Friday, 18 March 2016

10 new flipcharts from Comic Art Masterclass schools

Sometimes I take the opportunity to pose beside them for a cheesy photograph, sometimes I manage to get a snap of the flipchart itself. But usually, when I'm setting up for a Comic Art Masterclass, I try and draw a flipchart page full of various comic strip characters, to set the tone for the day, give us some reference, and to impress kids. "How are you doing that?" is the most inexplicably common questions I am asked while I am, rather obviously, copying a picture of a superhero out of a comic. Showing them how easy this can be is a revelation to more kids than you would think.

In Hexham I went for Iron Man, though I'm always aware I need to get female characters on there. The chances of kids asking for a female character are extremely rare, but I do my utmost to redress the balance. Also you'll see Homer Simpson wearing a necklace and with eyelashes. This is a fun routine I do with them occasionally. "Who am I drawing?" I ask, as the outline looks really obviously like Bart, then it starts to look like it could be Lisa or Marge, then suddenly it turns into Homer for comedic effect. The fact that all the Simpsons have identical features is news to them.

Here in Amble I went for Wonder Woman, as I do more than most other choices, and they wanted a Darth Vader so they got one. Frustratingly, hardly anyone recognised Minnie The Minx, though a few knew it was "that bloke from Beano".

Crickhowell got the whole Homer-in-a-dress routine, and a dreadful looking Batman, but sadly I seem to have left this one unfinished, as so often happens when the kids can't be kept waiting any longer. Who's the face between Captain America's legs you ask?

As you've probably guessed, that's me I've drawn. In this case, at a class at Allendale near Hexham, I've also tried drawing Iron Man out of my head while talking to the kids at the same time. That rarely looks great.

This unfinished arrangement, from a class at Astley Hall in Chorley, features the Spider-Man pose from the new Captain America Civil War trailer, with which the kids were au fait, and also a Doctor Who pose. If there are Doctor Who fans in the room (and often there are none these days) I give them a choice of a Dalek or the Doctor, then if they choose the latter, I ask which Doctor they want. More often than not it's David Tennant.

And in Gloucester it's a straightforward classic, with Dennis The Menace drawn live while talking (basically if it looks a bit rubbish, I was drawing and trying to talk to kids over my shoulder at the same time), and the Simpson drawing ended up as Marge, while definitely have veered between being Bart and Lisa en route.

All Saints Reading got an Iron Man, clearly from comic book reference, with Dennis, Dalek and Batman drawn live. The 3D title always impresses them, and along the way shows them how easily the effect can be achieved.

World Book Day in Darlington gets the works, with the added indulgence of a Tintin and an Asterix, because we were in a library which had such books to hand, so I like to plug them if I can. Spider-Man and Minnie drawn so live it's painful to look at.

Ooh, I've gone for the generic Comic Art Masterclass title this time, which is a shame cos that means I've no idea where this one comes from. Bart turns into Marge, live, and Spider-Man looks a bit rubbish. And how big do I think my hair is?

Ten flipcharts, and by golly there are plenty more out there. If you want me to come to your school or art centre, teach comics and, as an incidental by product, leave you with a flipchart you can't get rid of, you know where to find me.

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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