Jes Reyes and Spectrum ArtWorks, open studio hours -  3 hours

Whittier was on Spring break all this week, and the separation from Ms. Kraft’s lovely fifth graders haunts me to the core. However it was a perfect week to organize my thoughts and prepare for planning my workshop at Spectrum! Also a perfect week to observe and “assist” a fellow Teaching Artist Practicum student lead a workshop.

Hanna planned and conducted a very fun and welcoming workshop on comic book journaling that I was graciously allowed to be present for. A group of about ten artists had signed up to participate, and in many ways came armed with ideas and cartooning skills. Hanna’s lesson focused less on the rigors of crafting sequential media, and more on the different methods and attitudes people approach autobiographical, casual comic creation.

A part of my brain still can’t fathom teaching anyone older than myself, because who am I to be telling adults what to do? My hope with the workshop I am preparing is to present a set of skills I have, and allow the artists to decide if those skills are something they would like to pick up and add to their own repertoire.

I had an interesting conversation with a Spectrum staff member who wishes to attend my workshop regarding how technology skills play into personal independance. Having to rely on another to complete some task you do not have experience in can be exhausting as an artist.

And though I am always tempted to say that there are thousands of better Photoshop guides on the internet, and that Photoshop Elements and other programs can offer most individuals all the tools they need, I have to remember that this was not how I learned these tools. I had handouts, and demonstrations, and a teacher to pick the brains off.

Ideally, I will procure laptops for this lesson. But even if I have to rotate the whole class through taking turns on my laptop, I want to offer the opportunity that made me feel confident working digitally back in high school: the welcoming hand of an expert that waves away the mystery surrounding a new artistic tool.