UK comic creators are encouraged to sign aboard a new initiative, Cartoon Classroom, which aims to foster links between artists, writers and others and educational institutions, and detail events and workshops that promote the comics form in Britain.
"Cartoon Classroom is the inspiration of Steve Marchant, a cartoonist and teacher of cartooning, who began his tutoring career at The London Cartoon Centre," explains one of the project's backers, V for Vendetta and Kickback artist David Lloyd. "That was a charity-run, full-time evening school of cartoon and sequential art creation, which I was connected with for many years before it ran out of funding. Efforts to raise cash for it were continued until it became obvious the Centre could not be resurrected and continued for any worthwhile period.
"It then became a matter of deciding whether to return these donations to their source, or - at the permission of the donors - to use them to initiate something else that might generally help the cause the Centre espoused.
"Steve decided that a good extension of the service the school once offered would be a website which had the main aim of centralising access to all the various means of studying cartoon and comic strip creation which exist throughout the UK - and Southern Ireland if we can."
David is asking professional cartoonists and comic creators, or those aspiring to being such, or are interested in the study of cartoon art as a teacher or an educationalist, to register their interest in the project.
Cartoon Classroom aims to put educational institutions in touch with cartoonists/comic art creators who teach this specialised art form on a part-time or full-time basis, and to document whatever is available through art colleges, workshops, recommended manuals and other media, which can help anyone studying to be a good cartoonist/comic creator.
The site will also eventually list all museums and galleries in its target area which have comic/cartoon art on public view or in their archives, and to encourage those without any to acquire examples from local notable creators.
"It's our intention that only a fraction of the information required for the site's operation will need to be supplied to the site by us - its administrators," David explains. "Instead, details of courses, collections, locations and availability of tutoring will be added directly to the site by all those who use it. Ideally, it should be almost self-generating.
"The most important thing for the site's effectiveness is that it offer comprehensive coverage of its designated area," he continues, "and for this to be achieved, we initially need to maximise our communication to all those institutions and individuals who'll make use of the site. Prior to its coming launch, this is the toughest job we have.
"The site's initiators and supporters have time-consuming jobs and responsibilities which limit the hours we can devote to phoning and emailing - so the more work that can be done by simply spreading the word about it, the better."
If you can, please help by contacting any person or institution you feel would add content to the Cartoon Classroom database, and/or make use of it. To register an interest, and/or register a wish to enter Cartoon Classroom's database, is easy - go to www.cartoonclassroom.co.uk.
Brief details of what you'd like to put on the finished site can be sent to us at the email address following. Fuller information on what you have to offer can be entered when the site launches in October. Email to contactcartoonclassroomATyahoo.co.uk
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