Friday, 19 May 2017

The Lovely Teachers - kids comics Brum & Wilts

A few interesting syndromes have come out in this busy week of Comic Art Masterclasses in primary schools. The big one was caricatures on the front covers. One class per school every day this week came up with a comic title featuring either their teacher or one of the class. In Winterbourne Earls Wilts it was Mrs Rawnson herself, who apparently has done cartwheels in the class before now.

In Grove Primary, also in Wiltshire, the class chose The Lovely Mrs McPherson as their title, these covers also showing us a couple of eternal recurring popular features. The kids still love Adventure Time (which is good, being able to draw something simple that they respond to), and they are mad for pink fluffy unicorns dancing on rainbows (it is, I am told, a meme. Like I'd know).

I do two days every year teaching the year 5s at Colmore Juniors in Kings Heath, I must have been doing so for 6 or 7 years now. And here we see something I try and ensure I do, reflecting the ethnicity of my pupils in their comic book covers. I know I'm a bit self-conscious about it, but for me nothing would be worse than leaving a group of kids with a Beano world of caucasian faces in the work we'd produced together, which would leave most of them unrepresented on the page. So, although we have a Johnny Depp-alike on that first cover, we have a representative selection of grannies in the background. The second cover made the job easier, since it was Kayla (on the left) who'd come up with the title, name-dropping and mis-spelling Qaailah (on the right).

Okay, okay, I then went and gave them a Beano world of white faces on this next cover, but to be fair that reflected a third of the class, so is totally justifiable. And although I've coloured the Mrs Mallard cover in green (completing the set of autobiographical class comic titles), the kids depicted are fair reflections of the kids themselves. Not, of course, that they're aware of any ethnic differences between each other at all. Let's keep our fingers crossed that that never changes.

The celebrities these 8 classes chose for my demonstration strip were David Walliams, Donald Trump (twice), Declan Donnelly, Boris Johnson, Taylor Swift, Harry Styles, and (most originally, and it was because they'd genuinely been studying him in year 5, not because he was on Bigheads or anything) Andy Warhol.

Comic Art Masterclasses coming up in 2017:

Kev F Sutherland, as well as writing and drawing for The Beano, Marvel, Doctor Who et al, runs Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, libraries and art centres - email for details, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter. View the promo video here.

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