Raptus 2013 – Saturday (Sept. 14th 2013)

(The writing of this post started on Saturday 14th of September 2013, the second day of the Raptus International Comics Festival in Bergen. I’ve taken the liberty to finish this post in the same way I started writing it, even though I post this on Sunday the 15th. Click here to read the write-up from day one)

The second day of the Raptus International Comics Festival is over. It has been a gray and rainy day in Bergen. In contrast, the Raptus venue has been bubbling with brightly colored costumes, creative energy, and happy comic fans all day. For me, it has been a great day as I’ve attended a handful of inspirational and informative talks and met skilled artists.


First talk of the day was on the topic of webcomics, and the guest of honor was Emily Carroll (on the left in the photo above), known for her horror comics. One of the many interesting things she talked about was how she had utilized the “infinite canvas” (scrolling through the comic, instead of clicking a button to get to the next page). All without being aware of the concept as described by comics guru Scott McCloud.


The second event I went to was a discussion panel with four female cartoonists. From the second person to the right (going left), Lene Ask (Norway), Sara Oleksyk (USA), Terhi Ekebom (Finland) and Nina Bunjevac (Yugoslavia/Canada). This was also a truly honest and inspirational panel, and the panelists worked great together.


Comic artist and illustrator Steffen Kverneland recently published an extremely detailed and thorough graphic biography of the Norwegian painter Edvard Munch. During his presentation, he made jokes about how his process on the biography included reading huge stacks of books as research, and even bringing them with him on his honeymoon.


He also included a few “embarrassing” photographs that he or his wife had to shoot for drawing reference.

Here are a few more photos from the festival…

As you may have noticed from the photos above, I had the chance to meet the “Donald Duck trio” consisting of artist Arild Midthun, editor/writer Tormod Løkling, and script writer and TV personality Knut Nærum. I was bold enough to ask for their autographs in my little black Moleskine notebook, and they were happy to comply. I also bought a signed copy of the fourth Hall of Fame collection of Midthun’s Donald Duck comics.

All in all, it has been a great day. I’ve got even more comics to read, which is awesome, and I feel inspired by all the talk about writing, creating and publishing comics. It doesn’t hurt to be around a lot of comic artists and comic fans once in a while, which is why I’m thankful that Raptus makes this happen. Year after year.

Top Three – Week #37

Once in a while I want to share links to things on the internet that are either interesting, worth reading or just simply inspirational. I’ve been severely busy with work and unable to focus on blogging, so I took the liberty of skipping the last two weeks. But here are this week’s top three things!

A cartoonist’s adviceinspirational comic by Gavin Aung Than (Zenpencils.com)
There’s a pretty decent chance that you’ve already stumbled across this great tribute to Bill Watterson, done in a style quite similar to how Calvin and Hobbes was drawn. I’ve been seeing links to this comic all over the place. Personally, I feel a bit annoyed when there’s a link to an image of a lesser quality (or worse, without proper credit) on arbitrary sites like imgur or 9gag. Maybe I’m just being pedantic? For what it’s worth, I think that the creator should at least get recognition for making this. That way, more people would appreciate the work he’s done (for example, check out this quote by John Green, or this one by C.S. Lewis or even this one inspired by Yoda). Just the fact that the Bill Watterson tribute has been shared on many platforms means that a lot of people like it and think it’s important.

Karen Kavett’s YouTube channeldesign and crafts tutorial videos
I recently discovered Karen Kavett (@karenkavett) on YouTube, and I can’t believe I haven’t been watching her videos before. Admittedly, I try not to subscribe to more YouTube channels, because I’ve already got well over 200(!) channels on my list already. Still, I found her advice for graphic design and crafting so useful that I had to click subscribe! She’s also a very skilled Photoshop user, and all in all very a creative person, so If you like good tutorial videos, I suggest you do the same.

Pomplamoosea pretty amazing band (music recommendation / link to iTunes)
Pomplamoose is a creative and extremely skilled musical duo. Nataly Dawn’s voice is a delight to hear, and the beautiful harmonies (and surprisingly pleasing disharmonies) created by instrumentalist Jack Conte are just perfect. They have a pretty solid following on YouTube, with over 365.000 subscribers on their channel (as of 13. Sept. 2013). Pomplamoose’s music videos are quirky and fun to watch, and I can specially recommend their cover of the Angry Birds theme and the Batman theme. Be sure to check out their original songs as well!

In other news, I will be going to Raptus – Bergen International Comic Festival this weekend. I blogged briefly about both the 2011 and the 2012 festivals, so I hope to do the same this year as well!

Freelance work and character designs

I haven’t posted anything in a while, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been working! I’ve suddenly become swamped with various projects, which is both very exciting and a bit stressful. Exciting because there are a lot of fun things I can work on, and stressful because it gets difficult to keep a productive work schedule.

Also, most of the projects are unpaid as of yet, so I’ve had to put them on the back burner, simply so that I could focus on a specific paid project. This was a six page long comic in color for a children’s magazine, and it was way more work than I had suspected. However, creating this comic has been a very rewarding and useful experience. It’s also nice to learn how to plan out a comic based on a provided manuscript. One of the things I had to do was to design a few characters, so below are two of the main characters from the comic.

Character design - Boy and girl

So yeah, that was fun! I’ll probably post the whole comic at some point (preferably after it’s been published in the magazine, of course). On that note, it’s about time I start posting things more often! After devoting most of my creative efforts on the aforementioned comic, it’s nice to again be able to draw something completely different. Until next time, stay creative!

Hourly Comic Day 2013

So hey, I actually participated in this year’s Hourly Comic Day, which was on Friday, February 1st. I’m only a few days late in actually posting the comics… and I might have bent the rules a few other places too. Sorry about that (if you’re unfamiliar with the concept, here are some simple guidelines that explain Hourly Comic Day).

Nevertheless, I’m pretty proud that I managed to finish these, simply because I’ve never documented a day in comics before. In hindsight, I see that my panels are wonky and pretty horrendous. I should’ve known better than to freehand them… And of course using a ruler didn’t help when it was wonky in the first place. I could’ve used a template or skipped the borders on the original drawings and added them later in the process. Now I know!

It was very fun to feel that I’m a part of something much bigger. I tried my best to keep up with the updates from all the creative people I follow on Twitter, but it became increasingly difficult. I ended up spending Saturday morning scrolling through a lot of hourlies.

Also, feel free to leave a comment if you like. The comment section is open for constructive critisism as well. Or perhaps you would like to share a link to your Hourly Comics ? I would definitely check them out!

Hourlies - part 1Hourlies2

Hourlies - part 3 Hourlies - part 4

 Thanks for reading!

- Jostein

Comic strip for a magazine

I made a five panel, fully colored comic strip! Click here or on the image above for full view… Actually, I tweeted the first panel from this in the middle of August, and now that it’s been printed, I think it’ll be alright if I post the entire strip. It was commissioned by a Christian magazine for teenagers. If you’re Norwegian, you can find it in the fall 2012 edition of NMS U’s “Magazin”.

I don’t mean to bore you guys with details, but I have to admit that it was the first time in a long while that I’ve made something like this. I spent about a weekend finishing it, working for a few hours every day, which is more than I think was necessarily required for one, lonely strip. Nevertheless, in the end I figured out a relatively easy workflow and got some useful training with my Wacom tablet. You could say that I finally became friends with it, considering that I’ve had it for so long without really using it.

I also learned that putting text in speech bubbles is hard! And that choice of font can make quite the difference for a comic strip. I haven’t spent a lot of time on the text in this one, but the font is called “GosmickSans”, and it can be found at dafont.com (incidentally, I used a different font in the Norwegian original). Please let me know if you think it looks too much like Comic Sans! Or, you could also leave a good old, regular comment below!

PS: Here’s a funny music video about Comic Sans, made by Canadian YouTuber “Gunnarolla”. Check it out!

Raptus Comics Festival 2012 write-up

This year’s Raptus International Comics Festival in Bergen (Norway) happened on Saturday the 8th and Sunday the 9th of September. In short, the Raptus festival is a very fun event to attend, and you get the chance to meet a lot of creators and fellow fans of comics. I attended specifically with the panels in mind, but just being around artistic people and seeing what they can create made it a fully rewarding and interesting weekend.

Fredrik Rysjedal and Eirik A. Vik, two handsome comic artists.

One of my main goals this year was to get the infamous comic book “When we met Lucy Knisley”. The 60 pages long, locally made comic is a retelling of certain events that happened before and during last year’s festival, when Lucy Knisley was one of the esteemed guests.

The story is, according to creators Fredrik Rysjedal and Eirik A. Vik, a truthful (though exaggerated) documentary about how they wanted to meet and talk to Lucy Knisley, but never got the chance. By the way, you might want check out the post I wrote about Raptus 2011.

At one of the panels I got a chance to see Jill Thompson (the artist behind “Beasts of Burden”) creating her own interpretation of “Madonna” by the Norwegian painter Edvard Munch. It was very interesting to watch how she worked projected on the big screen as she expertly controlled the watercolors.

Bergen resident comic artist Kim Holm was also among the several cartoonists who interpreted classic paintings by Munch. In the photo above, he’s working on “The Scream”. All the while, the chieftain of the Raptus festival, Arild Wærness (wearing the colorful suit jacket), interacts with the artists on stage and the audience.

This photo shows Thierry Capezzone, maker of children’s comics, and Italian Disney cartoonist, Giorgio Cavazzano at another panel specifically aimed at a younger audience. There were a lot of eager kids and their parents in the auditorium’s seats. Cavazzano answered various questions from the audience with impromptu drawings, and several Disney characters, including Donald, Daisy, Mickey and Fethry Duck appeared live on the big screen. For example, he illustrated several of his impressions of Bergen city, the only bad one being an annoyed Donald clutching a broken umbrella in rainy weather (it’s not for nothing that Bergen is called the rainiest city in Norway).

On Sunday afternoon, the end of a weekend filled with comics was celebrated with a final panel. The festival leaders gave their thanks to everyone who showed up and made Raptus 2012 a great event, and a lot of the artists at the festival participated in funny live drawing sessions. In the photo above, Julia Thompson and Thierry Capezzone have just drawn each other’s caricature, to which they harvested a cheery applause from the audience.

It was all in all a great weekend. I got the book I came for, learned a few artsy tips and saw quite a few skilled artists doing what they’re good at. I can definitely recommend a visit to the festival to anyone who’s got the chance and is interested in creativity, cosplay and comics. Also, if you’re a Norwegian reader and have written about Raptus on your blog, I would love to read it! Please leave a link to your blog in the comments, or give me a shout on Twitter.