Interview with Madeleine Karutz, Poster Artist

Over the past few weeks in the lead up to our symposium, the fair city of Adelaide has been peppered with posters. Whether you’re having a hot coffee in the East End, or enjoying a cold pint at the West End, there’s a good chance you’ve seen the image of a fearless Nancy surfing a comics strip. The artist behind the poster, the ebullient Madeleine Karutz, graciously agreed to an interview about her artistic influences, and gave advice for other illustrators. Sometimes, you just have to draw that goddamn bee.


There are a myriad of art styles on the poster, which is fantastic. Who did you pay homage to in the design?

I tried to pay my respects to a few of the amazing comic artists in the alternative comic genre, both in Australia and overseas.

Here’s a blow by blow explanation of each panel (left to right):

The first is Robert Crumb, in his earlier more cartoony style with the dipping buildings, and the exaggerated feet and body movement.

Owen Heitmann, a fantastic Australian comic artist and one of the work shoppers for the symposium. His line work is always superb, and stories are compelling to read.

Georgina Chadderton, another Australian comic artist, who will be doing a workshop at the convention with Owen. Her comics are always bright, with great female characters and bold designs.

In the teal is Mandy Ord, a female Australian comic artist that does fantastic autobiographical works with beautifully detailed backgrounds in ink and brush.

Under that is a poor attempt at doing American comic artist Daniel Clowes’ style. He uses traditional medium to do his comic work and unless you have his sensibility for line it’s difficult to recreate.

American Ivan Brunetti – you may of seen his work on New Yorker covers.

Below that is Kate Parrish, an Australian comic artist. Some of her work can be found in The Lifted Brow, with very compelling story telling and subject matter coloured in lovely watercolours.

Then there is Bruce Mutard, an Australian comic artist who does beautifully detailed and paced comics in traditional medium. He wrote and drew the graphic novel The Sacrifice, which a great read.

Pat Grant, another Australian comic artist, is the Keynote speaker for the symposium and the creator of the graphic novel Blue. His work is always a delight to look at, with really thought provoking content.

The girl on the surfboard is in the style of Ernie Bushmiller’s Nancy, an American newspaper strip comic started in 1938. Personally one of my favourite ever comics, as the drawings are fantastic and it’s still funny to read, even today.

Australian comic artist Mirranda Burton, who did the graphic novel Hidden. Her artwork has a lovely balance of fine line work and bold blacks, and her writing has sensitivity and intelligence.

Lastly, a workshop teacher for this year’s symposium and Australian comic artist and book illustrator, Claire Richards. She does wonderfully vibrant and playful works in watercolour.

If I could I would of filled the whole page with references to Australian comic artists, because I only touched the surface of the large number of immensely talented comic artists producing in Australia today.

If you were able to collaborate with any comics artist/writer in the world, who would it be?

Perhaps Alison Bechdel, because her writing is always unpretentious and thoughtful. Her artwork is also wonderfully illustrative. I actually had a whole spate of comic creators  in my head for this question, but so many alternative comic creators’ work is autobiographical, and done by only them (art and writing), and so you wonder how you’d be able to combine your practice with theirs to make something new and good. Certainly it is achievable, but getting a balance of strengths and weaknesses would be essential.

Any tips for aspiring artists?

‘Keep pushing your work and practice’ is the best advice many art professionals have told me, and it’s really the best advice I can give. This means always expanding your practice, and finding your weaknesses, like maybe it’s drawing bees, and then drawing a whole lot of bees. ‘Cause it’s never enough just having one thing locked down, ’cause eventually you will have to draw that goddamn bee. So definitely get outside your comfort zone as an artist, ’cause the flow on effects are enormous.

Inkers and Thinkers 2015 Poster


Ticketing Information for Inkers and Thinkers

Tickets for the Inkers and Thinkers symposium are available for purchase via Ticketebo.

Places are limited for the workshops and the conference, so make sure to get your ticket before the events are sold out. Be sure to have your ticket printed out and with you at these events, and read your ticket carefully. At the events you will be presented with coupons which will allow you to take advantage of the generous offers made by our sponsors, Pulp Fiction Comics, Bar 9, and Austin & Austin. You will also receive a stamp so that you can come and go from the conference and workshops at the designated breaks.

We look forward to seeing you at the conference!


Inkers and Thinkers 2015 Poster By Madeleine Karutz

Our amazing Inkers and Thinkers – Alternative Forms, Alternative Voices poster by the talented Madeleine Karutz is now popping up all over Adelaide. We can’t thank Madeleine enough for the awesome job she has done in capturing both the tone and themes of the symposium as well as the artistic styles of some of the brilliant artists involved with Inkers and Thinkers 2015.

Inkers and Thinkers 2015 Poster

Inkers and Thinkers Symposium Programme

Day One: Academic Conference, 15th May 2015

9 am: Conference Opens and Commencement Speech

9. 20 am: Mike Cooper, In Search of the Alternative Superhero

9. 40 am: Claire Langsford, Peter Parker to Glad-Wrap Spider-Man: Recreating Transforming Bodies in Cosplay Practice

10 am: Questions and Discussion

10. 30am: Morning Tea

11 am: Enrique del Rey Cabero, Alternatives and Challenges to the Discourse and Format of Comics in the Last 10 Years

11. 20 am: Can Yalcinkaya, Queer Lines from Straight Guys: Turkish Comics with LGBTQ Themes

11. 40 am: Liam Burke, Alternative Ireland: How the Emergence of a Local Comic Book Industry Challenged Traditional Depictions of Ireland in Comics

12 pm: Questions and Discussion

12. 30 pm: Lunch Break

1. 30 pm: Anthony Castle, Millennial Prophecies and Alternate Realities: Webcomics 15 Years After Scott McCloud’s Reinventing Comics

1. 50 pm: Ben Juers, Peripheral Vision in Comics

2. 10 pm: Ronnie Scott, Art in Space

2.30 pm: Questions and Discussion

3 pm: Afternoon Tea

3. 30 pm: Keynote Speech by Pat Grant

4. 30 pm: Questions and Discussion

5 pm: Official Closing of Conference


Day Two: Creative Workshops, 16th May 2015

10 am: Opening of Workshops

10. 20 pm: Pat Grant, Critical Thinking and the Artistic Process

11. 50 pm: Lunch Break

12. 50 pm: Anthony Castle and Chadwick Ashby, Visualising Storytelling and Artistic Collaboration

2. 10 pm: Afternoon Break One

2. 30 pm: Owen Heitmann and Georgina Chadderton, Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: Drawing Inspiration by Re-Contextualising Newspaper Comic Strip Panels

4 pm: Afternoon Break Two

4. 20 pm: Claire Richards, 3D Anaglyphs in Comics

6 pm: Official Closing of Workshops

Introducing Inkers and Thinkers 2015 Conference Presenter Mike Cooper


Dr Mike Cooper is a life-long superhero-lover, having picked up his first Marvel comic in the 1970’s.

This probably contributed to his decision to study physics, which lead to a PhD in climate science in his native Scotland. He has since drifted into a lengthy career as a games programmer in Adelaide.

In 2002 he assumed the name Dr Mike 2000 to produce some critically acclaimed story-driven games mods in his spare time, such as The Strangers, Tales of the Navigator and The Amazanauts. In the past couple of years he’s turned his attention back to his first love – comics, and is now writer/artist of the psychedelic sci-fi webcomic Universe Gun.

He’s active in the Adelaide indie comics scene, and has even had a strip published in the Indie Comics Quarterly.

Mike lives in Adelaide with his girlfriend and a house full of cats.



Facebook: DrMike2000


Introducing Inkers and Thinkers 2015 Workshop Presenters Georgina Chadderton and Owen Heitmann

Georgina Chadderton and Owen Heitmann are the two organisers of Comics with Friends and Strangers, a comics drawing night that they have held monthly at Tooth and Nail Gallery since June 2013.

Green headshot sign

Georgina has had her comics published in several US anthologies, self-published zines, university magazines and an issue of Voiceworks. News Limited’s The City magazine ran a cover story interviewing her about her comics work in 2014, and that year she appeared at the Emerging Writers’ Festival and National Young Writers’ Festival. In addition to Comics with Friends and Strangers, she has run a comics workshop for children at the SA Writers’ Centre, and she has additional teaching experience as a percussion tutor.


Owen’s first major work was a 48 page comic published with the aid of a grant from the South Australian Youth Arts Board. His comics have appeared in more than a dozen comics anthologies and literary magazines nationally, in the US and in Canada. He has also self-published zines and created hundreds of comics for the web. In 2014, he appeared at the Emerging Writers’ Festival in Adelaide and National Young Writers’ Festival in Newcastle. He has written about comics for the Weekend Australian, The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald, and wrote the foreword for Milk Shadow Books’ Da ‘n’ Dill: The Showbag Years.

Introducing Inkers and Thinkers 2015 Conference Presenter Ben Juers

ben juers

Ben Juers is a cartoonist and hackademic whose comics have been published in The Lifted Brow, Seizure, ABR and Ideas at the House. His work can be seen at

Introducing Inkers and Thinkers 2015 Workshop Presenter Claire Richards

claire richards

Claire Richards is an Adelaide artist, illustrator and budding animator. Her most recent picture book is Waiting for Hugo by Amanda Niland and published by Windy Hollow. Her unique cartoon style grew from scribbly comics in the back of her art school sketchbooks. She has been working as an artist since 2004 and has produced a collection of offbeat cards.  She also harnesses her creative energies into more random projects, like strategically disseminates origam zines around Adelaide and her current mammoth graphic novel project. Claire runs workshops in schools and has lives a double life as a school teacher. An online element of her graphic novel can be found at 


Introducing 2015 Inkers and Thinkers Conference Presenter Ronnie Scott


Dr Ronnie Scott is a sessional lecturer at the University of Melbourne, where he coordinates Graphic Narratives, a fourth-year comics-making course. He is the author of Salad Days (Penguin) and founder of The Lifted Brow, a freeform literary magazine. He’s a contributor to The Monthly, The Saturday Paper, The Believer, and The Australian, and is the comics and graphic novels critic for ABC Radio National.
Personal link:

Introducing 2015 Inkers and Thinkers Conference Presenter Claire Langsford

Claire Langsford

Claire is a doctoral candidate in Anthropology at the University of Adelaide. Her thesis, Recreation and Creativity:  Cosplay in Australia explores assemblage and negotiation in a material and performative practice. Her fieldwork was conducted among cosplayers at Australian popular culture conventions, competitions and online on social media sites, blogs and forums.

Throughout the course of her fieldwork Claire became a cosplayer herself, making over twenty costumes, performing with other cosplayers and competing in competitions. Claire continues to cosplay regularly at South Australian events and perform with cosplay choir, the Con Artists.

Claire has presented her research findings at Monash University’s Manga Symposium and at the ASAANZ/AAS 2014 combined conference. She is a contributor to the forthcoming book Manga Vision, a collection exploring diverse cultural practices associated with Japanese manga, to be published Monash University.

Her current research interests include digital and material cultures, performance and embodiment. Current projects are particularly focused on exploring how texts – visual designs, narratives and character – are reinterpreted in material, digital and performance practices.

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