ComicFest 2022: New Voices, New Perspectives

Now that the dust has settled on ComicFest 2022, we can settle back and reflect on what was a fabulous, immersive, and truly memorable online celebration of all thing’s comics in New Zealand. What a blast the day was!

If you missed any of the day, or indeed just want to enjoy watching something again, have no fear! We have seven of the segments from the day available to re-watch at any time you wish, simply follow this link to our YouTube playlist.

One of our many highlights was our New Voices, New Perspectives  Panel Discussion featuring some of the New Zealand artists at the vanguard of these changes – Mary Guo, Tara Black, Jem Yoshioka, and Sam Orchard.

The world of graphic art is changing at an amazingly rapid pace — a veritable revolution has been happening in recent years. Developments have included: new definitions of what comprises a graphic work, new platforms with global reach for people to view your work and new high-tech tools to create your works. Our fabulous panel discuss the new opportunities for artists, the challenges inherent in these changes, and — finally — how artists go about taking full advantage of these new frontiers.

You can watch this panel by clicking into the link below.

ComicFest 2022: How to draw heroes with Michel Mulipola

Now that the dust has settled on ComicFest 2022, we can settle back and reflect on what was a fabulous, immersive and truly memorable online celebration of all thing’s comics in New Zealand. What a blast the day was!

If you missed any of the day, or indeed just want to enjoy watching something again, have no fear! We have seven of the segments from the day available to re-watch at any time you wish, simply follow this link to our YouTube playlist.

Here we have How to draw hero’s masterclass with Michel Mulipola, a masterclass on comic hero creation from one of the most accomplished figures in the New Zealand / Aotearoa scene. In short, gold dust for anyone interested in creating their own heroes from one of the acknowledged experts.

A comic book illustrator and professional wrestler, Auckland-based Mulipola is a self-taught award-winning artist who has produced illustrations for Learning Media, Lift Education, Reading Warrior and independent US graphic novel series Headlocked. An advocate for comic drawing and creative expression, Mulipola is keen to inspire young talent through regularly visiting schools and running workshops. In 2020 Mulipola published O Le Aiga Samoa with Nafanuatele Lafitaga Mafaufau, the first-ever Samoan language comic book.

Website: http://www.bloodysamoan.com/

Twitter: @bloodysamoan

Instagram: @bloodysamoanart

To watch just click on the link below or visit our Comic Fest 2022 channel by clicking HERE.

ComicFest 2022: From commission to finished project with Giselle Clarkson

Giselle's comic self-portrait

Now that the dust has settled on ComicFest 2022, we can settle back and reflect on what was a fabulous, immersive and truly memorable online celebration of all thing’s comics in New Zealand. What a blast the day was!

If you missed any of the day, or indeed just want to enjoy watching something again, have no fear! We have seven of the segments from the day available to re-watch at any time you wish, simply follow this link to our YouTube playlist.

Now we have a very special workshop, From commission to finished project, with the fabulous, incredibly talented graphic illustrator Giselle Clarkson. All is revealed in this workshop from one of the most accomplished figures in the New Zealand / Aotearoa scene, in short gold dust for anyone interested in taking their work that one step further from one of the most acclaimed artists in the field. It is also incidentally wonderfully entertaining and funny and fun.

Giselle Clarkson is a freelance illustrator and comic artist based near Wellington. Her science illustrations and comics can be found in all sorts of places; from bumper stickers and t-shirts to Auckland Zoo and the NZ School Journal. She publishes a regular comic about children’s books online at The Sapling. Her recently illustrated books for children include The Gobbledegook Book: A Joy Cowley Anthology and Egg and Spoon: An Illustrated Cookbook (Gecko Press).

Website: giselledraws.com

Twitter: @giselledraws

Facebook: @GiselleDraws

To watch just click on the link below or visit our Comic Fest 2022 channel by clicking HERE.

 

ComicFest 2022: Weekly webcomics with Jem Yoshioka

Now that the dust has settled on ComicFest 2022, we can settle back and reflect on what was a fabulous, immersive and truly memorable online celebration of all thing’s comics in New Zealand. What a blast the day was!

If you missed any of the day, or indeed just want to enjoy watching something again, have no fear! We have seven of the segments from the day available to re-watch at any time you wish, simply follow this link to our YouTube playlist.

Here is a webcomics masterclass from the awesome Jem Yoshioka. It is a fabulous talk, covering everything you need to know about webcomic creation from one giants of the scene. A delightful, easy to understand and in-depth presentation.

Jem’s current webcomic, Folk Remedy, is a queer fantasy inspired by Taisho era Japan, folktales and monsters called Yokai. Jem’s previous webcomic, a sci-fi romance called  Circuits and Veins, was completed in 2020, reaching 92,000 subscribers and still attracts tens of thousands of readers a month.

Website: jemshed.com

Twitter: @jemyoshioka

Instagram: @jemyoshioka

Facebook: @jem.yoshioka.art

To watch just click on the link below or visit our Comic Fest 2022 channel by clicking HERE. 

 

 

ComicFest 2022: Storytelling with Jonathan King


Now that the dust has settled on ComicFest 2022, we can settle back and reflect on what was a fabulous, immersive and truly memorable online celebration of all thing’s comics in New Zealand. What a blast the day was!

If you missed any of the day, or indeed just want to enjoy watching something again, have no fear! We have seven of the segments from the day available to re-watch at any time you wish, simply follow this link to our YouTube playlist.

And now, we have a masterclass in storytelling from an artist and director who knows a thing or two about the art of storytelling, Jonathan King. In short, this session was gold dust for anyone interested in creating immersive and engaging stories from this award-winning graphic artist and internationally renowned film director unmissable. Jonathan King, until very recently, was best known as the acclaimed film director of films such as the hugely successful dark horror comedy Black Sheep and the remake of the NZ classic film Under the Mountain. He went on to release his first ever graphic novel in 2020 – The Inkberg Enigma. Aimed at children eight and up, it’s hugely enjoyable for adults too.

Website: jking.nz

Twitter: @MrJonathanKing

 

Comicify Your Life: ComicFest Art Competition Results

The big day is finally here, and the ComicFest 2022 livestream is in full swing as we write these words! In the lead-up to the launch of this programme, aspiring comic artists and illustrators from across Wellington submitted their finest and most creative works to our Comicify Your Life drawing competition. Artists submitted autobiographical works across four age categories (5-8, 9-12, 13-17, and 18+), and were vying for a range of thematic category awards, as well as the coveted Grand Prizes, generously supported by Unity Books and Gecko Press.

During the ComicFest 2022 livestream, following a fantastic illustration workshop from the incomparable Kay O’Neill, we announced the category awards and the Grand Prize winners for each age group for the Comicify Your Life competition. You can see a gallery of the winning images below (click or tap on each image to view the full-size scan). Congratulations to all our winners — we will be contacting you all over the coming days to organise the delivery of your prizes.

Themed Spot Prizes

Grand Prize: Ages 5-8

5-8 category winner: Ehan

 

Grand Prize: Ages 9-12

9-12 category winner: Sophia

 

Grand Prize: Ages 13-17

13-17 category winner: Jaime

 

Grand Prize: Ages 18+

18+ category winner: Kiri

 

Congratulations to all of our prize-winners, and a massive thank you to everyone who submitted a piece of work to this competition!

ComicFest 2022 is Sat 7 May! How to ask your questions

It’s the eve of ComicFest! Join us online all day tomorrow (Saturday 6 May) from 9am for this fantastic – and totally free – national celebration of all things comics-related in New Zealand!

ComicFest 2022 website, programme and livestream!

ComicFest artists include Dylan Horrocks, Giselle Clarkson, Jem Yoshioka, Jonathan King, Kay O’Neill, Mary Guo, Michel Mulipola, Sarah Laing and Tara Black.

Although we won’t be together in person, we still want to give you the opportunity to ask our amazing artists questions!

Q&A: Handing you the (proverbial) mic!

This year, our Q&A sessions will be hosted via a moderating platform called Slido. To submit your questions on the day, go to slido.com and enter our participant code ComicFestNZ.

Or, scan the QR code below to enter the chat!

Enter the ComicFest Multiverse with Beanstack

With ComicFest 2022 hitting the screens on Saturday 7 May, the capital’s comic book fans will be looking for ways to get hyped in advance of joining the veritable galaxy of comic creators we have lined up for the big day. You’re in luck — through our Beanstack platform, we have devised the perfect tool for anyone seeking entry to the ComicFest multiverse.

Visit our Beanstack site to start exploring the ComicFest multiverse!

What is Beanstack?

Beanstack is a digital platform and app that adds a bit of spice to our reading lives by allowing you to earn virtual badges and achievements (and sometimes real-world goodies too!) by reading and participating in activities and challenges. You can sign up for Beanstack at any time in order to:

  • Log reading books and minutes spent reading;
  • Earn reading streaks for reading on consecutive days;
  • Write, draw, or film book reviews;
  • Receive recommendations of books in our catalogue from our librarians and from other readers;
  • Engage in fun reading-related challenges and activities throughout the year to earn achievements and prizes!

While you have access to all of the above features at any time, our creative librarians are always dreaming up ideas for special Challenges to add even more flavour to your reading experience — many of the kids of the city will have experienced this with the Summer Reading Adventure or View Finders challenges already — now it’s the turn of the adults and teens as well!

What is the ComicFest 2022 Beanstack Challenge?

The ComicFest 2022 Beanstack Challenge is our latest offering, designed to get you immersed in the ComicFest 2022 multiverse ahead of the big day. When you sign up, you’ll be challenged to:

  • Explore the unique artistic worlds of our wonderful ComicFest creators — a star-studded cast including such greats as Tea Dragon tamer Kay O’Neill, cartoonist extraordinaire Dylan Horrocks, pro-wrestler and Sāmoan superhero Michel Mulipola, and webcomic megastar Jem Yoshioka;
  • Track down and read all of the books, webcomics, zines, and anthologies our ComicFest artists have created — be warned, this task could keep you occupied for a very long time!
  • Get geared up to submit your finest cartoonish creations for the Comicify Your Life art competition — entries are closed as of 1 May 2022 — but by all means keep on creating! We love to see your work!

Each digital badge you earn puts you in the running to win some awesome ComicFest spot prizes, all while immersing you in the amazing world of New Zealand comics and their creators. The challenge runs until Saturday 21 May, so you can keep exploring even after ComicFest 2022 is done and dusted.

How do I sign up?

Comic fans of any age can register for the ComicFest 2022 Beanstack Challenge by visiting our Beanstack site and hitting the “Register an Individual or Family” button. After that, you’ll be asked if you would like to register for the ComicFest 2022 challenge!

It’s also super easy to use Beanstack on your phone or mobile device. You just need to:

  • Download the Beanstack Tracker app (Google Play) (App Store)
  • Open the app
  • Choose ‘Library’ as the Organisation
  • Search for Wellington City Libraries
  • Touch Sign Up!

So go on and get signed up today — we can’t wait to see you there!

Free Comic Book Day! : Collect a free comic on May 3rd

Free comic book day!
A photo of the free comics we have up for grabs.
Free comics available from all our Branches. ( From Tuesday 3rd  of May onwards)

ComicFest 2022 is just around the corner, which means it’s time for this year’s Free Comic Book Day! To celebrate, we have close to two thousand free comics to give away. All titles are clearly marked as being appropriate for either children or teenagers, and feature some of most popular characters in the comic world universe such as Sonic, Batman and Star Wars. Get a sneak peak via YouTube here!

A photo of our free comicsTo claim your free comic, simply pop into one of our branches from Tuesday the 3rd of May and ask. Supplies are limited and only  available on a first come first basis, so best be quick!

ComicFest will be hosted online on May 7th from 9am-5pm, livestreamed via our YouTube channel. You can bookmark the livestream here.  Our dedicated staff are working flat out to bring you an exciting programme, featuring some of Aotearoa’s finest graphic artists and comic creators. If you would like an email reminder about ComicFest 2022, sign-up for our mailing list here.

View our full programme below: 

 

 

 

Comicify Your Life Competition!

ComicFest logo

ComicFest logo

What would your life look like if it were happening on the pages of a comic book? Draw yourself as a comic book superhero, villain, or just an ordinary ‘comicified’ human, and be in to win a bevy of sweet prizes.

Competition Entry Form

This competition is run as part of ComicFest 2022 and open to ages 5+. Category winners and runners-up will be announced on 7 May during the ComicFest livestream, and prizewinners will be contacted so they can collect their prizes from the library of their choice.

Here are some guidelines to help you:

  • Submissions will close at 11.59pm on Sunday 1st May
  • Please submit only one entry per person
  • Entries are open to all Wellington-based library users

Age brackets for entries are:

  • 5-8
  • 9-12
  • 13-17
  • 18+

Join us online for ComicFest 2022 – Saturday 7 May!

ComicFest logo

Join us online on Saturday 7 May for this fantastic – and totally free – national celebration of all things comics-related in New Zealand! Follow the livestream on the day on our YouTube channel, and register your interest in ComicFest at the link below and we’ll send you updates and reminders ahead of the day.

Register your interest in ComicFest

ComicFest this year features a whole galaxy of Aotearoa’s finest graphic artists and authors, and we’re so excited to share the programme with you! A big thank you to our all-important sponsors – National Library, Graphic comics, Gecko Press, Unity Books and Wellington Zinefest.

For more information on all the events at ComicFest, scroll further down the page for our complete programme, but expect panel discussions, presentations, workshops and loads of fun!


Full ComicFest 2022 Programme


Saturday 7 May

ComicFest 2022 logo

9 – 9:15am | Welcome to ComicFest 2022!

A welcome and overview of ComicFest, our exciting guests and options for streaming. We’re so excited to bring ComicFest 2022 to you! Meet your hosts and hear about what we have planned for the day.

Kay's comic self-portrait

9:15 – 10:15am | Meet Everybody’s Favourite Axolotl, Dewdrop — with Creator Kay O’Neill

Kids (and big kids) are welcome to join the Eisner and Harvey Award-winning illustrator and graphic novelist Kay O’Neill (author and illustrator of The Tea Dragon Society series) to help create friends old and new for their character, Dewdrop the Axolotl.

Suggested for: ages 4+

10:15 – 10:30am | Announcing the ComicFest drawing competition winners

Join us as we announce the winners of our ComicFest drawing competition!

Winners will be announced for the four age-based categories: 0–8, 9–12, 13–17 and 18+

Michel's comic self-portrait

10:30 – 11:30am | How to Draw Heroes — a Masterclass with Michel Mulipola

A how-to masterclass with Michel Mulipola who will show you he goes about drawing and creating heroes. Crack the code of superhero creation in this live workshop!

Michel Mulipola is a Samoan comic book artist who has two big passions in life — comics and wrestling — and who, when he gets the chance, likes to combine the two. His works often feature Pasifika wrestling heroes and recent historical heroes.

Michel will demonstrate the tools he uses to digitally create whilst drawing live (and live streaming) on the big screen! Bring pen and paper, and join in with Michel as he provides story-telling tips, panel composition ideas and illustration guidance.

Suggested for: ages 8+

Jem's comic self-portrait

11:45am – 12:45pm | Weekly Webcomics — Tips and Tricks with Jem Yoshioka

Join Jem Yoshioka, the talented webcomic artist behind Circuits and Veins and Folk Remedy as she takes you through the tools of the trade, and provides tricks and tips for getting your webcomic online.

Photo of Jonathan

12:50 – 1:20pm | Storytelling with Jonathan King

Jonathan King until very recently was best known as the acclaimed film director of films such as the hugely successful dark horror comedy Black Sheep and the remake of the NZ Children’s classic film Under the Mountain starring Sam Neill.

But that all changed when he released his first ever graphic novel in 2020 — The Inkberg Enigma. Aimed at children eight and up, it’s hugely enjoyable for adults too.

Come along and hear more from Jonathan about storytelling — from all his different creator perspectives.

1:30 – 2:30pm | New Voices, New Perspectives — a Panel Discussion

Featuring Mary Guo, Tara Black, Jem Yoshioka, and chaired by Sam Orchard

The world of graphic art is changing at an amazingly rapid pace — a veritable revolution has been happening in recent years. Developments have included: new definitions of what comprises a graphic work, new platforms with global reach for people to view your work and new high-tech tools to create your works.

This panel features some of the New Zealand artists at the vanguard of these changes, discussing the new opportunities for artists, the challenges inherent in these changes, and — finally — how artists go about taking full advantage of these new frontiers.

Giselle's comic self-portrait

2:45 – 3:45pm | Giselle Clarkson — from commission to ComicFest artwork

Once you get a commission, how do you go about generating creative ideas that meet that brief? Indeed, how do you get a commission in the first place? And what do briefs usually entail?

All will be revealed in this event with the incredibly talented graphic illustrator Giselle Clarkson.

Giselle’s illustrative works include: The Gobbledegook Book: A Joy Cowley Anthology, Egg and Spoon: An Illustrated Cookbook, Secret World of Butterflies and Hazel and the Snails.

Suggested for: ages 8+

Dylan's comic self-portrait

3:50 – 4:10pm | Dylan Horrocks — Comics in New Zealand and Memoir

Dylan Horrocks is a cartoonist best known for his graphic novel Hicksville and his scripts for the Batgirl comic book series. His works are published by the University of Auckland student magazine Craccum, Australia’s Fox Comics, the current affairs magazine New Zealand Listener from 1995 to 1997, the Canadian publishers Black Eye Comics and Drawn and Quarterly, and the American publishers Vertigo and Fantagraphics Books. He currently serialises new work online at Hicksville Comics.

Hear what Dylan has to say about comics in New Zealand and memoir.

Sarah's comic self-portrait

4:15 – 4:45pm | Sarah Laing — Comics and Memoir

Sarah is a Wellington-based writer and illustrator who has had novels, short stories and the graphic memoir Mansfield and Me published. Her collection of comics from the past ten years, Let Me Be Frank, was published by VUP in late 2019. She also the co-editor of Three Words: An Anthology of Aotearoa/NZ Women’s Comics and has illustrated a number of children’s books.

Hear what Sarah has to say on comics and memoir.

4:45 – 5pm | ComicFest wrap-up and thank yous!

And that’s a wrap from us for 2022! Hear all our thank yous to our wonderful guests, and to you, our very excellent audience. We hope you enjoyed ComicFest 2022!

5 minutes with Jonathan King

ComicFest 2022 is Saturday 7 May — and this year will be fully online! Find the full programme on our ComicFest website. ComicFest is a joint venture between Wellington City Libraries and the National Library of New Zealand.

ComicFest 2022 website

Jonathan King makes comics and films in Wellington, New Zealand. He wrote and directed comedy horror Black Sheep, co-wrote and directed an adaptation of Maurice Gee’s classic Under the Mountain, co-wrote supernatural thriller The Tattooist and directed sci-fi thriller Realiti.

His comics have featured in Faction Comics (2012–2014), From Earth’s End: the Best of New Zealand Comics (Random House, 2013), High Water, a climate change anthology (2015), and in a collection of his comic works Perplexing Stories (Eel Noir, 2015). His story Holiday featured in Gecko Press’s Annual in 2016, and another, Docking Season appears in Annual 2 in 2017. His graphic novel The Inkberg Enigma was published by Gecko Press in 2020.

Website: jking.nz
Twitter: @MrJonathanKing

Q: What first got you interested in comics?

When I was four years old I got Hergé’s The Black Island and The Shooting Star for my birthday. They remain two of my favourite Tintin books, and set me on a lifelong love of adventure comics. Superman, Batman and Marvel comics were next. This was in the 1970s — and it’s funny to see these same storylines turn up in the movies today. I haven’t really kept in touch with superhero comics since then, but still love kids adventure comics — made today and as far back as the 1930s.

Q: What is your average day like?

At the moment I’m teaching film at Massey University in Wellington, overusing Third Year students’ own film and game projects. So I’m either meeting with students, reading their work … or keeping my own ‘research’ going — which at the moment is writing a feature film script, exploring animation in Blender and Unreal Engine and editing a film I shot for a friend earlier this year.

Q: Can you tell us about a current or recent project you’ve worked on?

My first graphic novel The Inkberg Enigma was out last year – after several years of Workington it. I’ll definitely get back to comics soon … but I both need to earn some (not comics) money, and keep things like film — which I’m still passionate about — moving.

Q: Do you have any traditions or rituals that help you when you get to work?

Napping / thinking / lying around is a super important aspect for me — particularly those few moments when you’re halfway between sleep and awake. I really do find I make huge creative progress on ideas when my conscious brain is disengaged and the creative brain is floating free … Then I just need to remember it all to write to down when I wake up!

Q: Who/what is your biggest influence or inspiration?

Artistically my biggest influences were / are Hergé, Yves Chaland — who was a young French cartoonist, himself influenced by Hergé, who tragically killed in a car accident at a young age, American Darwyn Cooke — who died much too young too, Milton Caniff and Frank Robbins — greats from the golden age of newspaper adventure comics.

Q: What or who are your favourite NZ comics or creators?

My favourite NZ comics creators include Dylan Horrocks — who was hugely supportive to me (and so many others) when I started making comics; Roger Langridge – whose work is supernaturally great; Sharon Murdoch, who has such an effortlessly light touch with thoughtful content; Giselle Clarkson, whose playful style I just love.

Q: What is your dream comic project?

My dream project would be a serialised adventure story — that unrolled at a strip a day (or maybe a page a week) in the newspaper — if such thing still existed!

5 minutes with Tara Black

ComicFest 2022 is Saturday 7 May — and this year will be fully online! Find the full programme on our ComicFest website. ComicFest is a joint venture between Wellington City Libraries and the National Library of New Zealand.

ComicFest 2022 website

Photo by Ebony Lamb

Tara Black is a Pōneke based cartoonist and art school drop-out. She can often be found in the front row of book events, illustrating authors and their ideas. You can find her work on The Sapling, Stasis Journal, The Spinoff and her website, taracomics.com. Her first graphic novel, This Is Not a Pipe, was published by Victoria University Press in 2020.

Website: taracomics.com
Twitter: @taracomics
Instagram: @tara_comics

Q: What first got you interested in comics?

Probably Calvin and Hobbes but it’s hard to tease that out from my love of animation and picture books. I used to collect clippings of Calvin and Hobbes from newspapers and paste them into a scrapbook. Dad would bring them home from work for me and I ended up with double-ups. When I was old enough to get a paper run, I systematically bought all of the collected editions. My favourite one is the 10th anniversary edition, where Bill Watterson annotates some key strips with his process. That was my first insight into what it might mean to be a practising cartoonist.

Q: What is your average day like?

I work on comics in the evenings and the weekend. I aim to put out a page of my webcomic, Book Dragons, each week so I will often script and do a draft during weekday evenings before drawing and scanning the comic on a Saturday or a Sunday. On Monday evenings I have a drawing club which gets me started. Some weeknights I will go to book launches and live draw the speeches.

Q: Can you tell us about a current or recent project you’ve worked on?

My first graphic novel, This is Not a Pipe, came out with Victoria University Press late last year. At the moment I’m working on Book Dragons and getting into short fiction and poem comics. Poem comics are a satisfying puzzle – they let me play with the interaction between text and picture in a more abstract way than narrative comics.

Q: Do you have any traditions or rituals that help you when you get to work?

I drink a lot of tea. I find it helps me get up and move around but also tea is good. Twinings. Earl Grey. Occasionally chai.

Q: What or who are your favourite NZ comics or creators?

That’s kind of a cruel question. There are so many great comic creators in NZ and if I start listing them I’m bound to leave out someone cool and regret it. If I had to choose one, I’d choose Li Chen. Her blend of humour and stunning artwork is always a treat. Have you played exocomics 500? If you haven’t, go do it now.

Q: What is your dream comic project?

A comic project that could pay enough to live on but also solve climate change. Yes, a sentient comic that solves climate change and social inequality and rolls back colonialism while it’s at it. No pressure, sentient comic.


5 minutes with Mary Guo

ComicFest 2022 is Saturday 7 May — and this year will be fully online! Find the full programme on our ComicFest website. ComicFest is a joint venture between Wellington City Libraries and the National Library of New Zealand.

ComicFest 2022 website

Mary has been living in Wellington for seven years. She has been working in the game and animation industry for over a decade.  In her spare time, she works on various illustration and comic projects. Check out her personal art and comics at maryguo.com. Follow weekly updates on instagram: @totoroguo.

Website: maryguo.com
Instagram: @totoroguo

Q: What first got you interested in comics?

I was born in 1980’s China. There wasn’t much entertainment for kids back then, but there were comics, particularly Japanese manga. For me, the eighties and nineties were Japan’s comic golden age, and I was growing up reading Doraemon, Battle Angel Alita, Monster, and more.

Q: What is your average day like?

I work full-time for an animation company as a visual dev artist. Most days, I’m working from home, sometimes in the library or a coffee shop. During the evenings and weekends, I’m working on personal projects. In my leisure time, I like to attend all kinds of events, like shows, festivals, markets, galleries, etc.

Q: Can you tell us about a current or recent project you’ve worked on?

Currently, I’m working on two personal projects: Lonely Artist with co-creator TBun, and my Wellington Coffee Shop illustrations. Lonely Artist is a series of silent comic strips that we’ve just compiled into a book.

Q: Do you have any traditions or rituals that help you when you get to work?

I like to take walks for inspiration. I find that ideas naturally come to me while I’m alone, walking around the town belt and through the city.

Q: Who/what is your biggest influence or inspiration?

Many comic artists inspire me, too many to name! My biggest influence has always been Studio Ghibli. Nowadays, I also take inspiration from many other media, like video games, fine art, and animation.

Q: What or who are your favourite NZ comics or creators?

I enjoyed Ross Murray’s new book, Rufus Marigold. It was great! There are many incredible murals around Wellington by artists like T Wei and others. Michael McCormack, a painter with a studio in Island Bay, is probably my favourite local artist.

Q: What is your dream comic project?

I’m very excited to explore transmedia storytelling. I’m interested in how players take on the role of their characters in video games. I want to explore these ideas in my next project, a comic-video-game hybrid with a long-form narrative (working title: Concrete Jungle).

5 minutes with Sarah Laing

ComicFest 2022 is Saturday 7 May — and this year will be fully online! Find the full programme on our ComicFest website. ComicFest is a joint venture between Wellington City Libraries and the National Library of New Zealand.

ComicFest 2022 website

Sarah Laing is a fiction writer and cartoonist. Her first collection of short stories, Coming up Roses, was published in 2007, and followed her win of the 2006 Sunday Star Times Short Story Competition. She published the novel Dead People’s Music in 2009, followed by an illustrated novel The Fall of Light, published in 2013. She is a co-editor of Three Words: An Anthology of NZ/Aotearoa Women’s Comics, the author of Mansfield and Me: A Graphic Memoir and Let Me Be Frank, and has a regular comic strip in Woman Magazine.

Website: sarahelaing.com
Twitter: @SarahELaing
Instagram: @SarahELaing

Q: What first got you interested in comics?

I always really loved illustrated books. I remember being entranced by the swirling 1970s illustrations in Margaret Mahy’s The Lion in the Meadow and immersed in Robert McCloskey’s meticulously rendered world of One Morning in Maine. My step-grandmother had a 1960s book about kids who transformed a garden and I remember wanting to swim in that pthalo green and wear a little white wool mini-coat whilst planting tulip bulbs. My dad grew up in the baby boomer generation where they sold weekly war comics down at the local dairy, and he made sure we were well stocked with Tintin, Asterix, Garfield and Charlie Brown. I remember the Far Side book arriving at our house in the mid-eighties, to be read until the spine split, and later, a visiting American scientist gifted us a few Calvin and Hobbes collections. I discovered Julie Doucet, Alison Bechdel and Tank Girl in the 90s, but it wasn’t until the 2000s that I really began seriously seeking out comics and thinking that it was something that I’d like to write.

Q: What is your average day like?

I have a 3-day-a-week job as a graphic designer for the government, and I often use my cartooning and illustration skills there. The other two days of the week I am either working on my Woman cartoon strip, due every second Thursday, or else I am drawing comics for a backyard bird rescue book I am working on with my friend, Jo Emeney.

Q: Can you tell us about a current or recent project you’ve worked on?

My most recent book was a collection of comics made during lockdown, The Covid-19 Diaries, and before that I selected comics from my blog for a collection called Let Me Be Frank. Although my regular Woman comic treads familiar ground, this time I have invented an alter-ego, Nomi, who is somewhat like me but has permission to have entirely invented adventures. I have recently switched from drawing on paper to using Procreate on my iPad. This makes things faster and the colours brighter, but I do worry that I am losing something – that raw, messy, spontaneous quality – by working digitally.

Q: Do you have any traditions or rituals that help you when you get to work?

At the moment I am very time-poor so my method is to wait until I am as close to the deadline as humanly possible and then blitz the comic with a little adrenalin. I do semi-regularly generate new comics in a notebook, although I am always losing notebooks, and half-formed ideas. I hope the ones that I remember are the ones that actually have potential. I also find myself making a lot of coffee and toast with peanut butter. I also really like Everything butter by Fix and Fogg.

Q: What is your dream comic project?

At the moment, because I am so deadline driven, and also working digitally, my dream comic project is to use watercolours and to be subconsciously and aesthetically driven. I’d like to live in a cottage by the sea, take long blustery walks, come back to my light-filled studio and then paint until a narrative emerges. I think I need some Scandy linen frocks, a wood burner and a bunch of wild flowers for this particular fantasy too. And a day bed for reading and naps.

Q: What are you excited to share with ComicFest attendees? Just a taster!

I’m excited to see the incredible line-up of panellists! I guess my idea about comics is that you need to keep your eyes and ears open, as there are stories everywhere. Also, don’t worry too much about whether you are the world’s best drawer. Just as long as people get your meaning, it doesn’t matter. Your own style is unique. Lots of practice – that’s a good idea. If you look at the early days of my blog in 2010, and then now, you will see that I got better at drawing. I wouldn’t say practice makes perfect, but it does make you more fluent and better at perspective.

Sam Orchard talks about his practice

ComicFest 2022 is Saturday 7 May — and this year will be fully online! Find the full programme on our ComicFest website. ComicFest is a joint venture between Wellington City Libraries and the National Library of New Zealand.

ComicFest 2022 website

Sam Orchard is the Assistant Curator for the Cartoons and Comics archive at the Alexander Turnbull Library and one of the co-curators for ComicFest. Sam writes comics, and creates art that celebrates difference. His ongoing web comic ‘Rooster Tails’ has been running for over 10 years. Written from his life as a queer transgender man, the comic explores themes of mental health, fat embodiment, nerd culture and trans lives.

Sam is also the author of ‘Family Portraits’, a series of short comic stories that amplify the stories of intersectional identities within Aotearoa’s rainbow communities. Sam’s comics and resources about sexuality, sex and gender have been used internationally by SOGI advocates. Sam is currently working on his first full-length graphic novel.

Website: thesamorchard.com
Twitter: @sam_orchard
Instagram: @roostertails

We last year had the pleasure of interviewing Sam  in conjunction with Caffeine and Aspirin arts and entertainment review show on Radioactive FM. The interview was conducted by Caffeine and Aspirin host Liam Wild.

And below is the podcast of that interview for your enjoyment:

5 minutes with Michel Mulipola

ComicFest 2022 is Saturday 7 May — and this year will be fully online! Find the full programme on our ComicFest website. ComicFest is a joint venture between Wellington City Libraries and the National Library of New Zealand.

ComicFest 2022 website

Michel Mulipola is a comic book illustrator and professional wrestler. Auckland-based Mulipola is a self-taught award-winning artist who has produced illustrations for Learning Media, Lift Education, Reading Warrior and independent US graphic novel series Headlocked. In 2006 he won the Gibson Award for Best New Zealand Comic Book Artist, in 2013 he was a grand finalist in the Secret Walls x Aotearoa Live Art Battles, and in 2016 he was awarded the Storylines Notable Book Award for Samoan Heroes with author David Riley. An advocate for comic drawing and creative expression, Mulipola is keen to inspire young talent through regularly visiting schools and running workshops. In 2020 Mulipola published O Le Aiga Samoa with Nafanuatele Lafitaga Mafaufau, the first-ever Samoan language comic book.

Website: bloodysamoan.com
Twitter: @bloodysamoan
Instagram: @bloodysamoanart

Q: What first got you interested in comics?

I fell in love with comics as small kid after finding my uncle’s stash. I became enamoured with the comics medium right from the first page.

Q: What is your average day like?

My days are always hectic with a mix of illustrating, business stuff, video games, school visits, community events, pro wrestling, Zoom meetings et al. Every day is a mixed bag because I don’t really keep a daily schedule, I play it by ear.

Q: Can you tell us about a current or recent project you’ve worked on?

I recently finished an autobiographical comic that will be released as a School Journal by Lift Education. It will only be available in the Sāmoan and Tongan languages as resource for bilingual units in schools around Aotearoa. And I can’t say too much about it yet, but I am working with a very big video game company in developing a new game for one of their franchises.

Q: Do you have any traditions or rituals that help you when you get to work?

I don’t have any rituals or traditions when I work. It’s literally eat, sleep (or lack thereof), draw, repeat.

Q: Who/what is your biggest influence or inspiration?

The comics medium itself has been my biggest inspiration though as a kid, I was heavily influenced by the late 80s/early 90s X-Men stuff from Marc Silvestri and Jim Lee.

Q: What or who are your favourite NZ comics or creators?

It’s odd to think that some of my favourite NZ comics creators are also good friends of mine. I always enjoy work by Roger Langridge, Dylan Horrocks, Toby Morris, Ant Sang, Ben Stenbeck, Rachel Smythe and more. There is an abundance of amazing comic talent in Aotearoa and I am excited to see what will be created by future artists.

Q: What is your dream comic project?

As a kid who loved (and as an adult who still LOVES) superheroes, an opportunity to illustrate a comic story for Marvel or DC Comics is always on the bucket list. I’ve had amazing opportunities to draw some of my favourite pro wrestlers for the WWE Comics by BOOM! Studios. The closest I’ve gotten to thet Marvel dream is illustrating over 300 sketch cards for Upper Deck’s various Marvel trading card lines.

Q: What are you excited to share with ComicFest attendees? Just a taster!

I don’t have too much to share at the moment. With how untethered my day-to-day schedule is, I would not be surprised if something big comes along before ComicFest that I could possibly share with the audience.

5 minutes with Jem Yoshioka

ComicFest 2022 is Saturday 7 May — and this year will be fully online! Find the full programme on our ComicFest website. ComicFest is a joint venture between Wellington City Libraries and the National Library of New Zealand.

ComicFest 2022 website

Jem Yoshioka is an illustrator and comic artist living in Wellington, New Zealand. Deftly weaving words and pictures together, Jem’s comics tell evocative and emotional stories with themes of belonging, place, and heritage.

Her current webcomic, Folk Remedy, is a queer fantasy inspired by Taisho era Japan, folktales and monsters called Yokai. Jem’s previous webcomic a sci-fi romance called  Circuits and Veins, was completed in 2020, reaching 92,000 subscribers and still attracts tens of thousands of readers a month.

Jem’s work has been published in a range of local and international anthologies, including the 2020 publication Lockdown: tales from Aotearoa, published by Christchurch Art Gallery. She won first place in the Chromacon New Zealand Indie Arts Festival Comic Awards in 2013 and 2015 and was shortlisted in 2017.

Website: jemshed.com
Twitter: @jemyoshioka
Instagram: @jemyoshioka
Facebook: @jem.yoshioka.art

Q: What first got you interested in comics?

I have always loved to tell stories and draw pictures, so in a way I feel like I was always on the path to comics. I read a lot as a kid and loved picture books fiercely.

Q: What is your average day like?

I work full time, so I do that, then come home and make comics. I’ve been cooking a lot of hotpot, so that’s been a nice thing to have on hand. Lately I’ve also been playing a lot of Dungeons & Dragons, which is great because it forces me to socialise. Comics can be quite isolating!

Q: Can you tell us about a current or recent project you’ve worked on?

Last year I finished my long-running webcomic, Circuits and Veins, and this year I’ve started Folk Remedy, which is set in a fantasy Japan during the 1920s and references a lot of Japanese folklore. I’ve been publishing it since April and I’m really proud of it so far.

Q: Do you have any traditions or rituals that help you when you get to work?

I always have a spare doodle canvas open, so that if I’m struck by other ideas while I’m working on my comic I can draw them down. Usually nothing much comes of it, but it’s nice to have that little no-pressure space alongside my regular comics space.

Q: Who/what is your biggest influence or inspiration?

Last time I said my grandmother, Taeko. And that’s still true! But at the moment I’m really inspired and influenced by Japanese folklore and history, especially while working on Folk Remedy. I’m especially passionate about the stories of yokai, and their role of both shaping and reflecting Japan as a nation have been influential for hundreds of years, They were at risk of being lost during the Meiji restoration but a series of dedicated scholars across generations are keeping the stories, characters, and traditions alive for us and future generations. I love that these stories aren’t static, but adjust to what’s needed, and even new yokai are born all the time!

Q: What or who are your favourite NZ comics or creators?

Of course Rachel Smythe, my closest friend. But I also love the work of Kay O’Neil, Alex Cara, Tara Black, Michel Mulipola, and so many others I’m forgetting.

Q: What is your dream comic project?

I’m working on them! The thing with comics is you really have to love them to make them, they take so much work. I love working on projects connected to my heritage that get to reach heaps of people. Telling stories about Japanese diaspora, or fiction but from a Japanese diaspora lens is a huge passion of mine, and one that has been present in all my recent work. It’s the most rewarding thing, to have someone else who has struggled with their heritage tell me that my sharing of my journey has helped them with theirs. I hope that through my work I can continue to do this, to share these feelings.

5 minutes with Giselle Clarkson

ComicFest 2022 is Saturday 7 May — and this year will be fully online! Find the full programme on our ComicFest website. ComicFest is a joint venture between Wellington City Libraries and the National Library of New Zealand.

ComicFest 2022 website

Giselle Clarkson is a freelance illustrator and comic artist based near Wellington. Her science illustrations and comics can be found in all sorts of places, from bumper stickers and t-shirts, to Auckland Zoo and the NZ School Journal. She publishes a regular comic about children’s books online at The Sapling. Her recently illustrated books for children include The Gobbledegook Book: A Joy Cowley Anthology and Egg and Spoon: An Illustrated Cookbook (Gecko Press).

Website: giselledraws.com
Twitter: @giselledraws
Facebook: @GiselleDraws

Q: What first got you interested in comics?

When I was a kid I loved Tintin, The Far Side and books by Raymond Briggs but I didn’t realise they were “comics”. I often drew Far Side style cartoons of my own. It wasn’t until I was at university and started reading webcomics that I found cartoons made by women! Discovering stuff like Hark! A Vagrant, Hyperbole and a Half, and Nimona made me realise how broad and accessible the medium was – comics could be so many different things, and I could make them too.

Q: What is your average day like?

I work full-time as an illustrator and my studio is at home. I try to keep pretty standard office hours, but I’m a morning person so all my best work is done between about 7am and lunchtime, sometimes even earlier if I wake up with an idea and can’t fall back to sleep! The best part of working from home is never having to set an alarm clock, wearing track pants, and if a drawing’s not quite working – going out into the garden and pulling some weeds for a bit usually solves the problem.

Q: Do you have any traditions or rituals that help you when you get to work?

I make a mental plan for my workday the night before – if I wake up knowing what my goals are for the day I don’t dither and procrastinate! So in the morning I sit down at my desk with a cup of coffee, and read the news and my social media feeds until the coffee’s gone. Then I put on some music, a favourite radio show or an audiobook and get to it. I have to have something to listen to while I work or else my mind wanders too far away and then takes my body with it.

Q: Who/what is your biggest influence or inspiration?

My favourite picture books from childhood are what inspired me to write and illustrate in the first place, but it’s other people working and making comics and graphic novels in NZ right now that keep me motivated and inspire me to make new work.

Q: What is your dream comic project?

As part of my job I sometimes get to join scientists out in the field or on expeditions and then turn my experiences what I’ve learned into a comic – I just want to do more of that! I’ll always be up for combining my love for comics with my love for adventures in wild and remote places.


5 minutes with Dylan Horrocks

ComicFest 2022 is Saturday 7 May — and this year will be fully online! Find the full programme on our ComicFest website. ComicFest is a joint venture between Wellington City Libraries and the National Library of New Zealand.

ComicFest 2022 website

Dylan Horrocks has been writing and drawing comics, graphic novels, cartoons, and prose fiction for more than 30 years, including Hicksville, Sam Zabel & the Magic PenBatgirl, and Hunter: the Age of Magic. His work has been published around the world in various languages and won the Eisner Award and the Sir Julius Vogel award, among others. He currently lives in Wellington, where he teaches comics and visual narrative at the Victoria University of Wellington School of Design Innovation and is drawing a graphic novel about fantasy role-playing games.

Website: hicksvillecomics.com
Twitter: @dylanhorrocks

Q: What first got you interested in comics?

I’ve loved comics for as long as I can remember (partly thanks to my Dad, who kept me well supplied with a range of old classics and obscure contemporary stuff – from Carl Barks and Tintin to Edward Gorey and Zap comics). I grew up wanting to write stories and draw pictures, so comics just seemed like a natural form.

Q: What is your average day like?

I currently teach comics and visual narrative at the Victoria University of Wellington School of Design Innovation (phew!), so my days are often busy with classes and post-graduate supervision. When I can, I’m writing or drawing (in notebooks or on the computer). I relax with a book or TV (I love weird old movies from the 1930s-50s). And about once a week, I spend the evening playing role-playing games (like Dungeons & Dragons) with friends.

Q: Can you tell us about a current or recent project you’ve worked on?

I’m working on a bunch of projects, but who knows when they’ll see the light of day? The ones I’m most focused on at the moment all come from my life-long obsession with role-playing games (not just D&D but also innovative indie games, etc). I’ve been researching the history of the form and exploring different ways of thinking about story and narrative inspired by gaming. I’m even designing my own RPG rules. I’ve also self-published two issues of a little side-project, a series of zines called Darkest Dungeons. It’s inspired by an infamous 1985 religious comic about how D&D is a Satanic cult, but I’m retelling their deliciously lurid story with added context and new perspectives. It’s way too much fun!


Q: Do you have any traditions or rituals that help you when you get to work?

One thing I do is alternate between working on fancy paper, in a cheap notebook, and on the computer. Whenever I get stuck, I shift to a different medium and often that gets me going again. It’s like each format uses a different part of my brain. Recently I’ve also been drawing on an iPad Pro (in Clip Studio). I still love drawing on paper, but it’s interesting learning a new set of tools.

Q: Who/what is your biggest influence or inspiration?

There are so many! Hergé’s Tintin is a huge influence on my work. But one New Zealand cartoonist who’s had a big impact on me is Barry Linton. He drew comics for more than 40 years, and left behind an extraordinary body of work. I hope someone gets it all back into print soon. Other recent inspirations include American cartoonist Gabrielle Bell (whose diary comics are hilarious and lyrical) and, from Britain, Gareth Brookes, who made the art for his most recent graphic novel using pyrography and embroidery!

Q: What or who are your favourite NZ comics or creators?

I’ve already mentioned Barry Linton and there are other earlier NZ cartoonists I’m fascinated by: Eric Resetar, Harry Bennett, and Jack Raeburn (all of who were publishing locally in the 1940s and 1950s). Rita Angus drew some gorgeous newspaper strips in the 1930s (as Rita Cook). And Joe Wylie, Laurence Clark, and Colin Wilson (along with Barry Linton and others) made fascinating comics in Strips magazine in the 1970s.

There are so many amazing cartoonists working in NZ right now and their work is reaching an ever-wider audience: Sarah Laing, Toby Morris, Tara Black, Ross Murray, Mat Tait & Courtney Sina Meredith, Ant Sang, Katie O’Neill, Ben Stenbeck, Rachel Smythe, Jem Yoshioka, Michel Mulipola, Li Chen, Sam Orchard, Lisa Wool-Rim Sjöblom (among others) are all getting well-deserved attention for their graphic novels or webcomics. And there are countless people whose work I try to follow: Alex Cara, Timothy Kidd, Brent Willis, Indira Neville, Laya Rose, Sally Bollinger, Karl Wills, Andrew Burdan, Kirsten Slade – and so many more!

A cartoonist whose work over the past 40-odd years really needs collecting is Tim Bollinger. He’s drawn so many gorgeous, complex, utterly New Zealand comics for various magazines, newspapers, and zines; I’d love to see them brought together between two covers. These days, I get to see loads of amazing students’ comics, too. Look out for one of our former students, Liliana Mañetto Quick, on The Spinoff, where she draws a delicious regular comic about eating in Wellington. I know I’ve left out too many names in this brief list: there’s far too much wonderful work being made!

Q: What is your dream comic project?

I have so many dream projects and I’m working on several of them right now. The elusive dream is to find enough time to actually finish them….!

5 minutes with Kay O’Neill

ComicFest 2022 is Saturday 7 May — and this year will be fully online! Find the full programme on our ComicFest website. ComicFest is a joint venture between Wellington City Libraries and the National Library of New Zealand.

ComicFest 2022 website

Meet the artists with our “5 minutes with…” series! First up on the blog we have an interview with Kay O’Neill, an author and illustrator from Christchurch, best known for their work on the award-winning Tea Dragon Society series. They mostly write slices of life with fantasy elements. Their favourite tea is currently vanilla rooibos. 

Website: ktoneill.com
Twitter: @strangelykatie
Instagram: @strangelykatie

 

Q: What first got you interested in comics?

I was fortunate to have dial-up internet early enough to be deep into the neopets.com craze as a kid, and a big part of that was the rich creative community that formed around the virtual pet-raising game. The in-game weekly digital newspaper featured both ongoing storylines and one-off gag comics, and really got me started viewing comics as a natural way of expressing stories and characters from a young age.

Q: What is your average day like?

I try to balance work and rest as best I can. Mornings give me good energy, so I try to get up at around 7.30 and have a solid, uninterrupted morning of work until lunchtime, with some coffee and stretch breaks throughout. I’ll put on some music, and that helps me get the most of the time I spend in front of the tablet or computer. The afternoons I leave up to fate- occasionally I have energy to continue working, but often I’ll do some gardening or go for a walk.

Q: Can you tell us about a current or recent project you’ve worked on?

The final book in the Tea Dragon series came out in 2021. It was bittersweet to end a series that has been such a huge part of my life, yet I am very happy with how the book turned out and with each character’s journey. It feels like saying goodbye to old friends, but with excitement for what lies ahead in store for them. I also have a couple of exciting new projects that hopefully will be announced soon!

Q: Do you have any traditions or rituals that help you when you get to work?

I used to divide my attention between my work and a background activity such as watching a Netflix series or video game streamer. However, after I decided to try going a couple of weeks just listening to music while I work, I discovered how much more connected I feel to what I’m doing! I’m able to make better decisions, and feel like I’m getting the most from my art. I know it’s different for everyone though, and I have friends who can only focus if there’s a secondary activity playing. I think it’s important to experiment with various working environments, and keep changing and adjusting and learning what you like.

Q: Who/what is your biggest influence or inspiration?

At the moment, I’m looking for a lot of inspiration and motivation outside of the art world. I love hearing stories of older people who have lived active, engaged and meaningful lives through their daily activities, connection with nature, and community.

Q: What or who are your favourite NZ comics or creators?

New Zealand webcomic authors are making incredible things at the moment! Rachel Smythe, Jem Yoshioka, Chelsey Furedi and Kale de Wild just to name a few.

Q: What is your dream comic project?

I’m very lucky in that I’ve already pretty much made it- The Tea Dragon series is exactly what I wanted it to be, with so much wonderful support from my publisher and readers. I’ve never needed to compromise anything, and it’s full of the elements and themes I love most. That said, I’d love to work on something collaborative in future!