As a child of the seventies, I remember after-school time as being vastly different than it is today. Sure, some boys played baseball and a few girls took tap but most of us kids were hanging around doing our thing until dinner. My thing was mostly watching talk shows (Merv, anyone?) and old cartoons (Deputy Dawg). So when my boys, ages 9 and 11, want to relax and watch TV after school, I’m okay with it to a point. However, as I began to witness pals busy each afternoon, always leaving in colorful team uniforms and returning after dark, I began to think that my boys should do something, try something.
When flyers come home announcing after-school programs, I generally receive an adamant “No!” whether it’s Boy Scouts or basketball so when I noticed that the Providence Community Library was hosting a free comic workshop I signed up the boys without hesitation with the thinking: how can I lose? Both boys are very creative, fans of comic books, and the classes are free.
Make Comics! is run by the Providence Comics Consortium, a group founded by educator/comic enthusiasts Walker Mettling and Andrew Oesch. Sessions held at library program rooms take place two afternoons per week, two hours per session. As a former art student and crafty mom, I was impressed by all facets of the classes: the obvious planning, the materials offered, the instruction of using panels for storytelling, inking and using details such as facial expression to succinctly convey emotion; there was even a healthy snack! To close the session our instructor Walker presented each child with a bound anthology of student work from both sessions, assembled with great care.
Our four-week session at the Make Comics! Workshop was great and we are making plans to enroll in another. My boys are rightfully proud to have their stories and characters published and they continue to draw and create stories using their new skills. As for me, I’m happy that they had an enriching creative experience of learning something in a new setting and working with other children they had never met before. The boys also thought an added bonus was that the class was taught by a “cool guy.”
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