Wednesday, October 16, 2013

SCBWI Austin Graphic Novel Workshop

Last weekend I was lucky enough to head to one of my favorite places:
Austin, Texas. (Can you believe I took this shot out of a bathroom window?)

Of course, the people in Austin might have something to do with why I love it so much.
Girllustrators: Patrice Barton, Emma Virjan, Amy Farrier, Shelley Jackson, me, Marsha Riti
The faculty was pretty stellar as well. There was Calista Brill, editor for First: Second Books. (one of my favorite publishing imprints.) 

And Dave Roman, author/illustrator, teacher, and all around super nice guy passionate about comics. He created Astronaut Academy and Teen Boat

Calista's Keynote was fantastic. She is obviously very passionate about her work, and it shows. She is a fantastic ambassador for Graphic Novels, and did a stellar job teaching the uninitiated all about them. Her breakout session was also illuminating, and I love her straightforward manner. She is one sharp lady. She talked quite a bit about First:Second and how they work, and her talk confirmed that keeping FS on my publisher wish list is a good idea. I may even have an idea (or three) for young graphic novels I could submit that I think would be a good fit. 

Dave Roman's Keynote and breakout session were equally fantastic. He shared the story of how he came to comics, and how he grew up drawing comics. His passion for comics is very real, and it was great to be able to listen to someone speak from experience and encourage other illustrators to step on to the path of comics.
Dave talks about settling into his style of drawing and being comfortable with his voice.
Possibly one of the most important points of Dave's keynote.
Dave and Calista also shared extensive resources (recommended titles, instructional books, websites) that anyone wanting to work in comics would love to have. I laughed when I saw the recommended reading list because I either own or have read almost every title on the list! haha! Good to know I'm on the right track!

Perhaps the most motivating factor was Dave talking about how you just have to make and make and make comics and get them out there. Get them online, sell mini comics, submit, but get them out there. They can't exist in a vacuum.

Now I'm going to go work on a graphic novel script, then research a little more for a bigger story. Hopefully by this time next year, I'll have a comic or two to share with you! If you are interested in creating comics and have the chance to hear Calista or Dave speak, by all means DO!

(all photos, excepting the first, are used with permission from Mark Mitchell. Thanks, Mark!)

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