Event Report – ELC at the Portobello Book Festival

We’ve been wanting to have a try at teaching a captive adult audience for a while, and the Portobello Book Festival seemed like an ideal opportunity.  Today we held a three hour class on ‘Making Comics’, where we loosely covered themes of character creation, telling stories with words and pictures, and self publishing.  It was a deliberately quiet event – we were teaching a group of five individuals, each of whom had signed up in advance for the three hour session.

Things went really well overall.  We deployed our usual character creation games, but did so in a much more focused way.  After a short period we’d compare our creations and then move on to the next task, meaning we could all share our experiences, and get inspiration off of each other.

A new game we used was one introduced to me in Ivan Brunetti’s fantastic ‘Cartooning: Philosophy and Practice’ book.  The idea is that you have to draw a series of characters read out by the teacher – each one an archetype – but each drawing is only given at most 10 seconds attention.  The idea is to portray a character in as efficient a way as possible, whilst still getting across some personality.  The game was tough to say the least, especially for those of us maybe a bit more rusty at such quick drawing.  But it was fun, informative and really great practice.

We followed all this up with a wall comic.  In this case we each drew our own interpretation of a second panel to in the initial panel (in which an angry woman finds her husband drunk in the pub).  We then each had to draw a third panel in response to another person’s second panel, and so forth.  It meant that we each had a say in how each story line went, and as a whole got to see how a narrative can spiral off in interesting directions from relatively humble beginnings.

The event was great, and a real learning experience.  We clearly need to come up with more games for a 3 hour session as things lagged a bit at the end, but overall everyone seemed to have a good time.  Hopefully there will be more adult focused comics classes for us in the future!


Thanks to Porty library for being so accommodating, and to our wonderful participants!

– Fumio and Edward

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