Buckland Library to host comic book workshop

  • Greenfield graphic novelist Stephen Murphy. Contributed photo

Staff Writer
Published: 7/12/2020 2:01:07 PM

Prepare to sharpen your pencils and storytelling skills — The Buckland Public Library is hosting a virtual six-week Comic Book Camp for kids 9 to 13, July 13 and through Aug. 21. The camp is led by graphic novelist Stephen Murphy, of Greenfield, and co-sponsored by the Arms Library in Shelburne Falls.

The camp, which will meet via Zoom on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 1 to 2 p.m., is intended to help campers create and develop any sort of comic book-style story, short or long, fiction or non-fiction, a single issue or a series. Murphy is an experienced graphic novelist who wrote Ninja Turtles comicbooks for a number of years.

The program, which is free of charge and open to everyone regardless of location, requires sign-up on the library’s website. It’s a part of the Buckland library’s summer reading program, according to Jane Buchanan, director of Buckland Public Library.

“Some people think it’s not really reading, but as far as I’m concerned, if there are words on the page, it’s reading,” Buchanan said, noting both the idea for a graphic novel workshop and its online format were a response to the ongoing pandemic. 

Having students create a graphic novel from scratch “seemed like a good thing to try and a good time to try it,” Buchanan said. “Three days a week would be a good amount of time to do it. … This is the summer for it because so many people are home.”

As far as the workshop’s format is concerned, some classes will follow specific lessons, others will be free-form workshops where campers will share their work-in-progress. They’ll talk about their favorite comics and graphic novels, discussing what did or did not impress them about the art and storytelling. There will be plenty of at-home work on your story, as well as a few fun homework and in-class assignments.

Buchanan noted that, along with his students, Murphy will also be starting on a graphic novel project from scratch.

“Every time he starts a class, he starts a project with the class,” Buchanan said. By using his own process as a example, Murphy will be “deconstructing graphic novels (and finding) what works, what doesn’t work, thinking about how the process works.”

To that end, classes will cover planning and plotting, world-building, character design and backstory as well as how to lay out a comic, how to use balloons, on-paper and/or on-screen drawing, and more! There will be a bit of business talk, too, on topics like copyright and contracts. And there will be lots of PDFs for optional home/future reading.

Murphy has taught comic book and graphic novel classes and workshops at various places in the valley, including Arts Space of Greenfield, Greenfield Public Library, GCC, and Smith College. He will be assisted by his 15-year old, Marley, who is also an accomplished comic book storyteller and artist.

Visit bucklandpubliclibrary.org to register. More information can be obtained by emailing via bucklandlibrary@cwmars.org.

Andy Castillo can be reached at acastillo@recorder.com.

Greenfield Recorder

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