Changing Seasons, Changing Themes

Just as the leaves turn from green to umber, the skies turn from blue to grey, and the sale of Butter-Menthols go from steady to astronomical, so have Inkers and Thinkers changed one theme for another.

We had a brilliant success with this year’s theme, The Evolution of Comics. We were conscious of the fact that even though comics studies conferences are a relatively new phenomenon in Australia, internationally, they’ve been a staple in academia for years. We wanted to be new, different, relevant.

After writing so many notes our pens were devoid of ink and drinking so much gin we almost bankrupted the juniper berry trade, we decided that we would look at how comics were evolving. The key aspects of this theme were how comics were changing through technology; how creators adjusted to this change through their working techniques; how collaborations and fandoms were appearing online through media convergence; and of course that big one – what’s next for comics? Like any art form, it’s never content to just stay static.

As you can probably tell by the podcasts being uploaded regularly to the site, we had some stellar papers submitted and accepted by the symposium. Whether it’s Russian fans desperate for some manga goodness, motion comics paving the way for the future, fictional landscapes coming to life, avatars of the self, comics capturing the invisible worlds within war, a French meta-fiction thriller, or a scrappy little studio dear to the hearts of Melburnians, we had Australia’s best minds approaching the theme at all angles. (And to think, we still haven’t uploaded all of the podcasts!)

In my own conference paper, Social Networks and Sequential Artists, I was interested in the ways in which creators utilise social media as a site of media convergence. How creators interacted with each other to form a scene culture, and how they marketed their products as well as their selves to the consumer.

I recently chatted with the lovely Scarlette Baccini, best known for Zombolette and Jesus Reloadeth’d, on the subject of digital technologies and the creative process.

‘When I started self-publishing, I set up an online store so I could reach friends and readers who don’t visit the local conventions, and because I wasn’t exactly sure how to arrange distribution with local stores,’ Baccini said about her own experience. ‘I wanted to make it as easy as possible for my little audience to access my books, and selling online is so convenient it just seemed crazy not to give people that option.’

Unfortunately my paper won’t be uploaded as a podcast, as I want to keep it private for copyright reasons. I should tell you, dear reader, that I have a lisp, and speak in a fashion that is halfway between a yelp and a stammer, so perhaps it’s best that you don’t listen to a podcast of mine. So, instead the next podcast uploaded will be Enrique Del Rey Cabero’s delightful paper on Spanish comics culture. In the meantime, you should go buy one of Scarlette’s books: http://scarlettebaccini.com/

And lo, after the dust had settled on this year’s conference, we three organisers sat down and decided, since we’ve explored evolution, which path do we head down now? This simple question – which path to take? – sparked the theme for next year’s conference.

Whenever you’re at a crossroads, you have one way… and then you have the alternative. The road less travelled, the obscured path, the crooked alleys that lead you to places you never knew existed.

Next year’s theme is The Alternative – alternative voices, alternative forms, alternative uses. A Call for Papers will be released later this year. Keep an eye on the site for it!

A. Maynard

Inkers and Thinkers 2014: Squishface Studio: A Physical Hub for Comics in Melbourne by David Blumenstein

The third block of presentations focused on Comics Communities, specifically the comics communities of two very different yet similar countries Australia and Spain. The first presentation in this block was from writer/cartoonist/animator David Blumenstein and looked at the formation and continued success of the Melbourne based Squishface Studio, which provides a physical studio space for comic book artists, illustrators and animators. David’s presentation was extremely entertaining and informative due to his use of visual aids, but we hope the audio is exciting enough.

 

Abstract –

Squishface Comics Studio is an open cartoonists studio in Brunswick, Victoria; the first of its kind in Australia.

It is a working studio but “open” in the sense that other cartoonists and the general public are invited to come in during regular opening hours to look at and buy work, but also to draw and talk with the studio residents.

I will discuss:

  • The Melbourne comics scene and the specific circumstances from which Squishface sprang.
  • Why, in an arts capital and “City of Literature”™, this had not happened before.
  • The goals of the original group of resident Squishfacers.
  • The challenge of finding residents.
  • The tangible and intangible results of two years of existence.
  • The effect on individuals’ work of working in close quarters with other, varied artists.
  • Ways the studio could pay for itself in the future.
  • The benefits of running the studio to its de facto operations committee.
  • The future of the studio, and deciding whether it is a temporary project or something more ongoing.

 

Biography –

David Blumenstein is a writer, cartoonist and animator from Melbourne, Australia. He is also one of the founders of Melbourne’s Squishface Studio. He is currently working on an animated cop show called BE A MAN and you can see examples of his work at his website Nakedfella and at the Squishface Studios website.

More Inkers and Thinkers Sketches from Georgina Chadderton

One of the goals of Inkers and Thinkers is to bring together the academic (the thinkers) and creative (the inkers) sides of comic books at the one event, hence the name. We already directed you towards some great sketches from one of our presenters Bernard Caleo and we are pleased to share with you some more sketches, this time from one of our audience members Georgina Chadderton. Georgina is part of the local comics community Comics with Friends and Strangers and an up and coming comic book artist under the name George Rex Comics who can be fond on Facebook and Tumblr. It was great to see members of our audience sketching away throughout the day as the different presenters took the stage. This is definitely something we are looking to encourage at Inkers and Thinkers 2015. Thanks again to Georgina for sending us through these sketches from the day.

David Blumenstein

David Blumenstein

 

Elizabeth Macfarlane and Bernard Caleo

Elizabeth Macfarlane and Bernard Caleo

 

Bruce Mutard

Bruce Mutard

Proudly powered by WordPress
Theme: Esquire by Matthew Buchanan.