November 5th, 2014

When In Rome, Draw As The Romans Do

by Steve Kelley and Jeff Parker

Scuola1I was in Rome all last week, mostly gawking at the Berninis and overindulging in gelato, but I took time out one morning to check out Rome’s impressive Scuola Internazionale di Comics di Roma.

Just so you know, the Italian word for comics is fumetto, and fummeti if plural. A cartoonist there is called a fumettista or vignettista.

I was shown around SICR by my new friend, David Messina, professor of comics and digital painting.

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David showed me around the Scuola’s state-of-the-art facility where they teach all aspects and mediums of cartooning — basic drawing, design, writing, inking, scripting, creative writing, animation, and digital coloring — all aimed to help students achieve a professional level of skill and creativity.

He also introduced me to Simon Filia, professor of animation.

Interrupting Simon’s class, and with David acting as translator (my limited Italian is wholly excruciating to the Italian ear), we talked at length about how animation is taught there with an an eye to old-school methods, but using today’s technology. The computer software they employ works more like traditional hand-drawn animation for the big screen or film, allowing a lot of innovation and creativity compared to other web-based animation software like Flash. Simon also teaches 3D animation fundamentals as well.

The alumni and students’ work gracing SICR’s walls was nothing short of jawdropping. I was already familiar with Italian cartoonists like Aurelio Galleppini, creator of the spaghetti western Tex Willer comics as well as Leo Ortolani’s Rat-Man, and Milo Manara’s erotic Click collections (please don’t tell my mother), so it’s gratifying to see the tradition of great Italian comics is being carried into the future so tremendously by these rising young stars.

Grazie, David, e Scuola Internazionale di Comics di Roma, sei ospitalità era troppo gentile.

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