Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cartooning @ SERC Institute

Instilling respect through fear as an educational tool.

Earlier in the week I had an awesome opportunity to participate in an event hosted by the SERC Institute (Schoodic Education and Research Center) in conjunction with the Maine Sea Coast Mission folks. Along with Acadia National Park Rangers and VIP volunteers they put on a youth development program called "EdGE." The kids get to spend the day learning about science and nature, pick up some lessons in healthy nutrition and outdoor activities, and are sent home with a bag full of cool stuff. For example, from our sessions (four groups of 5th-8th graders, numbering approx 10 or so in each class) they scored a sketchbook and some drawing/coloring materials. One young girl was already working on her first graphic novel, and I was impressed at the unusual preponderance of above-average ability and interest in this particular group.

The theme for this particular session was "Winter Adaptation," which I was able to weave into my narrative during the show & tell, and hinge a few images off their experiences hiking around the island with some familiar species and scenarios. It was really fun to show both the Alaskan and Maine sides of my work, with a little interjection about basic drawing skills and pitch opportunities in the industry/field of cartooning (freelance etc.). They had permission to doodle on practice sheets while I babbled, and after the slides, everybody gathered around the main table to look at sample originals from the portfolio, and finally a quick demo panel to show the penciling and inking process.
After that they could work up a drawing in their new sketchbook, whatever they wanted to draw, or use one of the shown images in the presentation to work off of, or use a bonus on-site "model" - a handsome (dead, but still handsome) Fisher. Plus I learned a bonus trivia nugget as to the French Canadian phrase for "porcupine" - cuchon de pin.

Thanks to the volunteers and staff, especially Ranger Kate!

"It's magic..."