Vancouver comic arts festival

CNC report form Vancouver
Added On May 27, 2013

The 2nd Vancouver Comic Arts Festival kicked off Saturday.

The two-day show has given a home to the many independent comic book creators and artists living in Vancouver.

Lifestyles has more.

"Comic books have been around since the early 1800s, but this art form has exploded in popularity once again with the global reach of the Internet. I'm here at year two of the Vancouver Comic Arts Festival, a gathering of the clans bringing together cartoonist and industry professionals to explore the latest trends and what to expect in the future in comic book art."

Shannon Campbell has been organizing the Vancouver Comic Arts Festival for the past two years. With big comic book creative scenes in Toronto, as well as nearby Portland, Oregon.

SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) SHANNON CAMPBELL, Vancouver Comic Arts Festival Organizer:
"Before this it's been hard to connect that community to really get people on board. Print cartoonists don't often talk to web cartoonists, who don't often talk to self-published versus creator-owned or big-two creators, so getting them all together in this group was really important way of identifying that culture for Vancouver."

Campbell, an independent comic book storyline writer, said online comics have been a huge boost to the industry as web comics, which first came about in the 1990s, found an audience where anyone could put up their work and develop their craft without having to find a publisher. Despite the growing audience, Campbell admits it still remains difficult for many artists to earn a living from their craft.

SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) SHANNON CAMPBELL, Vancouver Comic Arts Festival Organizer:
"But if you persevere and really try and know your crowd, and with these crowd funding, with Kickstarter and Indiegogo that's making it much easier these days and I think that will kind of introduce a revolution that will probably be easy to experience within the next five years or so."

With many comic book titles out there and a lot competition, the onus on the artist is to do something different from the masses. Brandon Graham is a Vancouver-based artist originally from Seattle.

He is currently producing the comic book series Multiple Warheads and Prophet. What makes Graham standout in the comic-book crowd is his graffiti-artist style in his work that is available both online and in specialty comic retailers.

"Yeah, I am kind of grew up in a graffiti. There weren't a lot of comic artists or animators around when I was a kid so I kind of ended up following in with the graffiti scene. I always considered it kind of a cousin art form to comics. There's a lot of drawing the same characters and everything. On one side it's a wall, where the other one it's a page."

Meredith Gran has been producing the web comic "Octopus Pie" since 2007 about the misadventures of two twenty-something women living in Brooklyn, New York. To date, Gran has published more than 500 strips of the series.

For budding young artists, she says it's not difficult to start, but it's certainly a challenge to transition into making a living from it. With her own comic strip free online, she explains how she makes a living from her art. 

"A few different ways. I sell ad spaces on my website. I sell the books of the web comic, I sell merchandise on the website and obviously I come to these conventions and do signings."

Another artist taking a different approach to comic book art is Emily Hooke. Along with partner Joey Comea (CO-MAY-AH), the photographer has been producing "A Softer World" series using Fumetti (foo met tea), a photo novel first introduced in Italy in the early 20th century using photos and little clouds or balloons that contain the dialogue.

The pair has been producing about three strips a week for the past 10 years. Hooke tells CNC the market for their work is varied among their followers.

"We tend to have a lot of young readers in their early teens sometimes. A lot of our readers start reading us. So yeah, once again, it's pretty broad. It's really the whole Internet-using population."