Parks department to offer ‘Comic Book Project’

September 28, 2017

La PORTE — The La Porte Park and Recreation Department is introducing a new program which aims to help stoke a creative fire inside children.

Led by Debra Sawyer, an artist educator with a Masters degree in Arts Education, the Comic Book Project is a workshop which will teach children to plot and write a story, develop their own characters and learn the tools and techniques of drawing and coloring a cover and storyboard as they bring to life their very own comic book.

“It’s storytelling with dimension,” Sawyer said of the process. Comic books allow a broader focus for children to explore several avenues of creativity all tied to one final artistic piece.

“Not all kids are artists, but some of them are storytellers,” Sawyer said. “They find different parts of themselves.”

Kids, she said, will be learning to develop characters and plots alongside the illustrations, trying their hand at everything and spreading their creative wings to see what works for them.

The program uses a Columbia University Teacher’s College lesson curriculum which has been used for 16 years successfully all around the world.

The first workshop will only be offered to kids in grades 4 through 8, ages 9-14, as an effort to expand after school arts programs in the area, of which Sawyer said there are very few.

“We’re kind of testing the waters with this in terms of the interest,” Sawyer said.

Sawyer hopes to expand the program further if interest supports the decision, adding workshops for high schoolers and possibly even adults, who’ve expressed their own desire for such a program to Sawyer.

The cost is $100 for 10 sessions, which will be held on Monday and Tuesdays from 3:45 to 5:15 p.m. Classes start on Oct. 2 and will be held at Cummings Lodge in Soldiers Memorial Park.

The class is limited to 12 participates with pre-registration required. Register at the Park and Recreation Department located at 250 Pine Lake Avenue or by phone at (219) 326-9600 from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.

The young artists creations won’t go unnoticed, either, as the final products and the hours of hard work will be put on display at the La Porte County Public Library after the finishing touches have all been made.

“It’s an incredible boost to their self-esteem,” Sawyer said of displaying the finished work of the children.

With the final comics set to reflect the world and how the children view it, along with the troubles in which they’re more privy to than some may realize, the final presentations will allow the children turned comic book creators to proudly display a creation they’ve worked hard on.

“They’re very proud of it because it’s something they created,” Sawyer said. “It’s their point of view, their idea of the world, how they see the world, how they interpret things.”