Last week Kim and I put on our first (annual?) Cartooning Bootcamp here in Madison. We had an Intro to Cartooning session on Monday, and the three-day Bootcamp Tuesday through Thursday. Kim did the hard parts, like calling art teachers and dropping off flyers to promote the event, and I did the fun part (talking ‘toons while sweating my butt off in a barely air-conditioned classroom).
It was a lot of fun. When I was growing up, there were tons of opportunities to get involved in sports during the summer, but not so many on the art front. (My early career aspirations involved a combination of the two, but since then, most of my sports heroes have turned out to be selfish, corrupt, and/or womanizing jerks.) Anyway, some of the teachers I met while doing cartooning workshops during the school year recommended that I do my own, so I did. I think the kids that were there really enjoyed it. Well, at least they enjoyed it when I told them that they’d be able to take home their very own non-photo blue pencil. (You’d have thought I was giving them one of Willy Wonka’s golden tickets.)
It’s always a challenge to break down years and years of accumulated knowledge into a three day session that can keep a fourth grader’s interest and provide a good foundation to build on. I find that it’s really a challenge of “unlearning” what I know, as I try to think about the things I would have liked to know when I was their age. Now that I am the age that I am, I know a few undeniable truths about being that age:
- 1.) It is physically impossible to draw lightly with a #2 pencil.
- 2.) An empowered imagination can produce very wonderful results
- 3.) Somehow, Garfield is considered very, very funny.
One of the really cool things we did was scan the finished comic strips that the kids created and posted them online. Check out the inspired work and fun photos for yourself.