Greek Myth Comix. Explaining Classics in stick-man form.
About The Author:
L E Jenkinson-Brown, Classical Civilisation and Literature teacher, writer, and stick-figure artist. (Although, she can also draw properly and use photoshop and stuff)
L E Jenkinson-Brown (or Jenks) has taught Classical Civilisation and Introductory Latin for the past decade and a half, focussing on KS3-4 Classics and A Level Literature. She has also taught English Literature, for which she has been an examiner, and a bit of History, and sometimes even Drama.
Just so you know, the ‘L’ stands for Laura, not Lauren, and she’s an entirely different Laura Jenkinson to the one who does the really cool makeup.
Jenks is open to commissions and speaking engagements, and can even help you with teaching or self-publishing questions. Please contact her at email@example.com with your query in the subject header.
Q: Why stick figures? Why no faces?
A: For starters, stick figures are quick and evocative, perfect for getting the point across to children and learners. They’re also non-threatening – they don’t specify anything further than physical, bodily expression, and are easy for children to replicate and understand (originally they were intended to show students how to make their own revision resources).
Stick figures are also pretty great clothes-hangers that don’t draw attention away from the more factually-based artefacts and clothing that also feature in the comix. The lack of faces also removes the challenge of interpreting facial expression, with which some people struggle.
Most importantly however, I use stick figures with no faces because these are not my characters: they are mythological characters, and belong to everyone – I’m not going to tell you what they looked like. Just like the ancient illustrations, statuary and pottery that informs my work, they are missing features and painted details, which you are more than welcome to add yourself.
Q: Can I colour them in?
A: Yes! I actually love receiving work from students where they’ve added colour, faces, skin tones and their own details to take the illustrations and make them their own 🙂
Q: Does your Amarantus work have more colour in it?
A: Sort of. The Amarantus Project is an educational project from CSCP and BAN aiming to introduce pupils to the lives of ‘real’ Pompeiian characters – characters based on the people known to have inhabited a specific insula in Pompeii, researched by Dr Sophie Hay (under Prof. Andrew Wallace-Hadrill), as well as some fictional characters that complement them, brought to life in story by children’s historical fiction author Caroline Lawrence and illustrated by me (!) My minimalist art style was chosen to illustrate this project’s fictional representations of real Pompeiians, and the line-art style was also decided to sit well against the iconic illustrations of the Cambridge Latin Project, which, at over 50 years old, is currently being updated by an outstanding team. The stick-figure-based characters are intended as evocative placeholders, like ghosts, against the much more detailed reconstructions of Pompeiian archaeological sites, both photorealistic reconstructions by the amazing graphic artist Gareth Blayney (see below), and line-drawing reconstructions that I have created, under the watchful, historically-accurate-detail-focused eyes of the Amarantus team. Most of the artwork is designed to be printable in black and white for schools, but there will be some full-colour images to illustrate the reality of the Roman world.
Originally the backgrounds that I’ve drawn were left as black and white, but frankly didn’t stand out. Instead, they now use a web- and print-safe greyscale palette to allow for easy and cheap printing of the PDF book in schools, and highlight even the miniscule details. The only detailed facial feature of any of the characters that I’ve allowed for is the nose of Amarantus, based as the character’s appearance is on the Pompeiian graffiti caricature found in the insula. Some colour images will be created for the educational website, but overall the text, and the pupils’ imaginations, will fill in the rest.
Comfort Classics, April 2020 https://classicalstudies.support/2020/04/24/comfort-classics-laura-jenkinson-brown/
WordPress: A chat with Greek Myth Comix, July 2016 https://wordpress.com/discover-wordpress/2016/07/06/greek-myth-comix/
Greek Myth Comix! A Panoply Interview with Laura Jenkinson, April 2017. http://panoplyclassicsandanimation.blogspot.com/2018/04/greek-myth-comix-panoply-interview-with.html
Coffee and Circuses, Sept 2019: You can hear an interview with Jenks on the Coffee and Circuses podcast, available on iTunes, Spotify, and Audioboom below:
Occasionally comix or illustrations are posted by Guest Artists, usually at Jenks’ invitation. You can see these on the Guest Posts page. If you have artwork that you think fits, please contact Jenks at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also read more about the myths behind the comics at our Facebook page.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License.
This means that you are free to share any of our comics (noncommercially) as long as you tell people where they’re from.
That is, you don’t need my permission to post these pictures on your website, just include a link back to this site. You can use them freely, as long as you include the link at the bottom of the comic and do not cut it off, in not-for-profit publications and in publications like blogs, newsletters, and presentations, for example school worksheets and PowerPoints. If you’re not sure whether your use is noncommercial, please email Jenks.
You can now order class sets of the Odyssey Comix right here!