Archives for category: storytelling

The vertical four panel comic is a format commonly used in Japan, for good reason. A yonkoma, as it is called in Japanese, serves wit and humor in a nutshell. It provides a reduced, very efficient framework to train visual narration – a reason why I’m using this format in my workshops to get creative processes going. The more people contribute to a yonkoma development, the easier it gets to bring diverse matters into a smart sequence of images. And the richer the result.

Yonkoma four panel comic storytelling

After years of training varied audiences, I decided to introduce this interactive storytelling method to the Berlin Manga Club. Since we first teamed up in 2009, we’ve been working together on eight now published manga anthologies and numerous drawing workshops, sharing manga related talks and literally never getting tired of it. Drawing yonkoma is nothing new to most manga artists, but creating them together is something different.

So I was really looking forward to see the outcome of such a teamwork-storytelling. And I wasn’t disappointed: When you get interested and skillful people to interact, the learning process becomes both dynamic and playful. Before long, vivid cooperation among seven artists led to a row of seven entertaining short stories, done in about an hour. Guiding that process, I realized once again how much I love to encourage and to channel teamwork, and how well-suited yonkoma comics are to do so.

A couple of years ago, what I needed most when I started to draw comics on a professional level (i.e. getting paid for it) was the confidence of not being alone with my interests. To be able to make a living only out of comics (manga and western style alike) may be still somewhat exceptional in German culture, but we passionate artists don’t come alone, there’s a bunch of us. And this is what ultimately gives us strength, I think. Every now and then, we come together to produce something new, and since it is fun… chances are high there will be sequels. So be on the lookout for more to come!

After leading a workshop, I rarely have the time to pause for a review, following projects and deadlines in queue. Yet a growing reservoir of teaching experiences calls for closure, be it only momentarily. So I’ll go with a fragment for now, resuming some of the recurrent key issues I often address with the participants of my manga and storytelling workshops.

glossar manga drawing workshops

On a side note, I’m realizing time and time again that making workshops is not so much about teaching as it is about inviting people to activate their knowledge and to discover their very own, unique capabilities. A rewarding task, if you ask me.

manga comic drawing storytelling workshops

All of the images shown above were done by participants of my workshops. I added gray shading and texture to enhance the visual effect. Special thanks to Kilian, Ania, Kasia, Pavel, Ricardo, Danica and many, many others for inspiring, great contributions!

Upcoming workshops in Berlin @ VHS Tempelhof Schöneberg:

manga illustration (09.11.2013 – 10.11.2013)

storyboarding (23.11.2013 – 24.11.2013)