30 Years of Cartooning Workshops
This month marks 30 years of teaching my cartooning workshops to kids in southeastern Michigan. The afterschool workshop serves as an introduction to drawing cartoon characters through hands-on activities and games and emphasizes creative thinking as well as artistic expression.
I started teaching them as a way to make some extra money while subbing and looking for a full-time teaching job after becoming certified in elementary education. Soon I discovered that a single workshop could pay 2-3 times what subbing paid in less than a third of the time, so I started adding more to my schedule. Eventually I stopped subbing and even looking for full-time employment, because my workshops provided enough income with the added benefits of flexibility and freedom, not to more mention time to focus on my artwork and writing.
Since my first class at West Hills Middle School in Bloomfield Hills, thousands of students (mostly in the elementary grades) have enrolled. I stopped keeping count after the 100,000 student mark. That number was based on students who signed up individually, not including many thousands of other kids who attended large, all-school presentations.
Although my workshops have slowed down since the heyday of the early 1990’s, they’re still going strong, and I continue to offer them 3-4 days a week through a variety of school districts and other organizations. I’m currently scheduling for next semester.