Now, if students at Stanford are learning that crafting and composing in the sequential art form is challenging and rewarding and certainly rigorous, it's gotta be a good idea for the rest of us, right?
From a Graphic Novel Reports article on this exciting project:
This is the second year of the Stanford Graphic Novel Project, an endeavor to teach narrative through graphic storytelling. Our goal is to treat the graphic novel as a collective, collaborative project and as a team create a book during the winter term of each year. With co-instructor Tom Kealey, our 2008 class wrote, storyboarded, illustrated, designed, and published a 224-page graphic novel called Shake Girl. Fifteen students drew the 700 illustrations for Shake Girl in six weeks. This year, our students are currently at work on a 256-page graphic novel set in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Visit the link to Graphic Novel Reporter to get the full story. And remember, the next time an administrator, teacher, or parent questions who you are trying to use comics to teach writing and composing, tell them the uber-intelligent students at Stanford are actually leading the way. Go Cardinal!
The truth of the matter is that creating sequential art is no easy task. It is fun, engaging, exhausting, and intellectually stimulating, but it is no cake walk. My graduate students in "Teaching the Graphic Novel" turn in an 8-pager mini-comic for their midterms in a few weeks, along with a process paper. I'm excited to see if they'll admit the amount of thought that went into their projects while also allowing themselves to admit that they earned a new respect for the form. As I tell teachers, the best way to understand the comics-making process is to try it yourself.