In May, I had the pleasure of attending the Maine Comic Arts Festival in Portland. This annual event presented by Casablanca Comics offers workshops, live performances and the chance to rub elbows with dozens of comics creators, writers, artists and publishers.
Featured guests this year included Andy Runton (Owly), Lincoln Peirce (Big Nate), Rick Parker (Diary of a Stinky Dead Kid), and Colleen Frakes (Woman King).
This is the third time I've attended the festival and the highlight for me each year has always been the Center for Cartoon Studies table and workshops. CCS, located in the village of White River Junction, Vermont, offers a stellar education to students interested in creating visual stories with an emphasis on self-publishing. The students' work on display at the Maine Festival is inspiring - so many different ideas, styles and genres! I'm always motivated to get back to the drawing table after checking out their latest comics.
In previous years, the festival has featured great panel discussions and hands-on workshops led by cartoonist and CCS teacher Robyn Chapman. This year, I attended the Center's "One-Sheet Workshop," an introduction to the "quick, easy and inexpensive ways to publish your own comics" presented by Caitlin McGurk and Betsey Swardlick.
Participants learned how to create an 8-page minicomic using only one sheet of paper. For someone like me, who painstakingly labors over every panel I draw, producing a minicomic in a matter of minutes was a revelation - and quite liberating! I've created two more since the workshop (and overcome my initial inability to fold the paper correctly). It was a whole lotta fun!
Can't wait to get back to Maine next year,
"The One-Sheet Workshop" was conducted by Center for Cartoon Studies Librarian Caitlin McGurk and 2011 CCS graduate Betsey Swardlick.
Randy and I had a great time at MoCCA FEST 2011 in NYC. On the drive, we got lost while trying to flag down a minivan Randy was convinced held Al Jaffee.
We stayed at a Lutheran hostel on the corners of East 15th and Irving Place. Tony, our "concierge," told us our rooms were on the quiet side of the building. That was sarcasm, we later learned.
On the first day at the conference, Randy and I hit the floor, meeting and talking with many of our favorite artists, writers, and over-all interesting people—Denis Kitchen, Caitlin M, and Andrew Cooke, the director of the outstanding documentary Will Eisner, Portrait of a Sequential Artist. We promised Julia Wertz we'd go to her panel and ask some questions other than "What's it like to be a woman working in comics?" but much to our dissapointment had to head home early the next day and missed it. But we were excited Julia signed our copy of Drinking at the Movies.
While Randy and I blew all our cash buying great books, my partner Gretchen (our travel coordinator) scored three tickets to Mamma Mia! at the Winter Gardens. What a show! Much to Randy's delight, and defying all logic, it included his favorite Abba song, "Waterloo"! Later that night, we discovered an Irish pub right next to the hostel. Our waiter, who we nicknamed "Patrick," provided excellent service, but in reality, there wasn't a hint of Ireland in the place.
On Sunday, Randy and I visited a few early panels and picked up the latest offerings from students at Vermont's Center for Cartoon Studies. We had a great talk with Nathan Schreiber, who just put out his second volume of Power Out, and we bought Lucy Knisley's new book, Make Yourself Happy.
Whew! What a busy day! The drive home went without a hitch. My favorite pit stop was a visit to Lucky's old-fashioned diner in Stamford, CT. We got burgers, fries, and malts. (Mine was a mocha--get it? MoCCA malt...)
MoCCA FEST was held at The Lexington Avenue Armory, a beautiful monster of a building.
Wall-to-wall comic book creators!
The legendary Jerry Robinson, creator of The Joker (watching over his shoulder)
The "Almost True, Where Autobiography and Fiction Collide" panel (from left): moderator, Calvin Reid; Gabrielle Bell; Joe Ollmann; Pascal Girard; and Leslie Stein
Pascal Girard signing/illustrating Randy's copy of Reunion
The artist in the city (looking good!)
Liz and Gretchen on Broadway! (You may have already seen this photo in People.)
Greetings to all our friends and foes alike! We’re sitting here on a Thursday afternoon getting ready to officially launch our website for a comic we’ve been working on under the umbrella title How i Made the World. Randy and I both love comics and always have: Spider-Man, Lee and Kirby’s Fantastic Four, Love and Rockets, Harvey Pekar, Nexus, Alison Bechdel, Julia Wertz, and Lucy Knisley, just to name a few of the comics and creators who’ve influenced us. And now we’re making our own! Tune in to our blog for updates on the progress of The Monster, the first of our How i Made the World comic tales. Here, we’ll share news and fun musings. Please feel free to write us at firstname.lastname@example.org. See ya in the funny papers, Liz Plourde