We’ll go over some of the basics of telling stories using words and pictures together. Participants will each create a short autobiographical minicomic--from blank page to sketches to pencils and final inking. On Friday everyone will reproduce their minis and swap them with each other.
Using words and pictures together to tell a story can result in a fusion that’s much more powerful than the sum of the parts. Participants will create a short minicomic about an event from their lives. It can be about yesterday’s breakfast, or a moment that changed you forever, as long as it fits into a booklet of twelve or fewer pages.
We’ll examine some of the basic principles of visual storytelling. We’ll talk about some of the problems and challenges of autobiography, and will look at examples of how other autobiographical cartoonists have grappled with them. There will be drawing, design, and writing exercises in class. You’ll also have time to work on your project in class each day, but you will probably need to spend more time drawing on your own.
One of the defining qualities of comics is that they are reproduced, so you’ll not only be drawing, you’ll also design and produce a small edition of your minicomic to share with the other members of the class.
Students should have a story in mind before the class begins, as well as a brief written description and at least one character sketch.
Please email a short description of the autobiographical story you’re going to tell, plus a sketch of yourself and another character in the story to firstname.lastname@example.org by July 1. This advance work will help to jumpstart this intensive project.
For twenty-five years, Alison Bechdel wrote, drew, and self-syndicated the comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For. She gained wider recognition for her work with the publication in 2006 of her graphic memoir, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic. Fun Home was named Best Book of 2006 by Time Magazine. In 2008, Bechdel set aside her comic strip. Her second memoir, Are You My Mother: A Comic Drama, was published in 2012. Bechdel edited Best American Comics 2011. She has drawn for Slate, McSweeney’s, Entertainment Weekly, the New York Times Book Review, and Granta. She is the recipient of a 2012-13 Guggenheim Fellowship. Bechdel lives in Vermont.