Guest Post: Margo Dabaie, MFA ’13, Paying it Forward with Comics

Earlier this month, I had the unique experience of being invited to teach students from the High School of Art and Design about the fundamentals of comic-making. It was a workshop held in conjunction with Will Eisner Week (http://www.willeisnerweek.com/) at the Society of Illustrators in New York.

9h01quMN5lSamWMu7jp2CYETpvj7spP3o-vN8GHtTNQI co-taught the workshop with
Sara Woolley and
N. Stephen Harris, two cartoonists whose works and careers are quite different from mine. We meant it this way, so that we could highlight our unique paths as ways for the students to eventually get their comics work published. Since the students were coming from a magnet art school, we knew they would already know how to draw technically and wanted to challenge them with the storytelling aspects of comics.
After brief introductions by Danny Fingeroth—who discussed Will Eisner’s biography, accomplishments, and how Eisner’s life culminated into a weeklong celebration of comics—and by each of us to give an idea of the kind of work we did, we dove into the hands-on part of the workshop. As a warm-up, we had the students work on comic jams. They split into pairs, made tiny, blank books out of single sheets of paper, and worked on comics together, one page at a time at two minutes per page before passing the book to their partner—sort of like a comics version of Exquisite Corpse. The resulting comics are almost invariably goofy and the students got a kick out of them. But the exercise also helps with drawing loosely and prioritizing the comics style of pacing more than the end product looking beautiful. As a bonus, they also now know how to make a very inexpensive mini-comic out of a single sheet of paper.
We then asked the students to design a character onto a model sheet we supplied and segued into creating a fully completed one-page comic with panel templates. We emphasized thinking of characters that weren’t too complicated. It’s easy to forget sometimes how comics require you to draw the same character over and over!
Watching the students work on their own projects and talking about them was the funnest part for me.

nosO5tZ4xFgCL31X3I1na_MgoqKhdrVvton0dcv2nfMI loved hearing the stories they had in mind because they were always really ornate and involved (I definitely had to drop some gentle reminders that there’s only one page to work with!). It was clear the students were fans of comics and were excited to make work. We had this opportunity to talk more informally with the students as well, and some were very interested in the paths we had taken as artists. It was great to be able to discuss what steps they might take after high school. They also knew their drawing chops and I got to appreciate that!
We’re glad we were able to take the opportunity to impart any information that could help the students in their future art careers; I got to enjoy their energy and innovation.

Thank you, Margo! We are really proud of you!–Melanie

Guest Post: Felipe Muhr, MFA ’15 Curates Latin American Art Show

Migratory Patterns
I came with my heart full of Sinatra
March 20 – 22, 2015
Opening Friday March 20, 2015. 6:00-9:00PM
CuatroH – 56 Bogart Street, Brooklyn, NY 11237. Fourth Floor

Migratory Patterns
showcases the works of nine young artists who were raised in Latin America but have lived and worked in the US in recent years. The exhibition looks to acknowledge that working and exhibiting as artists in the US entails the adoption of a different set of parameters through which these art works are experienced. As Latin Americans, these artists question the prevalence of the stereotypes that surround their practices and the frictions that are created when producing work that is to be read in
both contexts.
Each piece in the show embodies a particular point of view, recreating the complexity of a territory often read through a single narrative. Migratory Patterns provides an opportunity to discuss issues such as immigration, travel, memory, socio-political differences and to open a dialogue in terms of representation between the artists’ home countries and the United States, from a critical perspective.

sebayork_1Adalberto Camperos will be showing his illustrated book Seba York. The work is a result  of his experience in NY while he was still a student at FIT. Through his work, Camperos revisits the notion of New York, not as the luminous city that houses Times Square, but as a disenchanted and dry place that overwhelms him as an ex-pat. Through his drawing practice, a broken-hearted Camperos analyses the food truck culture, the chaotic MTA system, the “do it yourself” philosophy, the sophisticated attires of the locals, and the refined art scene.

felipe muhr pato donald1Current MFA ’15 student Felipe Muhr participates in the show with How to Draw Donald Duck, a large-format drawing based on the Donald Duck comics he used to read as a child in Santiago de Chile and that later became the topic for his written research at FIT. Through his reading of translated, censured and re-edited Donald Duck comic books, Muhr encounters an US American reality that had been renegotiated for the Chilean context. In the spirit of William Hogarth’s diagrams, Muhr replicates backgrounds, objects and graphic gestures found in Donald Duck’s Latin American comics, creating a fictitious manual which revisits the standardized parameter of a commercial drawing form. http://felipemuhr.com

The exhibit also showcases photography, sound, video, performance, sculpture and drawing by Alejandro Yoshii, México; Constanza Alarcón, Chile; Luciana Pinchiero, Argentina; Margarita Sánchez Urdaneta, Colombia; Maricruz Alarcón, Chile; Orlando De la Garza, México; and Paz Ortúzar, Chile.