Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Kent Library gets dash of color with comics workshop

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Kent Library housed one of the multiple opportunities this month for students and artists to stop by a table and get their creative juices flowing in comic-making from Oct. 1-5.

The weeklong station was topped off Wednesday with a workshop on creating comics, with the overall week partly being in observance of “Inktober,” a challenge for comic artists to respond to a different thematic prompt each of the 31 days in October.

Electronic resources librarian Karl Suhr was one of three library faculty who worked on the project.

He said students could take part in adding onto stories that were started by other participants who visited the table.

Suhr gave the presentation highlighting the distinctive features of comics in storytelling and detailing some of the techniques in crafting a comic.

A key quality of comics, he said, is the way content is delivered through frames.

“They kind of have some unique features in that they vary the tempo of the story,” Suhr said, describing how each scene was able to transition throughout the narrative timeline.

The station was meant to give students the opportunity to take a seat, pick up a pencil and illustrate a story or continue stories in a collaborative effort.

Suhr takes interest in comics although he said he was not an artist himself. In the past, he has requested the library purchase graphic novels, adding “a little bit of everything” to their collection.

“It’s kind of where your imagination comes into play,” he said.

The workshop covered a variety of subjects, such as the elements, artists and techniques of comic-making.

Cartoonist Scott McCloud’s writing on the subject had a big impact on Suhr’s presentation, he said.

The term “comic book” has a juvenile connotation, Suhr said, and “graphic novel” sounds “hoity-toity,” but artist Will Eisner had coined the term “sequential art” as a possible classification.

Suhr also demonstrated a method of drawing for the attendees, using a “cross” technique to show how to draw a human face.

Sophomore TV & film major Bennett Turner said he drew in high school and had even been recognized by a Southeast art competition during that time, but he had not done so in a couple of years. He heard about the workshop and was interested in re-engaging his skills.

“I haven’t been doing as much art as I’d like,” Turner said. “I used to be the art kid at high school.”

Without any classes to motivate his enjoyment of art, he said, he had not exercised it for a while.

“I thought this would be cool opportunity to draw again because I’ve always been interested in comics,” Turner said.

Thirty-eight-year-old graduate English studies student Jo Nell Cougill said while she does not have any artistic abilities, she was interested by the workshop and decided to stop by the station. She also thought of it as a relaxing opportunity.

“I really like the fact that it’s appealing to multiple people,” Cougill said. “You have artistic people that can draw really well that might have fun drawing a comic book, and then you have the literary aspect, so it appeals to different students.”

This event prefaced the 24-Hour Comics Day on October 6th, a challenge to illustrators to create a comic story in a day’s time.