Well, she’s stopping alright! More of a crash that an gentle stop, really, but if it works, why not?
As some of you might know, my day job is as web and graphic designer at the International School of Amsterdam (ISA), in the Netherlands. Last week was Book Week at ISA and it being a Kindergarten to Grade 12 school, we were lucky to welcome of some really great authors. They held many talks and presentations during the week and I was fortunate enough to meet and talk to some of them. Our school is also fortunate to have amongst its faculty and staff, a number of published and self-published authors. As an ISA Book Week first, we were asked if we’d be interested in talking to the students about our work and experiences as writers and artists.
As much as I find difficult to speak to a crowd, small or large, I thought this would be a great opportunity to recap on where my adventures in comic making have taken me since I started creating Captain Wayne. I had planned to hold a talk for high school art students anyway so, we all thought this was a good way to combine the two. It would also allow me to not solely focus on the creative process but everything else that’s involved in being a one man band.
On Thursday, I addressed a small group of high school eleventh grade students. These are kids that study visual arts as one of their six subjects of their International Baccalaureate. I managed to cram everything I had intended in the 75 minutes I had been given. The students seemed very engaged, asked questions throughout the talk and were even taking notes! I started with the origins of the Captain Wayne project, how it can to be and how it developed over time. Ideation doodling, developing concepts, writing, storyboarding, the importance of observation drawing, how human and animal anatomy relates to drawing imaginary characters and creatures, combining digital workflows with traditional techniques, those were some of the topics I covered. The first part focused on my process while creating my first graphic novel, as an artist but also as an author. I moved forward to elaborate on the reasons that pushed me to publish online, and how I went from a lonely, cave-bound creation process to one that involved sharing and learning from others. The idea of offering your art for free (to a certain extend) in order to grow an audience and a fan base still seems to be considered as unusual and weird. We briefly talked about social networking sites, my approaches, trials and tribulations and the importance of attitude as it influences how others perceive you. Students were eager to find out about a miracle recipe for meeting lots of people interested in your work. It somewhat came as a surprise that what works for one artist will not necessarily be as rewarding for another. I did mention that, in my opinion, the key to success is to be genuine and never negative.
I moved on to talk about how, as my online presence grows ever so slowly, I find myself contributing to collaborative projects and invited to take part in all kinds of projects. I was happy to be able to convey the idea of the never ending, ever evolving artist’s journey which comes with harsh challenges but the most fulfilling and unexpected rewards.
Ultimately, my presentation’s focal point was my personal artistic journey. The feedback I got was far more engrossing than what I could have anticipated: students and teachers alike found it fascinating and inspirational. My initial and principal two goals were: a) not to make a fool of myself and b) to do my best to keep my audience interested for most of the presentation’s duration. The morning of the first talk I did remind myself that what mattered more was to convey my passion for my personal projects and it seems I hit a home run on that front. Even the two ninth grade classes that attended the second session on Friday were all ears throughout and had plenty of interesting questions. That was really amazing and inspirational, for me!
The most fascinating aspect of this whole experience is that while there was at first a certain reticence on my part to open up and talk about what really seemed to matter, I somehow came to the realisation that what I do and why I do it were what my audience was after. It’s a strange feeling to see that my own work and artistic endeavours can inspire a crowd of young minds as well as their teachers. The last week has been a humbling experience, it required a leap of faith on my part but the pay-off was way more than I could have anticipated!
Finally, I’d like to thank our wonderful librarians, Michelle and Nathalie, for giving me and my colleagues the opportunity to step out of our comfort zone and let our students see a side of us that they maybe did not suspect existed. I’m looking to put together a screen cast with a voice over of the presentation and post it on the Making Captain Wayne blog, so hopefully I’ll get that online soon for those interested!
Don’t forget to tune in on Thursday for the next update of Trouble on P57-Exodus. See you then!
It’s Book Week at my work place and I somehow got myself into a sticky situation. I work in a school and they’ve convinced me to talk to two classes of high school students about my adventures in comic making.
This should be straight forward but of course I want to do the best job possible and the more I’ve been working on my talk, the more complex it seems to get…
At this point I honestly have no idea how this is all going to pan out but I’ve been giving it my best. I believe that when Happy Hour hits on Friday, I’ll be feeling relieved. It’s not easy adding perspective to a venture that, at times, seems to resemble an aimless wander.
I guess the best way to approach it is set short term goals and focus on completing them, one at a time. Once I catch my breath, I’ll tell you more about a new project that I’m super excited about. Since I’m swamped, I’m going to keep this post really short. I hope you will understand. To make up for it, here is something that some of you have been asking for: a Captain Wayne colouring page. I know my kids love it so I figured it wouldn’t hurt if I shared it here.
Busy times. The last month has been somewhat of a wild ride as some projects have come to an end and new, very unexpected ones have appeared.
First of all, a fun collaboration between myself and nine other, very talented, comic artists was completed. This awesome team was kind enough to put at the head of the project, it was a very humbling experience as well as an adrenaline filled one. I’ll tell you more about it in the near future, we want to make sure we present this to the general public is suitable manner that does the content justice.
Secondly, I’m slowly realising that my adventures in comic making are opening more than one door. My desire to tell stories visually have liberated the artist in me. For a very long time, the good part of 15 years probably, I had been telling myself that focusing purely on design was a good way to satisfy my artistic interests. The truth is that, although I never had any formal illustration education, I love to draw and paint. Having major in Transportation Design for my degree, I learnt how to render an object in a way that makes it possible for others to understand its function and read it’s shape. There is no real artistry involved, at least not in my opinion. That said, I don’t think I would be able to create the stories and worlds you find here without the road I travelled. I am fortunate to have a fulfilling graphic designer career but I am becoming more and more involved in this comics and graphic novels thing and it’s making me want to become a better artist. It’s a great feeling to learn something new with every new drawing. I feel I can be and create so much more but for this I need to step back and ask for help. So I did. I decided to go back to school. I found the only course that at this point makes sense for me and that I feel can trigger something that needs to be unleashed. It’s still early days as I started this online course about a month ago and we’ll see where it leads me. I’ve got high hopes because I cannot remember the last time I felt empowered and inspired in such fashion.
Thirdly, I’ve been asked to take part in a new secret project along side 6 other artists whom I admire immensely. This is highly classified stuff so I can’t elaborate on that at this time but once we are a little further into the creative process, I’ll be able to share a thing or two.
In a couple of weeks (a bit less, actually), I will be doing two presentations during Book Week at the school where I work, one for a class of 9th graders and another to a class of IB Visual Arts 11th grade students. I’m a little nervous and still frenetically working on my 70 minutes presentations. I hope to make it interesting enough for them and not too embarrassing for myself! Here’s the title slide that will kick off the talk:
So what about Captain Wayne in the midst of this busy schedule? Well, nothing’s changed. Although development of Volume 2 has slowed down a bit, it’s still very much on the cards. My new artist’s journey, if that’s what we have to call it, has certainly brought in a new dimension to this particular book and I think you’ll be thankful for the results. It’s going to be so much more that what was in the original plan.
Finally, I’d like to talk about the current state of Trouble on P57-Exodus. I hope you’re enjoying the way the story has been going. We are still far from the conclusion of this adventure. I have a very clear idea of the events waiting to unfold, I’m just not quite sure how long it’s going to take use to get there. It’s very conceivable that we could take a break in the middle of it to fast forward a couple of years in the Captain Wayne timeline and pick up where we left off at the end of Cpt Wayne & the Unexplained Dimension. Let me know how you’d feel about that, it would be a great help for me but also for you, my faithful readers. I wouldn’t be here doing this if it weren’t for you!