Visions of Johanna, Experimental Comic
Lakes International Comic Arts Festival 2018
This project brought together illustrators from levels 5 and 6 and asked them to responsively produce artwork which would be compiled into an experimental comic. As the project was delivered on the first day back from summer break and only a couple of weeks before The Lakes International Comic Arts Festival (where the final comic would be shown and sold) students had to begin working on final artwork almost straight away. Usual considerations of research, development and refinement were replaced by instinct and experimentation. This project has historically proved to be a great way of bringing students back up to speed after a significant break from studio practice, and instilling both energy and fun into a cohort at the start of a new academic year.
Students were each given a line or two from Bob Dylan's Visions of Johanna (Blond on Blonde, 1966), e.g. "In the empty lot, where the ladies play blind man's bluff with the keychain" and asked to produce a single comic page based upon their lyric. They were provided a standard 9 panel grid on which to base their page (creating no fewer than 5 panels). Students were also asked to not consider the song in its entirety, nor were they to give consideration to the artwork or narrative of the pages either side of their own.
Once completed, pages were compiled in song-order, printed in an American comic format and sealed into its own plastic sleeve, completing that 'real' comic feel.
Cover artwork a collaboration between Ed Murray of Yr2, Laura Tickner of Yr3 and lecturer, Dwayne Bell.
Sample spreads from 'Visions of Johanna', created by both levels 5 & 6 students.
Individual approach and visual voice provide the comic with a continuous juxtaposition; the only sense of cohesion is in the panel grid and Dylan's lyric.
In support of the experimental nature of the project, we ran a one day workshop which ended in the production of a one-off comic. We looked at the use of photocopier and other 'instant' approaches. The workshop helped provide, alongside technical understandings, a sense of confidence in the students own abilities to quickly turnaround artwork; this artwork was produced in a matter of hours, as a result, the one week deadline of the main comic, felt, by comparison, generous.
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