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.
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!).
We finally had enough work done that we started to get finished projects up on the blog! Most students finished their pictureless comics, scanned them, cleaned them up, and posted them. It’s a pretty great-looking bunch of pages, so check them out.
This week’s main project: a one sheet micro-mini utilizing a real location in Miami Beach. We figured out the proportions for a 150% larger original size, and the students laid out 8 pages in their sketchbooks, and went out drawing with Caiphus in the afternoon.
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