August 31, September 1, and going…
WE CAN’T BELIEVE IT! OUR SUMMER OF FUNNER 2011 IS NEAR TO A CLOSE!
Of course, we’re going out with a bang…Over the last two days, for instance, Blaise has been holding a cartooning workshop with the kids, teaching them about how comics are designed and produced and helping them create their own comic strips.
Yes, research, even for these comic book junkies…
The kids are no strangers to comic books or superheroes. Papa’s old comics are standard night-time reading at our house. Yes, we speak Doctor-X, Wolverine, Shogun Warriors, Prince Namor, and Spiderman to boot. Oh yes, we do! Still, it seemed sensible to “start at the very beginning.” So, Blaise took up the dictionary and talked to the kids about all of the possible interpretations of the word “cartoon.” [The one that suprised me was the definition of cartoon as a rough draft image for a fresco or painting!] Then, he used comic books, picture books and the internet to help the kids examine the form and function of cartoons – first concentrating on single panel images: “Look! Somebody made an image of Toronto’s Mayor Rob Ford as Jabba the Hutt!” – then moving on to comic books and larger format collections.
First Stop, Character Studies
Of course, before you could say “go” or get the sketchbooks out, the kids were buzzing with ideas for the types of comic strips they wanted to create. Bea, who was inspired by our Crazy Fruit Day, as well as our recent, failed attempt to make Sumac Jelly, wanted to combine her experiences into a “Land of Crazy Fruits” strip. Toby, as fascinated by turtles and sea life as he has been throughout the summer, wanted to do an “Under the Sea” themed strip. I have to say, as I listened to them describe what they wanted to work on with their father, I was thrilled to hear that the kids were drawing heavily from their previous Summer of Funner experiences!
Blaise convinced the kids, though, that the way to get things started was not to go right to drawing their comic strips but to pick one of the characters they wanted to feature and to draw it over and over again with different expressions. Without flinching, the kids reoriented themselves, preparing to give it a try! Bea chose to draw a Broccoli with changing facial features.Tobes chose to draw a crab, first, and then some graceful stingrays.
Next, Blaise taught them about the process of taking an idea to a sketch, then a sketch to a finer pencil drawing, then pencil to ink, and then, a full colour print. The kids drafted a series of panels with pencils. Then, on watercolour paper, they re-sketched their panels in pencil before using permanent ink to trace over the final pencil sketches. They coloured in their comic strips with markers to produce a finished product. Today, Blaise helped the kids use a scanner to save and “shrink” their images so that they appeared as if on newsprint. And, it’s been nothing but comics ever since! I have a feeling they’ll spend the rest of this “back to school” weekend at work on one-panel postcards and additional strips for their series! And, why not? I can think of no better way to end our Summer of Funner 2011!
The Progress of Toby’s Under the Sea
Tobes says his comic book is about “a turtle, two tadpoles, an alligator, a crab, and an evil hammer head shark that captures them. There’s also a stingray. He’s the one who swims down to save them.”
The Progress of Bea’s The Land of Crazy Fruits
Bea says her comic strip is about “How Ice Cream saves the Land of the Crazy Fruits, whose town’s name is ‘Mallberry’ (because they have lots of malls), from the Evil Sumac.”