It was whilst researching the comic book industry within the Isle of Ireland that I first came across ‘The Comics Lab’, an organisation based in the south that facilitates the exploration of storytelling in sequential form. The purpose of the group is not to dictate what the art form of comics is, but what it can be for the individual artist – and how they can learn new skills to unlock a new approach.
In a recent social media post, I discovered that the Comics Lab was organising an event with Dublin Comic Arts, an organisation that supports the small press comic publishers of the south. The event is called, ‘The Dublin Eight Comic Art Festival’ – a celebration of the Dublin comic industry, and providing an opportunity for local artists to showcase their work.
I saw this as an opportunity to reemerge myself within the industry and speak to professionals from different location rather than Belfast, which had been my primary focus last year. Furthermore, the fact that the event is promoted in order to highlight the role of independent, small press artists is an important factor that influenced my decision to contemplate attending the event – as graduation continues to approach at an alarmingly fast rate, I am turning my attention towards what areas within the animation and art industry that I want to ‘dip my toe into’. Throughout the entirety of my university career, the interest in comic creation has been consistent from first year until now, and as my tastes have matured through exploration and reviewing the material, so too has my ability to understand the medium with an intermediate intellect – hindsight, I feel, that was shaped by my experience throughout placement year.
Optimistically, the hope is that the event will open the avenues of communication with other comic artists, and enquire about their experience within the comic book industry. The assumption is that the festival will incorporate a convention-style layout, which would provide an opportunity to view the standard and render of the work that is currently in the market – as a result, I will be aware of what the next skill development steps that are required in order to achieve that quality level.
As Katie has been interested in following a similar career path – and as we have previously discussed continuing our graphic novel once the final deadline has passed – I thought that it might be an appropriate event for them to attend so that they may benefit from the opportunity also. In the past few days, we have been organising our finances and schedules over the Easter break – making pragmatic decisions as we weighed the financial commitment in retrospect to the prosperity of gaining information. This evening, we are able to announce that the transportation to Connelly Station has been booked – and our presence at the festival confirmed.
In the past few days, we have been organising our finances and schedules over the Easter break – making pragmatic decisions as we weighed the financial commitment in retrospect to the prosperity of gaining information. However, this evening we were able to book the transportation to Connelly Station – with the date set for Sunday, the 23rd of April.
Whilst I have already stated the optimistic intentions from attending this event, I do have to admit from an artists’ standpoint – I am excited to explore this new area of Ireland-based comic creators and see what material they have to offer. Since the incidents of last summer, I was no longer able to maintain a weekly presence in the local comic shop, and have not been as aware of the current storylines and trends within the mainstream comic industry. The realisation of the circumstance was disheartening, but by refocusing my perception of the situation, I am viewing the festival as an opportunity to tailor my tastes towards something new and explore genres and styles that previously would not have been on my radar – with crossed fingers, I hope that this experience may lead to one of many positive steps to my debut into the comic publishing industry.
“Stray Lines > The Comics Lab”. Straylines.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 13 Apr. 2017.