It's the workshops that take place in the libraries and community centres that I enjoy the most. Those workshops usually happen during the school holidays, last an entire week, and the kid's parents have actually signed them up for it from a brochure, which means most of the kids actually want to be there. It also gives us enough time to work towards an overall project for the end of the week while doing all sorts of fun little activities along the way which should help inform that final project.
I've come to realise that there are two types of participant at these workshops: The kids who have at least a basic understanding of comics and will knuckle down and take their time and then the kids who just love drawing. The ones who just love drawing, they tend to tear through two days worth of my lesson plans in just a couple of hours. I remember one kid in particular who tore through everything in one morning and spent the majority of the rest of the week creating a really quite amazing, fully animated comic book on his Nintendo DS. It featured the other kids in the workshop doing voices for the different characters and they even performed it at the end of the week. Electronic comic books as performance art. By 11 year-olds. Fantastic.
I'm still honing my comic book teaching skills (My procrastination with making any of my own comics over the past year or so actually lead to a certain fear in teaching these workshops, "If I can't inspire myself, how the hell am I supposed to inspire a room full of children"?) and have Jim Medway (The godfather of comic book workshops in this country, I believe) to thank for initial inspiration and activities when I first started doing comic book workshops a few years ago. Although I've managed to pick up and devise other activities since then, it can feel a struggle not to keep repeating the same routine I do at every session.
I've just started offering the workshops out to local institutions off my own back, without the help of Eastside Educational Trust, which is a bit daunting. Next week I'll be starting a regular after school session at a local library for kids who attend the surrounding schools. The initial sign-up numbers are epic and I'm both massively excited and terrified.
The Big Dream is to eventually open my own comic shop locally and use it to run a variety of workshops, book clubs and events for both children and adults in the community. A "community friendly comic book shop" seems rather exciting to me.
|Possibly one of my favourite ever mini comic covers.|
Just for the simple inclusion of the "?" at the end of the title,
comically changing its tone, Anchorman style.