Rachel Marie-Crane Williams on teaching

“The first two objectives, exploring and deconstructing comics, were enjoyable for students. But, when students were asked to create their own comic/graphic novel they were suddenly plagued by self-doubt. Some students were distressed over the idea of drawing, others about writing the story. Most students had a very limited idea of what comics/graphic novels can look like. What helped to liberate students from their fear was encouragement from their peers and seeing a large number of examples. In spite of this, self-doubt was difficult to overcome.

I had to work hard to erase students’ stereotypes, even more so to erase their ideas about traditional comic drawing styles including realism, hyperanatomical depictions of muscular superheroes and heroines, and Manga/ Anime-inspired illustrations. By showing them a wide variety of work by accomplished comics artists such as Joel Priddy, Ester Pearl Watson, Aileen Kominsky Crumb, Lynda Barry, Joe Sacco, Chris Ware, and John Porcellino, we hoped to help them ignore the demon on their shoulder shouting, Is this good? Does this suck?'”

— Rachel Marie-Crane Williams (via Art Education, January 2008)