November Comics Challenge: Weird and Unusual Creatures!

This month’s comic challenge has been devised for us by Damon Herd of Dundee Comics Creative Space. Thanks Damon!

Damon writes:
This month our Comics Clubbers here in Dundee have been working on comics inspired by Gulliver’s Travels as DCCS is part of the Being Human Festival and we are celebrating the 350th anniversary of author Jonathan Swift’s birth. In the book Lemuel Gulliver travels to lots of strange places such as Lilliput, where the people are all around 6 inches tall. Later he visits the flying island of Laputa, and then Land of the Houyhnhnms, where talking horses rule over the Yahoos, who are deformed and savage humanoids.

This comics challenge is to invent a weird and unusual creature (maybe one that Gulliver might meet!) and then create a one page comic starring that creature. To help you we have supplied a list of inspirations. The best way to invent your creature is to print out the sheet and then cut out all the suggestions. Put the ‘creatures’, ‘sizes’, and ‘locations’ in separate cups and then pick one from each. So for example, you might pick an octopus that is the size of Australia who lives in a Haunted House! You should have enough information to inspire a design and story. We have included a 6 panel grid to print out to create your story on but feel free to design your own page and panels. Also, you can mix up the categories and add new ones if you want to! Happy drawing!

 

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6 panel grid

 

 

Comics Club Spotlight with Inkpots

Hannah Sackett caught up with Gill Pawley of Inkpots to find out about the Inkpots comic club.

Name of your Comic Club: Inkpots Comic Crew.

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Inkpots by Annamalai

Where do you meet and how often? We meet on Wednesdays at one of our after school clubs.

Average number of members: 10

How long have you been running? For about nine months.

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Fidget Spinners Take Over by Annabel and Martha

Tell us about your club:

We started the club after discovering Comics Club Blog and realising how many children just loved comics and drawing cartoons. It started at one after school club but has now spread to other groups

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comic by Heath

 

Do you have a comic club activity you’d like to share: There is always lots of interest in anything to do with chocolate…

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The Chocolate Problems by annamalai
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Mars Bar by Annamalai

Which comics should we be reading right now? The Phoenix is a big favourite!

What are your plans for the coming year?

We plan to have a big get together of all the Inkpots children who like comics and have a giant comics jam. We also hope to have one of the contributors from The Phoenix come and run a workshop for us.

Inkpots writing workshops

Many thanks to Gill for talking to us and to comic crew members for sharing their cartoons! We’re looking forward to them reporting back on their giant comics jam!

 

September Comics Challenge: Collage Comics!

Drawing is just one way of making comics. Why not have a go at using collage to make a comic? Collect scraps of coloured paper, left-over packaging and wrapping paper, pictures from old magazines or newspapers, and get cutting and sticking.

With Autumn here, you could also use fallen leaves and seeds to create your characters.

Use the sheets below, or design your own collage comic!

Collage Comics 01

 

Collage Comics 02

 

 

 

Comic Clubs Spotlight with Kingsholm Primary School

Matt Bunce tells Hannah Sackett all about the Awesome Comic Club at Kingsholm Church of England Primary School, in Gloucester.

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Your Comic Club is run as part of the ‘Kingsholm University’ –  a university teaching comics sounds like a lot of fun – how does it work? 

The university works like this:

  • Teachers/teaching assistants/outside experts decide on a ‘module’ that they would like to run for 6 sessions.  Each session lasts approximately an hour and a half.  The modules can be about anything, and have ranged from sports, to art, to cooking, cleaning and decorating, to gardening and crafting skills, even hairdressing at one time.
  • The module leader plans a 6 week unit of learning covering the skills that will be taught to the children, and the end result.
  • The modules are then presented to the children in a (very long, exciting) assembly.
  • We then have the 6 weeks of university, on a Friday afternoon, from 12:30.
  • At the end of the 6 weeks, we have a celebration assembly where the children share some of their learning, and see a power point slideshow of all the units.  They receive a certificate to show they have completed their chosen module.
  • Then we do it again next term!

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Why do you run the Kingsholm University in your school?

One of the benefits of the university it that it enables children to share and develop skills that may not come through in a traditional curriculum.  Some of our children are very practical, and are able to use these skills in university modules.  Some modules (such as ‘Go, team. Go!’ and ‘Going Wild’) have focussed on team and leadership skills, and have allowed children who may not normally display those skills in a class setting, to take a more active role in a team/leadership situation given the practical nature of the tasks.  Finally, it allows children to develop new skills, and perhaps discover something they will love doing, and find their path in life.

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Why did you choose to run a comic club module?

So, comics!  I love comics, always have, always will!  I have drawn a few in my life, and feel that they are underused in education.  However, I recognise that they are not readily understood by all teachers, and therefore perhaps shied away from during literacy sessions (apart from the ‘storyboard’ style comics used in story planning etc).  I wanted to communicate this love to the children, and also slyly get in some English learning in the 6 weeks I had.  It has been a very popular module with 25 children involved.

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What did your Awesome Comics sessions involve?

We covered character development, basic storytelling and dialogue in a visit from Neill Cameron, and then went on to look at drawing different poses, drawing faces and lettering.  The final two weeks were spent on drawing and expanding the basic strips and finally publishing the comic.  In addition, I hope to encourage the children to get into reading and making comics, as I know that comics can have a huge benefit to literacy skills – they certainly helped teach me to read!

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Will you run this group again?

As a module, it is one I have enjoyed planning and delivering, I will certainly run it again next year.  I will also be running a comic club as an afterschool club next academic year.

Huge thanks to Matt for telling us about his club and for inviting Neill and Hannah to visit his group – which was full of awesome cartoonists! Their finished comic looks amazing – and was one of the comics to be featured over on the Comic Swap website.

 

Comic Club Spotlight with Ellie Egleton

Ellie Egleton tells Hannah Sackett all about her experience of running a comic club.

Can you tell me about the comic club you ran at your old school? What did you do in a typical session? I am currently preparing for my postgraduate teacher training course and so for work experience I returned to my secondary school as a teaching assistant. I really enjoyed the work and so I asked if I could please organise an after-school Comic Book Club which I was kindly allowed to do.

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Every Friday I had a group of students, ranging from 11-15 years old, come to my Comic Book Club! It was great to see a real mix of boys and girls! The activities varied from week to week but the basic idea behind the club was to give the students a starting point where they can jump into reading comics. I have found that with the volumes and volumes of comic books published, it is often difficult to know where to start reading. So, I would prepare a PowerPoint showcasing a particular character such as Spider-Man or the Avengers (usually characters who the students requested) and give them an introduction into the character’s history and recommended my favourite stories. To finish we would have a fun quiz based on the character and I would give out comic books as prizes!

We threw a Batman murder mystery party where the Joker had been “killed” and the students each had a part to play to work out who had committed the crime. My Dad also came in as a guest speaker a few times to show the students some cool comic booksranging from classic back issues to first appearances and issue ones. We also had weeks where I would help the kids create their own comic books and they wrote and drew some amazing things!

We all had a great time geeking out at Comic Book Club! All of my PowerPoint slides have been posted at http://thamesmeadcomicbookclub.blogspot.co.uk/ , a blog I made for the kids to refer back to and to help those interested in starting their own comic book club!

Did club members have a favourite activity? I think that the comic book quizzes were very popular! The kids had the choice whether they wanted to work on their own or in a team and there was certainly some friendly competition! I think that the students also really enjoyed leading the session. We would often discuss what they were reading or creating and so Comic Book Club members became a close friendship group which was nice as I’m not sure if the students would have had a chance to interact with one another outside of the club. Sometimes the kids would create their own PowerPoints to showcase the characters that they loved reading!fig-06


Can you tell me about the research you’re doing at the moment? 
I am currently conducting research for my dissertation which is to investigate how comic books can be used in the classroom to help students’ with their ongoing identity development! It has been great interviewing teachers about how they might incorporate comic books into class and running activities with students to see how they may relate to characters such as Spider-Gwen and Ms Marvel! I am also organising activities where the students can create their own comic books all about their identity in order to explore what is important to them and what makes them who they are! I think that comic books can be very useful in the classroom as resources which students can relate to and be creative with! My dissertation project is due in April and so I look forward to concluding the research!

In addition to all this, you also find time to make a web comic! Haha yes! When I was at school I wrote an all-ages book called Classified Files of a Superhero which I am now lucky enough to be making into a graphic novel! Classified Files of a Superhero had a very small print run, only 100 copies, which went to family, friends and a few book shops. Now, the graphic novel is being published page by page over at http://powerpunchbootcamp.tumblr.com/  featuring art by Kurt Wood (@kurtwooddotcom) and Alejandro Rosado (@aleroart).

Power Punch Boot Camp is a place for future heroes, world domination and pancakes and is absolutely my childhood dream come true! I loved showing the Comic Book Club kids the process behind making the comic and I hope that it has inspired them to carry on creating!

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Which comics should we be reading right now? This is a very tricky question as there are so many great comic books out there right now! Recently, I have really enjoyed reading Gwenpool! I think it is such a quirky, fun comic book and I really like the character! I think that the DC Comics’ Rebirth range is also a great place to either start or continue reading comics! I’ve been particularly enjoying Green Arrow, Nightwing and Titans! I am also super excited for Marvel’s new Jean Grey ongoing series and so, as a big fan of the character, I always recommend classic X-Men stories including the Dark Phoenix Saga, Phoenix Endsong and X-Men Origins Jean Grey #1! They’re some of my favourite ever comic books!


What are your plans for the coming year? 
I’m currently counting down the days until I graduate from the University of Surrey! I am looking forward to spending time in Florida over the summer at Disney and starting my teacher training in September. I also have plans to contact publishers with the Power Punch Boot Camp graphic novel and so I am keeping my fingers crossed for that one!

Many thanks to Ellie for finding the time to talk to us – we’re looking forward to hearing more about her research and wish her all the best with her PGCE and her graphic novel!

Comic Swap!

Has your comic club made a comic? Why not get involved in the new Comic Swap run by Hannah Sackett and Lydia Wysocki, with Seven Stories: The National Centre for Children’s Books

Hannah and Lydia tell us how it works…

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Comic Swap helps groups of children share comics they’ve made. Our first swap is now open!

How it works:
  • You, as the adult responsible for a children’s comics-making group, send 6 copies of your comic to us at Seven Stories: The National Centre for Children’s Books.
  • We add one copy of your comic to the Comic Swap library at Seven Stories.
  • We shuffle the comics sent to us by the groups taking part in the swap.
  • You wait excitedly by the letterbox to receive 5 comics made by other comic swap groups.
  • You read your new comics!

The closing date for emailed permission forms is Friday 7th April 2017.
The closing date for posted comics to arrive at Seven Stories is Friday 14th April 2017.
Swapped comics will be posted out in May 2017.

Each comics swap group must be formed of multiple children and at least one responsible adult. Please do not send us any money: your group pays postage costs to send your comics to us, then we pay the postage to send you 5 new comics made by other groups.

Visit our blog for full details of how to get involved: https://comicswap.wordpress.com/about/

Don’t worry if you don’t have a comic to swap this time round – there will be more Comic Swaps to come, so start making those comics now!

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Comic Club Spotlight with Dundee Comics Creative Space

This month we head to Dundee – birthplace of The Beano, The Dandy and many, many more comics. Damon Herd tells Hannah Sackett all about the brilliant Comic Clubs running at the Dundee Comics Creative Space.

Name of your Comic Club: Comics Club at Dundee Comics Creative Space

Where do you meet and how often? We meet every week in our own dedicated space in The Vision Building in Dundee. Tuesdays from 4.30-6.30pm for 10-13 year olds and every Wednesday from 4.30-6.30pm for 14-17 year olds. We also do outreach workshops at local schools and community groups.

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Average number of members: 15-20

How long have you been running? Since March 1st 2016

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Tell us about your club: DCCS is a social enterprise and studio project set up by the University of Dundee with funding from the The Rank Foundation. The aim is to provide educational workshops and to encourage creative learning through comics. Ink Pot, our studio, is filled with comics artists, many of whom are graduates of the comics courses atthe University and Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design here in Dundee. The Ink Pot artists facilitate our workshops.

Most weeks we will do an exercise to learn a bit about comics but there will always be free drawing time. Sometimes we are working towards a publication, such as our anthology Tales From Dundee & Beyond, which was launched at Dundee Literary Festival last October. The Comics Clubbers also put together 8-page zine-style comics of their own work for the festival. Some of them became super entrepreneurs, handing out flyers and encouraging people to buy their comics! We also had an exhibition of comics in Dundee last year and the children’s comics were included in that too. Our connection with the University means we are able to get some great guests, such as Will Morris and Cam Kennedy. Dave Gibbons is our patron and did a workshop and portfolio review here when we first opened.

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Do you have a comic club activity you’d like to share: We love to start our workshops with warm up exercises and the favourite, by a long way, is consequences (or exquisite corpse), which always has everyone in stitches when the wacky characters are revealed at the end.

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Which comics should we be reading right now? Tales From Dundee and Beyond: Comics Club Comic Strips Volume 1. The anthology of strips by the young people in our workshops from the first six months of Comics Club – available from our website! The characters on the cover were designed for us by Glasgow-based artist Letty Wilson, who is a graduate of the Comics Masters at the University of Dundee. The Beano is still a favourite with our comics clubbers, and there is usually a Marvel/DC argument going on among some of them. Anything with a pug in it would be a big hit too. We looked at Lumberjanes a few weeks ago and that was popular, everyone started running round shouting ‘What the junk?’ Personally, I really like The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Love and Rockets and anything by Julia Gfrörer.

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What are your plans for the coming year? More of everything. More Comics Clubs, more anthology comics, more exhibitions, more guests, and more collaborations with other groups.

Where can we find out more? Here at our website. We also have a mailing list if folks want to be kept up to date with all things DCCS: http://eepurl.com/ct8XFn

Many thanks to Damon and to the members of the Comic Clubs for sharing their work!