Reading comic books is a favorite pastime for most children, so Colleen Venable is hoping that drawing their own will bring the excitement to a whole new level.
Along with co-creator Stephanie Yue, Venable held her first ever comic book workshop for kids in the basement of WORD Bookstore last Sunday. Using her latest book, Guinea Pig Private Eye 3: The Ferret’s a Foot, Venable put on an interactive show that had the children in attendance reading, acting out characters and drawing some of their favorite animals.
“I’ve been getting pretty good at acting like a seven-year-old,” said a laughing Venable. “I find that a lot of the authors at these different conventions, I’ve been selling my books at, just read to the kids for 45 minutes, which is the last thing I’d want at that age. Their attention span is so short that you have to mix it up in order to keep them engaged.”
The children in attendance, who were between the ages of 4-10, took part in the interactive reading that Venable said was intentionally fast-paced and highly varied.
“I made sure the kids had something to do every 30 seconds, whether it was physical or verbal,” said Venable. “Even the kids who were more shy ended up at least participating in the drawing portions of the workshop.”
Venable, who is a comic book artist by trade, has been doing readings in schools and appearing in comic conventions across the country. She says that it is important for her to do the readings because the response of the children is what will help shape her work the most.
“I’m constantly surrounded by adults throughout the creation of my work, so I never get to see how the kids react,” said Venable. “It’s interesting to me because the jokes that seem like throwaways are often the ones which get the biggest laugh, and the ones that I think are good are either too advanced for them or they just don’t think it’s funny.”
Venable can be seen next on April 16th at the Kids’ Comic Con at Bronx Community College.