DRAWING FROM INSPIRATION
Comic Book Studio Day at Rosewood
Comic books are a cornerstone of contemporary American culture and transcend all ages and backgrounds. Each year, increasingly popular comic conventions, from San Diego to New York, engage hundreds of thousands of people with the comic book industry. This April, Dayton’s own Gem City Comic Con (GCCC), established in 2006 by Jesse Noble, showcases the talent of comic book arts in our region for all ages.
In conjunction with GCCC, Rosewood Arts Centre will host the second annual Comic Book Studio Day, offering workshops to write and illustrate comic books, talk to professional artists, and enjoy live demonstrations in which professional comic book authors and artists teach their skills. Founded by artist and educator Andy Dailey, Comic Book Studio Day is a reflection of the impact comic books have had in his career path. “I credit my interest in comics for getting me seriously interested in art and ultimately pursuing art as a career,” said Dailey. “I learned a lot about drawing by drawing from my favorite comic books.”
Featuring comic book artists and writers who will also be participating at the GCCC, Comic Book Studio Day gives a platform for in-depth, hands-on instruction. Comic book writing sessions will be led by Craig Boldman, a veteran in the industry. A writer for DC Comic’s Superman and other well-known characters, including Bazooka Joe, Disney’s Doug and Recess, Boldman currently writes the Jughead comic book for Archie Comics Publications and the self-created comic Tailipoe. With over twenty years writing for Archie Comics (including a strip every day and a comic book story every week), his experience led him to fall into the routine where “I would wake up each day wondering, not “What will I do today,” but rather, “What will Jughead (or Archie, or Betty, or Reggie) do today?”
Boldman also found his love of comics as a child. “My brother Loyd, who’s a year older than I, got into art and comics, and I followed his lead. We would collaborate and compete on homemade comics, which were a great lab for developing our skills,” said Boldman. This eventually led Boldman to send an unsolicited story to Superman editor, Julie Schwartz. “A day or two later Julie contacted me to say he would use my story and invited me to write more…So I broke into the business as a writer, not an artist, which was not at all how I expected it to happen.”
Artist Justin Wasson, originally from New York and now based in Miamisburg, learned how to draw through high school art classes and by studying comic books, including Joe Kubert’s Superheroes and How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way by Stan Lee. Now known for creating over 30 comics and storyboarding the film True Nature, Wasson will teach illustration workshops. He has recently partnered with writer Allison Dickson to create the Colt Coltrane series, featuring a noir-style thriller set in 1940s Los Angeles.
“Learning is a thing we do day in and out; Comic Book Studio Day just happens to focus on a subject that is near and dear to my heart,” said Wasson. “The subject I will cover is Sequential Art or storytelling in comics. You can do great things on a comic book page, and the ability to focus on telling a story over creating what I call “posing” shots will mean more to your reader in the long run.”
Artist Nate Lovett began his career in 2D animation through studies at the Columbus College of Arts and Design, but became drawn to comic book art.Lovett is a contributor to numerous projects, including comics, concept and package art for toys, and children’s books. “I had always preferred the whole storyboarding aspect of things more than actually animating, so moving onto comics was a natural progression,” he wrote. “With my work, I purposely try to make things look like they could be stills from some animated show, and try to keep the energy and fun that those things have.”
Being involved in Comic Book Studio Day has a huge impact on learning artists. “It helps to bring more understanding and interest to an industry which is becoming more and more popular in our culture,” said Lovett. “I wish there had been things like this for me growing up, but I’m very glad that they are now, and that I can be a part of them.” The impact of the learning opportunity is also a part of Boldman’s interest in educating others. “My advice always is to keep the pencil moving, strengthen that link between the hand and head,” said Boldman. “Be ridiculously, enthusiastically willing to throw away the failures and start again. The failures are the stepping stones.”
Through hands-on experiences and meeting the actual artists and writers, Comic Book Studio Day is a door into a creative world that relates to a wide range of people. “I hope folks leave inspired to create,” said Dailey. “I want the event to help foster a greater appreciation for the comic book as an expressive medium. There is no better place in the region than Rosewood to host such an event.”
Gem City Comic Con takes place April 5 and 6 at Wright State University’s Nutter Center; learn more about the event at http://www.gemcitycomiccon.com. Comic Book Studio Day at Rosewood Arts Centre takes place from 9 am – 3:30 pm on Saturday, April 12. Participants can sign up for individual or all workshops with Craig Boldman, Nate Lovett and Justin Wasson. Free demonstrations include Artist’s Row, featuring the 2014 guest instructors and local artists, and a demonstration of digital coloring by Nate Lovett. Learn more by visiting rosewood.ketteringoh.org or call (937) 296-0294.
This article was originally published in the April 1 edition of the Dayton City Paper.