Residency @ Crotched Mountain School

During a recent COMICS WORKSHOP at Crotched Mountain School, I was so impressed by the enthusiasm & creativity of the students & staff. Many of these young artists labor under challenges & disabilities that I can’t even imagine, & yet they showed up in the art room every day ready to draw new stories & make the most of our time together.  It’s been a great reminder that the ART we make can also document the PERSONAL CONNECTIONS in our communities.  

This gallery collects some of the many comics we drew over two weeks in January, 2020…

To start the residency, students worked first on telling a simple story in a 2-panel poster

← Eventually, some artists developed their story ideas into 1-sheet (8 page) mini-comics, producing finished artwork via the P*I.E. process.

We also emphasized sharing ideas with the reader through the artwork — in other words, producing readable, engaging comics

Below are some sample posters by the students:


Many students chose to draw stories from their lives, such as Karly’s Special Olympics ski adventure.

Some students drew directly from our classes — I love how messy Ryan’s “Marek” character is getting with his paint! He has purple all over his clothes & beard…


Other students drew more deeply from imagination. Kyle imagines himself as a 7-eyed alien singing a big concert, and getting a really touching response from the audience! (I love the alien’s expression & tears in the 2nd panel.)

Sometimes all you need to do is start your picture, and then the story will follow. It turned out Marcos’s snowman was dreaming of going sledding…

Sometimes we discover new characters as we draw our pictures. George found his characters could actually build things into their own story. Notice how once the snowman has a face, he starts to have desires of his own! Now, how will they find a carrot for the snowman? The story goes on…

Here are some of our sample 2-panel poster demos, drawn in collaboration with classes:

Drawing out longer stories:

Once we’ve drawn these 2-panel stories, our imaginations are all fired up, & we’re ready to bring our characters & settings into a longer format.

We’ll use a 1-SHEET (8 PAGE) MINI format, & see what happens when students work on page after page…

Here’s a 2-panel scenario I drew with a student named Destiny during one of our classroom visits:

In our next session, we expanded this concept into 8 pages, which really gave our characters a chance to speak & play & get to know each other:

Here’s a 2-panel story we developed with suggestions from one class — Somehow readers really identified with the over-eager coffee mug.

What if we expanded this idea into a longer story?

A student named Bianca drew this first issue of a fantasy-thriller series about a girl who finds a trap door into a magic room:

Jessica’s 2-panel project turned into a full 8-panel ski adventure:

Staff also enjoyed the creative process of developing their own mini-comics. This 2-panel scenario (right) grew into its own teacher-drawn mini below.

Many thanks to Crotched Mountain for hosting COMICS WORKSHOP once again, and to the students & staff who made this residency such a fun success! ~ Marek

This residency was made possible in part by a grant from the NH State Council on the Arts.

See the PATREON for more Crotched Mountain comics

Published by Marek

Cartoonist, musician, teacher.

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