Sunday, January 31, 2010

January 31, 2010
Packing for my trip up the mountain tomorrow morning to Orme Ranch School. Going to be teaching a class on illustration and creating graphic novels to a dozen students at the international school (Robert Ray kidded me, last week, that perhaps they can teach me "How To Finish A Graphic Novel". Ha. Touche, Sir Snippy).

I've never taught a class before, so Kathy, an ex-teacher, ran me through the drill. She says I need lesson plans. Okay. How about this? 1. Learning to see. 2. Tell me a story. 3. Storyboarding. 4. Roughing it in. 5. Final scenes.

And what are my goals for these talented kids from Chinle, Brooklyn and China?

• That they hopefully avoid the many dead-ends I drove into. Check

• That I can teach them how to see and think like an artist. Check

• That I can inspire at least one of them. Check

My Mucous Motivations
I remember sitting in Mr. McCleve's Art Class at Mohave County Union High School (nicknamed "Mucous") in Kingman in 1965 and looking out the window and saying to myself, "Man, it sure is windy out there."

I also had other thoughts, such as, "I have really strong dreams about making it in some sort of media but I have no clue on how to get there from here, and Mr. McCleve just sits there at his desk, pounding leather with a leather punch, allegedly working on Christmas gifts utilizing leather he has charged to the school and he often leaves us for long stretches to fend for ourselves, and while he's gone, some of the tough guys pick fights, like when Philbert Watahomogie started poking Paul Clark and Paul told him to stop because he knew karate and Philbert didn't stop, and finally, Paul jumped up and went into a karate stance and everyone, including Philbert, froze. But then Paul let out a loud 'Heeee-yaaaaa!' and thrust his open hand forward into an alleged karate chop, which landed harmlessly on Philbert's shoulder, and Philbert just laughed as he beat the crap out of Paul. And I guess there was a life lesson in there somewhere, perhaps not to oversell your abilities, but I really wanted something more specific about how to reach my dreams.

And, so, as the bell rang and I stepped over Paul Clark sobbing on the floor, I made a silent vow that if I could ever go to a class, especially if it was way out in the country, I would answer the call, and maybe, if nothing else, teach them what not to do.

"Knowing what not to do, is as important as learning how to karate chop a Havasupai."

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