Cartoon artist Alec Longstreth offers advice and inspiration during visit to UO
Alec Longstreth appeared on campus Wednesday to encourage and educate aspiring artists. The established cartoon artist and faculty member at the Center for Cartoon Studies, a cartooning school in White River Junction, Vt., lectured at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art focused on the evolution of comics over time and the requirements that a modern comic must have in order to thrive in the digital era.
A center point of Longstreth’s lecture was the importance of intrinsic motivation. Although he argued that anyone, now or in the past, has the ability to make a comic, he stressed the usefulness of current technology in creating a do-it-yourself comic. With the internet, digital software and new printing technologies, he believes that anyone can be their own publisher.
“With just a few simple tools you can go in and start making comics,” said Longstreth while describing the accessibility of Photoshop and Adobe creative programs. “You can teach yourself pretty easily.”
Longstreth and the Center Cartoon Studies reached out to the University of Oregon specifically because of the Charles M. Schulz exhibit currently on display at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, which showcases original artwork from the Peanuts comic series. The CCS was eager to give a lecture at a museum that had drawn in the comic audience. Sharon Kaplan, the Museum Educator at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art jumped at the opportunity to host Longstreth as a speaker, especially because of the new comic studies minor being offered by the University of Oregon.
“Whenever we bring a lecture here we hope that we bring a connection to the students and faculty,” Kaplan said. “I think the students that were here directly can get a lot of ideas about how to translate their own ideas out into the world.”
Ariel Wills, a senior humanities major at the UO, attended the lecture to learn more about how she could become a self-publisher and broadcast her artwork to a larger audience. After Longstreth’s lecture, she felt as if she had a better idea of her next steps.
“It’s really great to see where I have to go and the different things I can pursue to expand on the things I’ve been working on,” Wills said.
Students like Wills are the motivation behind Longstreth’s lectures.
“For me, it’s just the age I was when comics hit me like a ton of bricks,” he said. “I like to think that when I’m talking to a college audience, that I’m in the audience somewhere.”
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