Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Megan Kelso: Thoughts on Teaching and the Creative Process

As a teacher of comics, what I offer, all I have really, is my experience with my own creative process that has evolved in a kind of higgledy-piggledy fashion over the last 21 years. The cartoonists Lynda Barry and Alan Moore both talk about their creative process as if they are magicians conjuring up a sacred space to do their work. It's a little woo-woo, but honestly, I think there is a lot of truth to the idea that creativity requires an act of conjuring.  

Almost all artists have rituals or habits that help them get to where they can access their creative selves. These idiosyncratic habits may not be specifically relevant to how others work, but what is relevant is the idea that every creative person must find a process whereby they gain admission to their creative side.

Over the years, I have tried to work in such a way that the image is the generative tool rather than the word. In my teaching, I experiment with this idea by taking students through a series of drawing and comics exercises that quiet their writer selves until an image takes hold. 

Sometimes cartoonists who are primarily writers tinker with their scripts for so long, they become afraid to begin drawing. I encourage students to find places in their work where the drawing and writing go hand in hand. 

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