Tuesday, October 20, 2009

zines & zombies

In every illustration class, I print student work, so the class can see their art in context, reproduced, and as part of a larger whole. During two weeks this semester they worked on a collective comic, which will be a 32 page full color zine titled "Coast City." This is a patchy undertaking, getting a class of 15 to collaborate in a timely manner, but was undoubtedly a worthwhile project, allowing for imaginative brainstorming (a useful skill in any environment), and aiming for a clear visual thread as a group (visual literacy). The peer dynamic came into play, another positive. In the end, the successful delivery of digital files for reproduction is a basic professional practice, too.

After a visit from guest illustrator, Joel Zain Rivers, each student offered a possible character. Here Sarah makes note of the gamut, which ranged from trolls to dopey ducks.

With an unwieldy cast, the students merged characters, editing to a list of 6. Elise
takes on the strong-armed revision necessary.

Students then brought in their character studies for the motley cast:
a mobster lobster, octopus, sexy cyborg scientist, a duck crossing guard, a mime, and a
zombie horde. This called for some life drawing reinforcement, in which students volunteered to pose. Here Thomas holds an undead lurch.

I invite students to draw from both observation and imagination. I try to do some quick drawings also, to both mentor and stay aware of what I am asking them to do.

They get it. When students take turns modeling, they appreciate how quickly they need to draw. Not easy holding your hands in the air for ten minutes.

These are Stephan's brush and ink drawings.

Here, students reenact a scene in which the mad scientist commands her zombies.

Thanks to an eneven number of students, a pair of pages fell to me to illustrate. Each of us drew two pages from a hat, and were assigned a piece of the story to illustrate.

Here are mine.

Katie made puppets for her scenes.

I collected digital files from everyone and did the production. Today, I will pick them up from Xpress.

It's an absurd satire with a mash-up of styles but also a great exercise in drawing, collaboration, character design, visual literacy, and meeting deadlines.

Yay for students in IL 321-421 at MECA!


amie. said...

I love that you post stuff from your classes. Really brings me back! Now I can enjoy it without having to do all the work. Haha!

LOVE your comic pages!

Patricia Erikson said...

Thank you for giving us a peek into your process. Fascinating project.