Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 In Review

It's typical for comics to do retrospectives around this time of year, so I'll do likewise. 2008 was a very good year for the Create a Comic Project. After a number of workshops, it finally found a home for regular sessions. It began its own line of comic books to help educators. And the project broke new ground in its use of modules and reached record numbers of children.

I'm quite happy with the project's current home at the Collegiate YMCA. While I only have 5 students regularly, they (usually) work hard and are quite creative. It's taken me a few months to connect with them, but I think now we have the kind of bond I had with my students at New Haven. They'll do great things in 2009!

When I first started the project, I wanted to publish materials under its name. I'd already published a two page activity guide through Hess Educational Organization in Taiwan, but I wanted something that could reach the general public. With the help of many artists, especially Ryan Estrada and Erin Ptah, I have begun this task with three comic books so far and more to come!

The two biggest events of the year were the Comic Making Tournament II and the National Public Health Week field trip. CMT II was far larger than its predecessor, indicating an upward trend I hope continues for some time. The lessons I learned in events and organizing are helping me greatly in preparing for the third tournament.

The field trip was the first major excursion for the module form of the comic project. Nearly 200 students lead through a field trip at the Children's Museum, making comics even as they experienced the various events. While it wasn't without problems, it proved that the project could be melded seamlessly with almost any educational endeavor. This was shown again during Healthy Holidays and will lay the groundwork for projects in 2009.

Places that sponsored the Create a Comic Project in 2008:

New Haven Public Library
Community Foundation for Greater New Haven
University of Pittsburgh
Association of Schools of Public Health
Collegiate YMCA
Children's Museum of Pittsburgh
Northview Elementary
Shadyside Boys and Girls Club
Human Services Center
Braddock Carnegie Library
Squirrel Hill Carnegie Library

The project would not be possible without their support, so many thanks go to them. I'll post more detailed plans for 2009 soon.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

12/5/08 Pictures

Pictures from the 12/5 session have been uploaded.

12/5/08 Session

Monday, December 29, 2008

12/19/08 Videos

There were four videos from the 12/19 session.

12/19 Video 1



12/19 Video 2



12/19 Video 3



12/19 Video 4

Sunday, December 28, 2008

11/26/08 Pictures

Pictures from the 11/26 session have been uploaded.

11/26/08 Session

Saturday, December 27, 2008

11/19/08 Pictures

Pictures from the 11/19 session have been uploaded.

11/19/08 Session

Friday, December 26, 2008

Healthy Holidays: 12/20 Stats

Here are the stats for the 12/20 module:

Comics collected: 35
Attendance: 27
Efficiency: 1.30

The high efficiency for 12/20 came from the higher number of double comic templates and several kids making more than 1 comic each.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Healthy Holidays Tips

For Healthy Holidays, we used 20 different tips for people to write about. They were suggested by students from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

Healthy Holiday Tips:

1. Don't force yourself to eat - stop when you feel full.
2. Don't abstain utterly - pick 2 or 3 treats that are okay to eat.
3. Guess how much is a good portion, then take a little less.
4. Skip adding alcohol to drinks.
5. Substitute “light” and “fat-free” whenever possible.
6. A good holiday platter: veggies, hummus, and shrimp.
7. Recycle your fruit cakes and other holiday refuse.
8. Combine going overseas on holiday vacation with volunteering.
9. Reduce temptation: share your treats with others!
10. Keep your exercise schedule flexible.
11. Mix exercise and winter play: skiing, skating, snowshoeing, etc.
12. For the holiday wish list: keep a body area fit.
13. Buy home gym equipment on sale – and use them!
14. Walk while you shop for presents.
15. Visit people you like and avoid the ones you don’t to reduce stress.
16. Don’t be too rigid about your diet – it adds stress.
17. Keep your loved ones safe; start the new year with a gun permit.
18. It’s okay to say “No” when offered a treat.
19. Include a leafy salad with your holiday meal.
20. Get a pedometer and keep track of how much you walk.

Tips 6 and 12 didn't really work, so they were retired from use partway into the event. The tip that worked best with the comics was #7 (re-gifting fruit cake amused some people).

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

12/19/08 Session Stats

Here are the stats from the 12/19 session:

Comics collected: 142
Attendance: 5
Student efficiency: 28.4
Maximum possible: 139
Lesson efficiency: 1.02

There was no set number of comics handed out to each student, so the maximum possible was based on the number of pages I collected, with double-comics pushing the efficiency above 1.00.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Healthy Holidays: 12/18 Stats

Here are the stats from the 12/18 module:

Comics collected: 15
Attendance: 13
Efficiency: 1.15

This module had the fewest comics collected of the three.

Healthy Holidays: 12/16 Stats

Here are the stats from the 12/16 module:

Comic collected: 47
Attendance: 39
Efficiency: 1.21

Note that since everyone was expected to only do 1 comic, the personal and lesson efficiencies are the same.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Healthy Holidays: 12/20 Report

The 12/20 module went well. About 20 people took part, twice that of 12/18. The high traffic spot really helped attract attention. Emphasizing the project as a "create a comic activity" rather than a chance to get candy made it appeal more to parents.

The idea of making comics appealed to many kids. I had one 3-year old boy who made 4 comics by himself after realizing that the more comics he created the more candy he could get. At 3, I think he's the youngest child to make a comic unaided.

I was surprised by the number of children who weren't interested in making comics. Many of them just wanted to get on the computer to play games. Fortunately, the Squirrel Library uses a program that automatically limits how long a child can spend on the computer. I managed to get a couple kids who initially expressed little interest after they'd used up their online time.

The 12/20 session may or may not be the last one. I may hold 1 more Healthy Holiday session on Monday, 12/22, depending on the weather. We'll see. Even if I stop now, though, I've collected enough info to start planning for April 2009 and National Public Health Week.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

12/19/08 Session Report

The 12/19 session was a great success! The use of competition really brought out the best in the kids. 5 children took part, including 1 who normally doesn't because he has trouble spelling. The promise of prizes was received well and helped them focus. Stats will be posted later, but I can say that comic turnout was very high.

One interesting feature the YMCA has are "TY Bucks." Kids earn them by doing good things and can redeem them for prizes donated by members. This is a great educational and classroom management tool, similar to the stamps I used while teaching in Taiwan. I may use this with the comic project in some form in other venues.

Pictures and videos will be posted soon.

Friday, December 19, 2008

12/19/08 Session

The 12/19 session at Sunnyside is going to be a special competition. The contest is based on the Endurance event from the Comic Tournament. Kids will race to see who can make the most comics in a certain time frame. I'm bringing a bag full of prizes and they'll get to go through it in the order they win to keep it fair.

Comics used:

8-Bit Theater
And Shine Heaven Now
Applegeeks
Awkward Zombie
Chaos Punks
College Roomie From Hell
Demonology 101
Dicebox
Dreamland Chronicles
Fans!
Flipside
Freshman 15
Ghost Hunters
Girl Genius
Goats
Ice
I Come From Mars
Jellaby
Kastle Comics
Lil' Formers
Little Dee
Lovarian Adventures
Mac Hall
Marilith
Nothing Nice to Say
Okashina Okashi
Penny Arcade
Penny & Aggie
Phoenix
Piled Higher and Deeper
Planet Karen
Punks and Nerds
Questionable Content
Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal
Saturnalia
Shortpacked
Sketchies
Sluggy Freelance
Something Like Life
Sparkling Generation Valkyrie Yuuki
Sticky Floors
Stubble
Tea Club
Tsunami Channel
Venus Envy
World of Orenda
xkcd
Zombies Calling

These are split into 5 groups of evenly balanced groups given to the kids for them to complete.

Healthy Holidays: 12/18 Report

A shorter, 2 and a half hour session of Healthy Holidays was held today. Unlike the first, it took place in the Children's Department rather than near the main entrance. It began at 2:30 PM, but children didn't start arriving until around 3:30 PM. It was a slow day according to librarians and only ~10 people participated. Exact stats will be posted later.

A boy from Wednesday showed up again and made several comics, and a brother-sister pair liked the activity enough to make two comics each. Parents really seemed to like helping their children filling out the comics.

The main purpose of this session wasn't to get more comics so much as to prepare for Saturday. Thanks to this, I know where a good spot is to set up the table where people will see it. The librarians are expecting a busy day this weekend thanks to the holidays, so I'm hoping to really see some activity.

I didn't take any pictures or video this time. The Children's Department doesn't have room for the tripod, so I'm not going to bother with it Saturday, either (one less item to carry).

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Healthy Holidays: 12/16 Report

The 12/16 run of Health Holidays went smoothly. It had to start a little later than planned, but it ran until 7 PM as planned. About 40 people took part, ranging from kids to teens to adults (stats will be posted later) and there's still plenty of candy left.

I'm very glad I chose to put this program together as a trial run for April 2009. I've learned a lot of applied lessons that will make the National Public Health Week version go much smoother. So if nothing else, this has been an informative proof of concept.

Items learned, in no particular order:
  1. The most common reason for refusal was time. People leaving had other things to get to and even those coming in often had a limited amount of time to spend in the library.

  2. A couple of the tips didn't work well as comic themes, so I won't use them in later sessions.

  3. Instructions should be in two parts: the first part is short and to the point, with the second having additional info if a person has more questions. People will often just glance at the instructions and only read the first couple entries, so giving them a quick outline of the project in a few lines is important. The additional info is for the people who do read in-depth so they don't have to ask as many questions.

  4. Candy is a great way to get children and even teens interested in participating. Not being strict with the quantity dispensed builds good will and positive feelings. One group relatively unaffected by the offer of candy: adult males.

  5. In the vein of being more generous with the candy, I'm going to allow people to earn more candy by submitted multiple comics. This should appeal to kids, who are all about acquiring as much candy as they can (I know I was when I was that age). The next couple sessions are in the Children's Department, so I expect adding "make more comics, get more candy" to the instructions will increase participation.

  6. There are parents who don't want their kids getting candy. I knew a couple of parents like this when I was young and always felt sorry for their children. In the future, having an alternate to candy may help get them on board. For National Public Health Week 2009, this will likely be stickers.

  7. If there's one person sitting at a table, people will tend to sit across from that person. So keep the side you're sitting on unobstructed.

  8. Loading clipboards with the templates and pencils ahead of time was a good move. It allowed me to hand them out quickly. I'll continue to use that approach. Another trick with the clipboards was that for horizontally oriented strips, put them in the board with the right side (the last panel) under the clip. I had a couple people almost miss the first word bubble of a comic because it was covered up.

  9. The phrase "earn some candy" is a good one. If you just say "free candy" people may take the candy and not do the comic.

  10. Some people mistook the table for donation collection or one of those "Could you take a survey?" projects. A larger banner and/or advertising of the event beforehand might prevent this error.
One other idea for the future: add a raffle component. Some people commented that making a comic was too much work for a few pieces of candy. By having a larger prize, this may make people feel better compensated and make it more appealing to adult males. The raffle would work by having each comic be an entry to win (names and contact info would need to be collected) or exchanging a finished comic for an entry ticket. For NPHW 2009, the prize could be something health care related, such as pharmacy gift cards so people could save money on their prescription medicine.

I took video for most of it, though the audio quality is rather poor. I'll go through it and see what's worth posting. I opted to skip taking photos since it might have scared some people away.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Healthy Holidays Templates

For Healthy Holidays, I'm using a large number of templates, arguably more than in any other event. I've chosen to make this the first time the new comics (post-Otakon) are unveiled. The intent was to put the project on full display to see what comics do best with comicvoice, which is important for future projects involving it.

The event is spread over 2 days, so it's unlikely every comic will be used both days. It's more likely some will be used one day and others on the second, depending on how many people take part.

Comics being used:

8-Bit Theater
Afterlife Inc.
And Shine Heaven Now
Animenefesto
Annie
Applegeeks
Awkward Zombie
Blue and Blond
Chaos Punks
Chugworth Academy
Coffee Achievers
College Roomies From Hell
Comedity
Cool Cat Studio
Copper
Cosmobear
Daisy is Dead
Demonology 101
Devil's Panties
Dicebox
Diesel Sweeties
Dinosaur Comics
Dominic Deegan
Dreamland Chronicles
Dr. McNinja
Ellsmere
Erstwhile
Faking Life
Fans!
Flipside
Freshmen 15
Geebas on Parade
Geeks Next Door
Geist Panik
Ghost Hunters
Girl Genius
Goats
Grim Tales From Down Below
Hate Song
Hookie Dookie Panic
Ice
I Come From Mars
The Jar
Jellaby
Kastle Comics
Krakow
Lil' Formers
Lil' Mell
Little Dee
Lovarian Adventures
Mac Hall
Marilith
My Stupid Life
Mystic Revolution
Narbonic
No Pink Ponies
No Rest for the Wicked
Nothing Nice to Say
Octopus Pie
Okashina Okashi
Paradigm Shift
Paradox Lost
Penny & Aggie
Penny Arcade
Phoenix
Picatrix
Piled Higher and Deeper
Planet Karen
PPG Doujin
Prophesy of Destiny
Punks and Nerds
Questionable Content
Red String
Reman Mythology
Rob and Elliot
Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal
Saturnalia
Scary Go Round
School of Rejects
Seasons of Constancy
Shortpacked
Simulated Comic Product
Sketchies
Skin Horse
Sluggy Freelance
Something Like Life
Sorcerers and Secretaries
Sparkling Generation Valkyrie Yuuki
Sticky Floors
Stubble
Sugar Bits
Tea Club
Templar, AZ
Tracy and Tristan
Tsunami Channel
Unshelved
Venus Envy
Versus Verses
Weirdlings
World of Orenda
xkcd
You'll Have That
Zombies Calling

Comic titles in italics are those being used the first time. Phineus was one of the only comics I couldn't use due to lack of appropriate templates.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Healthy Holidays: A CCP Event

On 12/16 and 12/20 (this Tuesday and Saturday), the Create a Comic Project and the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH) are collaborating on a special event called "Healthy Holidays." The event is being hosted by the Squirrel Hill branch of the Carnegie Library.

Healthy Holidays is a public health promotion event, designed to raise awareness in the general community about ways to keep in good shape over the Christmas season. Library patrons are given a tip at random, create a comic based on the tip, and get candy in return (the candy is intended ironically).

Like the National Public Health Week event, it uses comicvoice to record the perspectives of individuals. The goal is to collect a large number of comics representing viewpoints from a broad spectrum. Both blank templates and comic templates are being used. Blank templates will be displayed at GSPH.

In addition to being educational, the event is intended as a proof of concept for future projects. The question is whether table sitting in a high traffic location and offering a small treat/prize in exchange for making a comic on a certain theme is effective at community outreach. If this event does work well, a similar setup will be used for National Public Health Week 2009 and its theme of healthy foundations.

Areas of concern with the current design include the passivity of table sitting and the reluctance people may have in investing time to make a comic. A more active approach to recruiting participants or larger compensation may help increase numbers if this project comes up lacking. These design changes will be considered depending on the results garnered here.

There may or may not be pictures and video from the event, depending on approval from the library and participants. I'll post which comics I'm using soon (hint: a lot of them). This event counts as a Create a Comic Module, due to the integration of comics with an educational theme.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

12/12/08 Videos

There were 3 videos from the 12/12 session.


12/12 Video 1




12/12 Video 2



12/12 Video 3

Saturday, December 13, 2008

12/12/08 Session Stats

Here are the stats from the 12/12 session:

Comics collected: 31
Attendance: 5
Student efficiency: 6.2
Maximum possible: 45
Lesson efficiency: 0.69

The efficiency here is low for the same reason as the 11/19 session: the students were generally distracted by external factors. I'll be repeating this lesson in January.

12/12/08 Session Report

The 12/12 session was a mixed bag. 5 students attended. The warm-up went all right, but the students were so energetic from consuming candy earlier they weren't able to pay much attention to the lesson itself. When asked what the 5 W's were, they answered, "Wow." I'll be repeating the lesson in January - maybe after the holidays are done they'll be calmer.

Stats, videos, and pictures will be posted soon.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

12/12/08 Session

The 12/12 session will focus on multi-page stories. I want to see if they can write out a 5 page comic. I'll be covering how to plan a story ahead of time, such as answering certain questions and outlining the plot.

Comics used:

And Shine Heaven Now
Flight
Lil' Formers
Lovarian Adventures
Saturnalia
Something Like Life

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

12/5/08 Videos

There are five videos from the 12/5 session, a few of which are shorter clips put together.

12/5 Video 1



12/5 Video 2



12/5 Video 3



12/5 Video 4



12/5 Video 5

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Evil Diva Joins!

Another great new comic has joined the project: Evil Diva by Pete Menotti and Brinson Thieme. I stumbled across this comic a couple months ago. It has a bright colorful style that makes it great for use with kids. I also like the variety of camera angles, which makes it good for demonstrating panel composition.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Post-Otakon Template Progress 7

No new archives trawling lately, but I have managed to create templates from some new comics:

Animenifesto
Erstwhile
Octopus Pie
Paradox Lost
Picatrix
Prophesy of Destiny
Red String
Reman Mythology
Snafu
Sugar Bits
Tin

I still need to get Robin Edwards comics, but I'm not sure I'll have it in time for next week, when a special CCP event will take place.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

12/5/08 Session Stats

Here are the stats from the 12/5 session:

Comics collected: 47
Attendance: 5 full-time + 2 part-time = 6.0
Student efficiency: 7.83
Maximum possible: 54
Lesson efficiency: 0.87

One change in the calculations I've made is with students who showed up late in the session and didn't complete warm-up comics. I weighted them by 0.5 since they didn't have a chance to produce as many comics as a normal student. I think this makes the efficiency numbers more accurate than if I counted them the same as the others.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Abandon Joins the CCP!

Abandon: The First Vampire by Greg Carter and Elliot Dombo has joined the CCP! They agreed to join back in August at Otakon, but I only recently confirmed that was the case. I'm glad to have them on board.

Friday, December 5, 2008

12/5/08 Session Report

The 12/5 session went very well! Fridays are indeed much better days for the project. 5 children participated, with another 2 joining in toward the end. I'll have exact stats later. The lesson went well and the kids seemed to pay more attention to expressions in the end, especially a couple where the expressions hinted at a punchline.

This session also saw a test run of the new CCP camera: a Canon A590 I got in sale during Black Friday. It has a higher resolution and the ability to take longer video than the Canon S3 I'd been using, though it doesn't focus quite as fast. Overall I'm pleased with it and will be making use of it in the tournament. Pictures and videos from it will be posted soon.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

12/5/08 Session

The theme for the 12/5 session is character expression, specifically paying attention to them. Kids tend to overlook how a character looks when writing their dialogue, so this will hopefully get them to notice. Basic pointers include what to look for on the face and body language.

Comic templates used:

Awkward Zombie
Goats
Lil' Formers
Lovarian Adventures
Okashina Okashi
Seasons of Constancy
Tracy and Tristan

11/12/08 Pictures

Pictures from the 11/12 session have been uploaded to Picasa.

11/12/08 Session

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

11/5/08 Pictures

Pictures from the 11/5 session have been uploaded to Picasa.

11/5/08 Session

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

12/5/08 Session

I'm shifting the 12/3 session to 12/5. There are more kids on Friday and I don't have class that day to interfere. So the upcoming session schedule is:

12/5
12/12
12/19
1/2/09 (Tentative)

No session on the 24th or 26th since there's no school then. I'm unsure when I'll be having sessions in January since I don't know my schedule for next semester yet.

Monday, December 1, 2008

10/22/08 Pictures

Photos from the 10/22 session have been uploaded to Picasa.

10/22/08 Session

Saturday, November 29, 2008

11/26/08 Videos

There were only two videos from the 11/26 session.

11/26 Video 1



11/26 Video 2

Friday, November 28, 2008

11/19/08 Videos

There were four videos from the 11/19 session.

11/19 Video 1



11/19 Video 2



11/19 Video 3



11/19 Video 4

Thursday, November 27, 2008

11/26/08 Session Stats

Here are the stats from the 11/26 session.

Comics collected: 32
Attendance: 4
Student efficiency: 8
Maximum possible: 28
Lesson efficiency: 1.14

It helped that this lesson used a lot of double comics, which boosted the efficiency, and 2 students completely finished their packets.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

11/26/08 Session Report

The 11/26 session used the same templates as the 11/19 session, though I dropped the theme of symbolia and let the kids write their own thoughts. 4 students attended, 2 of the usual girls and 2 boys who normally only attend on Friday. One of them was a student from the summer and one of the best creative writers in the group, so I was happy to have him.

It was the birthday of one of the volunteers, so the kids were in a good mood and far less crazy than last week, leading to a production session. Stats, videos, and pictures will be posted soon.

10/15/08 Pictures

Pictures from the 10/15 session have been uploaded to Picasa.

10/15/08 Session

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Blank Comic Book Contest Results

The results from Nat Gertler's Blank Comic Book Contest have been posted and the Create a Comic Project took 2nd place alongside 3 others:

"Runners up were Chris Leake, for wanting to put it on the counter of the comic shop he owns, Ninja Pirate in Pflugerville, Texas; Doug Burke of Utah, for wanting to use them as role playing guides; David Oakes of Chandler, Arizona, for wanting to archive letters of comment and value stamps; and John Baird of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for a variety community collaborative concepts. Each will receive their choice of one book from the above-listed packs."

While I didn't take the grand prize for 1st place, I did win a free book that I'll be giving away to my students. And the contest helped me think of several new ideas to use with my students. So all-in-all it was a good experience. Many thanks to Nat for running such a creative competition.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Post-Otakon Template Progress 6

I'm getting ready for a major event in December, so I've been busy creating templates.

Comics whose archives I've gone through:

Animenifesto
Picatrix
System

In the case of System, he sent me all of the symbols he uses to create his comic, so I'll use those to generate my own. Animenifesto is a comic I've long meant to crawl through - Zacc, it's creator, gave me permission to use his work over year ago in Sept '07. I've been using Phoenix, his other comic, but not his 4 panel work. Smithson remains one of the few from over a year ago I have yet to get through.

Comics I've made templates from:

Devil's Panties
Dominic Deegan
Geebas on Parade
Grim Tales from Down Below
PPG Doujin
Sticky Floors

I still need to get to Sugar Bits. The comics by Gina Biggs and Robin Edwards are also waiting in the wings.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

9/24/08 Pictures

Pictures from the 9/24 session have been uploaded to Picasa.

9/24/08 Session

Friday, November 21, 2008

11/19/08 Session Stats

Here are the stats from the 11/19 session:

Comics collected: 14
Attendance: 3
Student efficiency: 4.67
Maximum possible: 27
Lesson efficiency: 0.52

As I said in the report, the large decrease in efficiency was due to the students being much more distracted than usual. I'll be repeating the lesson on 11/26 and hopefully get better results.

9/10/08 Pictures

The photos from the 9/10 session have been uploaded.

9/10/08 Session

Thursday, November 20, 2008

11/19/08 Session Report

The 11/19 session wasn't as productive as I'd hoped. There were 3 kids, but they were so hyper from the recent snowy weather that they hardly got anything done. Fortunately, I found out I can come in next Wednesday - 11/26 - where I'll repeat the lesson. Maybe they'll be in a more receptive mood.

Stats, pictures, and videos will be posted soon.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

11/19/08 Session

The 11/19 session will be based on Symbolia, the use of symbols instead of words in the speech bubbles. It's very straight forward, as I just cover some of the common substitutions (like hearts, skulls, etc.) and ask the kids to make up their own.

Comics being used:

And Shine Heaven Now
Lil' Formers
Lovarian Adventures
Narbonic
No Pink Ponies
Okashina Okashi
Seasons of Constancy
Something Like Life
Tracy and Tristan

I've been using Lovarian, Something Like Life, and Seasons of Constancy a lot lately. I'm trying to focus on a few comics at a time and build up template numbers for them.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Post-Otakon Template Progress 5

A brief update on my template progress.

Comics I've made templates from:

Blue and Blond
Mystic Revolution
School of Rejects

I also added significantly to the templates I had of Simulated Comic Product and Matt Herms' work. I need to start making Bleedman templates soon.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

9/3/08 Photos

Photos from the 9/3 session have been posted to Picasa.

9/3/08 Session

Saturday, November 15, 2008

8/12/08 Pictures

Pictures from the 8/12/08 sessions have been added to Picasa.

8/12/08 Session

Friday, November 14, 2008

11/12/08 Videos

There were 3 videos from the 11/12 session.

11/12 Video 1



11/12 Video 2



11/12 Video 3

Thursday, November 13, 2008

11/12/08 Session Stats

Here are the stats for the 11/12 session:

Comics collected: 17
Attendance: 2
Student efficiency: 8.50
Maximum possible: 16
Lesson efficiency: 1.06

I tacked on an extra 1 panel comic to the warm-up portion, which was good. One thing I need to remember, though, is to keep the warm-up comics simple so they don't tire students out before the activity portion.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

11/12/08 Session Report

The 11/12 session went well, though it only had 2 students. They understood the idea of thought bubbles quickly. I was a bit overly ambitious with the templates, so I'll ratchet them back once more. However, the use of just 1 group is working well so that will be continued.

Pictures, videos, and stats will be posted soon. Next session is 11/19 and will cover symbolia.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

11/12/08 Session

The 11/12 session will cover thought bubbles. Normally I cover both alternate word bubbles and thought bubbles together, but it seemed prudent to divide them into separate lessons due to the time constraints.

Comics used:

Annie
Lil Formers
Lovarian Adventures
Okashina Okashi
Piled Higher and Deeper
Seasons of Contancy
Something Like Life
Tsunami Channel

Monday, November 10, 2008

8/5/08 Pictures

Photos from the 8/5 session have been uploaded to Picasa.

8/5/08 Session

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Gallery Moving to Picasa

One thing I've struggled with is making regular updates to the CCP gallery of photos. My current method has been rather time consuming: selecting what photos to upload, formatting them to 800x600, renaming them, generating thumbnails, and then updating the gallery page's HTML by hand. This didn't present too much difficulty at first, but lately I've been falling behind in my gallery updates and wanted to find a different way.

Enter Picasa. I first looked into using Flickr, but its restrictions on bandwidth and set numbers under free mode made it infeasible for use. Picasa is a much better service in comparison. Now to create galleries I only need to select the photos, format them to 800x600, and upload them. This should make it so you'll see photo posts almost as quick as you see video posts. By formatting to a small size, this'll make the 1 gig of storage Picasa gives me last quite some time.

I'm in the process of uploading the remaining galleries (8/5/08 onwards) to Picasa and will post links to the web albums as they're complete. I may or may not go back and convert the other galleries to Picasa later on. Also, some images like the fliers and wide images won't be added to Picasa and will be added in the usual manner.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

11/5/08 Interlude Videos

After the 11/5 session, an impromptu game of indoor Nerf football broke out among the students and instructors. I video taped some of it for fun.


11/5 Interlude 1




11/5 Interlude 2



11/5 Interlude 3

Friday, November 7, 2008

Blank Comic Book Contest

This is probably relevant to some of the CCP readers:



The contest is from About Comics, who are related to the 24-hour Comic Day.

11/5/08 Videos

There were five videos from the 11/5 session.

11/5 Video 1



11/5 Video 2



11/5 Video 3



11/5 Video 4



11/5 Video 5

Thursday, November 6, 2008

11/5/08 Session Stats

Here are the stats for the 11/5 session:

Comics collected: 25
Attendance: 3
Student efficiency: 8.33
Maximum possible: 24
Lesson efficiency: 1.04

I think reducing to a single group and shortening the warm-up have both worked to help increase the lesson efficiency, so I'll keep it at current levels for 11/12.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

11/5/08 Session Report

The 11/5 session went well. 3 students this time, but they were well behaved and hard working, so they really learned a lot. It's interesting that 2 of the students tend to favor short phrases while the 3rd goes for very long sentences. Exact numbers will be posted later, along with pictures and video.

After the session there was an impromptu session of indoor football. I took video of it and will post it soon.

Next session will be 11/12. Not sure what the lesson will be yet.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

11/5/08 Session

The coming session on 11/5 will be about word bubbles. Something simple and straightforward after the huge rush and relief from the election (assuming it's resolved by then).

Comics being used:

Daisy is Dead
Dinosaur Comics
Fans
Ghost Hunters
Kastle Comics
Okashina Okashi
Piled Higher and Deeper
Tracy and Tristan

I'm cutting back to only using 1 group of comics instead of 2 or 3 due to the reduction in attendance, so there will be less variety.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Create a Comic Project - If They Could Vote

Rick Marshall of Mind Pollution recently posed an interesting question: who would your characters vote for in the 2008 election?

While the CCP uses the bulk of its artwork from other comics, the CCP does, in fact, have its own characters, thanks to the series of comic books I've been writing. There are four students (who I refer to creatively as Students 1 - 4) and a teacher. Using the cover of the second comic as a reference, the students are (from left to right): Student 2, Student 3, Student 4, and Student 1.

Here's how they'd vote:

Student 1 - Palin. Not McCain, mind you, but Palin, since they share a love of moose and the Arctic circle. She'd also think shooting wolves from helicopters is among the coolest things ever.

Student 2 - Cynthia McKinney. He's a contrarian who, just because Obama is popular, doesn't mean he's going to fall in lock step with expectations.

Student 3 - Obama. She'd vote this way because her parents vote this way and she doesn't want to rock the boat.

Student 4 - Obama. Largely because the online videos that support him are "less boring" than the ones for McCain.

Teacher - Bob Barr. He teaches because it's his way of privately contributing to society, so he'd support the candidate who promotes individual responsibilities.

I should note that while the fictional students have a range of choices, pretty much every real life student I've taught is for Obama.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

7/29/08 Pictures

The Pittsburgh Sessions gallery has been updated with photos from 7/29. Took me long enough, I guess.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Fanart Update

The Fanart page has been updated with a new piece from Pauljs75. It pokes fun at the recent string of binomial comics.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

10/22/08 Videos

There were 3 videos from the 10/22 session, the latter two being very short.

10/22 Video 1


10/22 Video 2


10/22 Video 3

Monday, October 27, 2008

Picatrix Joins!

Picatrix by J. L. Haram, aka Kimaris, has joined the comic project! Like Kastle Comics, I happened upon the comic randomly through the ComicGenesis ad box. The art is done in a shoujo manga style that girls respond well to, which is why I'm interested in using it.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The System Joins!

The System by Rosscott has joined the comic project! Instead of using blanks, he sent me the Photoshop file with all the symbols he uses so I can craft my own. It'll be great when combined with In His Likeness to teach kids about the function of symbols and meaning.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

10/22/08 Session Stats

Here are the stats for the 10/22 session:

Comics collected: 16
Attendance: 2
Student efficiency: 8
Maximum possible: 16
Lesson efficiency: 1.00

I find it funny that even as attendance drops, the efficiency increases. Still, I need to find more students or my time at the YMCA may be cut short.

10/22/08 Session Report

The 10/22 session went well, despite being attended by only 2 kids. The election comics were a big hit, with most of them coming from David Willis. Biggest news to come from the session: a reporter and photographer from Pitt News were there covering the event. A news article on the CCP should appear tomorrow or Friday. Statistics will be posted soon.

It was fun listening to the kids discuss politics (unfortunately I didn't get any video of it). The funnier lines involved them trying to remember the candidates' names. They all knew Obama well, but McCain, Biden, and Palin were another matter. Biden they didn't know at all, while one of them thought it was John McClinton. With one of the Shortpacked comics, a student thought Palin looked like Hillary Duff. This led her to think her name was "Hillary Palin." They thought Palin was Obama's running mate, since they assumed the two old guys would run together. I blame it all on Willis.

With only 2 kids, both of whom left early, not all the comics I had could be completed. I'm going to be looking into other venues to do in conjunction with the YMCA, since at this rate I won't be able to do anything there. Pictures and video will be posted soon.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

10/22/08 Session

The 10/22 session will be a special one: Election themed! Students will write about both major party candidates and issues they know about. I'd like to expand it to third party candidates, but time limitations make that unfeasible.

One trick is that students will have to write one good thing about both candidates before they make fun of them. That'll help make sure they avoid the trap of demonizing the other side which is all too common today. I'm also hoping I can steer them away from any of the loony conspiracy stuff I've seen getting passed around, like Greg Palast's comic (and they said Ron Paul supporters were crazy).

Overall, there'll be more art of Palin featured than anyone else, since more people have drawn comics of her than Obama, Biden, or McCain. I'm hoping my students have been watching Tina Fey so they can come up with some good natured Palin jokes.

Comics being used:

Diesel Sweeties
Dinosaur Comics
Mac Hall
Okashina Okashi
Phineus
Simulated Comic Product
Shortpacked
Tea Club
Templar, AZ

Shortpacked will be featured heavily thanks to Willis's recent week long story arc focusing on Sarah Palin, as well as a couple previous political cartoons with Obama. SCP is going to be used earlier than planned so I can make use of Kevin's recent inauguration comic.

Monday, October 20, 2008

10/15/08 Session Stats

Here are the stats for the 10/15 session.

Comics collected: 25
Attendance: 4
Student efficiency: 6.25
Maximum possible: 28
Lesson efficiency: 0.89

Despite the lower attendance, the efficiency was higher than in the last two lessons. This suggests that the four girls are doing a much better job at finishing the comics I give them, probably owing to their older average age.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Post-Otakon Template Progress 4

I've gone through more archives and started making templates.

Comics whose archives I've gone through:

Cardboard Angel
Dominic Deegan
Ganbare! Shimura-san
Kevin & Kell
Octopus Pie
Prophesy of Destiny
Simulated Comic Product
TV Circuit

Comics I've made templates from:

Comedity
Geist Panik
Hookie Dookie Panik
Simulated Comic Product

I also made some from Matt Herms' art, though not from Sticky Floors yet. I'm focusing on color comics first while I still have access to a free color printer.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

10/15/08 Videos

There were two videos from the 10/15 session. With only 4 kids, this seemed like all that was needed.

10/15 Video 1




10/15 Video 2


Friday, October 17, 2008

Simulated Comic Product Joins!

Kevin Forbes has given his blessing for me to use Simulated Comic Product in the CCP! Like Octopus Pie, SCP is licensed under the Creative Commons that allows derivative work. I still like to ask for permission, though, since it lets the creators know how their work is being used.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Gallery Update

The Misc. Gallery has been updated. I've added two new panorama photos that show the room the CCP used for the YMCA summer camp sessions and is using currently for the YMCA after school sessions.

I'm behind on getting pictures added to the session gallery, but that will have to wait a little longer.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

10/15/08 Session Report

The 10/15 session went as planned (thankfully). Only 4 children were in attendance. Another after school program started by the school is apparently siphoning off kids. Fridays are when most of the YMCA kids are there, but I can't attend that day due to class.

The good news is that I managed to do the lesson - Captions - fairly well. The four kids were older, so they had better attention spans and vocabularies. Popular comics included Dreamland Chronicles and Scary Go Round. I'll have numbers later. Pictures and videos will be posted soon.

Given the consistent low numbers, I think I'm going to reduce the number of templates still further from 3 groups to 2. I'm also thinking of cutting down on the warm-up, since more of the students seem to be leaving around 4:50 PM, only 20 minutes into the program.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Octopus Pie Joins!

Meredith Gran has given her blessing to letting me use Octopus Pie for the comic project! It marks a first since I used the CCP's Twitter account to ask rather than the normal email route. I think I'll use Twitter for this kind of thing more often.

I'll be going through the archives shortly and will use it with the other post-Otakon comics in a bit.

CMT 3 Fliers 2

I made two more fliers for the third tournament. Unlike the first five, these mainly rely on fanart of various series. The goal is to catch the attention of children in schools, which is where these two will be sent.



Naruto, Bleach, and Avatar are very popular in the age ranges I'm aiming for. I also included Haruhi, Code Geass, and Sailor Moon with a little Kingdom Hearts on the chance that older kids may recognize the titles. Credit goes to Sora-ko, Johane Matte, Jeffrey Anderson, and John Su for most of the art used.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Gallery Update

The Misc. Gallery has been updated with the five new fliers.

I've decided I'll use these five strictly for advertising in the New Haven Public Library Main branch. For schools, I'm going to go with the fanart artists have let me use, since that'll be more likely to draw the attention of kids. I'm working on two more fliers with this in mind and will post them soon.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

CMT 3 Fliers

I had some spare time the other day, so I decided to finally put together some fliers for the Comic Making Tournament III. There are five currently, each using images from templates. Once I create templates from the new comics, I'll make a couple more fliers using them.


Comics used: Three Panel Soul, And Shine Heaven Now, Hate Song, and CCP #2.


Comics used: xkcd, SGVY, Questionable Content, And Shine Heaven Now, and CCP Presents: Climate Change.


Comics used: Okashina Okashi, Krakow, Diesel Sweeties, Dinosaur Comics, Chugworth Academy, and And Shine Heaven Now.


Comics used: Kastle Comics, Planet Karen, CCP #2, Zombies Calling, and Sketchies.


Comics used: Versus Verses, Paradigm Shift, Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, and the CCP #1 cover.

Each of these is meant to be printed out as part of a double sided handout. The other side will have info on the events, what to expect, etc. I think this will help things run smoother. I'll add these fliers to the Misc. Gallery soon.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

About Page Update

I gave a few quick updates to the About page. I added a link to a recent Fleen article, updated the CCP's status, and added a couple quotes from the comic makers who joined recently.

10/8/08 Session Canceled

Today was a half-day of school for everyone in Pittsburgh, so all after school programs like the CCP had to be canceled. It's been rescheduled for next week, 10/15.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Post-Otakon Template Progress 3

I finished off several more comics, including many of the "short archive" comics - comics that are either on hiatus or that just started.

Blue & Blond
Dis
Erstwhile
Hamlet
Mystic Revolution
The Path
Project C
School of Rejects
Sticky Floors
Sugar Bits

Dominic Deegan, Kevin & Kell, and Robin Edwards' comics are the main ones left.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Post-Otakon Template Progress 2

Managed to knock out several more archives:

Comedity
Devil's Panties
Fork You
Geebas on Parade
Geist Panik
Hookie Dookie Panik
Paradox Lost
Red String
Reman Mythology
Staccato

I haven't had time to make templates from them yet, though. I also need to go back and get more from Mystic Revolution and Paradigm Shift. Sticky Floors and Sugar Bits are high on the list to go through next so I can get all the comics on the Snafu site. I also want to get Dominic Deegan and Kevin & Kell soon.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Post-Otakon Template Progress

I had a lot of comics join post-Otakon and I have yet to use any in the project. Due to my busy schedule I haven't been able to get through the archives of many of the new additions. I have made some progress, though.

Comics whose archives I've gone through:

Grim Tales From Down Below
Mystic Revolution
PPG Doujin
Snafu
Tin

I've also grabbed a little bit from Gina Biggs and Matt Herms, but I still need to get more.

Comics with templates made:

Afterlife Inc.
Ellsmere
Geeks Next Door
The Jar
Paradigm Shift
Witch Girl Pilar's work

Once I get a good batch of these new comics as templates, I'm going to transition to them for a little in the sessions and let the others rest, though some mainstays (SMBC, OO, ASHN) will continue to be used.

Friday, October 3, 2008

10/8/08 Session

For the 10/8 session, I'm going to continue on past panels and onto captions, which is something kids always forget. I have another activity I can do with panels, but I'm going to save it for later in case I'm pressed for time since it's easy to setup.

Comics used:

Annie
And Shine Heaven Now
Awkward Zombie
Coolcat Studio
Dinosaur Comics
Dreamland Chronicles
Ghost Hunters
Mac Hall
Marilith
No Rest for the Wicked
Planet Karen
Rob and Elliot
Scary Go Round
Sorcerers and Secretaries
Sparkling Generation Valkyrie Yuuki
Templar, AZ
Tsunami Channel

Thursday, October 2, 2008

9/24/08 Videos

There were four videos taken of the 9/24 session. An improvement in my video taking skills over the previous ones. Unfortunately, my camera's LCD display is behaving oddly, so I may need to take it in to be fixed soon.

9/24 Video 1



9/24 Video 2



9/24 Video 3



9/24 Video 4

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

9/24/08 Session Templates

Just realized I forgot to post what comics I used in the 9/24 Session.

Comics used:

Annie
And Shine Heaven Now
Cosmobear
Demonology 101
Ice
My Stupid Life
Planet Karen
Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal
Unshelved
Weirdlings

With the reduced number of students, I've been trimming back on the number of templates used. Since I'll have more sessions with this group overall, the numbers should balance out.

Friday, September 26, 2008

9/24/08 Session Stats

For the 9/24 session, I decreased the number of comics I gave each kid in the warm-up from 5 to 4. However, I think I'll decrease this further to 3 to ensure more time for the lesson portion.

Attendance: 7
Comics collected: 29
Student efficiency: 4.14
Maximum possible: 35
Lesson efficiency: 0.83

Unlike the 9/10 session, the kids stayed through the lesson and finished it, thanks to decreasing the warm-up time. So I'm getting better at managing time with this group.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

9/24/08 Session Report

The 9/24 session went as planned. 7 kids participated, I'll have other numbers later. For this lesson, I used materials from the upcoming Create a Comic Project #2 in a "panel rearrangement" activity. Panels from 2x3 layouts were cut out and given to the kids with a blank grid. The kids figure out what order they want them in, fill out the panels, and then glue them to the grid. A simple and fun non-linear layout activity.

The attendance for the activities is definitely increasing. I have three regulars who really seem to enjoy it, while the others were new this time. I'm hoping I can get a small but dedicated group going. Video and pictures will be posted later.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

9/10/08 Session Videos

There was only one video from the 9/10 session. I took it late into the session when only one girl was left.

9/10 Video

Friday, September 19, 2008

9/10/08 Session Stats

Finally got my computer to a point I could get the numbers from 9/10. Thank goodness I had 9/17 off - I needed it.

Attendance: 6
Comics Collected: 35
Student efficiency: 5.83
Max possible produced: 48
Lesson efficiency: 0.73

One reason for the lower number than with 9/3 was a reduced number of double template comics. Also, while most of the kids completed the warm-up, several of them had to leave before the lesson portion.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

New Comic Joins!

School of Rejects (SoRe) by MEDdMI has joined the comic project. She's been following the CCP for a while and decided to contribute her own work for the kids. Glad to have another webcomic creator on board!

(Now I just need to find time and make templates of all the new comics that signed up. Eee...)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Happy Estrada Day!

In addition to the special guest template by Ryan Estrada, there's also a new press release to celebrate the next CCP comic book:

John Baird and Ryan Estrada have teamed up to release Create a Comic Project Presents: Climate Change. The 34-page comic book, which explores the various facets of climate change, is published through Lulu.com.

The comic is the first issue in the Create a Comic Project's Presents line, which seeks to use comics to educate kids about various subjects, such as public health, government, and economics. Climate change was chosen as the first topic to coincide with yearlong efforts by the Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH) to raise public awareness of the issue.

"[The ASPH] is very excited about this project," said Laura Biesiadecki, Senior Program Manager of the ASPH.

John Baird's narrative explores climate change in both its historical and modern day contexts, going through how the Earth's temperatures change, what greenhouse gases are, and why burning oil could be exacerbating the process. It also covers how scientists study climate change and several of the recent developments. As an added bonus, text free versions of every page are included in the comic to allow kids to create their own climate change tale.

"Why did I announce this comic book on Estrada Day?" said writer John Baird. "Because I wanted to be among the first to blatantly commercialize the holiday. Remember, only 365 days until the next Estrada Day!"

Check out the CCP Store for more.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

9/3/08 Session Stats

Here are the numbers from the 9/3 session:

Attendance: 3
Comics collected: 33
Student efficiency: 11
Max possible produced: 30
Lesson efficiency: 1.10

So despite the low turn out, the 3 students who did participate really got into it. Hopefully that's indicative of the overall interest the children will show over the course of the year.

Friday, September 12, 2008

9/10/08 Session Report

I only had 6 children for the 9/10 session, so I skipped teaching an actual lesson and just let the kids have fun with the comics. I'm told I should have more kids for the 9/24 session, so I'll plan to have an actual lesson with them then.

I'm currently going through some computer problems, so stats from 9/3 and 9/10, as well as the images and videos, will be delayed.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

9/10/08 Session

Since 9/3 had such low attendance, I'm going to repeat the subject matter (Panels) for 9/10 to ensure everyone has the same background. Though I may also forgo a formal lesson structure as I wait for the YMCA program to get up to speed. Because of the smaller number of kids, I'll be using fewer templates overall than in 9/3.

Comics used:

Annie
Cool Cat Studio
Cosmobear
College Roomies From Hell
Diesel Sweeties
Dinosaur Comics
Girl Genius
Goats
Ice
Little Dee
My Stupid Life
Nothing Nice to Say
Penny & Aggie
Phineus
Saturday Morning Breakfast Cartoons
Sketchies
Tea Club
Unshelved
Venus Envy
Weirdlings
You'll Have That

Friday, September 5, 2008

9/3/08 Video

There was only 1 video from the 9/3 session since it had such low attendance relative to the others.

9/3 Session

9/3/08 Session Report

The first session at Sunnyside started small: only 3 students right now. The afterschool program and the school year only just began and they've told me they get more students sign up after a couple weeks. Prediction is that next week will have ~10 with the 9/24 session having the usual number of ~18. Basically, it takes time for parents to take an interest in them.

SInce there were only 3 students, not many comics were collected. I'll have exact numbers soon. For 9/10, I'll reuse a lot of the material I had for this one. I'll post the pictures and video later.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Video Gallery Updated

The Video Gallery has been updated with links to all the recent videos taken over the summer.

Monday, September 1, 2008

7/28/08 Pictures

The Session Gallery has been updated with the pictures from the 7/28 session.

Friday, August 29, 2008

9/3/08 Session

I'm expecting a number of new students at Sunnyside, so I'll be restarting the lesson order from the beginning for this new series of sessions. As with 7/22, this session will focus on panels.

Templates used:

Annie
Chugworth Academy
Coffee Achievers
Coolcat Studio
Cosmobear
College Roomies From Hell
Daisy is Dead
Diesel Sweeties
Dinosaur Comics
Ghost Hunters
Girl Genius
Goats
Ice
Kastle Comics
Krakow
Little Dee
Mac Hall
Marilith
My Stupid Life
Narbonic
No Pink Ponies
Nothing Nice to Say
Penny & Aggie
Phineus
Piled Higher and Deeper
Planet Karen
Questionable Content
Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal
Seasons of Constancy
Shortpacked
Sketchies
Skin Horse
Sorcerers and Secretaries
Tea Club
Templar, AZ
Unshelved
Venus Envy
Weirdlings
You'll Have That

One tactic I'm starting to use is tallying how many times I've used certain comics. Some, like SMBC or QC, get used a lot because they're a main source of a certain layout type (such as single panel). Others get passed over because I keep forgetting to use them. So by knowing which comics I've been neglecting the use of, I can remember to hand them out to the students. The idea is that this will ensure greater diversity in the material.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

7/22/08 Pictures

The pictures from the 7/22 Session have been added to the Session Gallery. Since I'm expecting a lot of pictures from these sessions, I've split them into their own sub-gallery. Pictures from the other sessions will be added soon.