Friday, November 15, 2013

Comics Podcasts: Digital Beards "How To Cartoon"

Photo Chris Malmberg

     Continuing with the awesome opportunity in exploring the possibilities of podcasting (see earlier post here), the wonderful folks at UAF's eLearning and Distant Ed produced another outstanding session with yers truly. This time it's an hour-long demo on the entire process behind creating a sample panel, from concept to doodle to pencil to ink, plus a bunch of bonus pieces on related points of interest interwoven with an extended narration on craft + technique.
     This is infinitely better than my humble home-grown experiment attempting to do a tutorial with the Smokey the Polar Bear piece. Extra-special thanks go out again to Chris Malmberg for all his time & effort for this project!

This was a great opportunity to promote the Cartoon & Comic Art course, and by extension, UAF Summer Sessions and the UAF Art Department. While some faculty understandably might be resistant to publicly disseminating ("giving it away for free") their proprietary lessons in such a way, as a long-standing blogger of virtually every aspect of teaching, my tendency these days is to think that not only are such territorial pissings misguided, any technophobic trepidations are no different than experiencing all the other temporary fears every artist works through during the creative process (ex: the aforementioned "putting it on display," whether it's a wall or the web).
     That's not unlike the sensation of being aware for the first time of an actual audience that reads the cartoons in the newspaper, or the apprehension at a first exhibition, signing, or classroom presentation. I was reminded of this at being a little bit nervous sitting under bright lights with a microphone and rolling camera: it's a slightly different scenario to step up into the "performing arts" arena, and can be a challenge for many a visual artist whose usual MO is to create sequestered away in the comfort and privacy of a studio.

      I looked at this as a singular opportunity to push right up against the envelope where technological advances in distance education rubs right up against the final frontier in teaching art. In the studio course it's hands-on all the way, excepting the occasional lecture. That said there is an unprecedented opportunity here to expand the reach and the role of a traditional art teacher with such things as podcasts that go above & beyond the simple posting of samples of work on-line.
     This might be of interest to any Art Department faculty or an artist who gives lessons from their own, independent studio. Though ostensibly the benefit of taking a studio course is to work in-person with an instructor on the manual aspects of craft that don’t really translate well into distance learning, this is a great chance to experiment with developing an enticing tutorial to attract prospective students. Additionally it can give an incoming or enrolled student background information in a medium and/or information on a particular technique beforehand, so as to free up valuable time in the classroom studio. Maybe a lecture on an aspect of art history, sample carving of a mask, relief-print, slab and coil vessel, painting, drawing etc. – there are some interesting and creative options to explore. Most university or even libraries will have the technological resources in-house, with trained staff eager to assist in realizing whatever one could envision.

Check out the flagship tutorial vodcast here with this direct link to Digital Beards #11, and here's a link to the YouTube video.

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