Make a Mini-Comic with Matt Feazell!

December 27, 2010 by  
Filed under Events, News, Workshops and Events

It’s nearly time for another Comic Artists Forum at the Ann Arbor District Library, and this time we have Matt Feazell kicking off the day with his famous “Make a Mini-Comic” workshop!

In this hands-on comics workshop you’ll make an 8-page book out of one sheet of paper AND learn the secrets to telling a comic book story to fill those pages in 90 minutes or less.

After Matt’s presentation there will be some open drawing and socializing time. I’ve been really impressed with the mix of cartoonists who have been attending these events. It’s a wide range of hobbyists and professionals all sharing enthusiasm for the craft of comics. It’s a terrifically positive and fun environment, and if you’re in the Southeast Michigan area, I highly recommend that you come check it out. You don’t need to be an Ann Arbor District Library card holder to attend, and it’s free!

1-3 pm January 9, 2011, Ann Arbor District Library Downtown Branch

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Youth and Teen Graphic Novel Academies Start Jan 11!

December 20, 2010 by  
Filed under Events, Workshops and Events

The Ann Arbor Art CenterRegistration is once again open for my Graphic Novel Academy series at the Ann Arbor Art Center!

Through the 8-week class we’ll study some of the fundamental principles of visual storytelling, explore some of the techniques the pros use to capture movement and create mood and emphasis, as well as learn some design strategies to make our own characters. Materials will be provided for the students. You can register for the Youth and Teen classes now on the Ann Arbor Art Center website.

The Teen Class will be held on Tuesdays from 4-6 pm starting January 11. The Youth Class will be held on Thursdays from 4:30 to 6 pm starting January 13.

Wondering what to expect from the class? You can check out this video from a similar class I teach every summer at the Ann Arbor District Library called Comic Book Academy:

You can see the entire video series on the Ann Arbor District Library website, if you want to see more.

Get a FREE comics workshop at your school or library!

December 16, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog, Events, Workshops and Events

Okay, so I’m essentially re-posting this from the Kids Read Comics site, but since it involves my teaching work, I thought you might be interested!

My teaching calendar in 2011 is filling up fast, so the sooner you sign up, the better! And if you’re not an educator but live around the Southeast Michigan area (that includes Northern Ohio!), be sure to tell your local library or school about this!

Kids Read Comics has a goal: get kids reading (comics) and get libraries and school involved.  In advance of our two-day Kids Read Comics Celebration in Dearborn last June, we held a contest to see who could promote KRC best at their library and we had some great entries.  This year we want to make it easier for all libraries to get a free program!

If your library would like a free program put on by teaching cartoonist Jerzy Drozd, just do the following:

1. Commit to promoting Kids Read Comics on your library/school website, and in your youth area, and any way you can get the message out about this free event.   For ideas, please check out what Dearborn Heights did to promote KRC 2010!

2. Contact Edith Burney at eburney @ to schedule an event between now and June 15th at your library/school!   Programs are subject to time availability and location.  If travel becomes an issue, Jerzy has successfully led workshops via SKYPE!

You can choose from the following program options:

Draw Dynamic! (9-12 yrs) 1.5 Hours
Explore some of the many tricks in a cartoonist’s bag to make
characters leap off of the page! Join cartoonist Jerzy Drozd in a
hands-on workshop where you’ll create action scenes that will set your
readers aquiver!

Robots vs Monsters! (9-12 yrs) 1.5 Hours
Make an army of robots, an army of monsters, and send them off to
battle for world supremacy! In this hands-on workshop cartoonist Jerzy
Drozd will instruct you on how to design and draw an implacable horde
of robot soldiers, followed by an exercise in using random shapes to
create a maniacal mass of monsters. You’ll then be invited to create a
comic where you’ll decide who wins the battle!

Write With Images (Youth/Teens) 1.5 Hours
Learn how a cartoonist uses drawings, panel size, and crazy sound
effects to immerse their readers in the story! Cartoonist Jerzy Drozd
will lead you in an interactive discussion on some of the fundamental
comics storytelling principles, after which you’ll be invited to
create a short comics story of your own!

Comics: A Pathway to Learning (Adults, Teachers) 2 Hours
As teachers find a variety of uses for comics, graphic novels and
manga in the classroom, they need to understand the complex thinking
and deep skills required to both read and create them. In this
workshop, work with cartoonist Jerzy Drozd to explore the convergence
of literary and artistic disciplines inherent in comics and see how
comics can be a powerful way to build reading comprehension skills,
such as prediction, inference, and fluency.

See Jerzy in action at Ann Arbor District Library’s Comic Book Academy, Week 1.

Comic Book Academy, Week 1 from Jerzy Drozd on Vimeo.

We can’t wait to come to YOUR library or school, and we hope to see YOU at KRC 2011!

Make A Mini-Comic Workshop Dec 11!

December 7, 2010 by  
Filed under Events, Workshops and Events

This coming Saturday, December 11 I will be leading a 3-hour workshop on how to make your own mini-comic!

Why make mini-comics? What if you’re sitting on a terrific idea for a graphic novel that will take the world by storm? Given that making graphic novels can sometimes be a long undertaking full of emotional highs and lows, many of us cartoonists learn to play little psychological tricks on ourselves to keep our morale high during the process. Jumping straight into making graphic novels is especially tricky for a beginning cartoonist, as you learn a lot about drawing and storytelling as you go, so the work will evolve and grow throughout the project, and this can tempt the creator to go back and revise older pages to make them consistent with the latest ones.

Making mini-comics solves both of the problems above, and is therefore one of the best ways for beginners to get involved in comics storytelling. A four- to eight-page mini-comic can be completed in an afternoon, so you have the satisfaction of having a finished work that you can turn around and share with relatively less effort. A few weeks of perseverance, and a cartoonist can amass quite a collection of self-published works, which is a mighty morale booster when working on that long graphic novel. Also, a shorter mini-comic means that the inevitable artistic development will occur between projects, so there’s no need to go back and revise to make the work consistent. By making a series of quick and simple mini-comics, you gain the experience and skills necessary to create that consistent and fluid graphic novel you’ve been kicking around.

I did this myself back when I was self-publishing in the 1990s. I created a series of sci-fi mini-comics called The Black Hole Equation that I published along side of my more ambitious comics projects. I set myself a time limit of just a few hours to complete a 4-page story, after which I was ready to head to the copy center to print. I learned a lot about storytelling while working on those comics, and I had a constant stream of new books to take to conventions to sell. It was immensely satisfying and fun.

I hope you’ll join me for the class at the Ann Arbor Art Center this weekend! Registration is required and seats are limited, so sign up now!

Interested in finding out more about mini-comics in the meantime? Here are some great places to start:

Comics Weekend in SE Michigan!

December 1, 2010 by  
Filed under Events, Workshops and Events

If you live anywhere near Southeast Michigan and you love comics, boy have I got some exciting news for you. This coming weekend might as well be named Comics Weekend with all of the neat workshops and programs going on!

On Saturday, December 4 from 1-3 pm at the Ann Arbor District Library I’ll be leading a free workshop with my wife Anne called Comic in a Box: Make an Accordion Mini-Comic. In this 2-hour session we’ll create a comics narrative on a strip of paper, then fold it in an accordion fashion to create “pages”. We’ll then use some scrap and art papers to construct a box to contain your accordion comic book for gifting to a friend or placing on your mantle.

On Sunday, December 5 from 1-3 pm the Ann Arbor District Library will be hosting their monthly Comic Artists Forum, this time featuring guest speaker Katie Cook! The forum is free and open to the public, and the guest speaker’s presentation is followed by some open socializing and drawing time. If you’re looking to meet other cartoonists in the area, this is the place to do it!

I’ll be leading two more workshops on Sunday at the Ann Arbor Art Center:

From 12:30 to 1:30 pm I’ll be leading my Dynamic Visual Storytelling workshop, during which you’ll learn some of the secrets to make your comics characters look like they’re moving and leaping off of the page! Ages 9-12. Registration is required.

From 2:00 to 4:00 pm you can participate in my Character Design workshop, where you’ll discover how artists use shape, body language, costume, and color to wordlessly communicate their characters’ inner lives. You’ll then design your own characters and create a short comic that demonstrates their differences! Ages 9-17. Registration is required.

Wondering what to expect from these workshops? here’s a video excerpt from a version of the Character Design workshop I did last year at the Saginaw Public Library:

Lots of comics events to choose from this weekend! Hope to see you at some of them!

UP! Fair November 19 & 20!

November 7, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog, Events, News, Workshops and Events

We’re less than two weeks away from the UP! Fair, an event I’m putting on with my wife Anne, Shawn and Carrie Robare, Sara Turner, Mark Rudolph, and Kevin Cross.

If you haven’t heard about it yet, it’s a free public event featuring an artist atrium populated by independently published artists and writers. Many of these talented people will be leading hands-on workshops for the public and for working cartoonists!

Who will be leading workshops? I’m glad you asked! (The following links take you to Facebook event pages)

The full programming list is on the UP! Fair website. You can also download a PDF of the program we’ll be handing out to attendees here.

Want to hear more about the fair? Check out our Facebook page, listen to Art & Story 116, or read this great article recently published in the Chevy Chaser!


Come see me at Detroit Fanfare!

October 19, 2010 by  
Filed under Events, Workshops and Events

Just a quick note to let you know that I’ll be tabling with Dan and Katie Merritt of Green Brain Comics at Detroit Fanfare on Saturday, October 30, 2010!

Dan and Katie are Kids Read Comics co-organizers, so the three of us will be there primarily to spread the word about our event next June. We’ll be leading a panel at Noon on Saturday in the Green Brain Comics room, where you’ll get to hear me and the Merritts talk about teaching comics, comics advocacy in general, and what our plans are for KRC 2011.

Time permitting I may do some sketches for kids. This is Detroit Fanfare’s first show, so I really don’t know what to expect in terms of audience. But they got Stan Lee to show up for the event, so I expect it should be fairly crowded!

If you’re in the Dearborn area on Halloween weekend, I hope to see you there!

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October 24th – Comics: A Pathway to Learning!

October 16, 2010 by  
Filed under Events, News, Workshops and Events

Attention educators and librarians! We all know that comics are being used more and more in schools and libraries to teach curriculum-based content or foster deeper reading comprehension. And maybe you want to try your hand at it, too. But where do you start? How can you use comics to teach if you haven’t made a comic yourself since you were a kid?

This Sunday, October 24th I’ll be leading an intensive two-hour workshop at the Ann Arbor Art Center titled Comics: A Pathway to Learning!

This is a workshop I developed and led for The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 2008. Originally a two-day workshop, this session will be a bit of a lightning round introduction to the comics medium, followed by some interactive activities that will instruct you on how to use comics to develop reading comprehension skills in your students such as prediction, inference, and fluency. You’ll even get some pointers on how to use comics storytelling lessons to teach curriculum-based content such as chemistry and math.

Participants will be provided with a 61-page packet full of pre-made lesson plans to try out in your classroom or library and tips on how to evaluate students’ work. You can check out an example lesson plan by clicking the image on the left.

Registration is required. Hope to see you there!

Comic Artists Forum this Sunday!

September 28, 2010 by  
Filed under Events, News

I hope you’ll be able to come out for the Comic Artists Forum this Sunday, October 3rd at the Malletts Creek Branch of the Ann Arbor District Library! If you haven’t heard me talk about this before, the Comic Artists Forum is a free monthly event held at the library where local cartoonists and aspirant comics creators can participate in an interactive presentation a guest speaker. The sessions close with an hour or so of open time where the attendees can share their works in progress as well as ideas and expertise in the craft of making comics.

This month’s guest speaker is Jono Balliett, who you may know as Demophon on Twitter. Jono has been doing some very interesting things with mini-comics and zines lately, and I’m really excited to see what he’ll bring to this month’s forum.

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Artist in Residence Opening Reception this Sunday!

September 22, 2010 by  
Filed under Events, News

I hope you’ll attend the opening reception officially announcing my new role as Artist in Residence at the River Gallery in Chelsea, MI this Sunday, October 26, at 2 pm.

I will be leading a presentation and interactive discussion exploring many of the reasons why comics are so great, as well as giving a preview of the workshops I will be leading and developing for the Chelsea District Library and the Chelsea Center for the Arts.

Refreshments will be served. Should be a lot of fun!

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