Thursday, 5 July 2012

Teaching Comics (5)

Cerebus #175 (October 1993)
Art by Dave Sim & Gerhard
Apart from the cyberspace analogy and the choice of emphasis that that implies (doing more of  what you like to do and less of what you don't like to do), the only other time that twenty to thirty percent of the eyes were glittering was when I mentioned that you could stand ten feet away from five pages of Spawn, five pages of Cerebus and five pages of From Hell, and you'd have a pretty good idea whose work you were looking at. A creator's style doesn't exist exclusively of crosshatching, brush stroke or pen line. There is also an overall 'look' that is idiosyncratic and which evolves in tandem with the pencilling and inking techniques. I encouraged the student to envision their stories, not just as individual pictures and panels and pencilling and inking problems, but to take a larger view of what their pages will look like from distance of ten feet and to work to make that 'look' distinctively their own.

It was an interesting experience, and I'd like to thank Bo Hampton for talking me into it and the SCAD staff for the plane ticket, hotel room and a couple of wonderful dinners.... although my view that a creator is best served be isolation and introspection in embarking on a comics career (and that self-publishing is the only sensible choice) remains intact, it's always intriguing to visit the Loyal Opposition on its home turf.

And if the net effect of the clash of views is a mutual assessment that the 'members opposite' are Misunderstanding Comics, I'm sure we're all none the worse for the 'wear and tear'.

In 1995 Dave Sim spent two days at the Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD) teaching sequential art, via workshops, portfolio reviews and lectures. He summarised the experience in his essay 'Misunderstainding Comics' printed in Cerebus #194 (May 1995).

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