Monday, November 08, 2010

Stanleys Conference 2010 

This year I decided to attend the Stanleys for the first time - not the actual Awards, but the two day Conference on Friday and Saturday. The Conference and Awards events are run by the Australian Cartoonists's Association.

The two days were busy and informative, with featured guests including the legendary Stan Goldberg, best known for his Archie Comics work, and amazing caricaturist/portraitist Jason Seiler. Their two talks on the first day were a revelation! Most inspiring were Goldberg's ruminations on storytelling and viewing his original artwork, and seeing firsthand Seiler's intricate working methods as he created his portrait of Julia Gillard from scratch, drawing directly in Photoshop.

I took the opportunity to explore the Wacom Intuos tablets for the first time and was astounded at how natural drawing directly onto the screen felt (having never used a tablet before). If I had the money I'd buy the drawing-board sized version tomorrow!

The second day featured an informative panel on animation, focused particularly on pitching and showcasing various cartoons in production - loads of fun! This was followed by two fantastic talks by Leigh Hobbs and Ron Tandberg - who shared lots of background regarding creative processes and working for publication - I think both of these artists could have another career doing standup comedy! I was also pleased to be able to talk to some of my favourite local artists in person - most of all George Haddon and Stephen Axelsen.

Another treat was the massive display of European comics in English being distributed in Australia by Book and Volume. I bought a lot of books from them, which will be nice additions to my collection. "Bande dessinée" is my favourite comics form and it's wonderful to finally be able to buy these books locally, and in English.

This year is the first that the Stanley Awards have included a new category for "Comic Book Art." I did try to spread the word about this in the Australian comics community and hope that more of our artists will join in future. The time seems right and I think this Convention offered more for Australian comickers than many recent actual comics events.

On a sidenote, something I did learn... I carry a (fairly informal) folio of my own work with me, which is organised mostly as a style book showing the different kinds of work I can do. I showed this to a fellow creator at one point, and then realised that I was kind of embarrassed by how personal many of the pieces are - a bit of an issue for comic creators, I guess. Also, I've realised that organising them grouped by style is a mistake, when you want to reflect the diversity of what you can do.

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