Comics Seminar: Review and Reflection

I could always make dozens of excuses to account for my low self-evaluation of last Saturday’s stint at the Ateneo – the lack of time to prepare, the lack of sleep before the seminar day, etc. – despite the praise of some people. There are so many areas that I could have worked on at length, and at this point I’m aching to have another seminar of the sort just to redeem myself. It would really benefit if the Comics Collective had a feedback mechanism for this seminar series. For any kind of training seminar, even in the corporate world, feedback is important as part of needs analysis protocal.

Three hours is not enough to tackle Page Design and Panel Composition. I purposefully opted not to tackle the latter topic because there are too many areas to explore. When I led a seminar on writing for comics for the La Salle Writers’ Guild a couple of years back, I spent six hours orienting the participants on the subject, and I didn’t even touch on actual writing or storycrafting (which is more up Dean’s avenue). For the Ateneo stint, I should’ve focused more on tips and simple how to’s instead of beginning with fundamentals.

But here’s where the trouble starts. While tips have value in themselves, they’re baseline cosmetic unless participants have foundation knowledge or experience. The seminar participation was a mixed bunch of writers, artists, and writer-artists, with a couple of mere enthusiasts attending for good measure, all of whom have different expectations. In the end, I felt that not all of what I talked about sunk in (judging from glazed eyes and blank stares). I should’ve began the seminar with the traditional here-is-what-you’ll-pick-up list, but I wasn’t even able to prepare that given the lack of time.

Why am I getting so worked up about this? Because I want to take this art seriously, and in taking it seriously, I should teach it seriously, complete with loads of examples in a fancy Powerpoint presentation. (Have you ever scanned comics pages off your expensive trade paperbacks? Believe me, it’s not an easy thing to do.)

So the appropriate next step is to beef up my presentation file to make it more robust and comprehensive. Get more examples in, more fundamentals, more tips, and more exercises, enough for a two- or even three-day seminar-slash-workshop. I hope, again, that the Comics Collective could give me objective feedback on the seminar so I could improve on what I started.

Because overall, it’s not about me. It’s about making Philippine comics great again.


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