Sunday Sneak Preview

Yes, I'm very late. To be honest, I'm amazed I found any time to put up anything at all; we're not only trying to get packed for a move on the 31st, but I also am having to find time to run and bind eight hundred of my students' convention ashcan comics in time for Emerald City Comic-Con on April 4th.

All this is bearing down on us like a runaway freight train. So in lieu of a big long column this week I thought I'd put up a few of the kids' pages from that convention book. We've got a good group this year.

(Julie says I say that every year, but, well, it's TRUE every year.)

I decided to do this year's comic as a flip-book, with one side being the Aki kids' cover and the other side the Madison one. Lynn did Aki's Sketch, with the little shoujo vampire girl (I think someone's been reading Twilight.) The Doodle Inc. cover was a jam effort by the entire class, with the framing device of the two kids looking at the poster being a collaboration between Lynnaea and Mako, and then the rest of the students each contributed a character drawing for the poster itself.

Anyway, let's take a look at a few of the Madison crew's pages from the Doodle Inc. side.

Here's Jasmine.

Jasmine's new this year, though her older brother Allan is a three-year veteran. She's very soft-spoken and just quietly works on her drawings with clockwork discipline and precision, which is why it always makes me laugh to see the antic side of her personality on the page.

This is from Dasha, back again this year. She's really getting good.

Dasha, unlike Jasmine, is exactly as antic as what she portrays on the page.

This one is from Shane, another veteran.

Shane is branching out a bit this year -- he is very fond of Godzilla and other kaiju movies, and I finally persuaded him to do his own giant monster story. Shane was bitterly disappointed at Herb Trimpe's cancellation last year, but he cleaned up on back issues of Marvel's Godzilla book anyway.

Here's Helen. She's new this year.

She got a little carried away with the Sharpie marker, as you can see. I cautioned her that things in the background have thinner lines than things in the foreground, so she promptly thickened up the lines on everything in the foreground to the point where it looks like a woodcut. Still, I think it turned out reasonably well.

Quentin's another new addition this year... just joined us a few weeks ago, in fact. But he's a natural.

He instantly grasped the idea of varying his ink line and also of changing the point of view from panel to panel, which is something really hard to get across to the new kids, usually. He's got an odd sense of spatial perspective, which we are working on, but really all the kid needs is practice. I love that for once it's not faux-manga, Quentin's got his own thing going on.

Alexis is new too. She asked me, "Do I have to be realistic?"

I get this a lot, kids often are intimidated by the idea of doing something autobiographical. I explained, "No, it doesn't have to be real. The job is 'introduce yourself.' You can be serious, you can be funny, you can tell the truth or you can lie. It just has to be original, and you have to use your real name." (Because parents like seeing their kids' names in print.)

She lit up at the idea she could just make stuff up and off she went. Alexis has got kind of a punked-out look to her, with spiked hair and heavy mascara, so I was expecting something radical.

However, the charming pirate llama took me by surprise.

Megan herself is completely adorable so the fact that her page turned out to be just as cute was no surprise.

That's a fairly representative sample of the Madison group. Over at Aki the class is much, much smaller but they've got some game.

Here's a few pages from the Sketch side of the book.

Edwin has been working very hard since last year and you can definitely see improvement.

He wanted to do something 'interactive,' which is what the name comment is about. Really I think Ed's heart lies with webcomics.

Lynn's another one that returned this year with new confidence.

She's still trying to duck out on doing real backgrounds (with a context for the scene and horizon lines and so on) though. We're working on it.

Relivia is so shy she can hardly speak above a whisper but my God she's good. Born to do comics.

Basically she came into class, sat down, and started turning out pages that look like this. My instructions to her tend to be nitpicky things like, "Watch you're not getting too cluttered, there," or "Might want to darken that up," but really the pages are mostly good to go the second she hands them in.

And here is Jada, who was the primary artist behind the guerrilla art gang flyers I talked about a few months ago.

She's another one that blossomed over the summer and came back this year raring to go.

And that's a little sample of the Cartooning Class of '09. Come see us at Emerald City Con if you're in town, we'll be in Artist's Alley again this year.

As for me, I've got to go back to boxing up books. See you next week... I hope closer to the regular Friday date, but no promises. A move AND a convention... God help us.

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