Teaching Comics Workshops at the Charles M. Schulz Museum

When I was given the opportunity to teach a set of week-long comics workshops at the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa, CA, I had no idea it would be such an important week in my life.


This summer has been packed with teaching comics workshops for children and teenagers in my home state of Utah. I’ve visited libraries, schools, cafes, museums, and comic shops, sharing my love for writing, drawing, storytelling, and making comics.

In my comics workshops, we talk about story structure, experiment with a variety of different media, methods, and techniques for making comics, we design characters, come up with ideas, draw in our sketchbooks, cut and fold mini comics, create pass-along comics, and much, much more. We look at all the parts and pieces of comics, and how they work together to tell a story in the comics medium. It’s a great crash-course in making comics for the students, and it’s a practical reminder for myself of the craft that goes into making comics.

What better place is there to teach such a comics workshop, than at the Charles M. Schulz Museum!

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On our first day of our comics workshops at the Museum, we created a comic all about ourselves, and included some of our favorite comics, as well as something we want to learn about making comics. We sat along the walls of the Bio Gallery to create our comics, surrounded by Charles Schulz’s own influences and his early drawings and paintings (including an actual wall mural from his home!).


Later in the week, we created our own 10-frame zoetrope animations and talked about how time works in a comic, from panel to panel.


After talking about how stories work in a four-panel sequence, we visited a gallery of original Peanuts strips artwork and observed Sparky’s use of panels, gutters, sound effects, and facial expressions/body language.


Via the magic of YouTube, our classes were visited by special guests Stan Lee, Jeff Smith, Doug TenNapel, Bob Ross, and Fred Rogers!

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I even got to meet my long-time internet artist pal, Denis St. John, and fellow artists, Donna Almendrala and Paige Braddock!


Each class was 3.5 hours long, so we had plenty of time to make comics, enjoy the Museum exhibits, dab, sign books, draw derpy faces on the white board, and watch an incredibly touching video on the origins of the Museum and the Schulz Campus at large.

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As fun and exciting as it was to teach these students in the halls of a master cartoonist and storyteller, it was meeting Mrs. Jean Schulz (Sparky’s wife) that transformed a fun and memorable week into an enchanted experience.

It was an honor to meet Jean, and Sparky’s legacy could not be in more capable hands.


I’m excited to see what this new generation of cartoonists creates!

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