Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Practicing Nonfiction Comics with an Interview

A few months ago I took a terrific class online at the Sequential Artists Workshop called "Nonfiction Comics," taught by Jess Ruliffson.

The course focused on how to take research materials and turn them into effective graphic storytelling.

The course was structured on many exercises in a way I found ingenious:  we  worked for the entire multi-week class with this NPR interview between Emil Ferris and Terry Gross.

You might think that would get boring.  But no!  Each time we did a different exercise, we looked at a different part of the interview in a different way. 

And the challenge was real:  how do you take verbal notes, and figure out how to render it in a verbal and visual medium?  What can be drawn?  What needs to stay verbal?  HOW do you draw what can be drawn?  What do you cut?  And many other questions more sophisticated than these.

An early assignment had us take just one quote and try to render it in the context of the larger story.  In at least two different ways.

Here are my attempts:

I see now how I actually added words that were not from the story in each of my scenarios.  Sheesh.

This was a terrific class and I intend to go back through the exercises again, maybe even with the same article.

In particular, the notion of working one source piece over and over was a terrific approach (at least for me as a student!) to learn more about what comics can do--and what I still need to learn about how this art form works!

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