Comics Jam Workshops with Rebecca Roher

November 4, 2015 | Ames

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Parliament jammers
Comic Jammers at Parliament branch

Rebecca Roher, awesome instructor for the Comics Jam, shares her thoughts about these ongoing workshops!

Toronto Public Library's Comics Jam is a series of action-packed comics workshops at ten TPL branches all over the city, instructed by cartoonist and illustrator Rebecca Roher and with support from the Michaëlle Jean Foundation.

Over four sessions at each branch, youth participants learn tips and tricks for how to make comics, read and discuss graphic novels and create comics stories based on their own lives and experiences. From panel layout, to character and expression, to setting and environment, we cover everything, and make a collaborative zine at the end.

So far, Comics Jam has hit two branches, Albion and Parliament. We've seen a range of different stories from likes and dislikes, fears and aspirations, favourite books, geographical backgrounds, families, video games and accidentally starting trends at school. Friendships have formed over the love of Manga and creepy stories, and some kids used a photocopier for the first time ever!

You can read more of Rebecca's thoughts over on her blog.

Tim Comrie, who attended the workshops at Parliament branch, also shared his thoughts with us.

Hard at work on comics
Hard at work drawing comics.

My name is Tim Comrie and I'm a cartoonist and comics enthusiast.

Recently, I've been interested in teaching so, when I heard someone was doing a four-class weekly comics workshop at Parliament library, I decided to check it out. I was hoping to learn both about teaching comics and about drawing BETTER comics, and I was happy to get some practical knowledge about each of them. The class was taught by Rebecca Roher who, having just graduated from the Centre for Cartoon Studies, is currently writing and drawing a graphic novel for Conundrum Press.

Roher created a positive and inspiring atmosphere, offering simple lessons that led to impressive results. She effectively demonstrated the potential of well-chosen lettering, page designs, backgrounds, character designs, and writing prompts to enhance the telling of our stories. Each of us, alongside Rebecca, was able to finish several quick, yet ambitious, comic strips based on her teachings.

Though Rebecca is an artist with formal training, she showed that people at varying stages of artistic development can create comics. She explained that good comics are about clear communication, and that humorous and direct - even profound-stories can be told with a few simple, well - placed lines.

Want to come jam with Rebecca? These workshops are still to come! Call the branch for details or to register.