Cartoon Class: Long Island Museum

Can you draw 1 and 6/10ths of a cartoon character every minute? We did!

Wow! The kid cartoonists that attended the Long Island Museum's intensive 3-day cartoon classes this past week were some of the most enthusiastic and best. I had the pleasure of teaching 10 great beginner cartoon artists.

Above: one of my favorite images drawn by one of the kids: a cheesed-off bunny, looking right at YOU! No Cadbury chocolate eggs, buddy. Get outta my furry face.

Anyway, we drew A LOT. We drew expressions, hands, feet, people in motion, we made up stories, we did gag cartoons, we did backgrounds, foregrounds and told stories with sequential art. And we took the Draw 80 Characters in 15 Minutes challenge TWICE.

This is an exercise that I made up where the student cartoonist gets a grid of boxes on a sheet of paper. In each box is a name, and, above that, a nice blank box to draw that item. Here's what you do: you pick one box, draw the image, and you then pass the page to the next cartoonist person to fill in another box, and so on, round robin, until all the grids are filled.

The timed record to draw 80 character was 15 minutes, held by the Milton, NH High School cartoonists in April, 2008.

The first time the LI Museum class did it, it took 23 minutes. On Wednesday, the last day, I took out those sheets of paper with the grids and asked them if they could break the record.

They smashed the record.

Except that the LI Museum class had twice the number of people as the Milton class, so I doubled the number of grids.

That means that 10 beginner cartoonists drew 160 cartoon characters in 10 minutes.

Above is another one of the drawings from the grids, large size. I put some simple words (dog, cat, penguin) and offbeat words (Abraham Lincoln, Fast Food Employee, etc.) in these grids. Half of the class knew what a goth was, the other half didn't. Then, half of the class talked at once to inform the other half what exactly a goth was. There was little consensus except that they wore black.

On the last day, the kids did a drawing for me.

Above: Ben captures some serious expression on the head and on the shirt in a drawing he made for me.

Above: a portrait of Mike Lynch by student cartoonist John. He wrote on the side of the caricature:

"You're not mad in that picture. You're happy as always!"

At the end of the class, I traded one of my original sketches for one of theirs. The above two, as well as the cartoons below, are some of them.

Above: William has drawn a 3-D gatefold, where the monster's mouth opens and closes, like in a pop-up book. Wow!

My thanks to Lisa & Betsy at the museum, as well as Maura, who assisted with the class for all three days, and Alexa, who pitched in on the last day.

And last but by no means least, my thanks to the Berndt Toast Gang chairman and great cartoonist Adrian Sinnott (and Pat & Dotti) for letting me hang out at his place.

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