Thursday, December 15, 2016

Forget Writing, Now I'm a Cartoonist

One of the reasons I've been excited to move to downtown Chicago is to expand my creative influences and bring new energy and focus to my writing. As a first step I took an  Adult Continuing Education class through the School of the Art Institute of Chicago called Creative Encounter. I convinced my friend Laura to take it with me and we planned to meet for a quick dinner before class each week, so I knew it would be fun no matter what.

The class was cool - an exploration of the creative process for non artists, centered on the idea that all of us have the capacity to take our perceptions and ideas and turn them into creative expressions that have substance and value.  While we spent a lot of time exploring the "process" side, the goal was that we'd all end up with some  final "product" or piece of work. Last Thursday, we each presented our projects to the class and I was blown away by what my fellow students had accomplished. We had evocative video, origami story telling, multi-media collages and paintings, a sensory feminine altar (complete with chocolate cupcakes) and my project, a comic strip.

I wanted to do a comic strip for a few reasons:
1. I love to doodle.
2. I enjoy writing dialogue but I wanted to try something more "arty" than just writing.
3. I saw the Chicago version of the Tony award winning musical "Fun Home" based on the graphic novel of the same name by Alison Bechtel and was intrigued by cartooning.
4. After the crappy election, I craved humor and light.

After a little research and a lot of practice I began to draw two female characters somewhat consistently. Here are my first three strips based on what these 50-something chicks wanted to say to each other about getting older.

1. Multi-tasking





2. Getting Deep

3. Much to Offer

It's rough, I know, but it's a beginning! And I enjoyed the process of creating these little scenes so much.

Attempting something new (like running or cartooning) can be scary and uncomfortable and embarrassing. You have to allow yourself to be really bad at the new thing and hang in there anyway. The results are gratifying. It's fun and empowering to do new things!

As Barbara Sher says:
You can learn new things at any time in your life if you're willing to be a beginner. If you actually learn to like being a beginner, the whole world opens up to you. 
Here's to more creative endeavors and more new beginnings. And stay "tooned" for more of  my new comic strip!

1 comment:

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