Jam – Fighting Words
Here is the second of this week’s guest posts from the young writers of Fighting Words. Today Aedán Hamrock tells us about the making of Jam: An Anthology of Graphic Fiction. Once again, congrats from CBI to all the talented young writers and artists involved, we think Jam is the bee’s knees!
Jam: An Anthology of Graphic Fiction is a collection of graphic stories written by students of Newpark School. We wrote and published the book with the help of Fighting Words, an organization that encourages kids and teenagers to write. I think I can speak for all the other authors when I say that it was an exhilarating experience having our works published and we have learned a lot in the process. One of the great things about the project was working with other talented people with their own original stories and artwork. The book is a patchwork of different styles and genres and therefore all the more interesting to read.
When Mr Byrne, my art teacher, told us about the project in October we were eager to take part, but I know I was a little worried about coming up with a good story considering I had never written a comic before. We visited Fighting Words where they showed us the process of writing a comic. Each of us would write our own story independently, but we would get plenty of help when we needed it.
For several months, we would meet up every Wednesday in our school’s art room to plan out our stories, work on them and show each other our progress. All the while we received much needed advice on our plotlines and artwork from the volunteers of Fighting Words. We started off with vague characters and setting ideas that we later developed into full complex plots. We then drew out thumbnails of our comics, which are rough versions, to work out what happens in each panel and on each page. When we had our thumbnails drawn out, it was time to move on to the real thing. Each of us had our own comic style. Some of us used the traditional method of doing a pencil drawing and then going over the pencil lines with ink. Then, if we coloured it, we would use paint, colouring pencils, or markers or even all three. Different methods other people used included colouring on the computer, or even making a story told through photos rather than drawings. Whatever method we chose, I learned that it was a very labour-intensive project. Some panels took several hours to complete. But working with everyone else and seeing the quality of their work gave us inspiration to excel at our own.
Fighting Words patiently waited for us to finish our stories despite us missing several deadlines. We finally finished them in March. We then decided on the cover design and the title by consensus (after some heated debating). The project was sometimes difficult, but overall it was incredibly fun to do and we were ecstatic when we finally saw the gleaming cover of our freshly printed book. I’m sure that you will enjoy reading Jam: An Anthology of Graphic Fiction as much as we enjoyed writing it!
Fighting Words is a creative writing centre, established by Roddy Doyle and Sean Love. It opened in January 2009 and aims to help students of all ages to develop their writing skills and to explore their love of writing. All tutoring is free.