It's a fair indication of how busy I've been in the last month that, on a couple of occasions, I didn't even get round to colouring the front covers of the comics I've made in my classes. It's part of the aftercare service, essentially, though I've now come to promise as part of the class that I will colour their front cover when I get home and email it back to them. However the first example you see on this montage, from Bridport Arts Centre in Dorset, didn't get its colour added until two weeks later when they chased me up about it. I am a bad Comic Art Masterclass presenter.
Talavera School in Aldershot was a nice one to return to, and included one of the more novel incidents of the year when a kid brought in a live bullet. The poor lad, a year three pupil, totally innocently, after break, was asking everyone if they'd seen his bullet? He'd been showing it to everyone and had now lost it. I enquired what kind of bullet this was, maybe a spent cartridge or an antique of some sort. It turns out to have been a live .303 slug. Talavera is, you see, aligned with Aldershot Barracks, and most of the parents are in the armed services. One, it seems, was more armed than they were supposed to be. Luckily the bullet was found and, I imagine, one red faced parent will be keeping a tighter grip on their ammo than they had been doing.
Though our current state of double-vaccinations and boosters make us as safe as we're likely to be from the Covids, the same can't be said for Ireland, whose restrictions include kids having to remain masked all through class. In fact the situation in Ireland, which also included added paperwork at the airport and potential delays and costs with my travel and hotels, that a visit to Clongowed Wood school, for the first time in two years, became the first and only bit of travel I've cancelled this year. We did the class on Zoom instead and the school have covered the bits of travel I couldn't get refunded. The kids were great, but I'm a bit bugged by their current addiction to the video game Among Us, which is visually pretty untimulating and hard to work into an interesting cover. There are two in this batch (one that managed to include a penguin instead) and one in the next blog.
The Back To The Future parody came from a class I did for a corporate party, for NBC Universal, which was fun, even for a corporate event, with people talking stuff about marketing which I really did not understand. I then, as part of the gig, had to take their drawings, colour them, and assemble them into a printed magazine (see above). None of which I understood either.
The celebrities these six groups chose to appear in my demonstration strip were Boris Johnson, Billie Eilish, Dwayne The Rock Johnson, Cristiano Ronaldo, and two that went sadly unrecorded.
Kev F Sutherland, as well as writing and drawing for The Beano, Marvel, Doctor Who, and graphic novels adapted from Shakespeare, runs Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, libraries and art centres - email for details, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter. He is the host of the podcast Comic Cuts The Panel Show.