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children comic workshop

March 11, 2014

I think it’s my 4th time doing this, being a somewhat mentor at comic workshop. (1st at Depok, 2nd at Serpong, 3rd at BIP..if my memory didn’t betray me). It was (sudden) mandate from my editor at Muffin Graphics two days before (7/3-2014). Considering it’s been weeks since last i saw people whose not my family, i agreed immediately (tbh my current lifestyle is kinda hikkikomori-ish).

My victim this time would be kids from SD Gagas Ceria, a private elementary school near Palasari, Bandung.

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Doing this for my fourth time doesn’t turn me suddenly into pro. I don’t hate kids, but i am not a big fan either. Deeper i mingled with them, made me think that kids are delicate, mischievous, yet mysterious creature. They had memory as good as elephants but they can forget things almost immediately. Total enigma.

Most kids who joined this workshop are came from same school but there were kids who aren’t. But i bet they all came from family who had good economy standard. In the morning, while waiting my comrades came (other fellow mentors) i noticed there were no ‘cheap cars’ parked in school front yard. No Avanza, no Kijang, not even any Innova. No kids came with angkot either hahahaha. Most guardian/adult who accompany these kids were their own parents, not their nannies/caretakers. That’s a good sign, i suppose? And they all well behaved. At least, kids in my group were all well mannered.

My group was “Group #2” with six members, Reza (5th grader, male), Marvel (5th grader, male), Faras (2nd grader, female), Numa (4th grader, female), Mutia (4th grader, female), and Kayla (3rd grader, female). Among them, boys are very chatty–especially Marvel who had tendency extorting people around him for extra money. So far nobody fall for his trickery.

Numa and Mutia were also very chatty, maybe because they came from same class. Mutia wanted to combine three ideas for her to-be-comic, but changes repeatedly halfway, while Numa stick to basics, picked one theme only and stay to the end.

Kayla and Faras both very quiet, very shy–but maybe because i am a stranger for them. Kayla gradually became proactive, as for Faras… OH ACTUALLY I LOVE FARAS hahahaha. Her comic idea completely mimic a popular folktales published before, i let her with that idea considering her age (youngest from all participants that day) but my editor didn’t approve it. We suggested a change and she followed obediently. Such a sweet kid! Despite her young age she’s done with her task as the fastest. And when other kids running around because they are tired and bored writing for hours, Faras just sat beside me, quietly reading books provided to her. She and her older brother were not from SD Gagas Ceria, but their mother working at that school. Faras’s mother asked me about her daughter upbringing, was her daughter bring me troubles or not, etc. From her i learned that Faras actually loves to write/making story. Too bad in that occasion she didn’t show us her potential. It make me wonders… why parents who concern most with their children upbringing got the most talented one? In my previous tutoring session, at BIP last year a mom also asked me how to sharpen her daughter’s talent. i responded with a diplomatic answer, because her kid’s story actually the most shining one, outshines all entries at that workshop session.

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One hour before the program ends, a last kid appeared. She’s late because her other extracurricular activities (a taekwondo and a ballet lesson, if I’m not mistaken). Her name was Nayna, a 3rd grader. My editor toss her to my group, saying that i seem very patient handling children. No i’m not. I’m not even funny like Faisal, understanding like Rendra, or even playful like other mentors. I’m too lethargic to resist any force. Good thing Nayna was a cooperative one so her comic could be done in one hour. Naturally Nayna also the last who went home. Thing which amaze me is… before she departed, she flipped her chair on top of table–so whoever had to sweep the floor can do his/her job easier. I don’t want to left bad impression too, so i followed her example, flipped all remaining chairs.

I really have no stamina because my current hikkikomori lifestyle. When i finally back to my room, I slept like a log for 12 hours.

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My final opinion about stories generated from this workshop: i think children who had similar background tends to write story similarly. Why, i wonder?

Other personal anecdote about SD Gagas Ceria: usually i draw comics about children at their natural habitat, at elementary schools–and i always referenced to elementary school i was attended to. My school was a private one, but it had a long history so people in my hometown often forgot that it was a private school and mistook it with government’s school/SD Negeri. It has modest appearance too. Black chalkboard, sets of wooden chairs and tables…each class should had at least 40 students, or 50 pupils, so it’s common to see each table had two or three residents. A typical view of any common elementary school you can see throughout Indonesia. SO I THOUGHT EVERY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL WAS SAME INSIDE HAHAHAHA. But recent tour at SD Gagas Ceria changed my perspective. They had costume made chair and table, with hook to hang your bag on the side of table, each table for each student, locker for each student and max quantity of each class not exceed 25 students. So this is how a real luxurious private school should look like…

I have to change my drawing in my next works following this new revelation.

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