Recently I worked with a group of 8th grade students in Bradley Beach, NJ through an Artist’s In Education grant. Over the course of 16 classes I taught them everything I know making comics, which they applied to creating personal stories under the title: My Reality. They came up with many funny, heart-breaking and honest stories, which you can check out (HERE) along with more info on the project. We ended up producing a 40 page comic with a bilingual selection of six as well as individual comic books for each story. Great school, great partner teachers, great project!
That’s the New Jersey Society of Children’s Book Writer’s and Illustrators. I’ll be doing a workshop on the fundamental visual-storytelling tools of comics on Saturday and drawing inspiration from themes on Sunday.
One of the richest subjects to support with comics is the Greek Myths. Administrators and teachers love the western civilization angle and students love the monsters, magic powers, romance and violence. Over the last year I conducted half a dozen workshops on comics and the greek myths. Here are some images:
Once again this page has fallen WAAAAAAAY out of date. So here’s a recap since the last post:
Despite appearances, I have continued to stay quite busy as a teaching artist over the last year, working with Young Audiences of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, Arts Horizons and this year Morris Arts. Through Young Audiences, with funding from the Geraldine Dodge Foundation, I have also been working as a Creative Consultant helping schools in Clifton, Trenton, Paterson, Haledon and others infuse arts that aligns with Common Core into their curriculum. In this capacity we’ve been exploring the idea of connecting comics to specific subjects as a way to inspire students. For instance, below is a model sheet for a character living in Ancient China as part of a social studies unit. Other subjects I’ve tried this with have been Greek Myths and Early Explorers.
Check back in a few days and I’ll have some images from the projects on Greek Myths.
I recently had the pleasure of working with ESL students from the Bloomfield school district. I’m a big believer in the possibilities of using comics to build literacy with this group of students. Lisa Basile at Bloomfield High School had the students read a couple of my books and then we did question and answer on the use of setting, character, and what ever else came up. They were especially interested in the Bloomfield locations I chose for Katman. Then we followed up with workshops where the students created their own characters and told their stories in comics. They had some great characters and I’m looking forward to seeing their final stories. Here are some pix:
I am excited and honored to be working with poet Eloise Bruce and the students at Monmouth Beach Elementary School. Their school was closed for 8 months last year after Hurricane Sandy filled it with two feet of water. Eloise and I, under the auspices of Young Audiences, will be helping the students process and express their experiences in words and pictures. I can’t wait to meet the students and see what they come up with.
Young Audiences and Arts Horizons, in addition to the seemingly endless things that come my way from word-of-mouth, kept me busy driving up and down New Jersey last year. Most recently I had the pleasure to be a fly-on-the-wall with an experienced teaching artist and William Paterson professor as they consulted at Union City Middle School on the subject of integrating the arts and traditional content. I witnessed some exciting things and even got to do a lesson teaching students how to draw in perspective as a way of re-enforcing geometry vocabulary. The week before I worked with a science class teaching them how to draw cumulus, cirrus and stratus clouds with white pastels on blue paper. As someone who has exclusively been teaching comics (often in a way that supports core language arts standards) the experience opened my eyes to myriad of possibilities.
A busy month. I’ll be at the following schools:
Paterson Public School #7- halfway through a 20 day residency.
Emerson Middle School in Union City- 5 day residency.
Woodrow Wilson Elementary in Trenton- 4 day residency.
Bloomfield High School
plus my History of Monsters class starts up at the Montclair Cooperative School and my regular gig at Montclair State. Better buy some more pencils!
I just started a couple of residencies in Northern New Jersey. I’m 2 days into a 5 day residency in at Gilmore School in Union City. I just introduced the students to complex facial emotions and they came up with some great work I’ll be posting later. Meanwhile, I had my first meeting with the hard-working and committed folks at an elementary school in Paterson. I’ll be working with five different groups of kids over 10 packed days, introducing them to how some of the language arts concepts like plot structure, character and setting translate into comics language. In the end, a core group of kids will produce their own comics that we’ll print and bind for family, friends, and prosperity. I’m looking forward to having a long residency where we can really dig into the work and have some creative things happen.