Emma Capps on 826

Workshop teacher and former 826 Valencia student Emma Capps talks about developing her love for comics at 826 Valencia.

Capps: I got interested when I was very little. My parents used to let me get comic books, even though the two of them don’t know anything about comics themselves. When I was five years old, I remember reading a lot of comics. And I continued loving them and reading them.

But I never really thought it was something I could do until I took a class at a non-profit in San Francisco called 826 Valencia. I took it when I was 11. And it was just a comic workshop. And it was taught by Dan Archer, who also taught at the Center for Cartoon Studies in Vermont. He’s currently in Nepal doing a comics’ journalism project.

That was really, really fun for me. Everyone in the class made an eight-page comic. And I remember, I got so obsessed with mine, I woke up one morning at 5 a.m., before school, so I could work on inking it and get it just right. And that’s a big deal for me, since I’m a person who cannot wake up early.

So after that class, I’ve been making comics ever since. And actually, to show my gratitude for the class at 826 Valencia, when I made my first volume of the comic, the profits were all donated to the non-profit, and I actually raised almost $900 for them.

Now, it’s come full circle, because I now teach classes every few months there. Comics workshops. And I’m now the only teacher who teaches comic workshops there, and it’s for the same age range that I was when I took a comics workshop. So the thought that I’m teaching could inspire someone the way that the class I took did is just amazing for me. And I’m really glad that I get to give back in that way, because I’m very thankful for all the wonderful teachers I have who have encouraged me to do these things.

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