I’ve been lucky. I’ve had quite a few good teachers. I wouldn’t have ended up with a History major without a good teacher. In the fourth and sixth grades, I had two good teachers who encouraged my interest in writing.
I’m wondering about the teacher who I may never meet: Bill Watterson. Calvin and Hobbes taught me just about everything I know about how to make comics. If Garfield was my gateway drug, then Calvin and Hobbes was speedball. Excellent analogy, don’t you think?
I took a class on Tibetan Buddhism, and in it I learned everyone must find a teacher. You must go to that teacher and hope to heck he will accept you as a student. There is only so much work you can do on your own and through books; there is nothing that can replace the teacher/student dynamic.
Which leads me to wonder: an apprenticeship under an old master cartoonist? I don’t know. Cartoonists are too independent, too prickly to lead around a snot-nosed pupil. I don’t even know what I would say to someone like Watterson, who has already taught me so much through his work.
There have been cartoonists who have helped me, through letters and in person. I won’t go into the whole list here (this is a blog, not an awards show), but I will say that the cartoonists I’ve spoken to are generous and more than willing to offer a few pointers. You could say I haven’t had one teacher, but many.
What do you think? Is it important to meet your teacher?