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Providing creative tools

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Posted: Friday, March 25, 2011 11:32 am

Despite sheets of wind-driven rain pelting our community on Thursday, hordes of kids turned out at the Lodi Public Library to learn about drawing comic strips and engage in all manner of cartoon-related activities.

I was invited by librarians Karen Barila and Jim Tinder to show the youths in attendance what it takes to create a comic strip. Despite the wicked weather, 60 people came to the library to hear what I had to say. Forty of those were children, and some of the adults, Barila told me in an email, were taking notes.

In an age where budgets are cut and resources are strained, it's encouraging to see people like Barila and Tinder making an effort to provide children (and adults) with such a learning opportunity.

We spent 45 minutes talking about the tools needed, how to create characters and how to build a comic strip. Though the surface of the subject matter was barely scratched, it all boiled down to two simple things: 1) use your imagination,  and 2) there are no rules.

Time sped by so quickly, that I felt the children who wanted to know more didn't get as much out of the presentation as I would have hoped. Fortunately, those resourceful librarians had provided copious books on the comic strip subject.

And even though I'm not the end-all, be-all expert on comic strips, it was rewarding just to be able to present a new creative avenue where one may not have existed before.