Sunday, September 18, 2011

Graphic Novel Workshop

image curtesy of

This weekend the girls and I had the opportunity to take a class with graphic novel author Barbara Slate.  This was presented free of charge at our favorite library in the next town over.  Advance registration was all that was required.  
Barbara has created comics for Marvel, DC Comics, Disney, and Mattel and Archie Comics.  Her work has also been featured in Cosmopolitan Magazine and on The Today Show.  When I heard about this, I just knew I had to bring Lilah to see if she could learn how to develop her love of manga illustration into a form of writing.  Grace surprised me by wanting to come as well.  She has recently discovered a love of drawing mythical creatures.  
In this 90 minute workshop the girls learned how to create a character.  Once the character was sketched, they were given the tools to develop an in-depth profile, or a “character bible”.  As Barbara put it, “you should know more about your character then you know about yourself”.  Where does you character do to school?  Do they have siblings? Parents? Pets? Are they employed? Do they have magical powers? How do they speak? Are they shy or outgoing?  and so on and so on.  The bible is two full pages.  
After the character was developed we worked on plot.  In five sentences or less the girls should be able to tell their story.  Every graphic novel needs a beginning, middle, end and a twist.  Lilah came up with a character, a girl who struggles with a bully.  Everyone thinks she is an ordinary girl, but she has the power to freeze and explode objects, which comes in handy when her enemy is bothering her. It will be interesting to see how Lilah develops this story and if she is content keeping it as a traditional story or if she writes a graphic novel.  
We purchased Barbara’s book because this workshop could have been  two 90 minute sessions.  Plotting the story line and creating the artwork, were not discussed, and for a child who is serious about this genre of writing, they need more instruction and guidance in this area.  However, this was a class that normally costs $20 per student, per session and since it was free, I really can’t complain...  In the book, You Can Do A Graphic Novel, are the guidelines for the next few steps.  It is written so that Lilah will be able to understand and with my guidance, can complete a novel if she chooses to.  I really hope she does!

1 comment:

Diane said...

I'm glad I saw this pop up on your page. I purchased this book and Grace's favorite art teacher is going to use it this summer for a weekly class for about 6-8 weeks. The kids that are really serious about anime, manga, and graphic novels will be collaborating together to create a graphic novel.

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