Writing stories

April Fools

It’s not exactly writing gags, but putting together ad copy for fake ads can be just as funny as a cartoon.

Today was the first day of the Spring semester and just so happened to fall on April Fools’ Day. I’d done fake ads with the older students before, but I thought it might be a fun project with which to start the new session with the younger kids. I also decided to give them the option of doing a fake video game screenshot. To give them incentive to come up with something cool and flashy, I announced that we would have a contest at the end of class where we would vote on which picture was funniest.

Here are two baseline cartoons, done by middle school students four years ago during the summer session:


Note how many calories in the product…a product that is, by the way, super gross.
This is one of the coolest drawings ever. I like that the victor goes to the chibi character pulling the fighter’s ear.

You can compare them with what the younger kids did today:

I like the TV name change. Also the question “Why?” instead of just a question mark like in the game.

Three other kids in the class copied Peter’s idea of a video game called Fartnight. I thought that was super impressive and testament to his brilliance and I told him so.
Something free that costs money has come up during previous iterations of this lesson. However, I can’t remember the graphic design on those other drawings being quite as good as this.

A girl in the class is a huge BT21 fan. I thought she put together a first rate ad, perfect for the holiday. She’s a great colorist. Unfortunately, she simply ran out of class time to add color to this piece.

Overall, I liked this lesson a lot. It really was a lesson in pure design. I modeled the initial concepts by letting the kids see some crazy April Fool’s Day ads on the internet. Hamburger flavored toothpaste. “Pulp Only” orange juice. A defective tool which was only defective because it was turned left instead of right. And so forth. Then I just left the kids to their own devices. It let me get a real feel for each child’s talents. Best of all, the kids had a fun afternoon of drawing something entertaining not only for themselves, but for their peers.