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CHAMBERLAIN — “Don’t be afraid to make mistakes,” Dylan Jacobson, a comic book artist and writer, said during his week of classes at St. Joseph’s Indian School. “We turn our mistakes into masterpieces.”
It was a sentiment that echoed the art classes of St. Joseph’s Indian School in Chamberlain. Jacobson visted during the week of Oct. 17, counselling fourth through seventh grade students on what it’s takes to become a comic book writer and artist.
Jacobson, most known for his 2016 comic series Champions, has worked alongside educators across South Dakota and Nebraska as a teaching artist with both state’s art councils.
The students at St Joseph’s let their imaginations run wild while Jacobson led them through creative exercises in their art class, meeting two to three times during the week.
Jacobson started with a single concept to have students “get into the head space of a comic character.” He told them to write a story, with the template, “I am an adjective noun who verbs, and my name is blank.” From there, he asked students to fill in the blanks. What is the character like — funny, fierce, strong, angry? He asked what their character will look like and what does the character do?
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Then, the drawing began. Some students created new characters entirely, while some focused on old favorites like SpongeBob SquarePants.
Jacobson also let the students in on a few trade secrets during his visit.
“All comic characters are made of simple shapes,” the artist explained. Jacobson showed that, with a drawing technique, characters are able to be drawn repeatedly in flexible but recognizable ways. He even demonstrated the creation of Mickey Mouse, which, shockingly, started with just three circles.
The work done by the students will be published as a book and available in the St. Joseph’s Indian School’s library.

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