COMICS AS POLITICAL EXPRESSION
August 8, 2022 - December 15, 2022
A 14 week course with noted comics artist Seth Tobocman
Hosted On-Line via Zoom
Course Fee: $150 - $200
First Class: Monday, August 8 at 7:00pm
This class is for people hoping to express their political convictions through comics, cartooning, or illustration.
This weekly class is open to artists of all skill levels. The ideas presented are narrative and conceptual and will work just as well with stick figures as with detailed realistic drawing. But the assumption is that everyone attending wants to produce art, not just talk about it. Everyone in the class will be treated respectfully, and criticized constructively, as a working artist.
Comics have emerged as an important art form, influencing film, politics and other aspects of culture. Many organizations use graphic novels to draw attention to their issues. But comics have a long tradition. Cartoonists played a significant role in the American, French, and Russian revolutions, in the abolitionist, civil rights and feminist movements. Most of the pioneers of American comics were from working class backgrounds.
We will look at the many ways that artists have expressed political concerns throughout history with an eye towards seeing what techniques we can apply in our own work.
Comics are a popular medium, continually changing and absorbing new influences. There is no fixed canon. Therefore the educational process of this class will be collaborative and intergenerational. Each student is expected to give a 15 minute presentation on an artist they like.
In the first month there will be short assignments to help artists develop basic skills. In the middle of the course there will be several opportunities to interview activists and work with research materials selected by the instructor to develop comics about contemporary political issues issues. In the final month artists will do a longer strip on a subject of their own choosing.
The political point of view of this course will be unapologetically anti-capitalist and anti-authoritarian. The aesthetic point of view will favor representational art and clear communication. But people of all beliefs are welcome.
The class will meet from 7:00pm to 9:30pm Monday evenings on Zoom. At times classes may run slightly longer.
THIS IS AN ONLINE CLASS. Students must have a means of converting their artwork into digital files. A scanner may be an important tool. Access to photoshop or an equivalent program is recommended. At a minimum, students should be able to photograph their work with a phone. It is advised that students participate in the Zoom classes using a computer with a large screen rather than with a phone. Students will be expected to email their work to the instructor 24 hours before class so he has sufficient time to review the material and can offer useful advice.
A number of PDFs will be emailed to students to read in preparation for particular lectures or assignments.
Students will be asked to read either Live From Death Row, by Mumia Abu Jamal, or the recent anthology The Trials Of Mumia Abu Jamal, in preparation for the October 19th assignment which addresses Mumia's case.
Class instructor Seth Tobocman is a radical comic book artist who's been living in Manhattan's Lower East Side since 1978. Tobocman is best known for his creation of the political comic book anthology World War 3 Illustrated, which he started in 1979 with fellow artist Peter Kuper. He has also been an influential propagandist for the squatting, anti-globalist, and anti-war movements in the United States. Tobocman's "Edith In Flames, World War 3 Illustrated #45" was listed under "Notable Comics" in The Best American Comics 2015.
This course is not accredited. Seth does teach accredited courses at the School Of Visual Arts and has 41 years of experience as a professional comic book artist and illustrator. He also has a long history of producing art used by political movements on issues of housing, police brutality, peace and the environment.
Registration is closed.