I had the pleasure of meeting Howard Chaykin last week in Minnesota for the MCBA’s SpringCon. I was particularly interested to hear that he’s been teaching in an unexpected venue: the Marvel Bullpen. He and Klaus Jansen spend 3 days every 6 months in the Marvel offices giving what-for to 5 artists under contract with Marvel.
Kevin and Zander have collaborated on a number of comic books. This wouldn’t be unusual, except that they’ve developed an intensive style of collaboration, where each works on every stage of the comics, from conception to layouts (thumbnails), to pencils, to inks. Like French authors (who famously use a similar system) Dupuy & Berberian, they’ve evolved a consistent combined style where you really can’t tell where one’s work ends and the other begins.
Somehow, all the times I’ve been in Europe for the sake of comics, and all the times I’ve tried to talk my students into traveling and getting involved in the international comics scene, it never occurred to me to talk to students about studying abroad.
On day two of the conference, four comics teachers (including me) presented their programs and approaches. I’m a relatively veteran comics teacher. I’ve been teaching regularly since 2001 (and started in 1998), full year courses, workshops, seminars, you name it. So what was most striking to me about these presentations was how distinct each approach was. There’s a part of me that believed, until then, that there was a narrow band of ways to approach teaching comics well (and obviously a lot of ways to do it badly). Clearly, I was quite wrong.
Recently, I was a guest at a comics teaching conference in Finland. As far as I know, it was the very first of its kind; attendees and presenters all taught not reading comics, but making comics. I’ve never had the chance before to compare teaching methods and philosophies with such a diverse (and large) group of peers. It was eye-opening (and I wish there had been some such conference before I finished DWWP!). It was so full of valuable information, in fact, that I’m going to divide this report into several parts, and run the next parts over the next week.
At my recent workshop at the Miami Wolfsonian Museum, I taught the students about live area, how to lay out a page, and how to hand-letter. This first batch of short videos discuss and demonstrate live area, original size, laying out a page, and laying out tiers.
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