Are your kids crazy about comic books? Well, now you can send them to the Mispillion Art League and instructor Michael Fleishman, a retired college art professor who has had a cartoon and comic book drawing habit since he was in first grade.
A childhood love of drawing “The Flash” steered Fleishman to a career that included freelance illustration and teaching all age levels. “Comic books led me to a B.S. in Art Education and an M.A. in painting and drawing,” he admits. “They stayed with me even in high school and college, when you were supposed to be doing ‘serious’ art,” he says with a laugh. Fleishman also became an accomplished writer, authoring seven books about illustration, graphic design, and creativity, many of them peppered with his own illustrations. Allworth Press will publish his eighth book, Starting Your Career as an Illustrator, this year.
Fleishman’s love of cartooning also recently translated into a comic book and posters for the Ohio Department of Aging, where he featured the personal bios of local World War II veterans in the classic, colorful, easy-to-read format. “The comic book format fits the subject,” Fleishman explains. “These are everyday heroes who risked their lives to fulfill what they felt was a solemn obligation to their country. And when they returned, many continued in service to their communities as teachers, engineers, public utility workers, etc.”
Luckily for us, Fleishman brought his drawing studio to the Milford community last year (along with his wife, filmmaker Joanne Caputo), in order to be closer to family in New York and Pennsylvania. And this year he agreed to teach “You’re My Hero: Drawing Comics” for local children at the Mispillion Art League.
“You’re My Hero” will be an ongoing examination of comics (both comic strips and comic books); an introduction to various comics themes, styles and characters; a discussion of students’ favorite comic character/hero, and of course, the creation and drawing of the students’ own hero and cast of characters.
“We’ll explore interior pages and panel layouts,” Fleishman says, “character and character development; line and color; comic styles and stylization; covers and splash pages. We’ll discuss story (and how to tell stories) and ‘world-building’.”
Fleishman’s “You’re My Hero” class will be taught in March for four after-school sessions for Grades 4 to 9. Located at the Riverwalk Center for the Arts on North Walnut Street in downtown Milford. You can register your children for the class online, or stop by the Art League. But keep in mind that you’ll see a big kid with a gray beard at the front of the class.
Contributed by Joanne Caputo.