Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Maine Comics Arts Festival

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.
A maximum crowd made some great minicomics!