Comic boot camp at Clallam Bay

By Donna Barr
West End North correspondent


Melissa Klein brought her artist boot camp to the Clallam Bay Library on Tuesday, July 23.


Students in the library’s separate classroom created their own alternative cover art for a favorite book or piece of literature.


To show off what students and art beginners can do, Klein brought a student-based copy of the copier-based book “Ka-Pow! Comics and Graphic Novelettes” (actually an anthology of short stories), that was produced in the North Olympic Peninsula Skills Center Commercial Art Program.


Addressing the student-produced stories, Klein said, “A lot of the stories are dark,” reflecting the fact that teens are trying to work out problems in their lives.


Klein recommended the book to parents who want to understand how teens view their own troubles.


Even though the book is titled with a super-hero reference, “Ka-Pow,” it actually falls into the world of autobiographical-drawn books.


Author David Lasky — who just recently won the Cartoonists Northwest “Toonie Award” for his work in the autobiographical genre — has appeared as a speaker in the NOLS system.


Klein, whose website announces “Artist Entrepreneur Bootcamp — Graphic Novels & Comics,” brought more than just her expertise on becoming a drawn book artist or writer to Clallam Bay.


She offers free classes to teens and young adults, which can earn 0.5 real credit toward a high school diploma. Klein also appeared as part of the North Olympic Library System’s Young Adult Workshops, “Beneath the Surface.” She also brought her class to libraries at Port Angeles, Sequim and Forks.


Books used in the class included a drawing book, “The Art and Feel of Making it Real” by Mark McDonnell, “The Business of Illustration” by Steven Heller and Teresa Fernandes; Scott McCloud’s classic theory and instruction books, “Understanding Comics and Making Comics,” Winner of the Harvey Award “Rainbow in the Dark,” by artist/writer team Comfort Love and Adam Withers, the large-team-creator book “Anomaly,” and book by authors (completing and owning all the art, writing and often the publishing), Angela Melick’s “Wasted Talent,” Aaron A’s trade-book-sized “Serenity Rose,” and the classic author Linda Barry’s big-page “The Near-Sighted Monkey Book — Picture This.”


The library also provided students in the program with $500 worth of art supplies.


For more about classes and contacts, see Klein’s website:

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