Friday, September 16, 2011

It Looks Good and I Like It

In yesterday's post I listed some of the artists I showed the class but I couldn't remember all of them. For the sake of thoroughness, here are the ones I left out: Sonny Liew, Scott Mills, Tony Millionaire, Jay Hosler, Eric Shanower, Jeff Lemire, Steve Lieber, and Charles Vess. If you're familiar with comic book artists, you have to agree that that is a decent range of art styles. If you're not familiar with comic book artists, you probably already got so bored that you stopped reading this post, so never mind.

Art appreciation is a nebulous skill that generally takes years to develop and only comes as an outgrowth of a personal interest in the artform. Still, I wanted to get the kids at least thinking and talking about different art styles. Today each student chose a different book and gave a short presentation to the class, describing the art style in that book, how the artist used line and color, what kind of emotional state the art seemed to convey, and what made the art good. They didn't get into a lot of depth, but I like to think that these activities got them noticing the art in a way they didn't before.

The surprise hit of the day was The Last Lonely Saturday by Jordan Crane. It's a small comic, 80 pages with two panels a page, so unlike most of the other books you can read it in just a few minutes. A few of the kids did read it, and were surprised by how emotional they got. "It looks like it's going to be funny," they said, "but it's so sad!"

That's an effective choice Mr. Jordan Crane made, to use a charming cartoony art style to tell a melancholy and ultimately kind of creepy story.

Next week: Batman!

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