A Story in Four Drawings
4 9 2019
A Story in Four Drawings

A interactive workshop on how to create a comic strip

It’s a sunny Wednesday afternoon and our young guests meet with Steven Guarnaccia at the Consorzio di Bonifica. The designer and chair of the illustration program at the Parson School of Design in New York and the author of “The Three Little Pigs: An Architectural Tale” and “Cinderella: a Fashionable Tale” is wearing cow print trousers and a black and white waistcoat and looks like a contemporary cowboy. Creativity is in the air. There is no doubt that it’s going to be an interesting 2-hour workshop.

The goal is to produce a comic strip with 4 drawings.

The first thing he asks is “Are you interested in drawing comics?”. After presenting a brief history of his career, he tells the audience that his aim has constantly been to make words “run in and out of images” and to use words as objects and drawings as words. He explains how comics works, too. A plop frame contains words that represent sounds, such as animal noises (Woof! Mieow!) or onomatopoeias (Phew!). The audience learns that a close-up is a nice way of highlighting certain parts of the story.

Afterwards, the group rolls up their sleeves and everybody gets a big ruler, scissors, pens and pencils and a big piece of paper as they start to design their own comic strip with 2 characters. Steven goes from desk to desk and gives suggestions on how to use colours and improve the drawings. They need to use a plop frame which has to be a reaction to what the other character did.

Creativity takes over and the results are outstanding: hamburgers, superheroes, wordplay. The kids look satisfied and Steven takes pictures of their works, telling them to sign what they have created, because “signing your own work is a sign of pride, not only for yourself but also for the people who see it and wonder who did it”.