A KC Column by KC Carlson
(originally posted March 2, 2016)
Tomorrow afternoon, I’m going to be doing something I haven’t done for many years.
Johanna and I will be traveling to the University of Wisconsin – Stout (in Menomonie, Wisconsin — and I don’t know how people there manage to get through their days without going “doo doo de doo doo… Mahna Mahna” all the time) to talk to art and design students in conjunction with their first annual Portfolio Review Day. My wife Johanna actually got the invitation (since she’s a much more visible presence online than I am these days), and her role as comic critic fits nicely into what they’re attempting, so I’m kinda tagging along. I’m very curious to see what UW-Stout’s Comics program looks like, and it’s always exciting to meet students interested in making comics. Plus, Johanna is eager for the chance to mold young minds. Or at least to find out what concerns young creators have about comic art and business.
It appears that this is a pretty broad-based area of study, as the program also includes artists interested in Game Design (3D modeling, animation, concept art, UI design, pixel art, and more). Entertainment Design incorporates sub-disciplines that include Animation (2D & 3D), Digital Cinema, and Comics. (Yay!) Wow, college majors have changed a lot since I attended!
In 2008, I wrote a column for this blog telling a lot of “Portfolio Review Stories” about things that occurred while doing portfolio reviews while I was representing DC Comics during the previous decade. Other than than talking to a few of Jeff Butler’s comic book students here at MATC (Madison Area Technical College) a couple of years back (which I really enjoyed doing), I probably haven’t done any “formal” reviews for at least a decade.
So I look forward to the UW-Stout event as a real two-way teaching opportunity. I have a lot of old-school comic book background to share. The basics of structure and figure drawing and page design don’t change much — just the techniques of how they’re produced. And the students, I’m sure, have a lot of creative ideas and new experiences that I won’t be familiar with. I’m curious to see how many old-school portfolios I’ll be presented with, as well as how I will adapt to looking at current work on tablets or other screens, which will be new to me.
In addition to the portfolio reviews, we’ve also been invited to sit in on a class session. I’m looking forward to seeing how comics are taught, now that it’s ok for them to officially be part of the academy, instead of independent studies or small fan-group get-togethers. Our trip is also a return to an area I lived in during the late 1970s-early 80s, as I went to school at UW-Eau Claire (about an hour away) during that time and lived and worked there for several years after. After the UW-Stout event, I’ll finally get to introduce Johanna to many of my old Eau Claire friends.
KC CARLSON: Living in the future, with its many positive changes, is exciting! I feel like George Jetson, even though my future will probably be stranger than his ever was. Except I’m sad that moving sidewalks only exist here in airports, where they frown on people walking their dogs.
WESTFIELD COMICS is not responsible for the stupid things that KC says. Especially that thing that really irritated you.