Sunday, 7 June 2015

"A" Comics and They's Nuts - comics by kids in Bradford

It's a rare treat to be able to teach virtually every child in a school, and one that I've had the pleasure of doing at Blakehill Primary in Bradford this week. Working with two classes apiece of years 3, 4, 5 and 6 we've produced a glorious range of comics. Above you see year 6's titles - the first being a mis-spelling of spaghetti, the second being a tribute to the "ay" sound all Bradford schoolkids make when they're impressed by something (with its roots in "ee" as in "by gum", it equates to "wow" or "sick" in schoolkid parlance and I've found it across Bradford and nowhere else).

Doing two classes a day, and having to draw these front covers in only a few minutes (the morning class's gets the luxury of breaktime for me to put some detail in, the afternoon's is done within the two-and-a-bit hours of the workshop session) I only hope the titles the kids have come up with will inspire a design with some originality. I don't think these two were bad (it helps when you can google an old movie poster on your phone and do a parody).

Minecraft rears its head occasionally, and remains the hardest thing to wean kids off. I know it's in the air when I ask the kids to draw a character and they ask for a ruler. Dr Trayaurus is, I'm told, something from that benighted realm. Monkey Man Saves A Meatball That Is Poisonous is as joyous as it is grammatically over-elaborate.

The celebrities these kids came up with when asked to name someone to go into my classic "treads on a worm" demonstration strip were David Walliams (three times), Cristiano Ronaldo (twice), James Bond, Boris Johnson, Nicky Minaj, Zac Efron, and a wrestler called Rick Walker (no, me neither). Wait, doesn't that add up to ten celebrities? Yes. Yes it does.

For, not content with delivering two Comic Ar Masterclasses a day for four days at Blakehill Primary, I did two evening sessions too. Tuesday night I shot over to Ripon Grammar to work with boarding pupils in the library (the mention of banter on the front cover speaks volumes about the kind of kids I was working with there. Posh. I'm saying they were posh.) And on Wednesday night I worked with kids at the Al Mustafa Islamic Centre (shoes off, boys on one table, girls on the other) doing a comic which was supposed to be themed on positivity and boosting the image of the community. Given that I was keeping them away from religious studies I can only apologise. They seemed to enjoy it.

Four days and ten classes, you say? Well, we hope you had a rest after that Kev, you say? Not a chance. The next day I was in Croydon, and before Bradford we had Aberdeen, Guildford and Sunderland. Look elsewhere on the blog for those delights.

Kev F Sutherland, as well as writing and drawing for The Beano, Marvel, Doctor Who et al, runs Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, libraries and art centres - email for details, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter. View the promo video here

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