Friday, June 26, 2009

Minicomics + Guest Artist: Robin Feinman

Last, but definitely not least, Thursday night we had one final guest presenter drop by and lead us all in a little minicomic workshop: local artist, educator, and musician Robin Feinman sat in on a critique and then did a show & tell about one of her favorite ways to do cartooning. I'm also a huge fan of her linework; it's very loose and expressive like a controlled doodle's spontaneous energy that syncs up nicely with the matching freshness of her content's subject matter and writing style.
This particular project and method really really really brings home the meta-message that anyone can do comics - and making these minicomics is so quick and fun to do, plus you wind up with something cheap and easy to make then pass around to everyone else to collect and enjoy.
We started out copying with pencil from a super-simple template so as to get the pagination and orientation correct:

After thumbnailing out a rough sketch of the eight panels off to the side, we penciled in our pages, and then inked them, erased, folded 'em up and ta-daa... now each person got to trade with everyone else a copy of their creation. Not bad for an on-the-spot assignment, plus most folks had some amusing little story to tell. Doesn't everybody though?
I also like the additional step of making double-sided copies so as to include a bonus poster when the minicomic is unfolded. And these can be as complicated and labor-intensive as you want; there is an unlimited number of possibilities as to how folks go about making there minicomic unique. To this end I always haul along my sack of accumulated samples that range from hand-printed color covers using woodcuts and etchings, hand-sewn bindings, every conceivable configuration of pages and sizes... this is just one of the most individually expressive formats to explore in the medium.

For the last few years now I've been making my own little mini-comics based on field sketches and doodles drawn while on vacation to send back home to family and friends for gifts. Besides being a cheap bastard for the holidays, they're perfect for packing along to conventions, openings and parties for some covert promotional distribution. Or one can always go the Chick Tract route and litter hotel rooms, bus-stops and bathrooms. Don't forget to include detailed personal information about contacting you, so as to attract new clients and random weirdos. Or how about collaborating with other folks at a cartoon jam by passing it around and having everyone do a different panel or add their own twist to a narrative - then you'd also have a spiffy memento after making everyone copies. Can't be beat as a medium of transmission while disseminating your propaganda. And while it does take utilize the power of the press (well, xerox), I think physically handing someone an object like a mini-comic is more of an immediate, tangible and intimate connection with a reader, say as compared to viewed on-line.

And on a personal note, by the time this last series of guest presenters wraps up, I'm just about bustin' at the seams to get back into it myself. Suppose it's a good sign that A) I learned something new again, and B) I'm equally inspired to start creating new, different and more and more comics. Works for me: something along the lines of Neo getting jacked up on the training program, this whole damn class is a simulation of what life's like after taking the funny pill and realizing anything's possible.

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