I have spoken with confidence in front of audiences of hundreds of people at technology conferences, but put me in front of a group of ten kids and I'm quaking in my boots! Today I hosted a "Cartoon Clinic" at Congregation Shearith Israel, The Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue on the Upper West Side here in New York City. We started off with a small group of six children, ages ranging from 4 to 7, much younger than I had expected. And they ate me alive! Just kidding, these kids were great, and really enthusiastic about drawing cartoons.
We started off with a brief presentation of my cartoon animations, which the children really seemed to enjoy. They had a lot of good questions about animation production, and I'm hoping that one day I can return for a longer time slot to show them some cool animation techniques.
Since we only had an hour before the parents finished their class, we went straight into the comic strip business. First we learned about the standard three-panel strip, and the wonderful world of speech bubbles! Then we did a practice round in which the students filled in their own jokes and speech bubbles on a blank Shabot comic strip template. My favorite was, "Shabbat Shalom. You look hot!"
Then we pretended we were professional cartoonists being hired by a newspaper to do some comic strips. We each picked two topics out of a hat, words like SNAKE, BEE, FISH, LOLLIPOP, and FLOWER. The rules were simple: draw a comic strip using the two words, and those objects have to talk to each other. The kids were very creative, and came up with some really cool comic strips. They liked their own work so much that I didn't get to keep a copy of any, but I'll see if I can track one down to post here.
It was a fun time, and I hope to be invited back again. A few of the parents asked if I do birthday parties. I haven't yet, but I'm thinking I should consider it. Especially if the kids have much older sisters.