School, as we know, is the place where a culture is made.
From elementary to high school, the state tries to teach young people the history of the country and the world using various subjects such as language, economics and so on. On the other hand, arriving at the university, they teach us to specialize in a single subject which then one day will allow us (God willing) to find the job of our dreams.
There are schools and schools.
Some are set up to teach a job for those who have not been able to complete specialized studies, others to instruct in a sport or a refined practice such as dance, and also to prepare for a type of art. Cartoon schools fall into this category, but don't think of them as simple courses to learn a hobby.
Over the years, with the growing attention towards the world of comics and the search for new talents in our beautiful country, they have allowed the creation of these places. Italian comics have existed and have existed for many years, but they have always had a hard time getting noticed with due merit, especially since Comics from America and Manga from Japan landed. To allow these hidden artists to emerge from anonymity, professionals of the sector have put their resources and knowledge on the line.
"The first school of comics in Italy was the Experimental School of Comics (Rome) which began its courses in 1978. More exactly before then there was, in our peninsula, only the Lucca school directed by Saverio Bruschini, a drawing teacher. The Experimental School of Comics was therefore the first educational structure created by a professional in the sector, with the express purpose of allowing young designers to enter the world of comics, bypassing the traditional apprenticeship path in the "studies". So, before other similar initiatives began their activity, such as The Laboratory and The International School of Comics in Rome or the school in Milan. Its founder was Eugenio Sicomoro.
How does a comic school work? Is it really that useful?
I, from my personal experience as a former student; I would answer yes.
But it is an answer that only applies to me. Certainly not everyone can say they have had good experiences.
The school I attended - La Comics in Florence, which later became The Sign - was well equipped with study rooms, great professors and interesting subjects. The triennial of comics was able to educate me on all those important aspects to make a comic functional, some things I already knew about myself as a self-taught, but having someone expert by my side to teach me the tricks of the trade was a godsend.
Basically, I didn't just learn how to draw well.
I learned to build a drawing both from a practical and a theoretical point of view.
In the same years and after, galvanized by this place that has always been my dream to attend, I filled other gaps with other important courses such as screenwriting and digital coloring. I met a lot of smart people, the teachers were very supportive and entertained us with anecdotes about their work (studying has never been so pleasant).
I admit, there were those two / three subjects that I didn't like ... but it's impossible that everything can be liked, right?
Apart from that, in my heart I will always carry the memory of those beautiful moments spent in that great little place.
Precisely because I was happy with it, I was surprised to hear conflicting opinions.
I want to clarify that these experiences have depended on various factors that are not always favorable and it is right that everyone express themselves sincerely.
In the end, the comic school is a school.
Here too you can run into problems with regard to the study itself or the professors, because the environment was not stimulating properly or different interests were found.
All very valid reasons, but which risk causing the loss of enthusiasm for something you love.
I'll be honest: although these schools claim they will come out like the next Mirka Andolfo or Andrea Castellan “Casty”, not all of them will be able to achieve success (look at me, for example).
It's bad to say but that's the way it is.
The world of comics can be full of satisfactions and honors, but it's also ruthless and sucks you to the bone. It takes skill to get noticed… but also a lot of luck.
Comics schools may not be a springboard for everyone, but they certainly are a great help to become good cartoonists, animators or screenwriters.
Without them many people would have remained with a dream in the drawer, giving happiness to those who were able to express themselves through shapes and colors.