Cartooning For Adults, August 2013 – Kingston

Years ago I used to run a cartooning course for adults (5 x full day sessions) in Kingston, for what used to be known as Adult Ed (now Learn Xpress).  Teaching adults is a whole other realm to teaching kids – insecurities & self-doubts are more deeply entrenched, as are opinions and habits of perception.  In those courses I was always fascinated at the range of individuals in the group and their reasons for being there – teachers, policemen, grandmas, aspiring childrens book authors, recovering alcoholics, prize-winning quilters, psychologists, social workers…..some came to develop existing skills, some were starting from scratch, for professional development or for some kind of therapy.  We often ended up discussing life and its philosophical dilemmas as we drew, and it made for a really rich learning (and teaching) environment.

This year Learn Xpress invited me to run some Cartooning For Adults workshops again, this time just as individual one-day workshops rather than a course.  This one was the second for this year – a small group but we had a lot of fun & covered a lot of ground.


We spent the morning experimenting with faces – expressing emotion, varying combinations of facial features, different head shapes, and how placement of features can radically alter the development of a character’s look & personality.


It was fantastic to witness the many “aha!” moments from the students, when they realised how simple certain effects can be – those delicious moments when the curtain peels back, when a realisation occurs and drawing suddenly becomes de-mystified!  This is what I love about teaching – seeing people’s brains light up, seeing synaptic connections happening right in front of me, it’s very inspiring!

After faces, we focused on body shapes & some simple exercises for capturing movement in a figure eg experimenting with stick figures to work out essential lines in a body pose, then fleshing out a character around that framework:


And to finish off the day, I used a variation on the Body Language segment of my Creative Communication workshops, but with a spontaneous twist.  This time I let the students suggest a scenario and some stereotypical characters to draw, each interacting within the scene.  The result was hilarious – End Of Year Office Party, the bully boozer boss, the brittle just-so admin, the office floozy and the young nerdy innocent.  We had lots of fun with that one!  A great way to spend a Saturday, relaxed, creative, fun & good company!

AD ED montage