Oh god, I haven’t time for this you’re thinking…
Well, it’ll be short, I promise. I just need to alert you to three things:
Firstly, you may have heard about the Inkers and Thinkers conference, which happened last weekend in Addy-laide. I can say with complete bias that it was fabulous. All the papers were most interesting and before long there ought to be podcasts put up so you can listen to them. I’ll provide a link here when they become available.
My short summary of it all is that there is a burgeoning of comics scholarship in this country, in line with overseas and perhaps in response to that movement. The thing is that I feel the arrival of so many diverse and interesting comics in the past twenty years has made passionate fans of the medium and, where they are scholars, made them want to research it. I am one of them with a thesis being produced by project: a comic created especially to be encountered in a gallery. More on that when it is due for exhibition in July.
Anyhow, comics scholarship is a global phenomenon, albeit still very niche. There are no comics studies departments – yet. Nor is there a specific comics theory and vocabulary either, borrowing as it does from cinema studies, literary studies, sociology, anthropology, art theory (not much) and wherever a scholar grasps for ways to explain their ideas. That’s how all new scholarship is created.
So, for those who could not attend, you can download an illustrated pdf of my speech, here. Please share the link around to those you think might be interested, as I think the ideas it contains are important, and they are to serve as springboard for ideas and discussion on comics in this country.
Secondly, I’m teaching a comics workshop for the Australian Society of Authors on 10th May in Melbourne which runs all day. The deets are below, so being chums, it’s a less a case of me asking you to come along, but that you might pass it on to those you know whom you think can benefit. By all means come along if you think you can learn something. It’s not comics 101, but neither is it 404.
I love to teach comics. I have spent 25 years making them and though self-taught (there was no other option when I started), I think I’ve learnt a few tricks (or a hundred) over that time so I am more than happy to pass my knowledge on. The only possible outcome is more and better comics; how can that be bad? Moreover, you can learn stuff in a short time that took me years to figure out!
In this workshop I will give some insight into the magic of visual storytelling, which is the core of comics – more so than great drawing or sharp dialogue. Through discussion of examples and practical exercises you’ll gain an understanding of comics as a medium and the process of ‘writing with images’. I’ll give you a grasp on the rules to comic layout and storytelling that will be pertinent whether you want to draw yourself or write for other artists. Sure it costs a bit, but lunch is thrown in as is water, tea, coffee and bikkies. Main thing is I reckon it’s a small price for knowledge. I could be wrong. You can find out more and book here.
ASA WORKSHOP: GRAPHIC NOVELS: HOW TO TELL STORIES WITH PICTURES.
Saturday May 10, 10:30am – 4pm.
Where: CAE, Level 4, 253 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Cost: ASA Members $155; Member of a Partner Organisation $185; full price $230.
Bookings: 1800 257 121 (toll-free) or visit www.asaauthors.org
Home Cooked Comics Festival
Thirdly, it’s time to get down to home-style comics cookin’ put on by probably the city for comics in Australia, the City of Darebin. More comics artists per capita than anywhere else I’m sure. There’ll be a ton of things to do on the day. There’ll be performances, lots of drawing workshops for kids, face painting, cosplay and dress-ups and, best of all, 30 tables and stalls of comics goodness for you to come and find something interesting to read, chat to their makers, get something drawn or whatever.
I am biased but I love this festival and it’s so community based and scaled, quite apart from the big pop culture expos where comics get lost amid the colour and movement of motion pictures and what not. I will be behind a table selling my books and also with lots of information about the Australian Society of Authors, where I handle their comics and graphic novels portfolio. But I can also answer all manner of questions about being any kind of an author. See you there! No site, but it’s probably on Facey.
Homecooked Comics Festival 2014.
12-5pm, Sunday, 27th April.
Northcote Town Hall, 189 High St, Northcote.