This week I returned to the chalkface with three days of Comic Art Masterclasses, in the far flung reaches of Newcastle and Hannover. And things didn't get off to the smoothest start, with the weather deciding to come over all wintry. And in January, of all times. On Thursday I was in Hannover for the first time and, though the morning went smoothly, the afternoon class had to be brought to a halt after half an hour due to a storm (Storm Eleanor I think) which had swept across the UK and was now about to devastate Germany. As it happens, though it was a bit breezy on the way back to the hotel, and out again to their brilliant Sprengel Art Museum (about which I might write some time), Hannover seems to have been spared the worst of the storm, and normal service was resumed the next morning.
The next day two groups of 6th Graders (that's Year 7 in old money) produced the first two complete day's worth of comics this year. And what nice ones they were, despite one of them ending up with the most hackneyed and dismaying title you can ever get from a group of kids - I Don't Know. This is regularly one of the titles a member of the class will come up with (along with the equally dispiriting LOL, Yolo, and Your Mum), but it rarely wins the group vote. Let's assume they were being ironic shall we? They were nice kids, it being the International School in Hannover, so mostly middle class and well travelled for urchins.
The week's classes began at Ponteland in Newcastle, and the first class of the day was the one that suffered from the weather, in this case snow. The pupils had come by minibus from Bellingham, and some of them were from Kielder, which is up the valley. The valley that was being snowed on. So it was that, after 30 minutes, they all had to get back in the bus and return to school for fear that they might not be able to later. Thus the front cover, named and produced entirely by me, is all that came of the class. They hadn't even begun to start drawing when they had to go. They have the cover as a souvenir. A second group was found to have an ad hoc 45 minute session with me, and then in the afternoon we managed to complete the whole shebang.
So after 3 days and 6 classes in 2018, I so far have a 66% success rate in actually getting to the end of one.
And so far this year 20% of children have chosen Donald Trump as the celebrity to appear in my demonstration strip. Of the 5 classes who got that far, the celebs chosen were Donald Trump, Barack Obama, Dracula, Kim Kardashian and Justin Bieber. All par for the course so far.
Comic Art Masterclasses open to the public:
Feb 12 - Zion Bristol
Feb 13 - Salisbury Arts
Feb 14 - Baldocks Arts & Heritage Centre, Herts
Feb 15 - Angles Theatre, Wisbech
Feb 16 - Bexleyheath & Erith Libraries
March 17 - Prema Arts, Uley, Gloucs