Club Spotlight: Stoneydown Park School Drawing Group

picture of us

This month, Ben Thompson tells Hannah Sackett about the club he runs at Stoneydown Park School in Walthamstow, London.

Name of your Comic Club: Stoneydown Park School Drawing Group

Where do you meet and how often? The Art Room at Stoneydown Park Primary School, once a week.

Average number of members: Ten

How long have you been running? One year.

Tell us about your club: The group is made up of children from years 3, 4 and 5. We meet up after school on Fridays, and sit around a big table in the Art Room. Often there’s a starter activity. Usually this involves me giving out a bunch of little mini-comics that I’ve started, and getting the children to finish them. The endings they come up with are usually incredibly gory! After this, everyone gets on with drawing whatever they want – unicorns, weird worlds, things from Minecraft etc., Sometimes someone brings along some glittery pens or some pretty stationery from Smiggle. Sometimes snacks get shared out. At the end, we do a ‘show and tell’ of what we’ve drawn (if there’s time) and then we all go home!

Do you have a comic club activity you’d like to share:
We’ve had quite a lot of fun doing collaborative, two-panel comics. One person does the first panel and then passes it to a second person to complete. There aren’t too many rules about how to do this, but it helps if the first panel has at least two characters in it. Also, it helps if there’s something a little bit unusual going on e.g. maybe there’s a strange object, or maybe one of the characters is doing something unusual.

The drawing club have also contributed a Comics Challenge for this month – check it out here! Thanks to Ben and the club members for sharing their ideas and drawings.

You can read about the comic they contributed to the Comic Swap here and read reviews of it here.

Club Spotlight Update!

This month we revisit the Drawing Comics Club at St Aubyn’s School, to find out about their latest members and what they’ve been up to!

Name of your Comic Club: Drawing Comics Club

Tell us about the latest members of your clubs: The club is so popular we have expanded our numbers from 10 to 12. This term we still have a range of very enthusiastic boys and girls from years 4 and 5.

Do you have a comic club activity you’d like to share: This week we took a leaf out of Phoenix Comic’s Jess Bradley‘s book and worked on comedy horoscopes, although I had to explain what a horoscope and star sign was first which took me by surprise! Following this long discussion, we have created some very funny panels which we will be giving to another group in the school for their pupil magazine!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Which comics should we be reading right now?

Latest popular comics in the library include: Akissi – Tales of Mischief by Marguerite Abouet, Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson and Corpse Talk : Ground-Breaking Scientists
by Adam Murphy and Lisa Murphy.

  Image result for calvin and hobbes book cover  Image result for Corpse Talk : Ground-Breaking Scientists

Many thanks to librarian Rhiannon Cook for answering our questions!

 

Comic Club Spotlight with the Comic Jammers!

Hannah Sackett talked to school librarian Rhiannon Cook about her new comic club:

Name of your Comic Club: Drawing Comics Club

9

Where do you meet and how often? We meet in the school library, once a week on a Thursday.

Average number of members: At the moment we have 8 members but next term we should be back up to our full membership of 10 pupils.

How long have you been running? This Christmas term was the first term the club has run due to changes in the library opening hours, however, we are looking forward to running as long as there is demand! At the moment there is a waiting list and lots of pupils are keen. We have lots of comic readers throughout the school.

2

Tell us about your club: As we are fairly new, we have used the first half of term to find our way a little through comic jams, draw-a-long videos, the How to Draw series on Guardian Kids, ideas from drawing books we have in the library and of course worksheets and inspiration from the Comics Club Blog. In the second half of term we have been brainstorming for our own comic; voting on a name (Comic Jam), tag line, ideas for front covers and drafting our panels before creating a final storyboard each. We also had a school visit from Neill Cameron in October which inspired us a lot!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Do you have a comic club activity you’d like to share: One of our favourite activities was the Make Your Own Superhero/villain exercise on the Comics Club Blog. What I would like to do next time is extend this activity to a life size version! With the club in 2 groups of 5, use a roll of art paper to draw around a pupil and the group must add the clothes, features, powers of the hero/villain and label to present to the group.

Which comics should we be reading right now? Some of our favourite comics right now are: the Phoebe and her Unicorn series by Dana Simpson, Mega Robo Bros by Neill Cameron, and the Hilo series by Judd Winick.

Image result for phoebe and her unicorn Image result for mega robo brosImage result for hilo by judd winick

What are your plans for the coming year? As the club is so popular, our members will be changing once a term to give other keen comic artists a chance. The current members (or Comic Jammers) are very determined to keep making their own comics and are even discussing continuing Comic Jam outside of school hours!

Thanks so much to Rhiannon and the Comic Jammers for telling us about their club. We’ll be catching up with the club again over the next few months to hear more about their favourite comics.

Comic 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.

Annamalai 1
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.

Annabel and Martha
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

heath
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…

annamalai 3
The Chocolate Problems by annamalai
annamalai 2
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!

 

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.

20170410_131918.jpg

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!

IMG_1519

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.

IMG_1535[1]

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.

IMG_1542

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!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

fig-01

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!

fig-07

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 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.

dundee-emily

Average number of members: 15-20

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

dundee-harry

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.

dundee-callum

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.

dundee-stella

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.

dundee-20170127_170049

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!