Students Make Comics with Nguyên Khôi Nguyên

As part of FCS’s AAPI Heritage Month celebration, students were treated to a conversation and comic-making lesson with multi-disciplinary artist and educator Nguyên Khôi Nguyễn on Wednesday, May 12.
Nguyên is the author of Bittersweet: A Pandemic Sketchbook and the multimedia graphic novel, The Gulf. With the website, Mom’s Viet Kitchen, Nguyên shares multimedia recipes that reveal intimate family stories. He is also the vocalist, pianist, composer, and bandleader of the jazz trio: Superior Cling. He is a multiple American Graphic Design Awardee and an Ignatz Award nominee. 
In the workshop, Nguyên shared his background and process as he taught students the elements of comic-making. He showed examples of how he conducts his research, often creates dioramas for the setting of his stories, and then works with brush pens, ink, and finally his iPad for final versions. 

He shared images and pages from The Gulf noting that the setting comes from the gulf coast of Florida, where he grew up. Viewed on a screen, the novel invites readers to listen to music, watch short embedded videos, and flip and turn the pages as they travel through the narrative.  Nguyên told students that he finds inspiration for his work in lots of places including sewing patterns his mom brought back from Vietnam, other comic books, and stories from his own life at home with his family. 

He then invited participants to create their own mini-comic about a powerful memory/experience that took place during the pandemic. With a camera positioned above his drawing board, students were able to watch him model the process in real-time. 

Page by page, students planned a story and drew their own 8-page mini-comic. A few volunteered to show others what they’d created. 

Special thanks to Nguyên for sharing time and talent with our middle school students. Thanks also to Mimi Khúc (parent to 4th grader Elia) for setting up this wonderful learning opportunity.
Located in College Park, MD, Friends Community School is a progressive Quaker K-8 day school, founded on the belief that every child is a valued member of our community. We offer a challenging curriculum imbued with strong values of equality, integrity, community, environmental stewardship, simplicity and peaceful conflict resolution, rooted in our Quaker heritage.
Friends Community School
5901 Westchester Park Drive
College Park, Maryland 20740