I had the chance last week to work with one of the SFU Educational Consultants on presenting an introduction to pedagogy for a group of Communications grad students. We took the opportunity to get out of our comfort zone. I was lucky to work with the talented Sarah Turner, from our Teaching centre and designed an educational development mashup of sorts, combining the best of pedagogical practice with drawing and comic book design.
I guess word has been getting our around on campus as I have been pushing my going visual workshops, and offering them “on demand” for grad students and various class drop in sessions. These are typically focussed on the particulars of drawing in an educational context, and there are many directions the conversations go. For this session I was approached to do the same, but our audience in this case a young group of emergent PHD students, all of which needed ideas on how to incorporate these activities into their teaching and learning, and use them in a pedagogically sound manner.
For this workshop we wanted to go a step further than the regular Going Visual syllabus and incorporate some actual technology into the mix, that being an ipad and Comic Book app. We borrowed this idea from another great mentor of mine, Dr. Jessica Motherwell and colleague from the JIBC Krista Lambert in a presentation they did at the Sketching in Practice Symposium this year called “Using Comics to rehearse best practices“. Jessicas resources are openly shared and she encourages this kind of appropriation. And I really wanted to make the outline of our session in a comic book form!
I’m quite pleased with the way it turned out, and will be looking to do similar projects using this technique. It gave a chance to build a story around our session as well as convey the basic topics we were planning to cover.
Not exactly sure how the religious iconography snuck in there, nor how effective I was at staying non-representational. Still, I found the activity challenging to do quickly (in under 15 min) as I tend to dwell and futz around with things to no end. Still it was a much simpler and faster way to get at the main idea behind a more elaborate version I did in a Scott Macleod workshop a few years ago. One thing I take away from these activities is that, even when doing a very simple drawing task, it becomes much more complex if your subject matter is personal. You are drawing for two audiences in this case, both the reader and yourself. The reader I can deal with, but the other target audience seems always more difficult to please!
Its been a long minute that this post has sat in a draft form in my dashboard, 2 years in fact. There wasn’t even really much written here just the bunch of links below and some half baked intentions, but having recently gone back to scan all the pages of one specific sketchbook (for another upcoming post who knows how long that one will take) it just so happened to include the pages from the Comic book workshop I took with Scott McCloud, also over 2 years ago in Lethbridge Alberta. Regardless, the pages are now finally scanned and I can share them here, as well as the the myriad of thoughts they have stirred up.
Comics workshop – Keynote lecture
Comics workshop Day 1
Comics workshop Day 2
Comics workshop summary
There a four pages included in this comics workshop summary, I will add a few more thoughts to each page, but in general this was an amazing learning experience which I often reminisce and draw from in my own work. I was not surprised to find out that a former student of Scotss had gone on to create the RSA animate series after being so inspired by these sessions. I totally get it. Going over these notes again however has brought back a few things that I missed, or in some cases, have new context for understanding. So 2 years on I am still learning from these sessions. There was not much else written up about this experience but I was lucky to find one other blogged reflection which I will point to as needed.
Keynote lecture – “The Changing face of comics” The event started off the night before with a mini lecture from Scott to kick off the Nerdfest which the workshop was billed under. He made the case that stories are everywhere and also that anyone can both DRAW and WRITE.
Day 1 – A full day of theory and practice, Scott had us do several comic making exercises considering the balance between clarity and intensity. I should dig out the other work we did here, but there was also home work which I have previously posted. .
Day 2 – A great critique to start off the day, reminded me how valuable this pedagogy can be in creative work if done well, and Scott is a master. Image and word are “flip sides of the same coin” but the choice of when to use one or the other is a question I still ask myself today.
Summary – A few weeks later I had a a crack at doing a visual summary to try and get ready to do this blog post. I like the notion that comics is like “writing with pictures” , something I can relate to in terms of my own visual practice such as sketchnoting and graphic facilitation. There are stories EVERYWHERE and people are hardwired for them. Simply putting a frame around them allows us to share the stories that have meaning to us.