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WNAC offering 6-week ‘Intro to Comics’ course

February 3, 2019 GMT

SCOTTSBLUFF — From the funny papers to hardbound superhero graphic novels fit for a coffee table, comics combine art and story telling in a way few other mediums can.

A course offered by West Nebraska Arts Center aims to give students the tools to tell those stories through its “Intro to Comics & Sequential Art” course for ages 14 and up.

Under the instruction of Mathew Rhys and Barry Tetz of Ideal Comics, the class is divided into six 1½-hour sessions and will be held in the downstairs classroom at WNAC on Tuesdays, Feb. 5 through March 12, from 5:30-7 p.m.

“One of the things that’s great about comics is it combines the visual with the literary arts,” Rhys said. “You’ve got pictures with implied movement, implied space and all of those artistic techniques, and those are married with sound effects, dialogue and text.”

Rhys said students will get the opportunity over the course to produce their own eight-page “ash can” mini-comic.

“Ash can comics are low-budget, short and simple,” Rhys said. But for the beginner or intermediate comic artist, they’re great places to start.

During the course’s first week, students will learn what is a comic, how to create the story and how to make a three-panel comic. In week two, they will learn the differences between cartooning and fine art, and beginning plotting and defining characters. Week three will be all about dialogue, scriptwriting and lettering. Week four will focus on layout and finalizing plots. Week five will focus on pencils and inks with time for work before wrapping up the finished project in week six.

This is the second time Rhys has taught the class, and he’s changed some of the course layout to afford students more time to produce a finished project.

“One of the things we found last time is that we didn’t have enough time laid out for people to work on their projects in class,” he said. “We rearranged it a little bit so that they can start digging into their projects sooner.”

The junior high to high school age is the ideal demographic for the class, but it also has something to offer for experienced illustrators and adult artists. For example, if you’ve been drawing static art for 20 years, but have never thought about doing sequential art, the course is the perfect opportunity to make a break from figure drawing to trying your hand at action-oriented work.

“It’s got something everyone can benefit from,” Rhys said. “The techniques that you use are a little bit different from what you’d get from studying regular illustration.”

The cost for all six sessions is $60 for WNAC members or $65 for non-members. Price includes all supplies, which you get to keep. Space is limited to 20 participants for each class and early registration is encouraged.

For more information or to register for the workshop, contact Maria Lena Medina at West Nebraska Arts Center at 308-632-2226, or lena@thewnac.com or visit the WNAC website at www.thewnac.com