Teacher's Lounge

Teacher’s guide chapter 14: Comics in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

Lectures & discussions

14.1 Producing reproductions

If you have a classroom set-up or a nearby computer lab where you can demonstrate scanning using a projector, you’re all set. Otherwise you’ll probably need to assign this as a reading/activity to be done at home or in a computer lab. Consider having students e-mail you tiffs of their scans. You need to have them send the work in exactly the format described in the book, or you won’t be able to see if they’ve followed instructions (1200dpi bitmap TIFF at full original size). If they do these right, they shouldn’t be more than 2 mb each. Alternately, have them bring in laser printouts for you to look over and critique, though this is less satisfactory.

14.2 Olde-Styley tools again

Underscore that the proportion wheel has numerous uses. Not just scanning but figuring out percentages for photocopies and original art.


Try the proportion wheel

This could be a group or small-group activity. Solicit answers from different groups and put them up on a board. Make sure everyone is physically manipulating the wheel and not just watching, even if they are passing a shared wheel back and forth. After doing a few of these calculations, students should realize that the proportion wheel is pretty intuitive once you get the hang of it.

What is anti-aliasing?

Print history: film and "non-photo blue"

Further reading

Ron Regé Jr., Dave Choe, Brian Ralph, and Jordan Crane, Re: A Guide to Reproduction. Available as a free download on http://reddingk.com/reproguide.pdf.  Scroll down to the bottom of the page.  This little booklet is a fantastic guide to photocopying, screenprinting, and offset printing in a very DIY mode.

Finish inking, make corrections, and reproduce your six-page comic

If you have time to work in class, circulate and make sure your students are keeping pace. Look for ways to help them improve their work methods: don't let them obsessively cross-hatch the same panel for two hours, encourage them to spot blacks with a brush if you see them using a pen, tell them to keep moving if they are getting bogged down with a particular visual problem.

"It was an accident"

This is a straightforward assignment that gives students clear problems to solve: the basics of visual storytelling and structuring a true story or anecdote into a work of narrative art. Depending on the length of your semester you might be able to fit this in, even as a warm-up to the 6-pager. It could also be an extra assignment for anyone who finishes the 6-pager early.

Chapter 14: Finish inking, make corrections, and reproduce your six-page comic

This should be as much of a celebration as a crit. They should be feeling pretty proud of themselves. Pay special attention to what their stories look like reduced and copied. Are they pleased with how they look? What are they most happy with? What do they plan to do differently on their next comic (either creatively or in terms of process)?