Are you aware of Crazy Comic Club workshops run after school on Mondays and Wednesdays at the West Hill Hall? I’ve been hosting these popular sessions for 5 years now, sharing cartooning skills with kids, and developing drawing and literacy by creating characters and telling stories. As a combination of words and pictures, comics are a hugely accessible art form, especially to those who may be lacking in confidence.
Workshops are a relaxed and fun environment to be in after a long day at school. We follow three threads of approach. Individually crafted workshops focus on specific aspects of cartoonery, from anatomy and expression, to setting, shading, perspective, dynamism, design, and speech. During free drawing sessions, kids can create what they want, how they want – their own characters and strips – guided and encouraged by me. We also work on longer term collaborative projects culminating in a beautifully printed comic at the end of the course. They’re sold locally at Dave’s Comics, and the kids get to share the profits. Bonus!
Comics have always been an underrated medium, often perceived as ‘low art’. The intellectual input into the form on the behalf of the reader is, however, very demanding: in the gaps between boxes of a comic strip, time passes, locations change, things happen. The brain has to make a number of calculations – based upon what it has seen before, and what follows, literally ‘filling in’ gaps in the story with the imagination, based on infinite, constantly evolving symbolic ‘clues’ that are embedded in the language of the form. And you thought it was all just fart jokes and laser blasts!
Comics cover ALL subjects – graphic journalism, personal memoirs, philosophy, biography, history. Wherever there are stories there are now comics. My own background is as a cartoonist, writing satirical anti-war comics for 6 years before deciding that life could be more rewarding aiding the development of young people’s imaginations through comics. Direct creative action, if you will…
Art is crucial to the development of young people, as a form of relaxation, freedom, and even therapy. Parents often say to me “Of course I’ve never been able to draw.” Nonsense! Everyone can draw, the confidence and desire just gets sucked out of you at school! Art is virtually bottom of the list of academic priorities. School teaches everyone to behave and think the same in preparation for a mundane life conforming to rules and systems. Art, meanwhile, encourages independent thought, antithetical to this ‘hive mind’ mentality. So it follows that free creative thought is suppressed, thus the status quo of our secret lizard masters remains unthreatened! Ho ho! Only kidding readers! Now go pick up a pencil and draw something.
More information: www.crazycomicclub.co.uk. If you would like to book your child a place please call James Parsons on 07854 797 342