Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Donald Trump & Your Nan - more comics by kids

And as Donald Trump once more rears his ugly head, at the suggestion of a class of year 3s and 4s, we see that he has become ubiquitous in the minds of children. The most haunting and memorable comment on the great orange baby came from a Year 4 pupil who said, when Trump had come up in conversation, "All I know is that he's banned me from his country." Eight years old and that's the first thing she knows about politics. How's that for a sad state of affairs?

The school is in King's Heath in Birmingham and, true to form, when I asked if anyone in the class had a relative in UB40, two classes had. Try it. Everyone in King's Heath is related to someone in UB40 (these kids had Grandads and Uncles in the band).

On the more cheerful side of things, these two comics emerged from what I call Mega Classes. Usually I only work with a group of up to 30 pupils maximum. Beyond that it's unworkable. However, every now and again, a school feels they can only have me if I work with a larger number of pupils, and so a Mega Class comes about. In this case we got 60 pupils at a time into the hall for the introductory half hour of the session. Then they broke off into their two respective classrooms to do the characters drawing, while I went into just one of their classes to do the Naming Of The Comic procedure. So only Year 4 got to name the comic (in the afternoon it was Year 5 who got that privilege). Then all back to the hall for the demonstration segment How To Do A Comic Strip (aka the Treading On A Worm routine), after which they were back into their two classrooms to draw their strips. This time I went with the other class, so only they (yr 3 am, yr 6 pm) got their caricatures drawn. It's not ideal doing it this way, depriving half the kids of caricatures, the other half of the chance to name the comic they'll be taking home, and all of them as much of my attention as they'd usually get, but we got away with it. I produced two versions of each comic on the photocopier, and sent home 120 satisfied customers at the end of a knackering day.

Rickmansworth library, in contrast, was a textbook pair of classes, made only slightly slower by having to use one of those library photocopiers that only has a flat lid on the top, no sheet-feeder. If you've ever wondered how long it take me to produce the A5 photocopied comics that each kid takes home, it take 10 minutes on a sheet-feeding copier. A lid-only copier takes nearer half an hour. And that's how interesting that anecdote's going to get.

This class was fun, in a community centre called Zion in Bristol that I'd never encountered before. A result of my emailing art centres at the start of the year, this is one of half a dozen of my classes that's been open to the public for a change, and has of course sold out. This one had no access to a photocopier at all, but the kids still seemed happy taking home their strips and their caricatures. I aim to please.

The celebrities these five groups chose to appear in my demonstration strip were Theresa May, Donald Trump three times (I think we have this year's winner already) and Barack Obama.

Comic Art Masterclasses coming up in 2017:

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

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...