Why Teach Comics?
Comics, graphic novels, and manga enjoy more widespread popularity amongst students than ever. Is it a fad, or is there something more profound in the way comics speak to young people?
- In 2007 I participated in the ArtServe Michigan‘s Literacy Arts’ Comic Book Project as a teaching artist. I witnessed first hand the deep links between literacy and art when students described as “unmotivated readers” demonstrated a sophisticated visual vocabulary and a palpable enthusiasm for telling a story through images.
- When reading comics, a reader infers what happens between the panels to construct the overall story, as well as predicts the outcome of a story based on the author’s choices of moment. Exploring comics affords students the opportunity to express sophisticated ideas through images, improving reading fluency and comprehension.
I lead a variety of comics workshops and ongoing classes for kids and teens, as well as professional development sessions for educators. I’m available to lead an event at your public school, university, or public library.
Here are some of my more popular workshops:
|(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!
(9-12yrs) 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!
(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!
Some of my workshops are available as downloadable time-shifted videos on the Lean Into Art learning network. You can take the class at your convenience, then post your work in the forum for input from me. Here are a few of the workshops I’ve created there:
Looking for something different? I’m happy to design a custom workshop to suit the needs of your students.
My fee as of May 2011 is $200 per programming hour. I typically require use of a digital projector and a dry erase board or flip chart. The students will need copy paper and pencils for the hands-on portion of the workshops.
Below is a talk I led that spotlights the energy of my workshops as well as makes the case for why I lead them. I led this talk in 2011 for Ignite Great Lakes. You can see longer videos, as well as more samples of my classroom visits, on my Vimeo channel.
Jerzy Drozd began his comics illustration career at 19, self-publishing his own comic books. He is the contributing editor of Sugary Serials, a comics anthology that specializes in all-ages comics serialized online and collected in print. In 2006 he completed his 197-page online graphic novel, The Front, a retelling of the first comics story he self-published.
Drozd’s main passion has always been comics, and he enjoys sharing his enthusiasm with others.
In 2005 he began performing workshops at schools and universities. He worked with ArtServe Michigan on their Literacy Arts Comic Book Project, teaching the comics art form to Detroit 3rd and 4th graders. In 2008 he lead a professional development workshop for teachers at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. In June 2009 he began serving as the programming director for the annual Kids Read Comics celebration, an event he co-organized with teen librarian Edith Burney, DC Comics writer Dan Mishkin, and Green Brain Comics store owner Dan Merritt.