Indigenous youth ages 14-18 are introduced to comic book artwork during a camp at Regina’s First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv) campus. Through the camp, students from and around Regina learn basic foundation techniques with drawing and painting and learn how comic book artists engage in the storytelling process.
The program coordinator said she selected the topic of comic book art because youth are strongly connected to digital, comic and graphic novel imagery.
“It has a way of conveying stories in that digital or that are not digital,” said Audrey Dreaver, FNUniv Indigenous Fine Arts lecturer. “It has a way of conveying stories in that artistic form, that artistic way that is expressive and is a voice that empowers youth.”
The youth are provided with an art kit containing a variety of drawing materials such as assorted papers, inks, water-based pains and markers. After the camp wraps up on Aug. 19, 2022, the youth will be able to take home their art kit where they can continue to develop their skills.
“Comic books are (an) important mode for delivering stories that are that are Indigenous … coming from the Indigenous experiences through the writers,” said Dreaver. “After leaving here, I’m hoping they will feel really good about their own voices … this is one way that they can use that voice to create the stories and and tell the the things that they need to say.”
Regina high school student Evy Maxie-Poitras used to draw comics when she was a kid. When the opportunity presented itself to attend a comic book art camp, she wanted to participate in the learning process.
“I’ve learned how to draw with mixed mediums,” she said. “(Using) watercolors, stuff with pencil and crayons.”
Maxie-Poitras, along with the other youth, had the pleasure to listen to a special guest speaker, Sean Beyale, an accomplished Navajo storyteller from New Mexico who works as an artist with Marvel Comics and Scholastic Books.
“I thought it (was) very cool to see that he’s going to help us make a story in the comic,” said Maxie-Poitras. “He’s done Marvel Comics, and I’ve read some of them. They’re really good.”
The comic book art book camp is a pilot project and Dreaver hopes this camp will return again in the future.