It was in early nineties (while working as a political cartoonist) when Sharad Sharma introduced cartoons in few posters made for literacy campaign in Rajasthan, India. This encourages him to produce more such stuff. He started promoting wall posters as a means to spread information quickly, easily, and in cost effective manner. The first posters, however, were really one-page broadsheet newspapers without frivolity lots of text and hard reading. He proposed including some pictures to fit with the stories and interests of the communities where the posters were being distributed. Their popularity soon increased. Before long, the content was evenly split between text and pictures. The participants in training programs appreciated the lessons on cartooning and illustration because they could learn practical and useable skills in a short time.
Soon a number of skill development workshops were organized with several organistions in west, north and eastern part of the country. A number of wall newspapers became part of people's day to day life. India has a rich story telling culture and visual communication inherent in the society, so the Grassroots Comics idea spread all over the country in just few years time. This was still when Sharad was working as a fulltime cartoonist in mainstream media.
After 9 years of experiment and practical work it was decided to institutionalize the activity and spread the method across the globe by registering it as an organisation.
World Comics India (WCI) is a collective of grassroots activists, cartoonists, artists, development journalists, students, using comics as a communication tool as well as medium of self expression. These Grassroots comics are drawn by common people reflecting their understanding of the social world (and not by artists). People living away from power centers rarely have their voices reflected in the mainstream. WCI parallels with the mainstream approach, and conducts several workshops aiming at empowering these voices and bringing out their own wall newspapers. The rich stories nurtured in the workshop are a reflection of the multi-cultural outlook of the society and this inspires us to adopt visual story format in the most cost effective manner possible.
WCI imparts skills to NGO's staff and activists, students of mass communication and social work through workshops on grassroots comics. This in turn helps them develop a better communication strategy in addressing the local issues. WCI through its Training of Trainers programme, produces training manual for replication of Comics Workshop across the globe. It widens beyond the spectrum of grassroots comics through issue-based campaigns, publishing comic anthologies.
World Comics Network
World Comics India has not only spread the idea of Grassroots Comics within India but has also exported it to many countries. In the leadership of Sharad Sharma WCI has helped to form networks in Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Brazil and UK.
In past few years World Comics India has organised a number of workshops in collaboration with several NGOs, people's movement, educational institutes, Oxfam-GB, Unicef, Plan, World Vision, Community Pride Initiative(UK),Viracao (Brazil), Cwish, Hatemalo (both Nepal), Jansansadya (Sri Lanka), Save The Children Sweden, Insan Foundation (Pakistan), Plan (Benin), Swedish Comics Society (Sweden) and World Comics Finland (Finland).
Intellectual property rights | Partnership rules | Copyrights etc
The grassroots comics methodology was developed by World Comics in mid nineties and unique formats like Wallposter comics, mini- booklet were introduced. These unique forms of comics is now known as “grassroots comics”.
Using comics as a communication tool, medium for self-expression and grassroots level comics journalism are the methodologies, which World Comics developed over the period of time. Thus World Comics has all the intellectual property rights on all the above methodologies and its nomenclature.
World Comics runs around 150 comics workshops every year in different parts of the globe. The primary objective of these workshops is to help NGOs, people’s movement, schoolteachers, educators, students, social workers, media practitioners etc.
To achieve this World Comics Network organizes workshops with the wide variety of organizations, educational institutes, CBOs, CSOs and informal groups. Any group and individual collaborating with World Comics is automatically agreeing the rules mentioned in this page.
If you are partnering with World Comics
- You must give equal credit to World Comics before, during and post collaboration.
- Grassroots Comics methodology and module can be used only after gaining written permission from us.
- Even after the permission you are not allowed to make any changes in the original content or use it selectively or reprint it anywhere unless it is mentioned in written.
- World Comics would have equal rights on the content produced in any workshop in any part of the globe using its methodology and will be free can use and print them in any of its publications and websites.
- Any individual is free to use the methodology only for not for profit purposes (there too trainers must give due credit to World Comics and shall also inform us about the same in due course)