I’m currently studying a course that is the first of it’s kind. In the whole of the UK. Anywhere! There is nowhere in the country that offers course content equal to this, whilst also boasting a 6 year success record.
After studying at Staffs for almost five months, I thought it was high time I finally write a well overdue blog all about my course – Cartoon & Comic Arts!
When university hunting, I had a real struggle find a course and uni that fit for me. All that I looked at seemed good enough, but none really felt very… me! Originally, I had been looking for an illustration course; within easy distance of my hometown in South Shropshire; in a town or city with a low cost of living; that also included at least a small amount of tutoring on creative writing. I admit, it was a pretty tough bill to fill. Though I did manage to find a couple of options, I felt like they were too nonspecific. As a comic artist and writer, I needed a course that would teach me the intricacies of my industry – an industry quite like any other. But I just wasn’t finding it. Illustration was fine. It would’ve taught me the essentials. But I just wanted more…
In one last ditch attempt I googled something I assumed to be fruitless – “best illustration courses for comic art”. But, to my surprise, a result popped up that I hadn’t seen before – BA (Hons) in Cartoon & Comic Arts at Staffordshire University. Looking through the official page, I was startled to find that it had everything I needed. Quick, easy rail and bus links to my town; check. One of the lowest cost of living levels in the country; check. Tutoring in creative writing; check. Not to mention that the course was specifically formed for people like me!
And, as they say, the rest is history! I’m currently halfway through my first year as a Cartoon & Comic Arts student (which, you have to admit, sounds pretty cool in itself) and a firm part of the CaCA family. So here’s a short fact file (I know – “Gee, you realize fact files are so 2006, right?” – yeah, just stick with me) of my first semester as a CaCA student!
Class Title: BA (Hons) Cartoon and Comic Arts, Class of 2019.
No. of Students: 36.
Main Location: CaCA Studio, Cadman Building, Staffordshire University, Stoke-On-Trent.
Days in Lectures/Tutorials per Week: Four to five.
Trips and Visits: Trentham Monkey Gardens, Hanley Museum, Fenton Magistrates Court, London weekend trip (including British Museum, National Gallery, Cartoon Museum and London MCM Comic Con).
Life Drawing Exercises: Weekly.
Examples of Marked Pieces: A six page comic (plus, front and back covers) surrounding myths and legends and the city of London. A four page comic, adapted from a single quote.
Examples of Subjects Covered: History of Manga, Women in Comics, Professional Digital Colouring Methods, Lettering, From Script to Completion, Character Design Sheets.
Useful Events: Stoke-Con-Trent, 2nd Oct 2016. University hosted comic convention. Opportunity to dress up, bond with your classmates, and see examples of older students’ work, all whilst having fun!
Overall Comments: The lecturers are fun and supportive, and have real industry experience that they transfer into lessons. The first year studio space is homely, with a distinctly CaCA feel (the walls are literally covered in comic art) and an individual space for each of us. The lessons and lectures are engaging and fun, catering to all interests and skill levels. But, okay, there’s one thing that made me fall in love with my course and university more than anything. And that’s the people! The students on my course are amazing. We’re like one big family – there’s no one who doesn’t get along. When you’re in a course that specific, you’re gonna find that it’s a certain kind of person that applies to it – and those are the kinds of people who will bond very quickly. We’re the only CaCA students of 2016 in the entire country. And that’s a pretty cool thing to bond over!
This course has had such a positive impact on me, not only as an artist, but also as a person! I could talk about it all day, so if you need any more info from a student’s point a view, don’t hesitate to comment or send me a tweet @StaffsStudents!