OK, hopefully this serves as much for me to keep track of what I'm teaching as an entertaining (and maybe even useful?) aside for the T.A.G. faithful.
Taught my first class last Friday. Overall went well.
I started things by trying to define a bit of the mechanics of form that make comics unique. Firstly, on "closure," which we are defining as that mental leap the reader makes between two panels. It is the magic of seeing two separate images and linking them to create a continuous action or story....(images and concepts from Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics)
I ended the class (five hours later) with the other half of this formula: the concept of elapsed time within a panel. Started by putting a question to the class, "How would you define a single panel in a comic?" And just like I'd hoped, they took the bait and said, "It represents a single moment" (haha! suckers!).
Of course, this is what I thought, too--before reading McCloud.
The McCloud example of this is so glorious--it made a profound impression on me. So I shared it with class.
So important is this concept to me, I assigned it as homework. I asked the students to create their own time-lapse single panel--with themselves as a character. Those are the only two rules--you must have yourself as a character, and you must show the passage of time in a single image--no limits on style, content, etc. Don't even have to use dialogue. I asked the students to make (at least) four thumbnails for this and then pencil the panel on bristol; next class we will work on inking it.
But what is the overarching goal of this class, you ask? I put it thusly:
Led into this by reading aloud a bit from McKee's STORY,"The decline of story."
I talked about materials, and attempted to demonstrate the different types of ink delivery devices (crowquill, brush [with a proper W&N Series 7, to boot, tho' I told 'em don't worry about buying one of these if $ is an issue], and a brush pen [going with the Kuretake No. 14 on the rec. of Mr. Batton Lash--it's dang good!]).
My demo was a rather ambitious full-page layout of an invented Thor story--I asked the class who they wanted to see and a girl mentioned the Asgardian and I said, "Guard yr asses, then!"* and tried to lay this out on a rough piece of regular paper as a semi-full-sized thumbnail with the plan that I would then redraw it on a sheet of bristol, but like all demos, after about two minutes I began feeling the time pressure (this was supposed to be a demo of the materials, after all--not my inner Kirby) so I just inked a few figures over my very ruff layout on the very ruff paper with predictably appalling results. The only good idea I had was to make the "heavy" one of those ubiquitous late 60's smooth hippies Marvel was so good at doing (more of an Adams or Buscema thing than Kirby).
"Whoa! Who's dat flyin' daddy?!?"
At the time I thought it funny.
I talked about storyboards, too. The class is called "Sequential Art" and when they first floated the idea of me teaching such a thing, I thought it was just their fancy way of saying "storyboards." It was close'ish to the onset of class when they contacted me to say no, it's a class on comics--and I wrote up a syllabus, etc., based on that, only to find a week or so before class that the catalog describes the class as both comics and storyboards. Almost half my students signed up expecting a storyboard course. Oy, vey.
With regard to 'boards and "closure" I said:
To let them wrassle a bit with this difference between 'boards and comix, I had us look at a passage of "Lil' Merperson" boards....
...and then handed out some blank paper (it was the first day after all), and asked everybody to convert this section of story into a single page of comic book storytelling.
I showed 'em how awkward and uninspired it would look to merely copy the 'boards and plug them into a page-sized format.
But most everybody just copied some of these frames and jammed 'em into a six or nine panel page.
Oh, well--it's the first week!
The other thing I talked about were our large-scale projects for the semester. I came up with four. I will share those with you in another post (this is taking up too much room).
*of course I didn't really say that--you think I'm nuts??
Kyle Webster had a couple of demo videos I watched.
Something I learned that i plan to use a lot, whatever brush you are using, you can set it to clear. So you have an eraser that behaves just like the brush you've using. Great for texture building. The pick out twigs behind the guy on top were done like that with one of my favorite brushes set to clear. Erasing is so often blunter and uglier than what you want.
Hey guys, sorry I've been gone so long... my family finally arrived in Hamburg and I've been pretty preoccupied with getting an apartment set up for us and then showing them around Hamburg, school starting, etc.
I'm going to make it up to you by sharing some of the totally bad ass characters we've been making for the game we've been working on for the past year. I'm super proud of the team and what we've accomplished. Enjoy! Click me to see!
Tonight I went to a figure drawing group (on a Tuesday) and Pam Whidden was the model. She was old in 1992. The last time I drew her was in the living room of a house Maurie Manning was renting. I couldn't find a way into drawing her. I just did a hodge podge of methods for each 20 minute pose, Don't want to say anything more lest I be ungenerous to a woman who is a cornerstone of San Diego art.
I made an instagram, benjaminmontag.art, which I am populating with the nudes I have drawn in lieu of drawing anything original. Boobs and pee-pees made boring is the theme.
Our dear confrère Ben Montag is helping me devise a class for making comics. He mailed me a fat packet of Kubert School lessons and learnedness. This pic is a shout-out to Ben.
I talked to Jimmy the other day and he (like most of us, I'll wager) was grousing about motivation, lack of productivity, want of a project that fires his loins, etc., and I said, "How 'bout I post my comics class assignments and lecture notes and you make like a student AND DO YR DAMN HOMEO-WORK!" Which piqued his interest. I even thought I could post said materials here on our group site for the amusement of all.
So I ask you guys--would you like me to make this wondrous TAG blog a part of my process in building this class? I would find your feedback immensely helpful--I don't really put myself forward as an expert on comic books and their creation, so I could use some advice--you all have a lot more expertise than I do.
Class starts in two weeks (egad!)--even as I type this, I'm putting together my course outline and first lecture.
I'll take page (literals) from Marie Severin....
Materials and required reading discussion in the comments section...
Inspired by Ellis's performance: El, you look like you were born to be drawn by Mignola, so I obliged (in a quickie, faux-Hellboy style).
Also a chance to practice inking with these new brush pens from Xeno (Japanese company, bought on a whim at GraphAids in Culver City). They're pretty good!
One more 'cuz it's g-d impossible not to draw Ellis in full-on attack mode.
That spiral staircase was mesmerizing! I wanted to see more!! Love that pan to follow the coin thru the sky all the way to hitting the ground. Great shot! And I see you dropping frames on yr attack--really fits with the old Sci-Fi music!!
That said, I have no idea what the hell was going on in that thing.
Ellis, Kong-O-Phile that you are, do you know the names Mario Larringana, Byron Crabbe and Willis O'Brien? Came across this cool concept art done by them for the original 1933 movie. I never knew it existed. Have you seen it before?