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From Sketchbooks to Laptop: ONU Student Accepted into Summer Program

Jeff GibbonsSummer can be a great time to gain a variety of professional experiences: career-oriented jobs, internships or realizing many other responsibilities. For one Ohio Northern student with a passion and appreciation for graphic novels, storytelling, writing, and design, it is an adventure into the world of comics.

Jeff Gibbons, a sophomore studio arts major from Toledo, Ohio, will be brushing up on some skills, learning new ones, and discovering more of the cartoon world at The Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction, Vermont. He will be attending the Cartoon Studio program after being accepted and earning a scholarship.

“To be considered for a scholarship,” explains Jeff, “I submitted an application, an essay, and a few pieces from my portfolio. I am excited to be able to spend a week in a community dedicated to illustrating. I know the experience will inform my work for years to come.”

The Cartooning Studio program is a 5-day cartooning intensive, ideal for college students. Through lectures and classroom exercises, the CCS faculty will cover the basics of visual storytelling but with a strong focus on designing, crafting and self-publishing comics. This goal-orientated workshop will give Jeff the support necessary to create and self-publish his own independent project.

“I don’t know for sure what I want to do,” describes Jeff. “I know I’ll learn a good deal of things. I’ll also be able to network and talk to some of the most respected comic book artists in the business, like Steve Bissette. He has worked for all the ‘Big Four’ companies, including DC Comics.”

Stephen R. Bissette will be one of the summer faculty members at the CCS. He has won many industry awards as a cartoonist, writer, editor and publisher. A pioneer graduate of 
the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon & Graphic Art, he is best-known for Saga of
the Swamp Thing, Taboo, ‘1963,’ Tyrant, co-creating John Constantine, and 
creating the world’s second ‘24- Hour Comic,’ invented by Scott McCloud as a
 challenge for Bissette. His comic efforts fueled many films and he has written many essays on the subject. His previous work in education includes lecturing at Yale,
 Dartmouth College, Duquesne University, Smith College, Marlboro College and Middlebury College’s Breadloaf Young Writers Workshop.

Besides studying with some of the industries most well-known artists, Jeff will also take advantage of the Extended Studio Option. “The Extended Studio is an additional three-day workshop designed for students who want to extend their time at CCS,” explains Jeff. “After the week-long workshop, I want to either finish my independent project or take that project to the next level with the guidance of the CCS faculty. I also want to make sure I have time to explore and read in The Schulz Library.”

Located in the historic Bridge Street firehouse, on the edge of the White River, The Schulz Library maintains a unique collection of contemporary graphic novels, out-of-print and rare collections and classic newspaper strips. “The Schulz Library is a dream come true for the cartoonist bibliophile.”

In addition to comic books and graphic novels, the library holds an extensive collection of books about cartooning, both academic and instructional. The reference section is a great resource on a variety of fine arts including design, illustration, animation, and photography.

“This is a great opportunity. I want to know what other people do and how they do it,” states Jeff. “Also, I just want to get better at sequential narrative.”

The Center for Cartoon Studies is dedicated to providing the highest quality of education to students interested in creating visual stories. CCS’s curriculum of art, graphic design, and literature reflect the wide array of skills needed to create comics and graphic novels. CCS emphasizes self-publishing and prepares its students to publish, market, and disseminate their work.

The CCS also offers a two-year course of study that centers on the creation and dissemination of comics, graphic novels and other manifestations of the visual narrative. Experienced and internationally recognized cartoonists, writers, and designers teach classes. The school is located in historic downtown village of White River Junction, Vermont, in the old Colodny Surprise Department Store.

Ohio Northern offers both the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees with majors in advertising design, art education, graphic design and studio arts. The department of A&D holds memberships in national organizations such as the National Art Education Association, College Art Association, Foundations in Art: Theory and Education and the National Council on Education of Ceramic Arts. The department is recognized in the second edition of “Creative Colleges: A Guide for Student Actors, Artists, Dancers, Musicians and Writers” as one of the top 200 creative programs nationwide. For additional information about the department of art & design, call 419.772.2160 or email