An Interview with Inkers and Thinkers Poster Artist Ben Juers

In our first year, Inkers and Thinkers was a sold out event.  It was absolutely momentous, and a large part of that success should be credited to Ben Juers, who designed our poster:

Poster design by Ben Juers

Posted in bars, cafes, art hubs and bookstores all over Adelaide, Juers’ piece was an eye-catcher. Cult comic characters from Australia and beyond were crammed into every corner, and a fun game was betting people they couldn’t identify every ‘toon. (Many came close, but none claimed the metaphorical cigar).

In this quick Q & A, the affable Mr Juers discusses his working process and artistic influences:

InT:  How did you come up with the idea for the poster?

B: The idea for the poster was to satirise the ‘future’ theme of the conference. I offered the organisers two designs to choose from. The one that didn’t make the cut had a comic book cover layout with imagery lifted from 50s and 60s space stuff like The Jetsons and Jetta. It was goofier and would’ve been more in my ‘style,’ though copying other people’s stuff for the final design was interesting. It makes you pay attention to other cartoonists’ quirks that you might otherwise pass over. As a kid, I learnt to draw by copying from a “He-Man: Masters of the Universe” colouring book.


InT:  How long did the poster take to complete?

B: The poster took about a month to complete, partly because of other freelance obligations at the time. The pencilling was the longest part of the process – it involved lot of rearranging and dismantling using tracing paper. It took a while to get it to a point where it wasn’t too crowded. The inking took about a day, a bit longer for the colouring and text captions. I didn’t really think about the colours until later, which is pretty unprofessional.


InT: How would you describe your art?

B: A couple of people have called my work ‘old-timey.’ That makes sense – most of my favourite cartoonists are from the first half of the twentieth century. Nostalgia’s kind of overdone in comics right now, so I’m trying not to let the old-timey look become a schtick. Ultimately, my goal is to be the Preston Sturges of comics, alcoholism included.


More of Ben’s great work can be found at – we highly recommend you check it out!


Inkers and Thinkers 2014 – Discourse of Digital Comics by Troy Mayes

Abstract –

Since the introduction and subsequent growth of the tablet market the comic book industry has seen a renewed focus on experimental digital comic formats. Through this exploration of infinite comics, motion comics, guided-view comics and motion books the very core ideas of ‘what a comic is and does’ are being challenged, discussed and solidified. The focus of this presentation is how those creators involved with the new experimental digital comic formats, such as Marvel’s Infinite Comics, Madefire’s Motion Books and DC’s DC Squared, talk about the projects and formats they are working on. Through discourse analysis we are able to look at how creators are constructing both their own identity as well as the identity of the comic book industry and medium during this time of change. In particular, this presentation applies Sherry Ortner’s reactive discourse, a defensive discourse targeted at establishing what digital comics are not, and introduces what I call the relational discourse of digital comics, a more positive discourse focused on relating the new digital comic format to certain core comic book ideals. Utilising the reactive and relational discourse to analyse the talk of comic book creators places the practitioner back at the centre of comic book studies and allows us to examine what comics are for creators and how creators are responding to the ongoing digitisation of the comic book industry.


Bio –

Troy Mayes is a PhD candidate at the University of Adelaide in the Media Department. He holds a Bachelor of Media (Hons.) from the University of Adelaide. His thesis is on comic book workers and the digitisation of the comic book industry.

National Young Writers’ Festival 2014 Artist Callout

Inkers and Thinkers 2014 may be over but that doesn’t mean there aren’t many other comics related events around the country. This year’s National Young Writers’ Festival, from October 2-5 2014, is leaving ‘no literary stone unturned’ meaning they are open to accepting submissions from comic book creators. The National Young Writers’ Festival is a great event where in “each October, hundreds of emerging and established young writers converge in Newcastle, take over its empty spaces to talk and perform words, create new friends, networks and ideas, and leave feeling energised and inspired.”


If this sounds like you then you should click here to read through the callout pack and complete a submission form. Applications need to be submitted by midnight April 23rd 2014.


Bruce Mutard’s Keynote Speech

For the first Inkers and Thinkers Comics Symposium we were fortunate enough to have noted Australian comic book creator Bruce Mutard open the day with a keynote speech on the current state of the comic book industry and medium in Australia. The speech set the tone for the day, preparing the audience for twelve presentations that explored the current state of the industry and the medium while exploring noted authors and projects in detail. Bruce has been kind enough to write up his thoughts on the day at Dark Matter Zine and also provide a PDF version of his speech for people to download, something we urge those with an interest in comics in Australia to do as it was a great, eye-opening and enlightening speech.

Sketches from Inkers and Thinkers

Inkers and Thinkers 2014 has passed and for those who could not make it we will soon be releasing some audio recordings from the event. In the meantime you can check out a write up of the event from one of our presenters, Mr Bernard Caleo, who even managed to do some sketches of some of the presenters throughout the day. Thank you Bernard.

Bruce Mutard by Bernard Caleo

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