and visual clarity. The first run through of her thumbs felt slow and confusing, but Lisa showed total commitment to revision, as tough as it can be, and remade her story until it’s clear, compelling, downright exciting ride. I can’t wait to see what happens next!
Hilary is an undergrad at SVA in cartooning, entering her third year. She’s incredibly energetic and involved in her learning process any time of the year, but something clicked in her brain this summer, and Hilary committed herself to her work with an intensity I rarely see.
The “pictureless comic” activity, originally from Chapter 7 of DWWP, is one that we use constantly, in formal classes, in intensive workshops, and in casual talks and improvised situations. We once did it in a lecture hall at a comic convention with 200 people! It has so many advantages: at its core, it’s a study of how comics work, the elements of comics and how they work together to create meaning, even without pictorial images. It’s also a great way to learn layout and lettering skills, and to concentrate on those technical skills, again, without distraction. Finally, it’s an activity that anyone can do. Drawing skills are unnecessary (though a design sensibility is certainly a help!).
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