Of all the events the Comicsmiths' Guild has been a part of, this has got to have been one of my favorites.
Art On The Edge, a nonprofit youth community art program in Coeur d' Alene, did a summer day camp with the theme of superheroes this year. The founders contacted a local comic shop, Lightning Comics, to see if they knew any comic book artists who could help with the program, and they put them in touch with our group.
For the last week, we got to teach four classes of kids per day about the ins and outs of making comics. We covered creating a character, coming up with a memorable name, designing an eye-catching cover, the importance of appropriate lettering, differing art styles, and ways to lay out a page.
There's something exhilarating about sharing knowledge with people who are genuinely interested in the topic at hand. Not only that, but kids have a tendency to create without a sense that their work is too absurd, or isn't right. We had kids with characters like The Human Strawberry, or one who could throw lizards. There was even one kid who created a character (whose name I wish I could recall) which was dressed in a rainbow-colored disco suit with a giant afro.
One of my favorite moments actually came as I was waiting to wash my hands in the bathroom on the first day. I was behind two little boys who were, as little boys will, taking too long to scrub up in the sink and making a giant mess, but they then started talking about how the comics class was next and it was their favorite. That was awesome.
This being the first time we've done this, there were of course hiccups. We ran out of some supplies, and one of the comics we brought for the kids from Free Comic Book Day needed to be replaced (Good one, Marvel!) but overall, things were really smooth.
The kids were also doing other things relating to superheroes all week, and at the end, they used their characters to create colorful costumes and put on a little skit. I filmed the whole thing, which was a lot of fun, and I hope to have some clips up on YouTube in short order.
I'd like to take a moment to thank everyone who helped to make this possible, and I apologize in advance to anyone who I've forgotten:
Rachel, Levi, Jay, Peter, Jesse, Erik, Lightning Comics in Coeur d' Alene, The Comic Book Shop in Spokane, and Ami and Jeni from Art on the Edge, give yourselves a big pat on the back. You guys all helped make a fantastic experience for kids.