Cartoonist provides education through animation

Former Skyridge student talks to eighth-graders about life as a teacher and comic book writer

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Comic book author and educator Aron Nels Steinke recently spoke to students at Skyridge Middle School in Camas about setting high goals and achieving success. Steinke has written several comic books aimed at children in elementary and middle school.

After Skyridge Middle School’s art teacher Gail Welsh read an article about former student Aron Nels Steinke’s success in the comic book industry, she quickly arranged a time for him to talk to Skyridge students about his accomplishments.

When Steinke was in middle school, he enjoyed art and writing, and that became his main interest, and eventually developed into a career in animation and cartoon making.

After graduating from Camas High School, Steinke attended Clark College, where he earned an associate’s degree. He proceeded to study at the Vancouver Film School in British Columbia, Canada. He earned a bachelor’s degree in animation from Portland State University, and went to Lewis and Clark College to get a master’s degree in elementary education. Steinke then applied for a position as a preschool teacher.

“Education is incredibly important,” he said. “If I wasn’t constantly learning things, I don’t think there would be a reason for me to be alive. My brain has to be constantly challenged and interested in things.”

Steinke tries to educate kids through his comic books as well.

His comics incorporate some thought-provoking ideas, that many similar novels geared for children do not have. Steinke recently released a book called “The Super Crazy Cat Dance,” a children’s comic about a cat. For third- through eighth-graders, he has written the book, “Neptune,” which was published about a year ago. These can be purchased through Amazon or at any major comic shops in Portland.

Steinke said that if there was one thing he could tell any student about anything, he would say “Read books, and that the key [to success] is never to get discouraged, you need to work hard at what you enjoy doing.”

Steinke emphasized that success is attainable, and requires hard work, but with effort, anything is possible.