Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Comic Art Masterclasses update

As we approach the end of the school year (in most of England & Wales, I realise Scotland, posh schools and the Olympic boroughs have already broken up) I have the last few of my Comic Art Masterclasses to do before busying myself with the Edinburgh Fringe, and it has been another busy half year on that front.

Having worked in schools too numerous to list (and having typed that I realise I am now going to have to list them, see below*) I continue to find the work I do with pupils has a real and tangible educational value. The feedback I get from teachers, parents and, of course, pupils shows that I continue to get them excited about reading and writing, I get them motivated creatively, and it gives a boost to the rest of the work they are doing at school. The comics they produce and take home with them attest to this beautifully, are a lovely memento for me of the schools and the groups.

Comics produced by the pupils in my Comic Art Masterclasses. Each pupil takes home a copy of the comic containing a strip by every single one of them plus a caricature by me. The titles are all their own invention.

I continue to work towards making something of my academic findings and my teaching methods, possibly turning them into a book in the near future, and I continue being asked to speak on the subject at Writing Conferences and teachers events, which further develops my thoughts.

Today on Twitter I chanced to ask the author Michael Rosen where he stood on comics as a literacy tool:

Me: Quick question, where do you stand on comic strips as a literacy tool?

Michael Rosen: @falsettosocks Utterly brilliant means of telling stories.They frequently use print in inventive and highly varied ways.

His response and retweeting of our exchange led to a number of folks popping out of the woodwork in praise of comics in literacy:

Neill Cameron:
I wrote a quick post yesterday about some of the benefits using comics in the classroom Neill Cameron blog

(This is a very good blog showing Neill does comic workshops in a very similar way to myself. I would be happy to recommend him for schools or art centres I'm unable to do)

Sophie Fox: My 7yr old became a fluent reader by findng my old Beanos, He's now just finished the 4th harry Potter book!

Di Cameron: The is partly funded by anon backer whose son learned to read from comics. GREAT stories.

Robert Wright:
Son got 80s comic ; less spandex more racial/political comment  

Oliver Armstrong: yeh i read dandy from very young. great fun. comics are amazing. under rated(by some) art form. 

Ellie Ness: I use a comic unit to help struggling readers as well and it leads up to an Access 3 Media Fiction award. 

So, an interesting discussion that I will happily dive into further when I have the time. Meanwhile I think I shall just create a Twitter account for my Comic Art Masterclasses so as not to confuse people who are just wanting to follow the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre, and look forward to the schools I'll be visiting next term. (Update: the new Twitter account for schools & comic fans is @KevFComicArtist

Just some of the thousands of one-minute caricatures I have done of pupils in my Comic Art Masterclasses in the past few months. They each take home the original caricature, along with a copy of everyone else's in the comic.

(*For the record this year so far I have taken Kev F's Comic Art Masterclass to schools both primary and secondary in Bristol, Taunton, Chandlers Ford, Newton Poppleford, Colchester (First Site Arts Centre), Bruton, Llangatock, Bridgwater, Basingstoke, Salisbury,  Blackburn, Chippenham, St Albans, Norwich, Wymondham, Fowey, Bath, Rochester, Strood, North Beckton, Ealing, Cork, Dungarvan, Waterford, Llangynidr, Birmingham, Croydon (The BRIT School no less), Swindon, Porthcawl, Kilby, Blaby, Countesthorpe, Bourne, Thurlby, Morton, Edenham, Wolverhampton, Walsall, Hanwell, Stratford, Weston Super Mare, Clevedon and Halesowen. I know. )

I'm Kev F, the comic writer and artist whose work appears in The Beano, Marvel comics, Doctor Who, Red Dwarf Smegazine, Viz, 2000AD and many points inbetween. If you would like to bring my Comic Art Masterclass to your school or art centre, drop me a line, a comment, a Twitter, Bat-Phone, whatever works. Click below to see more, including video and contact details.

RECOMMENDED COMIC BOOKS & GRAPHIC NOVELS for Comic Art Masterclass students, teachers and librarians

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