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5 minutes with Sally Bollinger – Comicfest feature

This year’s ComicFest event was a huge success, with over 1300 attendees on the day! Thanks to all that came along, and if you couldn’t make it, podcasts of the panel discussions will be available online soon. Until then, you can enjoy the last of our 5 minutes with interviews with our guests!

Next up we have Sally Bollinger, creator of both webcomics and video webseries. At Comicfest, Sally was on the A Wellington View – Local Cartoonists panel, along with Jem Yoshioka, Giselle Clarkson and Robyn Kenealy. Find out more from Sally below:

Image by Sally Bollinger

Image by Sally Bollinger

Q: What first got you interested in comics?
A: We had a lot of Tintin books in my house as a child. And when my dad would read to us (chapter books mostly) I’d draw the scenes and characters. Then I brought a graphic novel of the Hobbit and realised I could be doing this myself. So I did.

Q: What is your average day like?
A: Sadly an average day isn’t necessarily comics related, but it is always about stories! The week is usually about webseries, and the weekend is hopefully about comics. So I’ll chat to my flatmates, answer emails, edit a script or a video, drink tea, stare at the script with a feeling of doom, tidy (because I need to “think”), actually finish the script (because it turns out I haven’t forgotten what words are). Storyboard a loose comic, then get to drawing! (Yay!) I’ll do a couple of warm-up drawings, sketch out several pages, ink, scan, maybe colour or just tidy up the image. Maybe I’ll have a meeting in the evening. Then I might play Mah Jong with my flatmates or we’ll dance to musical numbers while we make dinner.

Q: Can you tell us about a current or recent project you’ve worked on?
A: Recently I’ve been creating a zine called the “Comic of Whimsy” about the silly things my flatmates get up to. But on a bigger scale I’m embarking on a webcomic with the Candle Wasters that is a part-webseries, part-webcomic adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Our Hamlet is a 14-year-old girl who draws angst comics in her Wellington bedroom and who’s best friend is a cactus. It’s got a lot of magic realism elements that we couldn’t pull off on screen but can do in comic form! (also I get to learn how to draw a giant, maniacal, human-faced horse.)

Image by Sally Bollinger

Image by Sally Bollinger

Q: Do you have any traditions or rituals that help you when you get to work?
A: Going for a walk before I start working, so my brain feels alive. Putting on a wash first thing. Lots of tea. Listening to music while I ink. But when I really get into the work it’ll be midnight before I think to check the time.

Q: Who/what is your biggest influence or inspiration?
A: Chris Riddell, Shakespeare, fairy tales and the opinion of my younger sister. As well as Dylan Horrocks and Tim Bollinger.

Q: What or who are your favourite NZ comics or creators?
A: I always go back to Toby Morris’ Alledaags: a year in Amsterdam and Katie O’Neill is excellent in every way.

Q: What is your dream comic project?
A: Whenever I read a really good fantasy novel I always imagine I’d make an excellent comic. So, if ever JK Rowling or Patrick Rothfuss suddenly, oddly wanted a New Zealand comic version of their works I’d be keen. Basically I’d love to explore a fantasy world, or just do a good adaptation of Hamlet.

Q: What are you excited to share with ComicFest attendees? Just a taster!
A: I’m keen to have a big ol’ chat about what everyone’s favourite comics are. But also excited to talk visual storytelling across media, and I always have a few Shakespeare facts up my sleeve.

Q: If you were to enter our cosplay contest, who/what would you dress up as?
A: Comic book character would be Black Jack by Tezuka. Or Kvothe from The Name of the Wind.

You can find Sally’s work online in a number of places!
Online comics: quietly-exploding.tumblr.com
Online webseries: The Candle Wasters on Youtube
Hamlet webseries/webcomic pilot: on YouTube!

5 minutes with Dylan Horrocks – Comicfest feature

ComicFest is back for 2017! This Saturday May 6th at the Central Library there will be panels and workshops all day long for comic-lovers of all ages. You can also pick up a free comic from us on the day and celebrate Free Comic Book Day, courtesy of GRAPHIC! Head over to the ComicFest Facebook event for all the details, and to receive event updates.

Syndetics book coverNext in our Q&A line-up is Dylan Horrocks, author of several graphic novels, his latest titled Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen. At Comicfest, Dylan will be in conversation with Sarah Laing in the Creating Graphic Novels panel from 12-1pm. Dylan is also hosting a critique session for comic creators which we’re sure will be absolutely invaluable. Spots for this workshop have already been filled, but you can email us at enquiries@wcl.govt.nz if you would like to be added to the workshop waitlist.

Q: What first got you interested in comics?
A: Apparently my first words were “Donald Duck,” so whatever it was, it happened so early I can’t remember! There were always good comics around the house, because my father has been into comics since he was a kid. So I grew up on a steady diet of Tintin, Asterix, Robert Crumb, Carl Barks, and many more. My parents were always happy to feed me more comics…

Q: What is your average day like?
A: It depends on the day, and what’s on my plate at the time. If I’m writing, I divide my time between the computer and a notebook; when I get stuck, I change media (and sometimes location), because sometimes that helps shift my state of mind and get going again. If I’m drawing, I’m usually sitting at my drawing board in the studio, lost in the process. I love the way drawing is a physical craft: you’re making something with your hands, out of paper, pencil and ink. There’s nothing like sitting back at the end of the day and looking at a page you made yourself.

From "Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen"

From “Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen”


Q: Can you tell us about a current or recent project you’ve worked on?
A: The most recent thing I’ve published is a short mini-comic called ‘Faultlines,’ which I drew in a single day in my sketchbook, a week after the November earthquake (and floods, tornadoes, Trump winning the US election, etc!). It’s about living with uncertainty in a fragile, damaged world, and it felt good to get it onto paper.

From "Faultlines"

From “Faultlines”


Q: Do you have any traditions or rituals that help you when you get to work?
A: No, and I’m open to suggestions. Sometimes it’s difficult to get started…. I have two quotes on the wall over my desk that help. One is a sticker I was given at Chromacon in Auckland last month: “We’re not here to be perfect.” The other is from a wonderful American cartoonist called Leela Corman: “We can be feral. We are the wilderness. We don’t need to go inside.” Both are excellent advice for artists and writers of all kinds.

Q: Who/what is your biggest influence or inspiration?
A: There are so many, and they wax and wane in importance over time. But some who have stayed significant for decades are Hergé (Tintin), Robert Crumb, Tove Jansson (the Moomins), Charles Schulz (Peanuts), and my family.

Q: What or who are your favourite NZ comics or creators?
A: An all-time favourite – and a big influence – is Barry Linton. There’s a big book of his comics (from the early 1970s to the present) coming out soon from Pikitia Press, and I can’t recommend it enough. Also, Bob Kerr (Terry & the Gunrunners), who I’m lucky enough to share a studio with. Tim Bollinger, a great Wellington cartoonist. Sophie MacMillan, Timothy Kidd, Karl Wills, Adam Jamieson, and so many more. There are too many great New Zealand cartoonists to mention them all! Ant Sang, Sarah Laing, Toby Morris, Cornelius Stone, Roger Langridge – all these people have inspired and influenced me at various times.

To The I Land - An appreciation of Barry Linton

To The I Land – An appreciation of Barry Linton


Q: What is your dream comic project?
A: The ones I’m working on at the moment. That’s why I’m working on them!

Q: What are you excited to share with ComicFest attendees? Just a taster!
A: What I’m most looking forward to is seeing other people’s work at the workshop.

Q: If you were to enter our cosplay contest, who/what would you dress up as?
A: Sam Zabel – because all I’d have to do is take off my glasses.

Check out Dylan’s website at http://hicksvillecomics.com/
Dylan is on Twitter too – find him @dylanhorrocks

5 minutes with Hannah Benbow – Comicfest feature

ComicFest is back for 2017! On Saturday May 6th at the Central Library there will be panels and workshops all day long for comic-lovers of all ages. You can also pick up a free comic from us on the day and celebrate Free Comic Book Day, courtesy of GRAPHIC! Head over to the ComicFest Facebook event for all the details, and to receive event updates.

Comicfest image

Hannah Benbow is the cartoon librarian at the National Library. During ComicFest Hannah will be hosting a breakout session called From Where We Started: Reading NZ Comic History, to be held at the National Library. There, you’ll be able to look at all kind of archival NZ comic material, an opportunity you won’t often have the chance to experience. Hannah will also be moderating discussion at our last panel of the day, titled Should we all be writing political comics? featuring the likes of Toby Morris, Sam Orchard and Sarah Laing. It should be a fantastic end to a jam-packed day! Check out Hannah’s answers to our Q’s below.

Q: What first got you interested in comics?
A: My older cousin’s drawings, which I thought were super cool. He was heavily inspired by Beavis and Butt-head …

Q: What is your average day like?
A: I’m a cartoon librarian, so my days are a mix of reading new cartoons as they come in, helping researchers to find cartoons and comics, and looking for new and better ways to promote and provide access to the NZ Cartoon Archive collection.

Q: Can you tell us about a current or recent project you’ve worked on?
A: Ludicrous likenesses: The fine art of caricature. An exhibition opening at the New Zealand Portrait Gallery in August and chock-full of amazing works by New Zealand cartoonists and caricaturists, co-curated by Dr Oliver Stead and myself.

New Zealand Cartoon Archive Collections website

New Zealand Cartoon Archive website

Q: What is your dream comic project?
A: Anything that gets more people making and reading political comics and cartoons.

Q: What are you excited to share with ComicFest attendees? Just a taster!
A: I’m excited to explore some of the older comics we have in the collection, and to share my favourite ever zine – Fission Chips.

Q: If you were to enter our cosplay contest, who/what would you dress up as?
A: Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, to relive the greatest cosplay experience of my childhood.

Find the NZ cartoon archive online: https://natlib.govt.nz/collections/a-z/new-zealand-cartoon-archive
and find Hannah on Twitter: @MrHannahleeb

ComicFest 2015 is over. Thanks everyone!

2015 was our second year hosting a ComicFest extravaganza at the Central Library to coincide with Free Comic Book Day on Saturday the 2nd of May. Building on our previous year’s success, there was an impressive line-up of high calibre guests for our comics workshops, discussion panels and presentations. Thank you to all who came to take part in our drawing workshops, cosplay and manga competitions, and came to listen to comic artists, curators and historians.

A big thank you for the wonderful help and sponsorship from the NZ Book Council, Alexander Turnbull Library, NZ ComicCon, Pikitia Press, Unity Books and Weta Cave; and to GRAPHIC Comics who sponsored over 1000 comics on Free Comic Book Day.

To revisit these three great days, have a browse through our ComicFest 2015 photo galleries on our Flickr page. You can also listen or re-listen to the discussions that are now available as podcasts on Mixcloud.

Here is a small selection of images from the events :

5 Minutes with Gavin Mouldey – Comicfest feature

Comicfest 2015 is here! Head over to the Facebook event for all the details and to receive event updates. There are panels and workshops for comic-lovers of all ages, and don’t forget to come along to the Central Library on Saturday 2nd May – that’s TODAY! – to pick up a free comic book on Free Comic Book Day, courtesy of GRAPHIC!

Gavin MouldeyToday we’re revisiting our last interview with Gavin Mouldey, who created the awesome Comicfest artwork you surely know & love by now! At the age of seven, Gavin Mouldey ran away from home to live in his parent’s back yard with a stack of paper and a lunchbox full of crayons. It wasn’t long before he started feeling peckish, but he’d failed to bring any food. So Gavin sat in a towering jungle of grass and drew himself some lunch. He then drew a monster eating his lunch and went home to show his Mum. Gavin has been drawing silly pictures ever since. His doodles have featured in children’s books, television, magazines and newspapers, as well as on T-shirts and concrete walls. Gavin now scribbles every day for a living from his own backyard studio in Raumati Beach, a giant’s stones-throw away from the dinosaurs and mythological beasties of Kapiti Island. You can view some of his latest doodles at dittybox.co.nz, or facebook.com/dittybox

Your Dittybox facebook page says that you’re a painter and graphic designer, but I know you’ve worked as an animation artist as well – is there one kind of art process that you enjoy the most?
What I enjoy the most in my process (whether digital or hands on), is the rush of motivation that comes after deciding how to tackle a brief. The first stage when a job comes in tends to be staring at a blank screen or page, completely befuddled. This is often followed by searching for inspiration, finding reference material, or outright procrastination (coffee, a pie, crossword, having a shower, watching a cartoon, etc). Eventually I’ll start doodling, and something will click. Then a job which seemed like a chore suddenly becomes exciting, and I lose all sense of time. It’s like being hypnotised. Sometimes my wife leaves the house in the morning and I think “I’ll do the dishes and hang the washing out and pick some flowers and make dinner before she gets home”, then she returns 8 hours later and my head hasn’t turned away from the page. I’ll be still in my boxer shorts, empty tummy, dry mouth… Like a nerd zombie.

Gavin Mouldey

You’ve spent some time employed as a production designer in Australia on the TV show ‘Dogstar’ – how did this rate as a professional experience?
My experience in animation has mostly involved creating backgrounds and character/prop designs. Pretty similar to my role as an illustrator. The only real difference is how I get paid, and in the case of Dogstar, the pace of turnaround. The job was great, and I met a lot of future collaborators, but I don’t think I was built for big cities. I like the pace of Wellington, or specifically Island Bay.

What are some stand-out projects you have worked on as a freelance artist? Is this satisfying work?
Posters are always fun, as they offer a lot more creative freedom than other briefs. It just has to catch the viewer’s attention. Most of my past work has been for children’s books, educational resources, and magazine publications. I’m not often happy with a finished illustration by the time it comes out in print, as it’s too fresh in my mind.

Have you always wanted to be an artist?
I’ve always wanted to draw for a living. The term artist gets over used. It’s becoming so vague, and pretentious. I think of my job as a trade, like carpentry or gardening. Art is a whole set of industries, and basically anyone can call themselves an artist without any formal education or practice. Considering that, it’s odd that creating “Art” is treated by some cliques as an intellectual and cultural virtue. Willie Saunders, one of my all-time favourite comic artists who seems to have disappeared, once used the term “cerebral vomit”. That’s probably out of context, but I think it represents a lot of what artists do (myself begrudgingly included). I’m more proud when my illustrations fulfill a set function, than when they just seem like my soul self-indulgently spilt on a canvas.
Gavin Mouldey

5 minutes with Chris Guise – Comicfest feature

Comicfest 2015 is here! Head over to the Facebook event for all the details and to receive event updates. There are panels and workshops for comic-lovers of all ages, and don’t forget to come along to the Central Library on Saturday 2nd May to pick up a free comic book on Free Comic Book Day, courtesy of GRAPHIC!

Chris GuiseToday we’re talking to Chris Guise about his work, and what we can look forward to at his Comicfest panel. Chris Guise was a self-employed shopping mall caricature artist when special effects company Weta Workshop hired him to work on Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. During the film’s production he worked in a number of areas including the Miniatures, Armour/Weapons, Painting and Sculpting/Merchandising departments. He was then incorporated into the design department and was employed on a wide variety of projects including “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”, “King Kong”, “Jane & the Dragon”, “Black Sheep” and “The Wotwots”. Chris then went on to become Weta Workshop’s Lead Conceptual Artist for the Steven Spielberg film “The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn” following which he wrote and art directed the book “The Art of the Adventures of Tintin” as well as the critically acclaimed iPad app version of the book. 16 years after first being hired, Chris is still currently working as conceptual designer for Weta Workshop.

What is the first significant comic related job or project you remember working on?
I used to make a living as a shopping mall caricature artist before I joined Weta Workshop. Half an hour to draw an A3 sized likeness of someone in full colour pencil while occasionally having unwanted hamburger pickles thrown at me from the mall food court. Suppose it got me used to working under stress. At least flying food isn’t involved anymore.

Chris GuiseCan you tell us about your current, or most recent project?
Because of multiple confidentiality agreements I’ve signed, the most recent thing I did a bit of work on that I can actually mention is the current Te Papa Gallipoli exhibition and Peter Jackson’s Conflict Museum exhibition. As for film projects, if I told you I’d have to either kill you or spend the rest of my life on the run from the law.

Who/what is your biggest influence or inspiration?
Film wise – Anything and everything. Especially Steve Spielberg films.
Comic wise – MAD Magazine especially artists Mort Drucker, Don Martin and Sergio Aragonés. Classic Looney Toons from the golden age (especially episodes directed by Chuck Jones). “Asterix” creators Goscinny and Uderzo. And, last but not least, Herge – creator of “Tintin”

What are you excited to share with ComicFest attendees? Just a taster!
Taking a popular 2D graphic book series and bringing it into a “realistic” filmic world isn’t exactly easy. There were many challenges in the making of the “Tintin” movie that the average movie viewer wouldn’t even realise. Heck, most of us that worked on the film didn’t even know these challenges existed until we came face to face with them.

If you were to enter our cosplay contest, who/what would you dress up as?
Since I’m pretty scruffy at the moment and have access to a ships captain’s hat, I suppose I’d probably go as Captain Haddock. (Gee. What a surprise.)

You can catch Chris at his Comicfest panel at the following time:
Saturday 2nd of May 12 – 1.00pm – ‘Tintin – the journey from comic to film’
Captain Haddock - Chris Guise

5 minutes with Sarah Laing – Comicfest feature

Comicfest 2015 is here! Head over to the Facebook event for all the details and to receive event updates. There are panels and workshops for comic-lovers of all ages, and don’t forget to come along to the Central Library on Saturday 2nd May to pick up a free comic book on Free Comic Book Day, courtesy of GRAPHIC!

SarahLaing-selfieToday we’re talking to Sarah Laing about her comic work, and what we can look forward to at her Comicfest panel and workshop. Sarah Laing is a Wellington-based novelist, cartoonist and graphic designer. She’s contributed regular comics to Metro magazine, Little Treasures, the AA magazine and many international anthologies. She ran a comics blog, Let Me Be Frank, for a number of years before she put it on hold to complete her Katherine Mansfield-inspired graphic novel. Pikitia Press published five issues of comics selected from her blog. Her most recent novel, The Fall of Light, encapsulates drawings evoking the dreamscape of a troubled architect. Sarah has also illustrated children’s books, and although her work mainly deals with adult themes, her children are petitioning her to draw a kids’ comic next.

What is the first significant comic related job or project you remember working on?
When I had my first son in 2003, I started a Mama diary, recording all the frustrations and minutiae of motherhood, and my attempts to finish my first novel. I’d just finished Marjane Satrapi’s Persoplis series and I was inspired to start drawing again.

Can you tell us about your current, or most recent project?
I am working on a memoir/biography inspired by Katherine Mansfield, charting her life and my desire to be ‘a writer, a real writer’*. I have also just completed a short residency at Wai-Te-Ata press at Victoria, working on comics inspired by Patricia Grace’s novel ‘Tu’.
*’Oh to be a writer, a real writer’ is a quote from Mansfield’s diaries.

SarahLaing05Who/what is your biggest influence or inspiration?
Before I wanted to be a writer or a cartoonist I wanted to be a singer. I think one of my biggest inspirations are musicians – at this moment I most admire Björk. She is constantly reinventing herself, she reveals her most intimate, visceral experiences, she is avant-garde, innovative, and uses her entire voice – the ugly and beautiful parts of it.

What are you excited to share with ComicFest attendees? Just a taster!
I want everybody to know that they can make comics – you don’t need to be a good drawer. And comics can be anything: poetry, abstract art, a rip-roaring yarn, a diary. Comics is a powerful medium in which to express your own take on the universe, your own world view.

Do you have another job outside of comic creation, or any significant hobbies you enjoy?
I’m a novelist and a short story writer. I voraciously consume novels and podcasts and I also love watching all the great TV series that are coming out these days. I used to go to the movies and bands all the time, before I had my 3 kids. Now I garden, cook, work as a freelance graphic designer and illustrator.

You can catch Sarah at her Comicfest workshop and panel at these times:
Saturday 2nd of May 10 – 11.30am – Comics 101 workshop with Sarah Laing
Saturday 2nd of May 1 – 2.00pm – Panel: New Zealand Women’s Comics with the editors of Three Words
SarahLaing04

5 minutes with Jonathan King – Comicfest feature

Comicfest 2015 is here! Head over to the Facebook event for all the details and to receive event updates. There are panels and workshops for comic-lovers of all ages, and don’t forget to come along to the Central Library on Saturday 2nd May to pick up a free comic book on Free Comic Book Day, courtesy of GRAPHIC!

Jonathan KingToday we’re talking to Jonathan King about his comic work, and what we can look forward to at his Comicfest panel. Jonathan King makes films and comics in Welington. He has directed feature films Black Sheep, Under the Mountain and REALITi and was the co-writer of The Tattooist. His comics have been published in Faction, High Water, From Earth’s End: The best of New Zealand Comics, online at www.jking.co.nz and in his own recent collection Perplexing Stories.

Can you tell us about your current, or most recent project?
I have a collection of surreal adventure stories called Perplexing Stories just out. It’s a compilation of stuff I’ve put online over the last couple of years, and a new story.

Jonathan KingWhat is your favourite part of your working process?
Uninterrupted drawing time! (Which I rarely get!) Making people and places out of thin air and seeing them become ‘real’; looking back and wondering how I did it!

Who/what is your biggest influence or inspiration?
Hergé, originally. Later Dylan Horrocks, Daniel Torres, Yves Chaland, Darwyn Cooke, Milton Caniff

Do you have another job outside of comic creation, or any significant hobbies you enjoy?
I make films. I’d love to bring these two worlds closer together — make short films as easily as I can make ‘fantastic’ comics and I’d love to animate (more — I’ve been playing).

If you were to enter our cosplay contest, who/what would you dress up as?
Freddy Lombard!

You can catch Jonathan at his Comicfest panel at the following time:
Friday 1st of May 7 – 8.00pm – Panel: The current and future state of New Zealand comics
Jonathan King

5 minutes with Matt Emery – Comicfest feature

Comicfest 2015 is here! Head over to the Facebook event for all the details and to receive event updates. There are panels and workshops for comic-lovers of all ages, and don’t forget to come along to the Central Library on Saturday 2nd May to pick up a free comic book on Free Comic Book Day, courtesy of GRAPHIC!

Matt EmeryToday we’re talking to Matt Emery about his comic work, and what we can look forward to at his Comicfest panels. Matt Emery has been intermittently active as a cartoonist for twenty years in New Zealand and Australia. Currently based in Melbourne, Matt set up micro publisher Pikitia Press in 2012 publishing works by several New Zealand and Australian cartoonists. He is also active writing and researching historical and contemporary cartooning in Australasia. Online at: pikitiapress.com and guzumo.com

Can you tell us about your current, or most recent project?
Personally finishing a comic about how making offensive comments can affect your life. Also publishing a wonderful comic by David Blumenstein, #takedown: My evening on a pier with pick-up artists and protesters, it goes to print in a week and is available to pre-order now!

What is your favourite part of your working process?
The daydreaming phase of writing while I’m menial day-jobbing or commuting. When I’m doing the writing/editing phase I’ve usually worked everything over in my head and the hard work is done. I found it fascinating to see other writers work similarly there is a great clip of Ray Bradbury discussing his method for percolating ideas.

MattEmery02I also like the inking stage, I can pick up a new brush, a fresh pot of hot black coffee, and have some laughs at my own stupid jokes.

Who/what are some of influences and inspirations?
I admire these people or their work for a lot of reasons, My Mum and Dad, Mai, Ed Wood, Karl Wills, Marjane Satrapi, Gary Groth, Kim Thompson, Tim Bollinger, Moira Bertram, Joe McCulloch, Judge Dredd, Dean Mullaney, Osamu Tezuka, Los Bros Hernandez, H. W. Bennett, Michael Hill Jeweller, Steve Ditko, and countless others…

What are you excited to share with ComicFest attendees? Just a taster!
I’m excited to talk to Rae, Sarah and Indira about the Three Words anthology which is shaping up to one of the most revelatory publications/happenings/conversation starters in New Zealand comics ever. I’ve learnt a lot about comics, cartoonists and people from the conversation around this book already without having seen a page of it.

If you were to enter our cosplay contest, who/what would you dress up as?
Possum Von Tempsky from James Davidson’s Moa comics.

You can catch Matt at his Comicfest panels at these times:
Friday 1st of May 7 – 8.00pm – Panel: The current and future state of New Zealand comics
Saturday 2nd of May 1 – 2.00pm – Panel: New Zealand Women’s Comics with the editors of Three Words
Matt Emery

5 minutes with Sharon Murdoch – Comicfest feature

Comicfest 2015 is here! Head over to the Facebook event for all the details and to receive event updates. There are panels and workshops for comic-lovers of all ages, and don’t forget to come along to the Central Library on Saturday 2nd May to pick up a free comic book on Free Comic Book Day, courtesy of GRAPHIC!

Sharon MurdochToday we’re talking to Sharon Murdoch about her comic work, and what we can look forward to at her Comicfest panel. Sharon is a political cartoonist for The Sunday Star Times and the Christchurch Press. Born in Invercargill, Sharon moved to Wellington to attended Design School. Most of her working life has been as a graphic designer, and sometime illustrator, most notably with Wellington Media Collective, and a stint in South Africa working with a Xhosa women’s community development group, where they did comics on early childhood education and AIDS prevention. Gradually, over the past few years, Sharon has moved into cartooning full-time, although she still doesn’t regard herself as a “real” cartoonist. As well as the political cartoons, Sharon does a cartoon of a ginger cat, called Munro, which runs in the Dominion Post and the Christchurch Press. She has done over 500 drawings of this cat now. She also has two daughters, two cats and one husband. You can follow Sharon on Twitter at @domesticanimal

Can you tell us about your current, or most recent project?
I’m doing political cartoons 3 days a week for newspapers and draw a cartoon of a cat, Munro. I took part in the upcoming Three Words Anthology of women’s comics – I think I made a bit of a hash of it and if I was doing it again I would do it quite differently. Because I trained as a graphic designer I always seem to feel torn between a “designed graphic” and a more spontaneous, freer drawing.

Sharon MurdochWhat is your favourite part of your working process?
Doing the preliminary sketches – exploring an idea. They quite often seem to have something that is hard to retain in the finished work.

Who/what is your biggest influence or inspiration?
Lynda Barry, Wanda G’ag, Lat (a Malaysian political cartoonist), Tomi Ungerer, George Grosz – a German cartoonist/artist from the 1920s-50s, Kliban, Leunig, Tove Jansson. There are many more…

What or who are your favourite NZ comics or creators?
Amongst others, Dylan Horrocks, Ant Sang, Trace Hodgson’s early work, Tim Bollinger, Sarah Lang and my step-daughter Hannah Salmon who does the zine Daily Secretions.

Do you have another job outside of comic creation, or any significant hobbies you enjoy?
I also work as a designer. I’m mother to a 13 year old, which is fairly preoccupying. And I like watching the world go by.

You can catch Sharon at her Comicfest panels at the following time:
Thursday 30th of April 6 – 7.00pm – Panel: From cartoons to comics
Sharon Murdoch


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