epic tale of history comix camp

Posted by on Jul 28, 2010 in comics | 2 comments

Thwack! I still have sea shanties stuck in my head…..what’s a comix camper to do?

The week of history about piracy and privateering in Casco Bay combined with comic creation turned out to be too darn fun.

Thanks to Casablanca Comics and the Fifth Maine Museum for help in
launching the pilot program!

Campers got off to a fierce start, working on a 4 panel comic about their journey to camp.

This one by Ruby has energy and character.

This is Annika’s, also direct and graphic.

I like the bad hair moment
that leaps to the hot air balloon.

Nicholas gives a lot of sound to his panels:

Love the final panel, where he’s on the
ferry from Portland….HOOONK.

But it wasn’t all drawing. My intrepid matey Patricia Erikson told fantastic tales of actual events
happening right out in the bay, like about the ghost ship, the Dash, that disappeared without a trace
in 1815.

Campers also learned about tying knots, like any good sailor, such as the figure 8 knot, the
clove hitch, and the bowline.

Every pirate helped cook cod chowder. Campers spent time in the galley, flushing the cod from Browne Trading Company and chopping potatoes.

More drawing time down at Hadlock Cove….where the girls started plotting their story lines.

Day 2: a tour of the schooner, the Wendameen!

Our intrepid tour guide Holly showed us the ropes.

We had a little time to sketch on board. This is Vincent’s drawing, full of quick details..

Next we headed up to the top of the Casco Bay Garage for a change of view and perspective studies.

Daisy got the panorama.

Frederick drew the huge cruise ship in port.

We went below the pier for another point of view.

Back to the Fifth Maine, with time for drawing characters.

Day 3: Fort Gorges! Captain Mark Green buzzed the campers out to the fort in no time at all.

Lucky campers got to have a seat in the bow.
I’ve lived on Peaks Island for 18 years, ferrying past the Fort countless times. It was a thrill
to set foot on that old stone.

We heard more stories about ships seized right at the base of Munjoy Hill.
I handed out little viewfinders to aid in finding compositions, but the fort’s arches
and windows provided excellent natural frames.

It was a challenge to capture all the repeating architecture. Jerzy managed to
simplify it beautifully.

There were several dark places that we could not go.
We had to leave sooner than we wanted to: it was a tide thing.

Thanks to Mark Green!
That much water time meant only one thing: swimming!
Girl pirates like cold water.

But there was still more work: cranking the ice cream. Arrrgghh! Rum Raisin!

Day 4 got serious about paneling. Deadline time. There was a lot of
pencil sharpening, shanty songs on the boombox, and lots of erasing.

Day 5- time to assemble and sew the final comic books!!!

This is not as easy as it looks.

But there were plenty of comic books to read when you were all done
with illustrating your cover.

Each camper got 4 pages of panels to tell a story, and there’s a fantastic variety.

Grace makes use of a floating title and a spooky shadow to open up her story.

Owen creates a talking helicopter scavenging the skies.

Frederick has great humor.

Daisy used a cliff-hanger device…..

And Caleb threw in some WW2 elements, perhaps noted in the Fifth Maine’s second floor exhibit.

This sparked a trip to Battery Steele, now part of the Peaks Island Land Preserve.

The walk provided some great nature sightings.

The last of the afternoon was spent at Picnic Point, playing pirate games, making forts, and
getting hungry for home-made ice cream.

Folks came along to share the refreshments and see the comic results. A few hardy campers sang
the comic shanty, which still sticks in my head, and we were done.

Huzzah to all pirates who can draw as quick as they laugh! Thanks for a sunny, silly week of art and history.

2 Comments

  1. Jamie, thanks for messaging this post via MCPop Ning. I loved seeing the children’s work and can just imagine the fun you all had!

    I love comics although I can’t draw for nuts. I particularly love the way they can motivate kids to read and write, and have used Comic Life and Toon Doo for example to illustrate my articles about that topic for parents on my blog.

  2. Jamie, you were the best camp mate ever! I’m so happy that we made this work and that it was such a wonderful and memorable experience!

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