Monday, 10 November 2014

Comics Lab

This month we had the pleasure of running the Comics Lab, which Scottish Book Trust and Literary Dundee were hosting. The first part was a pretty intense weekend with wall to wall talks and workshops.

From left to right: Michel Faber, ourselves, Bryan Talbot,
Mary Talbot, Kate Charlesworth and John McSane

On the first day, David Bishop gave a talk on comics and how to write for them, Jonathan Cape editor Alex Bowler's talk was on the publishing side of graphic novels, and we delivered a talk about our own work and creative approach. Later we also held a workshop looking at the nuts and bolts of the medium. On day two, we hosted a second workshop on the medium looking at how to get the best out of a page. Guests William Goldsmith and Isabel Greenberg talked about their books, Vignettes of Ystov and The Encyclopedia of Early Earth respectively, and Bryan and Mary Talbot with Kate Charlesworth talked about their collaborative work on Sally Heathcote Suffragette. Finally John McShane talked about his take on the industry and opportunities for employment possibilities. It was a privilege to have such great guest speakers. That weekend the lab ran at the same time as the annual Dundee Comics Day, in the room next door in fact, and we'd have loved to attend it but had our hands full!

Day three, a couple of weeks later, was a follow-up and feedback day, where we evaluated the participants work along with Chris Murray and Phillip Vaughan, who also gave talks about their courses at Dundee University, the Comic Studies MLitt and the Comic Art and Graphic Novels Expansive Module.
Same as above but with Caitrin Armstrong this time
instead of Sandra.

Huge thanks to the Scottish Book Trust team and to Literary Dundee for organising it all and for inviting us to run the lab. Special thanks to Claire, Caitrin, Sasha, Fran, and Peggy Hughes for their kind support and to Will Mackie for help with the initial groundwork. And of course a big thank you to the participants who devoted a chunk of their time and all their attention to the lab. The work they produced for the feedback day was fantastic and we really got a discussion going on how to best improve one's work.

It was fantastic to have the chance to talk about the medium of comics all weekend with like-minded people. As a bonus to the whole event, Michel Faber, who was doing a reading from his new book, The Book of Strange New Things, at Literary Dundee, attended a couple of the talks when he learned that the lab was running. 

Collection of graphic novels that was in the Comics Lab room
which were donated to the university by Grant Morrison.

The Comics Lab ran in the
Cam Kennedy studio at Dundee University.