The "Dog Days" of August came early this year as the East Coast was mashed down like a Cuban sandwich on the Bermuda High for the past week in a heat wave that has lasted over a week at this point. With all this heat going on there was little chance to get out and paint, so its good that this was a week to be inside and teach my annual Summer Cartooning Class at PAFA. This is the third year I have taught this CE class as a week long intensive, and I had the most students take the class as well.
The class was held again in the 611 Drawing Room, which isn't the best room as far as seat wise, as its hard on your back to hunch over those tables. But these are young artists with spry backs. Once again I polled the class on likes and tastes and most of them love Manga with some ( 3-4) Superheroes and even some still reading the comic strips, many read on-line comics too.
This was also by far the most prolific class I've taught, everybody was cranking out the pages! I usually tell the class that attempting to do 2-3 pages over the course of the week is a lot, but some students did 4 or more pages and the level of the work overall was I think a bit higher as well. I got to spend a lot of one-on-one time with each student, working on their pages, doing drawings to help show how-to do something, often drawing on tracing paper, on their work itself or inking some of their work. I would do a bit of chalk talk but I prefer the students to draw, not watch me yak away as the real way to learn is by doing. I gave out advice on books, like the Loomis books, Famous Artist books, etc. with links to various web sites and tutorial on-line.
Most students inked with markers, but I did get most to try the brush and ink with nibs after I gave them an inking demo.
There were all kinds of stories, Stories about Cat Bugs, Kids adventuring into old attics, Avenging heroes, teams of Superheroes, Lunch Room Dramas, Re-imagining the Wizard of OZ characters and adventuring of all types. Its always exciting to see growth over the course of the week in the student's work and them bonding with each other as well. Cartoonists stick together!
The class was split pretty evenly between male and female students and there seemed to be a good vibe between them and interest in each others work, even sharing of tools and art supplies.
For some this was their first comic class, and their first comic page, like the story above, and I am always impressed by students like this who just seem to naturally take to the medium of comics and storytelling. Below you can see all of the students who completed the class holding their favorite page or drawing. Teaching a great group of young artists and cartoonist energizes me about art but specifically about the medium of cartooning which I think will be alive and well even if the Direct Market fades away.