By TIM CLEVELAND
With the recent success of his comic strip “Kate the Great” being syndicated into Finland, Norway, South America and Japan, Wayne Bartholomew and Boardman library hosted a Cartoon Camp event on April 16.
“Recently, my comic strip was syndicated,” he said. “‘Kate the Great’ was picked up by Royal Comics Syndicate in Finland. I was discussing it with my supervisor. We decided it might be fun to share my comics with the kids and help them develop some of their own.”
Bartholomew, a Youngstown native who grew up in Boardman and now lives in Canfield, is an emerging technologies and training liaison for the library.
Bartholomew said he developed an interest in illustrating as a young man.
“In high school I was reading a lot of comics, mostly Marvel and some DC and Image, and a lot of comic strips – mostly Bill Watterson’s ‘Calvin and Hobbes,’ Gary Larson’s ‘The Far Side,’” he said. “I just loved what those guys were doing, so much I decided I was going to starting doing it too. I taught myself and that’s how I began with it.”
Each attendee of the Comic Camp was given an example of Bartholomew’s work, with each dialogue bubble being left blank for them to fill in how they saw fit. Bartholomew said it was learning to cartoon the Mighty Marvel way.
“We’re going to have the kids take my finished art work and write their own words in the word bubbles, which is what Stan Lee and Jack Kirby used to do back in the ‘60s and ‘70s,” he said. “We’re going to talk about some of the unwritten rules of comics, some of the things that just aren’t in any of the books but I sort of picked up along the way.”
Rosemary Handel of Canfield brought her 9-year-old granddaughter Emma Campbell to the camp because of her interest in illustrating.
“She was interested in coming to the class so I brought her today,” Handel said. “Her mom teaches and I’m taking care of her this week. She loves to draw. She thought maybe she could learn something by coming to the class.”
Bartholomew said he feels that learning how to illustrate and write dialogue can help students in other areas.
“I think literacy skills definitely,” he said. “I think that in school, quite often, teachers will tell you that putting words and pictures together was sort of a lower art form. I really don’t think that it is. I think that in many ways it’s very artful. It’s words and it’s pictures. It’s these two things together. If anything, I think that anyone who attends today might just sort of leave with broader horizons maybe in some way. Maybe they’ll see the greater picture.”