Last Friday I had the pleasure of hosting three visitors from Happy Harbor Comics in Edmonton. Store owner Jay Bardala, along with two very talented comic book artists inspired and enlightened our junior and senior high students through four sessions.
Jay’s extensive knowledge of the comic book industry and entertaining style kept us all captivated as he described the complex process of comic book production. I for one had never imagined that after a writer has written the script and planned all the panels, there are at least three artists involved in the drawings.
The penciller does the initial drawings after whihch the inker defines the light, shadow and emphasis with black lines and shapes. The colourer then, after determining the mood of the story adds colour, usually digitally. Then there’s the letterer, the editor, printer, distributor, retailer and others. It was all quite fascinating to discover the impressive collaboration that goes into the production and distribution of a $3.00 comic book.
While Jay spoke, artists Tracey Risser and Dan Schneider drew superheroes in action from student requests. Tracey is a professional graphic artist and works on comics in his spare time. Dan works full time illustrating comic books. Jay writes scripts for comic books some of which Dan has illustrated, but he just does it for fun and doesn’t market them. That’s love.
The 8 amazing drawings, 2 from each artist at each session, will be displayed in the school for a while, then offered to the students as contest prizes.
After the sessions, Dan and Tracey offered to share their expertise with any students who brought artwork to share. It was amazing to see some of the work our students were producing and they appreciated the artists’ advice. I’m hoping to see a few students fleshing out some of those brilliant ideas percolating within, as scripts or drawings.
Happy Harbor Comics services for schools and libraries
Dan Schneider’s Website
Dan Schneider Artist in Residence interview (2011)
Tracey Risser at Harper PR