cartoon school graduation

May 19th, 2008 | Other Projects


Hey, I delivered the commencement address on Saturday at the Center for Cartoon Studies. This was the second graduating class. It was pretty fun. That’s James Sturm, on the right, the Director of the school, talking to Hillary Chute. Hillary trekked up from Harvard for the event, and to spend the weekend at my house interviewing me for a book she’s working on about contemporary women cartoonists.


That’s Michelle Ollie, with the camera, who co-founded the school with James. That’s James’ wife Rachel Gross, a printmaker, in the brown. This was after the ceremony, at the exhibition of the graduating students’ work. There was some really nice stuff.

I had no idea what I was going to talk about in my speech, not being an inspirational sort of person. Fortunately I ran across an unpublished graphic novel from early in my career which I stole a few panels from. It was a searching psychological drama about this guy who gets thrown off a train. I was trying to talk about Beginner’s Mind, like I was going on about in a recent post here.
GN 4

GN 9

25 Responses to “cartoon school graduation”

  1. yelena says:


  2. DeLandDeLakes says:

    back with a sack o’ grocery snacks, number one with a bullet and a powerpack! Seriously, I wish you could have been my commencement speaker. I seriously don’t even remember who it was, the dude was so uninspiring.

  3. Deena in OR says:


    CCS doesn’t offer a BFA program yet, do they? (Asks the parent of the almost 16 year old manga nerd…)

  4. Suzanonymous says:

    Some of us are grumpily waiting for the video you mentioned (of your drawing and inking the last strip before your break).


  5. Joe Lambert says:

    Alison, thank you for sharing that with us.

    Deena, CCS does not offer a BFA yet.

  6. Deena in OR says:

    Joe, thanks.

    Since further research tells me that they also don’t accept federal financial aid, it looks as though that’s an avenue we won’t be pursuing for a while. Oh, well.

  7. Alex K says:

    “Inspirational” vs. “inspiring”: Distinction noted.

  8. rhonda winter says:

    I love the word “flump”. I am going to try to use it at every given opportunity.

  9. advorunnermom says:

    “flump” is also found in the children’s book “Stellaluna.” It kind of softens the moment where the baby bat falls away from her mother, if memory serves.

  10. Suzanonymous, I’m sorry you’re grumpy! I’m working on the video but it’s rather time consuming, and I’ve had to juggle other work.

    I forgot I’d mentioned it on here.

    I’ll try and get it up soon!

  11. Some of the “really nice stuff” at CCS was by Joe Lambert, above. Thanks fer readin’, Joe.

    I just tried to link to Vermont Public Radio to show you the beautiful mug Joe just designed for them, but I couldn’t find a pic there.

  12. AndreaC says:

    Are those locally grown veggies in that grocery bag? Could be a proto-Stuart. 🙂 He’s kinda shaggy…

  13. Nickel Joey says:

    *I* love the phrase “proto-Stuart,” which I may try to use at any opportunity I can.


  14. Joe Lambert says:

    Thanks Alison. Here’s a link to my blog post about the mugs. Did you get a mug? If not, I have a few extra I can send you.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Alison, this is your blog, not an on-demand entertainment site. Geez! Post whatever you want to, when you want to.

  16. Yeah, Michelle gave me a mug, Joe, and it’s frickin’ awesome.

    I’m hoping I get another one for forking over my annual Vermont Public Radio donation.

    Interestingly, when I went to the VPR site this morning, there was a picture of ME on it. It was weird, I got confused about whose site I was on. Then I realized I’d given their web people permission a year or so ago to use my photo in these little profiles of VPR listeners they show up on the site. You get a random, different person every time you log on.

  17. Cate says:

    I think this is GREAT, Alison.

    I was in burlington this weekend and I was creeping around the Onion River Co-op imagining running into Stuart at every turn. I was rewarded with a dude in a utilikilt but he was much younger than Stu.

  18. Suzanonymous says:

    LOL! Thanks Alison. You helped me on the road to degrumping.

    I like that mug, too.

  19. BamfChyck says:

    James Sturm from “Down and out Dawg” fame? Boy, that takes me back to my misspent undergrad time. How nice he’s doing something so positive as well as being creative.
    Allison, can you give more details about the book Hillary Chute interviewed you for?

  20. Wicked Witch of Spain says:

    Alison you are an inspirational person, quiet, shy, but inspirational “in person” and adorable.
    On the other hand I look like the “Wicked Witch of the West”, thanks God my skin is a little brown and not green and lovely Dorothy alias Hillary Chute was keeping the water on the bottle…meanwhile speaking with James the wizard of Oz alias CCS director…
    It was nice to see you…and the speech was fantastic!! It was worthy to bring my black Witch dress…

  21. C. says:

    I like On The Media too!

  22. Dear Wicked Witch,
    I’m so sorry I didn’t point you out. God, I’m a sloppy blogger. That woman in the middle of the background in the first photo is Ana Merino, a member of the Center for Cartoon Studies board. She also teaches Latin American and Spanish literature and culture at Dartmouth, and writes scholarly type stuff about comics.

    That woman holding the baby is Michelle the co-director’s partner, Michelle. Yes, they’re both named Michelle and they spell it the same way. And that very small person she’s holding is Phineas, their 1 year old.

  23. Wicked Witch of Spain says:

    My dear Alison, no need to point at me when I look ugly on the picture. On the other hand Michelle and Phineas look cute.
    Vanity is the weakness of a Wicked Witch like me.

  24. diana says:

    FYI, guys, gals, & other identified,
    there are two BFA programs in Comic Art in the country. One is at Minneapolis College of Art & Design. I’m a graduate of that program and currently teach comic history and graphic novel classes there. The other is Savannah College of Art & Design in Georgia. I have a bias because of my involvement with MCAD, but I think our program is stronger than Savannah’s.
    Also, CCS cofounder Michelle Ollie worked at MCAD before beginning that venture. My mentor/buddy Frenchy and I had supper with them in Boston while Michelle was preggers.
    Do people still say preggers?
    CCS has a very good reputation. They have strong and talented faculty who care about the medium a great deal.
    Alison, how were the graduation portfolios/shows? How was the students’ work? You said it was nice, but did anyone stand out to you?

  25. mfahy says:

    Sturm and Bechdel!
    I’m too pleased!
    I hope you two talked about important things like
    speech balloons, splash pages and gutter widths.
    No,seriously, I LOVE you two!