Thursday, March 5, 2015

Master and Apprentice

When I was a kid, I spent hours studying the work of my hero, Sergio Aragones. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Learning to Look at Art

"What is the benefit in engaging in the process of art criticism?" In Art 6, the first artwork we look at is "Masterpiece" by Roy Lichtenstein. We learn how to critique a work, going through the four steps: describe, analyze, interpret, evaluate. They're always surprised with any work we critique, that there is more there than we first realized. The final step is to make their own parody of this work, putting themselves in the place of the artist. Here's mine, right below Roy's.

More questions:
How does relevant contextual information aid interpretation? How do we decide what is relevant?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Many Faces of Wisdom

In my interactions with my imaginary sage and mentor, Halcolm (pronounced "How Come?"), I have observed many changes in his countenance.  He is at times responsive, at times chagrined with his disciples, but always present and definitive.

One of my challenges to my Art 6 class is to create a cartoon character, and then draw that same character with many different facial expressions.  Occasionally, I do one along with them of one of my characters.  Some sprang instantly to mind, and then I went back through the comic strips he appeared in and made sketches of significant ones.  It is interesting that there are some expressions your character would not have -- because it would be out of character!

I first experimented with this exercise using the book Cartooning the Head and Figure by Jack Hamm.  It's a classic, a book I've returned to again and again since I bought it as a teenager.  I've since created my own guide for students to refer to.  I encourage them to look at the work of others to see how artists simplified, exaggerated, and used simple lines and symbols to represent a specific emotion.  When we think of an emotion not shown on our guide, we ask a friend to pose for us.

Challenge:  Try it!  Create a character. Draw the same character 12-16 times.  Try to keep the basic structure of the character the same, but with distinctly different emotions each time.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Halcolm comics in print!

Today I received my copy of a book that features nine of my comic strips -- Qualitative Research and Evaluation Methods (Patton, 2014).  This is a project I'm proud to be a part of.  The story of my involvement is interesting.

I was taking a course on Qualitative Research, and the earlier edition of this book was the textbook.  I was in the middle of a doctoral program, and as soon as I began reading the book, I noticed there was something that made it much different than every other textbook I had ever read.  Though it is full of important information about research methods, the author, Michael Q. Patton also gets points across by telling stories.  The tales are often funny, and in the form of parables.

Imagine that!  A teacher who teaches through stories and humor.  After reading and writing pages and pages of dry, factual "scholarly" writing, this book was like an oasis in the desert.

One of my favorite features are the Parables of Halcolm (pronounced "How Come?").  Often when I read, I can visualize what it would look like as a comic strip.  I couldn't resist quickly sketching it out, and turning it into a comic strip.  I liked how it looked, and thought about sending it to the author.  I couldn't find an email, so I Facebook-friended him, then sent a message.  He liked it and asked to include it in the next edition of the text.

There's something that's positively 21st century about this story.  Here I was taking a course, Facebook friends with the author of the course text, and contributing to the next edition of the text!

Eventually, I was asked to illustrate eight more of the parables.  Each chapter concludes with a two or three page Halcolm parable, like a "meditation" on the theme of the preceding chapter.

Below is one of the Halcolm comic strips.  A link to the rest of them are here