A group of unconventional artists formed their own writers’ room Saturday afternoon at the El Segundo public library as kids ranging in age from 4 to 12 years-old created their own comic book characters. It was all part of the “making a comic book” class as a part of the 19th annual “El Segundo by the Sea” Authors Fair.
The festival included myriad workshops featuring author panels, live music, arts and crafts and cooking demonstrations.
During the comics session, hosted by a panel of professionals – Mike Wellman, owner of The Comic Bug book store in Manhattan Beach was joined by author/creators Lynly Forrest, Kelly Sue Milano, Lisa K. Weber and Sadder Ward, along with artist “Pinguino” – the children learned the ins-and-outs of what goes into making a full-fledged comic book.
From character design and development to establishing shots and origins the kids collaborated with one another to make superhero Electric-girl and her nemesis The Bouncer.
“Shouldn’t the villain have a logo?” asked Naomi Kenton, adding to the villain who’s made of rubber and has roughly six eyeballs. “I made one.”
Pinguino then drew Kenton’s addition onto a whiteboard in the front of the room which encompassed all of their ideas.
The panelists gave their professional critiques but offered mostly praise as they were impressed with the young minds of tomorrow.
By the way, Electro-girl lives on a farm inside a light socket and has a pet cow. Her weaknesses are water, ice and, gasp, the IRS.
“You OK if we take this and make a million-dollar comic book, right?” asked Wellman. “You’ll get your royalties in the mail.”
Ward passed out character concept sheets to the kids and gave them insight into brainstorming their own stories – such as where their characters live and what their favorite food is. He also gave them advice so they don’t get upset with their own artwork if it doesn’t look the same on paper as it did in their heads.
“I make believe and then I draw what I see,” he said. “(But) drawing is re-drawing and re-drawing and re-drawing. … You’re better than us, you have more imagination. This is the best time of your life to come up with ideas.”
Thomas Mansour, 7, contributed a lot of ideas to Electro-girl and The Bouncer. He’s been drawing since he was four and is inspired by “Lego Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu.”
“I like how I get to draw the stuff and everything in my imagination gets to blow out,” Monsour said who came along with his sister, Jessica. “You can draw anything.”
The panelists made sure everyone who was brave enough to share their ideas got a say in Electro-girl and The Bouncer and those who weren’t brave enough to share hopefully left with more confidence in their ideas.
“You can start writing and making things at any age,” said Wellman.
Weber, artist and concept creator of Hex 11, a comic book about a young witch living in a future where magic has been discovered as a new technology, said she uses drawing as a way to articulate her thoughts. Hex 11 lived inside her head for about 10 years before coming to fruition.
“The very first drawing happened when I was 22,” she said. “It’s fun telling stories. … I’ve spent my entire life as an artist.”