On October 3, illustrators and comic book creators in cities around the world hunkered down to produce original content.
It was Twenty Four Hour Comics Day — an annual happening launched last century by cartoonist and teacher Scott McCloud, author of Understanding Comics. (You can read the rules at that link.) Bawls, a company that produces caffeinated energy drinks sponsored this year’s event.
In Austin the comic artists conclaved at a store, Dragon’s Lair Comics and Fantasy, where lots of tables had been set up for them. There were all kinds of things going on in the store that rainy night — people were putting models together, browsing the shelves, visiting their friends.
I wasn’t a participant. Only a curious bystander with a camera. Plus a pal– cartoonist and writer Erik Kuntz, part of our enchanted SCBWI tribe —was doing the marathon again this year. Erik is the author-artist of Hex Libris, a witty, kid-friendly webcomic with wonderful characters.
I don’t do comics much anymore but they were important to me growing up. I read them and drew them.
I acquired my own formidable classical education by reading Classics Illustrated Comic Books. Better than CliffsNotes.
Comics are not exactly children’s book illustration. An d yet…
Another SCBWI and Inklings Group pal, illustrator Martin Thomas is a professional colorist of comics.
Mary Sullivan, supremely talented illustrator for Highlights and other magazines and books and part of our Austin clan — has illustrated a beautiful and funny children’s comic book and she draws in comic panels for her own amusement.
Austin SCBWI illustration chair Christy Stallop does great black and white comic strip panel style illustrations
Kads and Matt (above) working on separate comics. By the way, Matt’s blog has a good recap of his experience of the 24 Hour Comics Day here.
My stepson Glenn remains a connoisseur- collector of graphic novels. School librarians are making more space for graphic novels on their shelves. Scholastic Books is whipping up its own graphic novel brand.
For years the “comic book look” has been finding its way into wildly popular “chapter books ” for upper elementary and middle grades. Dav Pilkey is one example. The Zack Proton series by Austin author Brian Anderson (of our SCBWI Mafia family) with illustrator Doug Holgate is another.
The Toon Books are comics for toddlers and children just begining to learn to read.
Disney bought Marvel.
And Yes. Women do participate in 24 Hour Comics Day. In addition to Meghan (above and below) there was Kad (who will let us know when she has her website up) and Melanie Moore working on her strip “Sacred Junk” with Amy Middleton (not shown.)
As you see, there were fun moments and lots of hard work– or should I say heart work? They go together — accomplished by a lot of people in that comic book store.
Erik is suggesting that we get together next year for something a little less intense than a They Shoot Horses Don’t They? draw-a-thon.
He’s calling it the “geriatric version of 24 Hour Comics Day.” I can’t say that I’m in favor of the name. It sounds, you know, a little ageist — and hits a little close. But the idea intrigues. Instead of laboring over pages of comic panels, we could be blitzing through picture book thumbnails and storyboards, or maybe even a dummy.
A children’s book illustrators lockdown. Check back with us in September next year to read our rules.
I should mention that I saw the movie Seraphine recently, about an early 20th century painter most of us have never heard of — Seraphine Louis or Seraphine de Senlis.
Click on the image here to see the larger more detailed view on YouTube.
Seraphine offers an unblinking look at the art vs. reality dilemma that confronts every artist sooner or later.
“Seraphine” tells us of a cleaning woman who painted “primitive” florals at night, with paints she ground herself from materials gathered on her woodland treks. It’s also about the kindly German art collector who discovered her. Billed as a fictionalized portrait, it’s still an honest movie — as unsensational as it is beautiful. I’d love to hear your thoughts if you’ve seen it. Leave a comment.
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Mark Mitchell hosts the “How To Be A Children’s Book Illustrator” blog.
A big welcome to talented illustrators Susan Sorrell Hill , Tina Yao , Diandra Mae and Vanessa Van Cleve Roeder who have joined our blog roll!
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We are also delighted to welcome fine artist, illustrator, plein-air painter, teacher, writer and innovating creator of art instruction materials Cathy Johnson to the our links. You might recognize her work or “voice” from “The Artists Magazine”, where she’s been a contributing editor for years.
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West Texas children’s artist writer Michelle Munger has started a Ning group— Manic — The Author/Illustrator Network: For the Author/Illustrator that does it all.
You don’t have to be West Texan or manic to be a member — just a double-threat creator of children’s books, published or not. Click here to join. I’ll see you there.
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Read about the just announced National Book Award finalists here.
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Sign up for Mark’s free best drawing secret videos and lesson here.
He’s giving away the “secrets” to promote his course on illustrating children’s books.
Get them while they’re hot and available for nuthin’. Here.
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