We started our lesson on Non-Fiction comics with a field trip to Clay Hill Corners Farm in Hartland, VT to talk with Marty Banak and listen in as he was interviewed. He showed us around the amazing farm and his sugar shack (on wheels!). Greenhouses, bees, blueberries, even a little mushroom farm. I kept thinking, my dad would have enjoyed talking about shrubberies and fertilizer with this fellow. He was a lot of fun.

Back at school we had a lecture from Sophie Yanow on cartooning Memoirs and Comic Journalism.

Sophie pointed out the perfection of Comic Journalism for certain inquiring minds... "you have a question, you research the question, and then you get paid to answer your question."

Our next assignment, for after Spring Break, is to do an online non-fiction comic, 8-12 pages, depending on what we decide to do (if research is involved or not). I am so torn as to topic. I am drawn toward doing something more like daily journaling. But it could be interesting to do a how-to, or even something a bit silly... I guess I need to talk it over with my "Art Director" tomorrow. We also found out about our First Year Final Project which will be due April 29th. Wow - this year is going fast!

I'm thinking about doing my Rip-Off trailer park comic for that project. Hmmmm.... looks like we actually have quite a bit of homework over Break!? Well... I still intend to run away. I really NEED to run away!!

Speaking of the trailer park comic, I did a few more pages for that as homework this week. I have learned that I draw really slowly. Perhaps that is because I think as I draw. And then I ink slowly. And scan slowly. Then clean-up slowly. And then, at 2am, my printer said "Oh, so sorry, I seem to be out of toner."  Agh. I need to find a way to speed up the inking and marker stages and that might involve improving my tech options and skills.

Since I ink right on top of my blue line sketches, I feel the need to scan the sketches, the inked work, then the marker pages. Man. If I scanned the sketches, then did everything else on the computer... I need a Cintiq tablet and a really good laser printer... Kickstarter again?

Here are a few of the finished pages. I ended up moving around some of the panels too.

Backing up a day, yesterday, in Publication Workshop...

We talked about cover design - for e-books in particular - the impact that color, value and shapes have on the thumbnails we see on Amazon, etc. Is the type still legible at such a tiny size? And the same principles apply in the real world. At a convention or trade show with thousands of books spread out on tables and displays - what makes some books really stand out from the others?

Then we had a guest - local book-artist, Stephanie Wolff, who demonstrated every step necessary to create a hardcover book... by hand. Whoa. I'm still exhausted. And I am VERY sure I do not want to make hand-made books of my own. I have tremendous respect for those of you that do this... but it's not for me.

She did show us one tip that was extremely cool and I've never seen any bookmaking teachers do this in any classes I've taken:

She stores her PVA glue in a large flat food storage container with lid. There is a jar lid glued to the bottom of one end to keep it on a slant - kind of like a mini-paint rolling pan, but with an airtight lid! AND she keeps a small foam roller INSIDE the container too. When she needs to apply the PVA glue to papers or bookcloth, she just rolls on the perfect layer and keeps working. No clean up. Kind of genius.

Although her demo was excruciatingly detailed.. she also gave us a sheet of notes with the basics of what she would show us.

We folded it in half lengthwise, then accordion style, then tore the center panels apart...

Then refolded it...

...and flipped the cover around... to make a cute little instruction book!

THIS kind of book... yes... I would make THIS book.