Sketchbook and paper mania

The above picture shows a selection of my sketchbooks and pads of various paper. This is hard proof that I tend to buy more art supplies than I ever use (a rather uneconomical habit, I might add). You could say that I’m hoarding, but I honestly just enjoy having a lot of possibilities when it comes to different paper qualities and sizes. Also, I’m intrigued by the general idea that a blank page holds an endless amount of potential.

Speaking of blank pages, I’ve actually only used a few pages in most of the different pads of paper and sketchbooks represented above. I’m not sure why, but I haven’t been using the sketchbooks to their full potential. Still, I find that I have to fight the urge to get a new pad of paper or sketchbook whenever I’m in an art store. “Maybe I should try this bleed-proof paper with my Promarkers”, “Perhaps the ink from my nib pen will work great with this heavy paper” or “Here’s a nice, small format sketchbook that will fit perfectly in my bag. I could sketch so many ideas in there…”

So, I’m balancing on a fine line between learning to use the sketchbooks I already own, and wanting to have a lot of possibilities (different paper types, size, format). But I have to ask; If you’re an artist, do you feel the same about sketchbooks or perhaps art supplies in general? Are there things you tend to buy more of than you really need?

Anyway, I’m definitely going to make the most out of the sketchbooks I’ve already got, and frankly, I think I’m good for quite a while.

Raptus Comics festival 2011

From 9. to 11. of September there was a three-day long comics festival called “Raptus – Bergen International Comics Festival” in Bergen, Norway. I spent a large portion of the weekend at the convention, during which I went to a couple of great talks about comics, manga and webcomics. I also met one of my favorite cartoonists, Lucy Knisley, and acquired a signed copy of each of the three comic books she was selling. She was very friendly, and she also made a drawing (upon request) of her noisy cat in my sketchbook.

Among the other guests were Mike Collins, Martin Kellerman, Nana Li and Ethan Nicolle, the artist behind the popular webcomic Axe Cop (the story for Axe Cop is created by Ethan’s 7-year old brother).

I think the “French Milk vs. Axe Cop” panel was one of the most enjoyable panels at the convention, with Ethan delivering quick comebacks to questions and even making fun of the poor guy interviewing him, and Lucy Knisley drawing (among other things) a figure-skating, drunken cat. The two artists took turns and did challenges from the audience, and it was all very entertaining to watch.

I really liked this year’s Raptus festival, as there were a more panels focusing on webcomics and manga artists than usual. There even was a “How to draw manga”-workshop led by Nana Li, and I think one of the Raptus-people said that it was the first time they’ve had a manga workshop. It was scheduled on Sunday at 9 a.m., and an impressive number of 25-30 people showed up (including myself).

I hope that next year, Raptus will be featuring even more webcomic artists. Speaking for myself, I know I would go to every panel relating to webcomics and manga. What would you like to see at a comic festival (especially if you live in Norway)? What do you do at comic conventions/comics festivals? Leave your comments below, I would love to read your responses.

Trying something new

For me, it’s always hard to start something, and a new blog is no exception. I’ve had an urge to write and make stuff for some time now, so I’ve got to start somewhere. I’m kind of thinking that keeping and updating a blog will help me stay creative and actually finish projects and realize some of the many ideas that I’ve got.

So, what do I do? Mainly, I enjoy drawing and illustration. Some tools that I own are pencils, various sketchbooks, ink, brushes, rulers, pens, markers and watercolors. While on the topic of visual creativity, I also enjoy taking photos and video with my mirrorless DSLR. But let’s not get off track.

The main reason for this blog is the further development of my creative skills. Here’s the kicker: I don’t really have an education in art. So just to let you know, some of my goals are:
– be able to draw consistently with my own style
– get better at character design and creating environments
– learn to tell a story with pictures (i.e. make comics)

I might add more goals as time goes by. In any case, I hope to learn as much as I can about making comics. Not only is the concept of comics a very fascinating artform, it’s also a very powerful medium (I’ll probably write more about my thoughts on comics in a future blog post). Anyway, I hope that you will join me as I try something new. I’ll be keeping you updated! Feel free to make use of the comments field – Any suggestions and creative challenges are very welcome!