Last night, after fighting traffic and traffic congestion and more traffic and traffic tie-ups, WOlly McNair arrived to our Cartooning Club armed with his portfolio, paintings, his iPad, Black Panda comic books, and a lot of information and creativity.
WOlly talked about how what he does is more than just drawing comics all day. "If you want to get into art as a job," he said, "you have to learn to do a lot of things. Don't limit yourself to doing just one kind of art."
WOlly said his tasks range from doing comic books, to storyboards for cartoons and shows, to paintings, to projects that he freelances on and commissions to do a private piece of art for a fan or collector. He even showed off a short work-in-progress animation he is doing.
The Cartooning Club got to play a part in the creative process for one of the future storylines of WOlly's Black Panda comic, when he allowed them to come up with a new animal or anthropomorphic creature for his hero to go up against. The choices were narrowed down to tiger, shark and gryffin, with the gryffin winning the most votes. WOlly had kids design their own gryffin and the ideas went wild! There were gryffins with spears on their wings, guns in their beaks and laser eyes! There was a gryffin drawn as a powerful, towering beast. Another was more human shaped with dark feathers and big claws on the hands. One young artist decided there was more than one gryffin and they protected a temple. Still another decided the gryffin who was to fight WOlly's hero would be a mercenary hired for the job.
WOlly signed some of his prints which were then given out. He also gave away two copies of his Black Panda comic.
If you are a teacher, reading specialist, or librarian I would strongly suggest sending an email to WOlly. He is extremely accommodating. He stays in communication with you in the days leading up to his visit. He is prepared (he left early to get to us, which was a good thing, because of all the accidents and traffic tie-ups he had to get around or wait on). He is very professional and he engages the kids in what he does. In about 30 minutes time the Cartooning Club had come up with a character, submitted designs for that character, discussed story elements to flesh out the creature, gave it a setting of its own and determined the creature's motivation in the story. In this day when year-long budgets are being cut in art programs, a workshop by WOlly would fulfill many elements of an art course and show real-world applications of different types of art. With a couple creative exercises, he would leave a group of kids with material to continue and expand upon for weeks, maybe months!
If you would like to contact WOlly about a visit to your school or library you can email him at: