We’ve been wanting to have a try at teaching a captive adult audience for a while, and the Portobello Book Festival seemed like an ideal opportunity. Today we held a three hour class on ‘Making Comics’, where we loosely covered themes of character creation, telling stories with words and pictures, and self publishing. It was a deliberately quiet event – we were teaching a group of five individuals, each of whom had signed up in advance for the three hour session.
Things went really well overall. We deployed our usual character creation games, but did so in a much more focused way. After a short period we’d compare our creations and then move on to the next task, meaning we could all share our experiences, and get inspiration off of each other.
A new game we used was one introduced to me in Ivan Brunetti’s fantastic ‘Cartooning: Philosophy and Practice’ book. The idea is that you have to draw a series of characters read out by the teacher – each one an archetype – but each drawing is only given at most 10 seconds attention. The idea is to portray a character in as efficient a way as possible, whilst still getting across some personality. The game was tough to say the least, especially for those of us maybe a bit more rusty at such quick drawing. But it was fun, informative and really great practice.
We followed all this up with a wall comic. In this case we each drew our own interpretation of a second panel to in the initial panel (in which an angry woman finds her husband drunk in the pub). We then each had to draw a third panel in response to another person’s second panel, and so forth. It meant that we each had a say in how each story line went, and as a whole got to see how a narrative can spiral off in interesting directions from relatively humble beginnings.
The event was great, and a real learning experience. We clearly need to come up with more games for a 3 hour session as things lagged a bit at the end, but overall everyone seemed to have a good time. Hopefully there will be more adult focused comics classes for us in the future!
Thanks to Porty library for being so accommodating, and to our wonderful participants!
– Fumio and Edward
It’s always nice to see the growing trend in academic discussion of comics. A new generation of comic book fans is going to university, more than happy to engage with comics in all manner of ways. These discussions help us appreciate comics in new ways, and hopefully open up new ideas and encourage new readers. Below we have Scott Jeffrey, an academic from Stirling University who is working on a thesis about superhero comics, who is looking to talk to some comic readers as part of his research. Please read on and, if you live in the central belt, consider helping Scott out!
Since the appearance of Superman in 1938 the DC and Marvel Universes have grown to encompass a wide range of superhuman beings. Whether through alien biology, evolutionary mutation, human-machine fusion, or radioactive spider bite, superhero comics have thrived on the notion of humans and humanoids developing fantastic powers, and the rights and responsibilities that such powers entail.
Meanwhile, for many current philosophers, the question of what it means to be human is more pressing than ever. For such authors current advances in genetic engineering, nanotechnology, robotics , neuroscience and more are leading us towards a ‘posthuman’ future: a world of beings so technologically advanced and enhanced as to no longer be recognizably human. For some this is to be embraced; for others to be avoided.
My research investigates how superhero comics have dealt with such ideas in relation to historical theories of how the posthuman might be achieved. I am looking for comic book readers to interview about his topic, whether you are actively interested in the idea of human technological enhancement or just a fan of superhero comics generally (or both!).
For any questions or further details please contact me, Scott Jeffery, on: firstname.lastname@example.org
Last weekend we held our second family Drop In + Draw session, this time in association with the Creative Jam arts festival. The event took place at the St. James Centre, just off Princes Street and was a two day affair, right during one of the rainiest summer weekends Edinburgh has seen in a long time.
Although Saturday started off very quiet, by around 2pm we began to attract some attention from passing families, with kids who were probably sick of shopping and eager for a little bit of quiet drawing. Sunday was our blockbuster day, a marked difference from Saturday: we were busy with people pretty much non-stop from noon onwards.
We’d evolved our ideas since the last event, ditching a lot of the stuff that had been less popular at the previous event, and especially the activities that were maybe too complex to explain quickly to passing punters. Instead we focussed on the idea of character creation, with ideas borrowed from my time spent with We Are Words + Pictures at Hay and Latitude Festivals.
The hit of the weekend was the character creation technique we used where a person would pick out of separate bags a random name, description and job for a character. The resulting random creations were strange and hilarious, and led to a lot of fun for kids and us professionals alike.
Art by Fumio Obata and Tom Hunt
We all had a great weekend, and it was refreshing for all of us to have a chance to draw for fun for a change. Thanks are due to Tom Hunt, Fumio Obata and Eleni Kalorkoti as artists in residence during the weekend, to Ness and Mat for organising the event, to Artlandic for supplying loads of art materials and to St. James Centre for having us. And obviously, most thanks has to go to everyone who came along and took part. Your amazing inventions made the weekend a blast!
– Edward Ross
The Edinburgh League of Comics is pleased to present ‘Drop in and Draw’, an informal comics drawing event for kids and adults alike!
This free event, held on Saturday 7th of May in celebration of Free Comic Book Day, gives you the opportunity to hang out and draw with amateurs and professionals. Gain insight from our resident Manga expert Fumio Obata, our webcomic whiz Tom Hunt, or our non-fiction specialist Edward Ross. Play comics creation games like Panel Scrabble and ComicJam, create your own Comics Remix, or just spend an afternoon drawing whatever you like!
We provide the paper and pens (though bring your own if you want), you provide the inspiration.
The event is being hosted by Newington Library, Edinburgh. Drop in any time between 1pm and 4.30pm on Saturday 7th May and join the fun! For more details contact Newington Library on 0131 529 5536 or email the ELC at email@example.com
There is going to be a comic book masterclass with Metaphrog, Glasgow-based comic book creators, at Newington Library in Edinburgh on the 19th of March. The event is family friendly pitched at ages 5+, but I get the impression it’ll be good for adults too.
There will be two sessions on the day: 10am – 1pm and 1.45pm – 4.45pm. You can book a space by calling Newington Library on 0131 529 5536.