Wishing you a happy and hilarious Fourth of July, however you decide to celebrate it. From all of us at the Cartoon Library with the help of Arnold Roth!
Shortly after our Artists’ Book Open House this February, we were thrilled to be contacted by lecturer Kristen Spickard in the art department about bringing her students into the Cartoon Library for a zine-making assignment.
Kristen’s class is the very first Intro to Digital Photography class that we’ve hosted here, and for their final project she wanted the students to create their own zine on any topic of their choice, so long as they incorporated photography into the piece. In order to gain some inspiration and learn more about binding techniques, the students came in to the Cartoon Library for two hours for a lecture on the history of zine and mini-comics making, and a show-and-tell of some of our incredibly unique items in The Dylan Williams Collection.
These 25 students of varying majors and ages were entirely new to the zine format and culture when coming in to the class, and each left with a thorough understanding of the spectrum of shapes, sizes, and subject matters that a self-published piece can take on.
On the last day of classes, I was invited to come to ART 2555′s Zine Release Party, where the students were trading their own finished publications, and swapping stories of how they were made. The results were amazing! No two students final projects were alike, and the topics ranged from personal pieces to instructional pamphlets, each incorporating digital photography into the theme.
There were accordion-style photo zines:
At the Zine Release Party, the students were kind enough to gift us a copy of each of their final project zines, to be donated to The Dylan Williams Collection, from which their inspiration came!
Thank you, ART 2555!
For information about bringing your class into the Cartoon Library, please contact us at email@example.com
Junior Girl Scouts of the USA (4th and 5th graders) Gables Elementary Troop 1320 visited the Cartoon Library yesterday afternoon to learn about comics, self-publishing, and to earn their Drawing Badge! We love the Girl Scouts, and some of you may remember our work with Troop 1214 for their Cadette Comic Artist Badge this summer.
These fabulous girls arrived at the Cartoon Library yesterday, equipped with pencils, paper, scissors and more ideas than they could get down on the page during our one-hour session. We went over an abridged history of women in comics, and then took a look at some great works by female cartoonists including Megan Kelso, Tarpe Mills, Raina Telgemeier, Vera Brosgol, Colleen Coover, Sara Varon and many more.
The girls were also given a selection of items to study from The Dylan Williams Collection; all hand-made, uniquely bound, self-published and widely varying formats of mini-comics. We figured out how each one was made, and explored the beauty of re-purposing materials for your artwork (floss! potato stamps! cereal boxes! cigarette cartons! and more), and took some time to read our favorites.
They went wild over the potential that self-publishing holds, making this session another of many that drove home the importance of collecting and archiving self-published and small press works. These items are often the most inspirational–especially to youths–by their ability to capture the possibility, accessibility, and fun in DIY projects. Kids are empowered by the freedom that self-publishing offers, are unintimidated by the comics and cartoon format, and always attracted to the craftiness of hand-binding. Here at the Cartoon Library, we are finding boundless benefits from starting this collection of mini-comics, and strongly encourage other libraries to do the same.
Let the cartooning begin! After studying and sharing these works with each other, the girls then set out to make their own comics. Some stuck to the one-sheet-workshop format and others pushed their pieces to a whole new level, folding folds where folds have never been folded before! Some made multiple finished booklets, others took time to detail 9 panels onto each 2 3/4 x 4 1/4 page.
Thanks for visiting, Troop 1320!
For information about starting a small-press collection at your library, or bringing a Girl Scout troop into our library, please contact Caitlin McGurk at firstname.lastname@example.org
On April 26th, the Cartoon Library had the pleasure of hosting Ben Owen’s English 367.01: Language, Identity and Culture in the U.S. Experience, a second-year composition class that Owen structured around the study of comics. Throughout the course, students look at a wide variety of comics (from Shaun Tan’s The Arrival to selected pieces from the What Things Do website) to learn how to think and write about the medium analytically, as well as gaining an understanding of visual rhetoric.
The specific assignment that brought Ben Owen’s class into the Cartoon Library was on comics and social diversity in the United States- using the comics medium to understand the pluralistic nature of race, gender, class, ethnicity and religion, and how their own attitudes are shaped by these aspects of American society. To do so, students were instructed to use our multiple Cartoon Library search tools to find cartoon and comics work related to a topic that interests them within the American experience, with a chance to study them in person. They then had to do a 5-minute presentation in pecha kucha style to make a compelling argument about why their topic is important and how it can be understood through comics.
The results were fascinating, and students presented on everything from medicine to religion, World War II, Hurricane Katrina, and more. Curator Jenny Robb and I were lucky enough to be able to view some of the final presentations on May 24th, pictures of which can be seen below:
We love having classes of any discipline visit the Cartoon Library, both from OSU and beyond! Professors, if you’re interested in doing a session with us, please contact email@example.com with your schedule and subject matter.
During the winter quarter this year at OSU, we had the pleasure of hosting 9 classes from a variety of disciplines at the Cartoon Library. Each class was interested in exploring the significance and potential of comics and cartoons within the scope of their subject.
Among these classes were Prof. Ben Owen’s English 110: First Year English Composition; Prof. Suzanne Silver’s Art 470: Intermediate Drawing and Art 670: Advanced Drawing; Prof. Barry Shank’s Pop Culture Studies; Prof. Caitlin Stokes’ Art 205; Prof. Soland’s History 398: Introduction to Historical Thought and Methods; Prof. Christine Ballengee Morris’ Art Education 367.01: Ethnic Arts, and Nicholas Hetrick’s World Literature class from Wellington High School. Several of these classes also used our materials for specific assignments.
English 110.02: First-Year English Composition - Comics and Culture
As a first-level composition course, the focus of Professor Owen’s class is on academic writing and revision. An introduction class that many of us are very familiar with from undergraduate studies, but with a unique spin on it: the focus is entirely on comics. The class explored everything from newspaper strips to web comics, graphic novels to avant-garde anthologies.
In Prof. Owen’s syllabus, he explains: “The medium of comics is one of clarity and compression—conveying the largest amount of information in the smallest space possible. When done well, a comic can convey a world of ideas without the reader even noticing.” … “The principle of analysis is that you can find out the most about an object by looking carefully at its individual parts and examining how those parts work together. Comics make for a particularly rewarding subject in this regard, because behind their deceptively simple, apparently kid-friendly surfaces, we can find out a great deal about the secrets of space, time, life, art, the universe, and everything. Moreover, at a time when culture is increasingly visual, and the basis of literacy has more and more to do with understanding how to present information spatially, comics offer sophisticated models for thinking and writing in space.”
During English 110′s trip to the Cartoon Library, they took a look at materials ranging from Kramer’s Ergot 7 to Winsor McCay’s Little Nemo in Slumberland. Having read Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics in class, their goal was to analyze one of the pieces pulled for them in the Cartoon Library in the context of one of McCloud’s theories about the medium, such as how the gutter is the defining feature of comics, how time works on a page, identification through simplification of ideas, etc. The end result is a two-page paper that looks at how the cartoonist uses the tools of the comics format to convey his or her message, and whether or not McCloud’s claims apply. Students can either agree with McCloud and use the comic they selected as a primary source and Understanding Comics as their evidence, or disagree with McCloud, using Understanding Comics as their primary source and the comic as their evidence. The purpose of Prof. Owen’s field trip and assignment is to get his students to look at a unique medium and position themselves in an academic debate on the subject.
Art 470 & 670: Intermediate & Advanced Drawing – Narrative, Art & Language
Professor Suzzane Silver brought both her Intermediate Drawing and Advanced Drawing classes to the Cartoon Library to take a look at language and narrative in comics. Most of the students were brand new to the medium, and became exposed to originals of George Herriman’s Krazy Kat, Andrei Molotiu’s Abstract Comics anthology, Lynd Ward’s woodcut novels, the work of Kevin Huizenga, originals from Walt Kelly’s Pogo, and much more.
In the syllabus for Prof. Silver’s class trip to the Cartoon Library, she asks the students to ”Create a series of drawings involving a form of narrative or anti-narrative. What is the relationship of narrative to the structure of the page? Is the structure sustained or subverted?” The students took a particular interest in the Abstract Comics anthology, and the concept of using nonrepresentational shapes on a page in a way that presents a story arc, without any formal narrative in play. Their assignment included researching and presenting about an artist from a list provided by Prof. Silver including Henry Darger, Raymond Pettibon, Duchamp, Art Spiegelman.
If you are a professor and would like to bring your class into the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, we would love to have you–no matter the discipline! We are constantly finding new and exciting ways to connect comics and cartoon art to nearly every subject matter. We ask that you give us a minimum of one month advance notice to arrange a class visit or library tour, in order to make it the best possible experience for you and your students. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and include the course name and number, your goals or objectives for the visit, the number of students and your preferred date or dates. If you are interested in viewing specific materials, use our Search Tools to locate the object title, creator, and finding number or consult with a library staff member.