Guest Lecture and Workshop with French Cartoonist and Animation Director Aurel

On Thursday September 29, 2022, we held a stimulating guest lecture and workshop with French non-fiction graphic-novelist, editorial cartoonist and animation director Aurel whose movie Josep was honoured by the 2021 César Award for Best Animated Film.

My warm thanks to Aurel for his time and enlightening and captivating insights, and to La Fête, Beyond Animation Festival and Clémentine Arfi for making this meaningful cultural exchange possible!

We discussed animation/comics medium specificities, graphic non-fiction composition, science popularization through adult-aimed comics (with the in-depth analysis of a wonderful sequence from Aurel’s Singes, Futuropolis, 2021) with Thai and Myanmar students from my Visual Media Studies course developed for the Faculty of Communication Arts and hosted by BSAC (Bachelor of Science in Applied Chemistry), Chulalongkorn University.

Analysing comics motif braiding, page composition, text/image interplay, abstraction tricks, variety of techniques and standpoint inversion in a remarkable 12-page sequence from the comics Singes by Aurel.

The workshop consisted in applying the various graphic non-fiction composition techniques discussed during the guest lecture to the comics adaptation of an imposed paragraph excerpted from the chapter A Race of Cooks in Yuval Noah Harari‘s book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (2011/2015). The 35 participating students -from Faculties and Departments of Literature, Architecture, Communication Design, Communication Arts, Psychology and Chemistry- had 30 minutes to compose individually a 2-page comics breakdown (drawn draft) of the paragraph. After completion, Aurel’s own graphic take on the Sapiens paragraph in his comics Singes and David Vandermeulen & Daniel Casenave’s comics adaptation in Sapiens: A Graphic History were introduced to the students to compare radically different approaches. Each student’s comics breakdown was later commented individually by yours truly.

Here are some results from the students’ workshop:

By Communication Design student Gun.
By Architecture/INDA student Plai.
By Communication Design student Pookla.
By Communication Design student Nut.