John Baird's blog
Submitted by John Baird on November 5, 2007 - 18:26
Something that has always impressed me from organizing the Create a Comic Project (CCP) is the level of support it's received from the general webcomic community. I've contacted dozens of creators, asking them permission to use their comics to teach urban youths, and received overwhelmingly positive replies.
This reflects well on the attitudes underlying today's webcomic culture: the "me first" attitude prevalent in many parts of the entertainment industry have not yet become widespread among webcomic creators. This is likely due to what Ryan North said was the "humbling" experience of being a star in the Internet, but being a regular guy in the real world.
This also indicates an as yet untapped potential among creators: a move towards greater real world visibility through community outreach by volunteering. As Scott McCloud noted in Reinventing Comics: "public perception matters." And there are few things that can create a positive public perception better than community service.
Submitted by John Baird on November 2, 2007 - 08:41
One question some people ask me: what do you teach kids in the Create a Comic Project? On November 20, 2007, I'll be celebrating the upcoming one-year anniversary of the Create a Comic Project with a workshop at the Human Services Center. The preparations for this workshop allow me to give an example of my teaching method.
For the past couple weeks, I've been working on the lesson plan for the 2 hour workshop. I start with the basics: how to read the comic, panel order, not cramming too many words into dialogue bubbles, etc. These are easy to illustrate, though critical for a child to follow along with later lessons.
A more complex point I like to make is connecting words to images. While it seems obvious that words and images would go hand-in-hand with children, many kids don't bridge the two by default. This is often because they focus so intently on what to write, they forget the broader context.
One way to remind them is to go through an example of exactly how what they write can affect the whole mood of a scene. I find when it's made clear, the students will pay more attention to both halves of comic composition.
To illustrate how I approach this topic, here's a example using the template (from Jellaby by Kean Soo) above:
Submitted by John Baird on November 2, 2007 - 01:11