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About: Skills & Standards

Comics Workshops provide a supportive, lively environment for young artists to experiment with, learn, and expand the visual language and storytelling techniques of the comics medium.We intentionally integrate, model, and practice many academic and artistic skills in our self-directed project-based workshops, including:

Multiple Intelligences in Comics Education
  • Visual Literacy

    • Composition using main idea and supporting details [W:SL:1]
    • Graphical simplification (diagramming/portraying complex situations to show understanding) [R:IT:1]
    • Synthesizing information (graphical and textual) across and between texts [R:IT:2]
    • Comprehension strategies [R:RS:2], including:
      • using prior knowledge
      • sampling a page for readability
      • summarizing
      • predicting and making text- (and image-) based inferences
      • generating literal and clarifying questions
      • constructing (and composing) sensory images
      • making connections (text to self, text to text, and text to world)
      • locating and using text features (within images) (e.g., transition words, subheadings, bold/italicized print, size, placement, etc. …)
    • Stylistic choices
      • Perspective v. “flatness”
      • Level of detail
      • Contrast
      • Texture
      • Line weight
    • Expressive caricature
    • Using graphical cues to decode unfamiliar words [R:V:2]
  • State of NH Curriculum Frameworks for the Arts: Visual Arts

    • Curriculum Standard 1:Apply appropriate media, techniques, and processes.
      • a. select media and analyze how it effectively communicates and expresses ideas = Students select page size, inking tools, & division of visual field to suit their goals with a specific visual narrative
      • b. use the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of their experiences and ideas = Students create visual narratives and test them out on peer readers, eliciting feedback and observations that help them ensure their project communicates intended information and themes.
      • c. express and communicate ideas symbolically and realistically = Student projects combine visual languages of cartooning, representational drawing skills, elements of graphic design, iconic and symbolic presentation of complex information, and more in a constantly self-reflective creative process of adaptation, experimentation, conferencing, and revision.
      • d. use increasingly complex art materials and tools in a safe and responsible manner = The Comics Workshop publishing process structures productive collaboration and cooperative consideration of group goals throughout a complex chain of specialized design and printing activities.
    • Curriculum Standard 2: Identify and apply the elements of visual art and principles of design.
      • a. recognize and reflect on the effects of arranging visual characteristics in works of art = By creating comics, students engage in constant reflection and experimentation with the visual field as a way to represent information related to narrative, time, characters, settings, and sequential changes (plot). Awareness of reader reaction and comprehension provides the central structure and motivation to this creative process.
      • b. select and use the elements of art and principles of design to improve communication and expression of ideas = Students gather feedback through reader conferences, and make their own observations of “WHAT WORKS” in the artwork produced by their peers (e.g., graphic techniques, drawing styles, text-image interaction, etc.), using the data and impressions to guide them in the intentional application of recognized techniques and effects in their own work.
      • c. describe and analyze visual characteristics of works of art using visual arts terminology = By conferencing and engaging in group discussions, students learn to “talk about comics” with a specialized set of terms common to arts education (e.g., line weight, crosshatching, contrast, etc.) and specific to the medium of comics (e.g., panels, pages, closure, masking, etc.). Class discussion and assignments all use and expand this terminology.
  • Curriculum Standard 3:  Select and apply a range of subject matter, symbols and ideas.
  • Curriculum Standard 4: Analyze the visual arts in relation to history and culture.
  • Curriculum Standard 5: Analyze, interpret and evaluate their own and others’ artwork.
  • Curriculum Standard 6:Students will make connections among the visual arts, other disciplines, and daily life.
    • a. compare characteristics of works of art and other art forms that share similar subject matter, themes and purposes = Students discuss relevant “comics” from world history, identifying media used, graphic and literary techniques, and connections to historical narratives and cultures, simultaneously recognizing the continuity of visual narratives throughout human history AND the specific cultural and historical influences that make each branch of comics unique.
    • b. create art work that reflects the connections among visual arts and other disciplines = Representational narratives directly incorporate elements of graphic design, architecture, music, literature, dramatic presentation, and more in creating believable visual representations of settings, characters, and events. Additionally, students adapt personal drawing styles to reflect observations they make about the work of other artists and disciplines.
    • c. apply the principles of design in solving a visual arts problem = With each individual panel, the comics creation process presents a student with unique challenges of representing space, time, emotion, meaning, and more in a limited 2-dimensional space. In joining panels in sequence to compose pages and longer multi-page narratives, students encounter and address multiple simultaneous “problems” of design, readability, in the stimulating context of more holistic considerations of narrative, reader interest, overall theme, etc..
  • Language Skills

    • Sequencing (spatial representations of temporal order)
    • Dialogue between characters
    • Combining textual and visual literacy for enhanced understanding (developing visual vocabularies and shorthands)
    • Voices of characters
      • Use of language
      • Graphical representation of tone, meaning, etc.
    • Writing for a specific audience
    • Reading Fluency: Recognizing graphic and spatial indicators of inflection, meaning, and character [R:F&A:1]
    • W:IW:4:1.1: Grouping ideas logically (e.g., predictable categories, steps of a procedure, reasons/arguments)
    • W:IW:4:2.2: Stating and maintaining a focus/controlling idea on a topic
    • W:IW:4:3.2: Including sufficient details or facts for appropriate depth of information: naming, describing, explaining, comparing, using visual images
    • See NH Curriculum Framework, Written & Oral Communication (esp. p. 24-30) >>
  • Conceptual Storytelling

    • Elements of the story [R:LT:1]
      • Plot
      • Characters
        • Traits
        • Relationships
        • Motivation
        • Changes in characters over time
      • Setting
      • Scenes
      • Actions
      • Conflicts
    • Analyzing and sequencing complex series of events [R:LT:2]
    • Authorial choice and control of reading experience [R:LT:3]
    • Prioritizing information and events
    • Rhythm
    • Dramatic tension
    • Drawing on your own experiences
    • Drawing on your own imagination
  • Production Skills

    • Planning
    • Organization
    • Publishing skills and terminology
    • Presentation to an audience
    • Preparing your work for reproduction
    • Comics industry skills
  • Social Skills

    • Collaboration
    • Peer conferencing with constructive feedback
    • Self-confidence
    • Contributing to an exciting, growing field of art and literature

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