Visiting Artist: Julie Delporte

Julie Delporte visited The Center for Cartoon Studies as a visiting artist, coming all the way from Canada! Which really isn’t that far. But she was also a fellow at CCS in 2011. She comes to comics from writing journalism, so she draws to tell something.

Julie Delporte with her name board, drawn by Luke Howard.

Julie Delporte with her name board, drawn by Luke Howard.

In Montreal, Julie helped start 48-hour comics, Les 48-Heures Bande Dessinee. This event has the same energy as 24-hour comics day with more sanity. The event is longer, partly, because at the end every comic is printed. There is also the benefit of actually sleeping.

Julie, as most cartoonists are, is charmed by Luke.

Julie, as most cartoonists are, is charmed by Luke.

Julie had started a journal prior to her arrival as the fellow at CCS. This started as 1 page per day for a month, but the routine stuck for 2 years. She extracts the main feeling from each day. She uses lots of pictures and photos for reference. Julie had posted the journal comics online at grandpapier.org. Annie Koyama saw the comics and said, “We can do a book.” However, the original comics were in French so she had to rewrite them all in English. Later, Everywhere Antenna was Julie’s first fiction story, but she still told it in the form of a diary.

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Julie looks at something on Emily Parrish‘s phone.

When making comics, Julie thinks it is good to ask one’s self why. Why are you making that comic? Are you doing what you want or doing it to earn money or be successful? Are you drawing for your self or others? Is it art you like or for the publisher or for money? From her own experience, she just draws what she wants and what will be published, will be. Trying to make something specifically to fit someone else’s idea of what should be published is much harder to actually get published and can be a waste of your precious time.

In making comics, she works on the art and story at the same time. She likes to see thins happen right on the paper. She gets bored easily when she draws, so she doesn’t sketch. She just draws, and then she redraws anything that was “bad” on newspaper and tapes it to the paper—on the fly editing as it were. Julie draws almost exclusively with colored pencils. She prefers Lyra from Dick Blick. Sakura has been to fragile, breaking the “lead” inside; Faber-Castell was too dry for the effect she wanted, not giving enough texture.

Julie had a good time here.

Julie had a good time here.

For reproduction, Julie needs a good scanner; a bad one won’t scan some colors. She uses levels to brighten the colors. On Journal, she made the tape more noticeable using a separate layer mask. She doesn’t do this time-consuming process any more. When printing through Koyama, she received no edits and got no help; she just sent in the files, and they were printed. But when she printed through Drawn and Quarterly, they would have scanned her originals; she wanted to do her own scanning though. But then she got a proof copy of Journal and the tape marks were gone! She contacted them, and they ended up leaving them in.

Photos courtesy of Abe Olson.

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Visiting Artist: Glynnis Fawkes

Glynnis Fawkes is an archaeology cartoonist who was a visiting artist at The Center for Cartoon Studies in Fall 2015. In grad school, Glynnis decided to apply to archaeological digs because she could get credit for them and be in the field. She wanted to go to Cyprus, so she applied to all the excavations. She got one job, then another; and she just kept applying. Monetarily, it’s a bad living, but she still can’t say no to Greece.

Glynnis Fawkes with her name board drawn by Luke Howard

Glynnis Fawkes with her name board drawn by Luke Howard

Her stories are based on antiquity instead of memoir because she feels that once the personal story is written down, it becomes fiction. She particularly enjoys the archetypal stories that have been around and reused for so long. Greek myths use so much of the human condition: family, death, repercussions, love.

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Glynnis having a discussion with Kotaline Jones (’16).

Cyprus is unique. It is hard to use their mythology because it is not well known and there are no texts that have been translated. But she learned a lot living with archaeology day in and day out. Among her peers, she would get chuckles at her archaeology jokes about pottery because they all knew the jargon. These comics are what she published in Cartoons in Cyprus.

Glynnis's book Cartoons of Cyprus.

Glynnis’s book Cartoons of Cyprus.

Why does Glynnis do archaeological drawings? She enjoys the analysis, such as drawing a vase from the top view and a dissection view that shows the varying thickness. While some places can do 3D scans of the items, most places cannot afford such technology and still rely and good-old human work. Drawings also show more and involve mental analysis. Sometimes, she spends more time drawing the pot than the potter took to make it! In Crete she drew what is essentially a “Bronze-age Dixie cup” where this is almost certainly the case.

Fearless leader Michelle Ollie talking with Glynnis.

Fearless leader Michelle Ollie talking with Glynnis.

When Glynnis had kids, she was still trying to figure out what to do with her life. She did a painting of ruins with characters from the stories in the area. But how would these be relevant in Vermont? This project was too limited and too time consuming. So she made the idea into a comic. She hadn’t worked in comics before other than gag strips, so she started with baby steps using Homeric hymns.

Glynnis with one of her books.

Glynnis with one of her books.

After these ancient myth comics, she moved on to comics about her own kids. In these comics, she made a self-imposed rule to use whatever the kids actually said. But she still kept making myth comics. The stories of Iphigenia, daughter of King Agamemnon, were too heavy, so she had to quit. Eventually she made The Sultan’s Daughter, which started as an artist’s book celebrating Boccaccio, an Italian writer and poet from the 14th century. The brutal story is taken from his work, Decameron. Glynnis found it hard to carry forward Boccaccio’s coy writing. Through all the rape and murder of the story, the main character never gets caught or shamed. Putting this into a visual form becomes gross, so she went very simple with her style, inspired by Peter Arno’s work in the mid-1900s.

Glynnis with her favorite book in our library:

Glynnis with her favorite book in our library: Sizzling Platter by Peter Arno.

Photos courtesy Abe Olson.

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Visiting Artist: Noah Van Sciver

Noah van Sciver is the 2015-2016 fellow at The Center for Cartoon Studies. He was raised in a Mormon household that was full of comics: Ren and Stimpy, Ralph Smart, and Bone. His brother Ethan, another cartoonist working for The Big Two, convinced Noah to give up fine arts and go into comics. And then Noah saw the movie Crumb. Before this movie, Noah had thought comics were restricted to superheroes and Ren and Stimpy. But here was this guy making personal comics.

Noah van Sciver in front of Fante Bukowski as drawn by Luke Howard.

Noah van Sciver in front of Fante Bukowski as drawn by Luke Howard.

So Noah started drawing on his lunch breaks. Then he made come free photocopies of his comics and would sell them for “$1 or a coffee” or “$2 or some ramen noodles.” Anything to get people to read his work. For a time, Noah thought the stapled floppy was the coolest. Then when he had that format figured out, he thought the graphic novel was the coolest. This series of comics is what became his serialized Blammo collection.

Noah looking dashing for the audience.

Noah looking dashing for the audience.

Always the marketing man, Noah harassed radio stations (even am!) to get on to talk. He was obsessed with getting his name out. Through all this work, he found a zine guy to distribute his work. Then Sparkplug said they would distribute his work but not publish it. Later he would take his comics to bars to sell them, setting up a table in his own little one-man comic convention. He was always thinking of ways to get his comics into people’s lives.

Noah is a very entertaining speaker.

Noah is a very entertaining speaker.

After a while, Noah wanted to try a new way of publishing a long-form comic. With his friend Joseph Remnant, he created the website The Expositor where both of them serialized the long-form comics they were working on. In Noah’s case, this was Saint Cole. This comic is about what Noah feared his life would become, starring an alcoholic waiter. This comic was easier to sell because he already had a relationship with Fantagraphics.

Attentive and knitting (Hedj and Kotaline Jones).

Attentive and knitting (Hedj and Kotaline Jones).

And if all that weren’t enough, AdHouse put out Youth is Wasted, a collection of comics from Blammo; Fantagraphics recently published Fante Bukowski where Noah makes fun of the artists he knows; and soon a Johnny Appleseed comic will be published for which Noah was the artist. After all his hard work on a comic he didn’t write, he is excited to get back to his own work. He already has 3 books he’s ready to work on!

Noah talking with Steve Thueson ('15).

Noah talking with Steve Thueson (’15).

Noah works both traditional and digital. He does wash and ink before taking it to the computer to color. He uses wash, or sometimes colored pencils, to add texture before digital coloring. He doesn’t work to a set schedule. But with Fante Bukowski, he realized if he could make a page a day, he would have a complete graphic novel in 3 months.

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Noah with his favorite book in the Schulz Library: Black Lung by Chris Wright.

Photos courtesy Abe Olson.

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Visiting Artists: Bob Sikoryak and Kriota Willberg

Bob Sikoryak and Kriota Willberg are a power couple in comics. Between them, they cover a strange span of comics incorporating literature and medical illustration between them.

Kriota Willberg and Bob Sikoryak

Kriota Willberg and Bob Sikoryak

Kriota and Bob's books

Kriota and Bob’s books

Kriota likes to do a lot of research. She makes smart jokes where she has to (read “gets to”) explain the humor, but she plays “the idiot” so she can explain the science. She took us through some of her comics. Each comic is presented like a lesson with red marks and arrows, but rarely is a lesson so funny. As a medical illustrator, she likes to play, so she also makes things like cross stitch samplers of her x-rays. She made a book of the pictorial anatomy of 007: scenes from the Bond movies where she shows what some of the bones and muscles are doing. She is very fond of the aesthetics in old medical illustrations, so she plays with this style in her illustrations.

Kriota getting into it.

Kriota getting into it.

Bob likes the process of making comics. He is most known for taking existing old literature, such as Dostoyevsky, and combining it with modern comics styles, such as Batman. When mimicking other creators and stories, he doesn’t editorialize—make meta comments—about the original sources. He remains as faithful as possible to both sources even though they are usually in almost direct opposition. To research the story, he finds illustrated editions and CliffsNotes. His process starts with thumbnails; he likes to work the images and text at the same time. Sometimes he will take the opportunity to refine his sketch with pencil on the Bristol before inking. He prints his sketched pages in blue on Bristol and inks that. To color in a way to maintain the original style, he uses the traditional 64-color palette. He letters each comic using a different font.

Bob speaking from his diaphragm.

Bob speaking from his diaphragm.

The morning of their rousing talk, Kriota joined the figure drawing class. As a figure drawing teacher herself, she drew on the model (using washable marker of course) to show the students where the muscles and bones and tendons are. It was an inspiring lesson.

Tillie Walden ('16) talking with Kriota.

Tillie Walden ’16 talking with Kriota.

Someone made a very interesting point that captivated Dean Sudarsky ('16), Dave Humphreys ('16), and Bill Scavone, our figure drawing instructor and a medical illustrator.

Someone made a very interesting point that captivated (from left to right) Dean Sudarsky ’16, Dave Humphreys ’16, and Bill Scavone, our figure drawing instructor and a medical illustrator.

Photos courtesy Abe Olson.

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Visiting Artist: Liniers

There was little way we could have expected the talk we got from Liniers back in October. Liniers is a cartoonist from Argentina who likes self-depricating humor. A very charismatic speaker, we were somehow lucky enough to get Dylan Horrocks and Liniers to speak at CCS in the same semester!

Liniers with his balloon

Liniers with his balloon

Liniers makes a daily newspaper comic in Argentina called Macanudo. Macanudo has been collected into 12 books, which are being re-released into even larger collections of those books. Three of the original smaller volumes are currently available in English.

Liniers before he got too warm

Liniers before he got too warm

Liniers was into comics as a kid, but as a confused teenager, he decided to go into law. He saw that his father was a lawyer, and he liked it. But Liniers? Not so much. So back to comics he went. And all the better for us. He makes a newspaper strip because that is the only way to make a name in comics in Argentina. There are only 2 papers and only a few open spots for comics. Comic positions only open when those cartoonists die! Or retire. Fortunately for Liniers, they were running Zits with a terrible translation to Spanish, so it was not succeeding, and Liniers got to replace it. This is how Macanudos started.

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Liniers after he got too warm.

He had no idea what he was doing. The strip started in 2002 at the start of one of the worst economic depressions the country had ever seen. With the news papers predicting doom at every turn, he decided to do a optimist strip, in revolt against the depression. Liniers says, “the small things close to you are nice.” So he based the comic on that.

Liniers was a very entertaining spearker.

Liniers was a very entertaining speaker. From left to right: Santiago Naranjo (’16), Jacob Boussiere (’17), Tillie Walden (’16), Ben Wright-Heuman (’16), Dave Humphreys (’16), Steve Thueson (’17), Cooper Whittelsey (’16), and Kazimir Lee (’16)

Liniers uses the comic for freedom of expression. He makes use of the freedom of layout. He has the same rectangle to draw in, but realized he can break it up however he wanted. And he has a large cast of characters to explore different ideas. A girl, her teddy bear, and her cat allow Liniers to try out classic American strips like Calvin and Hobbes. Elves, who he later decided were gay in support of gay marriage, are who he uses in more abstract comics. Olga, the imaginary friend of a little boy and who only says “Olga”, is his most popular character. And of course there is the mystery man in black. What more can I say about him.

Liniers pointing at Steve Bissette.

Liniers pointing at Steve Bissette.

In regards to humor, he has found some guiding rules. For one, unexpected humor is more interesting. And bad joke is ok. People can take a bad joke. But a joke that the reader doesn’t get is returned with anger! People expect strips to end in a punch line. If it is not there, or if he leaves the end floating, people are left wondering where it is. Did they miss it?

Stephen R. Bissette pointing at the camera man! Faux pas.

Stephen R. Bissette pointing at the camera man! Faux pas.

Liniers and his wife also run a publisher now. They started by publishing Volume 6 of Macanudos. He felt his hands were tied with what more traditional publishers would allow him to do. Fortunately for us, and maybe unfortunately for him, he prints his own work however he wants now. He embroidered a cover that printed with the right side on the cover and the back side on the inside of the cover. And he printed 5000 copies of a book that had a hand drawn cover on each one. And he wouldn’t take back a second of it.

Jarad Greene ('17), Kane Lynch ('16), and Sandi B ('17) looking at Liniers' originals.

Jarad Greene ’17, Kane Lynch ’16, and Sandi B ’17 looking at Liniers’ originals.

Liniers feels lucky to be able to be an optimist. If he had gone into stand up comedy, he says he would have had to be cynical.

Photos courtesy Abe Olson.

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Announcing Cartoonist Studio Prize 2015

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It is again that time of year! We at the Schulz Library are proud to be involved for a fourth year with the Cartoonist Studio Prize, a collaboration between The Center for Cartoon Studies and the Slate Book Review.

If you made or published a graphic novel or webcomic in 2015,  submit your comic! The winning entry in each category wins a prize of $1000.

Submissions in both categories must be received by January 31, 2016

This year’s judges are Dan Kois, the Slate Book Review editor; faculty and students at The Center for Cartoon Studies, represented by CCS fellow Noah Van Sciver, creator of Youth Is Wasted, Saint Cole, and Fante Bukowski: Struggling Writer; and guest judge Caitlin McGurk, former librarian at the Schulz Library, engagement curator at Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum, and contributor for Diamond Comics’ BookShelf magazine for educators and librarians. Any graphic novel or webcomic published between January 1 and December 31, 2015 is eligible. You can read more about the Cartoonist Studio Prize, including directions on how to submit a book or webcomic for consideration.

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Visiting Artist: Dylan Horrocks

In September, CCS was fortunate to have Dylan Horrocks come all the way from New Zealand to lecture. Dylan was equally excited to see CCS. If anywhere in the world is Hicksville, the fictional city his breakout graphic novel is named after, he said it would be the hometown of CCS, White River Junction, VT.

Dylan Horrocks speaking to the CCS students and faculty.

Dylan Horrocks speaking to the CCS students and faculty

One of the important lessons he passed on to the glowing crowd of students was about how every time he got a bigger book deal—his first comic published in Australia, his first comic with DC, a book deal with Drawn and Quarterly—he thought, “This is it. This is easy street.” But lo and behold, it was not. Dylan expressed that he still has to work and work.

One of Dylan's first big projects was Pickle, ended up as a serialization of his first graphic novel.

One of Dylan’s first big projects was Pickle, ended up as a serialization of his first graphic novel

A pivotal point in Dylan’s career dealt with a personal comics crises. He wasn’t happy with the way he drew, so he studied European comics and old children’s books and worked toward emulating their fluidity. However, it felt like he was fighting his natural drawing style and that struggle slowed him to a stop. Fortunately, one day he was speaking with Carla Speed McNeil and she told him, “Kid, if a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing badly.” So he realized he wanted to draw comics. He wanted to do it for pleasure! Who cared if it was bad! He moved on from his fancy art supplies back to his felt tip pens and cheap paper. With fancy tools, he was too slow and tight. This change allowed him to loosen up, to draw by instinct.

Students Steve Theuson ('16), Kazimir Lee Iskander ('16), and Jarad Greene ('17) listening intently.

Students Steve Thueson ’16, Kazimir Lee Iskander ’16, Jarad Greene ’17, and Jacob Boussiere ’17 listening intently

As with most cartoonists, this was not the end of Dylan’s emotional woes. He began to wonder about the purpose of making comics, feeling ambivalent toward the whole process. As can be the case with cartoonists, he explored these thoughts in his newest work Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen. Are we morally responsible for our fantasies? How do we behave if we don’t know what our comics will do? In making Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen, Dylan realized that he finds pleasure in drawing. He concluded that if he thinks deeply about why he draws, he is more comfortable living with these questions.

Dylan’s parting words: “Here’s your blank paper. Now make a mess.”

Portrait by Kane Lynch ('16).

Portrait by Kane Lynch ’16

Portrait by Jarad Greene ('17).

Portrait by Jarad Greene ’17

Photos of the Visiting Artist Seminar courtesy Abe Olson.

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Visiting Artist: Noelle Stevenson

Noelle Stevenson is a rising star in the comics world; a success that started with Nimona, that was followed by Lumberjanes.

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In art school, Noelle struggled with what she thought of as illustration. One day a teacher saw her doodles in her notebook and encouraged Noelle to do more illustrations in that style. This led to her exploration of comics. As a kid, she was not interested in what comics had to offer and felt that comics didn’t want her as a fan. But as she explored comics more–through reading, taking classes, and making them–she became enthralled. Eventually she decided to do a comic as her final project to graduate. That comic? Nimona! She began posting it online as she made it. Looking over the pages, you can see her art change from beginning to end because she was experimenting and learning. She started with a simple gray and red palette but realized to explore the world she wanted she would need a full color gamut. Before she had completed the comic, and before she had graduated, she was receiving book offers. Nimona was a near instant success.

James Graham, Sandi Getbamrungrat, and Ben Wright-Heuman listening with rapt attention.

James Graham ’16, Sandi Getbamrungrat ’16, Ben Wright-Heuman ’16, and Dean Sudarsky ’16 (in the back) listening with rapt attention.

An interesting part of her lecture was about how fan art helped her rise to fame. While watching Lord of the Rings with her family, she got the idea for Broship of the Rings in her head and doodled out some Lord of the Rings characters. She posted these while they were fighting off the balrog and had gained about 1,000 followers by the time Merry and Pippin were captured by orcs. Broship of the Rings was enjoyable to draw for Noelle and so popular that she decided to continue with it.

Noelle talking about the Broship of the Ring

Noelle talking about fan art, showing hipster Scooby Doo

The Center for Cartoon Studies is a pro-doodling school, so the following are some portraits of Noelle by students.

Portrait by Alex Karr

Portrait by Alex Karr

Portrait by David Humphreys

Portrait by David Humphreys

Portrait by Jarad Greene

Portrait by Jarad Greene

Photos of the Visiting Artist event courtesy Abe Olson.

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Awesome Possum Kickstarter

Awesome ‘Possum, Volume 2, is a natural science comic anthology up on Kickstarter as we speak.  Angela Boyle ’16 brought together natural science illustrators, CCS students and alum to make volume 2 bigger and better than ever. This volume is over 130 pages and includes 22 creators, including CCS instructor Steve Bissette. The artists are all very excited to share their own explorations of the natural world. So help this Kickstarter get funded to cover printing costs and pay the artists.

Awesome 'Possum, Volume 1, in the Schulz Library

Awesome ‘Possum, Volume 1, in the Schulz Library

The Center for Cartoon Studies seems to bring out the anthology in people. Some of the past and ongoing anthologies include the following:

  • Maple Key Comics is a comics anthology magazine, dedicated to featuring the work of talented emerging cartoonists. Focusing on serialized stories, Maple Key Comics brings you the joy of new installments of your favorite stories with the convenience of having them all in one book.
  • Dog City is a small press comics magazine dedicated to publishing quality minicomics. Each issue of Dog City consists of a curated selection of comics packaged in an artfully designed box.
  • VYM Magazine‘s mission is to frame drag experimentation, play, and performance within the context of art, queer theory, and gender studies.
  • Irene is a horror anthology that just came out with it’s 6th volume.
Some anthologies available in the Schulz by CCS students and alum.

Some anthologies available in the Schulz by CCS students and alum.

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Ignatz Winner Sophie Goldstein

SPX 2015 has breezed by us. The CCS tribe had four people up for Ignatz nominations: Audry, Colleen Frakes, Dakota McFadzean, Noah Van Sciver, Rebecca Miller, and Sophie Goldstein!

Sophie Goldstein nearly stole the night with two wins for The Oven: Outstanding Graphic Novel and Outstanding Comic. It was quite a night with a lovely speech from Sophie upon winning Outstanding Comic, which was announced by Ed Luce of Wuvable Oaf. Then as soon as she sat down Layla Abdelrazaq announced her win for Outstanding Graphic Novel.

The Oven, by Sophie Goldstein, is available in the Schulz Library.

The Oven, by Sophie Goldstein, is available in the Schulz Library.

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