Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Cartooning Basics Comic Jams

This jam began in last semester's undergraduate Short Form Comics class and was completed in Cartooning Basics this spring.

Jam comics have long been a way for cartoonists to have fun together and ameliorate the solitude that accompanies this kind of work. Working with my Hector gang in the 1990s, I helped develop rule-governed jams to make the games more interesting. By the early 2000s, Matt Madden and I worked out a master list of 13 simple jam rules to share with our classes. These can be found on page 13 of his Drawing Words and Writing Pictures. Matt has more to say about it on his DW-WP blog.

I keep a pile of unfinished jams in my locker @ SVA. On the last day of the Cartooning Basics course, a publishing session followed by fun and games, one of the activities we often get into is circulating the jams, nudging them forward, and launching new ones. 

One reads the list of rules, takes a six-panel page, writes a chosen rule in the margin (or invents a new, self-explanatory rule and writes that), and creates the first panel.

Students find themselves interacting with other cartoonists, often across a span of years.

These kind of activities stimulate the imagination and test one's skills. As they say in the Oulipo, constraints are liberating!

Summer classes are enrolling now. Inking Comics runs Tuesdays, beginning June 6. Figure Drawing for Cartoonists runs Wednesdays, beginning June 7. Cartooning Basics runs Thursdays, beginning June 8. Come to the Information Session on Thursday May 18 to learn more: 6:30-8:30 pm, 209 East 23D St., Room 311, 3D floor.

Come play!

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