Saturday, December 12, 2015

Recap: Random Gigs + Classrooms 2015

Entering an Art Room = enter another world

Best. Sign. Ever. Nice to see that the frequent admonition to my own students is in fact watering a seed that was planted by another art teacher many years before they reach my classroom. And it's also the best advice ever, as to this day I still do the same. The class is Life - take notes, as there will be a test some funny ideas.

This little sampling is in lieu of a much more massive missive I'm still working on that recaps an awesome artist-in-school residency done in-between teaching my own classes and the regular freelance clients + cartoons. I did manage to fit in a few random gigs, such as this "Kids 2 Campus" event where youngsters tour the college and various departments host introductory sessions relating to their respective fields of study. I opted for a quick show & tell of my portfolio, brief demo of techniques + process, and a fun timed exercise that I've come to incorporate more and more into small groups for getting the creative juices flowing.  We start by dividing an 8.5x11" sheet of copier paper into six panels, then beginning in the upper left-hand corner, draw a self-portrait using Sharpies in four minutes. Then in the next panel, the same drawing is done but this time in only half the time - two minutes. Halve it again for the third panel: one minute now, and then thirty seconds, to fifteen and finish out with five seconds.

This is a really super fun way to jump-start any class into drawing - and doubles as an example of how character development takes place along a continuum of making marks, which might not necessarily be contingent upon intensively laboring over details. In fact, as with many cartoons, the simpler it is, the better it might be at imparting the essentials.

Meanwhile I put in a few special guest appearances at local schools, Lathrop High for one, when the wonderful Ms. Robin Feinman (also of notable fame in the realm of music) had me over for a show & tell, together with a demo in inking. That initial visit was followed up with participating in a critique of student works done by the art majors for their comics unit. Always impressed to see the quality and enthusiasm put out by aspiring talents, not to mention the astute educational aspect of a teacher who incorporates comics into their curriculum, for any age or grade.

Also some truly outstanding efforts were on display out at North Pole High where I was fortunate to be invited as a participant in their Career Day, along with dozens of other folks from the community who gave presentations on their respective fields. I gave a couple talks on my work as a cartoonist interjected by another one on the graphic arts, as there is considerable overlap between the two, especially when one considers the more potentially lucrative application of cartooning skills as they relate to commercial art such as logos and design.

As evidenced by attendance and enthusiasm (check out the flier posted above) this is by far and away one of the most potent and powerful areas by which to engage and cultivate interest in so many varying disciplines. Be it a wide range of subject matters in history, science, business etc. - virtually any interest or issue can be addressed and incorporated into comics. This is of course above and beyond the obvious and practical benefits of fomenting a passion for literacy and art.

"These books need to be checked out"

Another excellent event was a chance to participate in the first ever "Comic Book Day" out at the North Pole Public Library: special thanks to Cody and Ingrid for hosting the gig!

Classic "WTF" expression while wiping out doing a demo

As the dust settles snow melts away over another spring it's time to start gearing up for yet another blowout summer: recurring stints with both the Visual Art Academy and UAF Summer Sessions are awaiting, both of which will yield a bumper crop of cartoonists. Time to get ahead of the backlog and build up a buffer zone in the studio - thanks as always for the visit!


  1. Super cool! Thanks for putting up my poster on the post! That was exiting to see!

  2. Hope to see you at the Visual art academy!