Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Terrific, Terrifying, Titillating Tuesdays

It looks like Tuesday is going to be the busiest day of my week. In the morning, I have Laura’s “Sequential Art: Comics, Culture, and Market in Argentina” a seminar about Argentine comics between 1960 and 1980. I have a few hours to kill and then I go to Diego Agrimbau’s “Taller de Guión de Historieta,” a three hour workshop on comic creation. (Yes, I do have courses with a husband and wife in one day.) On Tuesdays I will be discussing comics in Spanish for FIVE HOURS and shuttling between Constitución, the Centro, Flores, and Barrio Norte. *Whew*

Laura’s “Sequential Art” class was supposed to be offered next semester, but the UBA (Universidad de Buenos Aires) screwed up and put it on the schedule for this semester. About ten students signed up for it and Laura decided to teach it because, as she said, our little faces were bright with excitement. We talked about comic creation process (drawing, coloring, writing), art schools and correspondence courses for drawing, and the intersection between intellectualism and comics. One of the most interesting topics we touched on was the representations and role of women in comics. The class is mostly comprised of women (unusual in the comic book world), so I think this topic will come up quite often. I felt especially prepared for the course because I had read part of Laura’s book: El Oficio de las Viñetas, about the Argentine comic book industry. Anyway, it seems like it is going to be such an interesting class and provide an important background for my research.

After that class, I made the trek to Diego’s taller de guión in Flores. Diego’s class is designed for people who want to dedicate their life (or at least most of their free time) to the art of comic writing. At first, Diego asked us if we had experience writing…everyone but me said yes, and one guy pulled out his portfolio and showed us his published work and unpublished graphic novel. Needless to say, I was intimidated until we started talking about our experiences, and then I realized that most people were on the same level. Diego then told us about his entire career as a writer—how his day is structured, his published work, failures and successes, and the creation process. The “onda” or “mood” of the room was very good because there were only seven students. They all seemed whole-heartedly interested in the program and very respectful of the teacher.

One of the most interesting things we talked about was how to come up with ideas. Diego asked us about our idea generation process and asked us if we had difficulties. He then told us that although some ideas come naturally, we might have to force them. To do this, we played a brainstorming game where we came up with common associations (“Martian-Mars,” “Secretary-Office”) and then switched them (“Mars-Secretary,” “Office-Martian”) and wrote a plot summary. We were also encouraged to keep a journal of ideas to draw on in the future. I don’t know if I will ever write comics professionally or even get something publish (so complicated!), but I think Argentina is the perfect place to begin studying.

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