Raptus Comics Festival 2015

I visited the Raptus International Comics festival the during the weekend. The comics festival, which this year was from Friday 18th to Sunday 20th, is an annual event that I have been going to for a few years now (links at the end of this post to previous write-ups!). I couldn’t attend the opening on Friday, but at least I got to spend a few hours at the venue on Saturday.

Arild Midthun presenting 'Truls og Trine'First of all, I attended a presentation on the upcoming Christmas comic Truls og Trine, hosted by the artist, Arild Midthun. He talked about his drawing process, visual style and inspirations, and “borrowing” from other artists.

Afterward, I stopped by Mark Crilley’s comics panel. He was being interviewed about his visual influences and how he got introduced to manga style. He also gave general tips on how to get published as a comic artist. At the very end of the interview, Mark revealed to the audience that he’s making a new comic book to be released in 2016. Judging by how he described it, it’s going to be a blend of a graphic novel and educational drawing book, which indeed is an intriguing concept. I’m not going to reveal what it’s called, for now…


By the way, Mark Crilley already have a vast collection of How to draw-videos on his YouTube channel; which is a nifty resource for anyone interested in learning to draw.

I also attended Thierry Capezzone’s talk about Flåklypa, which is yet another Norwegian Christmas comic. He talked about how he had to distance himself from his own Franco-Belgian drawing style on this project. This was important because a lot of Norwegian would have certain expectations about the look of a comic set in the Flåklypa universe (originally created by renowned Norwegian artist Kjell Aukrust). Also, he pointed out that he had only had three months to complete the entire comic, which in itself is an impressive feat.

Thierry Capezzone talking about Flåklypa

Last but not least, I attended the Grapple Seed presentation. The two guys behind this brilliant story had a thorough presentation of the premise of the world the comic is set in; a world where everything but stone is pushed away from the earth by an opposite grativational force.

Grapple Seed's Eddie Jensen and Håvard Heggenhougen

They also pointed out that it’s not just a webcomic; the comic is being made with print in mind. Sadly, none of the publishing companies they’d been in touch with had given a positive response (or worse, no response at all). This is a comic I would like more people to read, mainly because of its vivid art style and meticulously crafted alternative universe… So, I highly recommend taking a peek at Grappleseed.

After these talks, I wandered around the convention and bought myself a few comics. I also got to talk to Mark Crilley while he signed my copies of Brody’s Ghost volume 1 and volume 6. I also bought Jens K. Styve’s new book, and bothered him to sign my “artists I met at Raptus” book (a Moleskine sketchbook I’ve been collecting autographs and drawings in since 2011). He recognized the brand with a smile. I told him that I’m finding it hard to use my own Moleskine sketchbook, just because it’s so expensive (I’ve used about 1/3 of the pages, and I got it many years ago!).

I had to skip most of the events on this day, since I was very pressed for time on a project I have to finish. This was particularly sad because I had looked forward to Mark Crilley’s talk about his Mastering Manga books (and of course, I wanted him to draw in the aforementioned autograph book). But perhaps I’ll have another chance someday?

Less people around at the festival stands, late Sunday afternoon...Nevertheless, I decided that I should at least go to the final event of the day, The Big Show. This is also marks the end of the festival. During the show, which follows a formula from past festivals, the artist guests performed live drawing on stage. The event was fun to watch, and there were a lot of people in attendance. The artists were prompted to draw english idioms, which were kept secret so that people could guess what they were. All in all, basically a big game of pictionary. Furthermore, the winner of the Cosplay Contest for costumes had his likeness drawn by Mike Collins on the big screen during the show.


Big rounds of applause were given to all of the artists during and at the end of the event. It was also announced that next year’s Raptus will be held on September 16th to 18th.

That’s it for this year! If you’ve written about Raptus on your blog, I would love to read it! Leave a link below, or send me a tweet @InvPaperclip.

Here are my write-ups from previous festivals:

PS: I refer to the traditional Norwegian Christmas comics a couple of times in this post… I wrote a personal tidbit about this particular phenomena a while ago: Traditional Christmas comics.

Hourly Comic Day 2015


I made some comics on Sunday, February 1st… and so did a lot of other people. If you’re wondering why, you can read about Hourly Comic Day here (not to be confused with 24 Hour Comic Day, which is also explained). In short, everyone goes about their day as usual, and every hour they document something that happened during that hour in one or more comic panels. Sarah McIntyre (illustrator and writer) also wrote about HCD here, and she provides some great examples of her own hourly comics.

If there’s one thing to earn from doing this annual “experiment”, it’s the sense of community one gets from participating. As an added bonus, there’s a lot of fun hourly comics to read, especially on Twitter with the hashtag #HourlyComicDay.

Sadly, I had to cheat a little bit with the timestamps on my comics, since I discovered today that I actually had skipped some of the hours. I had also left a panel blank, so I split that in two and drew those digitally. I also inked most of the comic yesterday and today, so I can’t say that I made all this in one day. Still, I’ve improved since last year (2014), and the year before (2013).

Anyway, enjoy! And please leave a comment with a link to your own hourly comics if you made some (ok, you don’t have to… but it would be awesome if you did).






PS: Here’s a collection of links to other people’s hourly comics:

Joe DecieDan BerryAudra FuruichiAlisa HarrisSarah McIntyre, Boum.

My process on a comic project – part 2

I talked briefly about my traditional drawing process in this post (My process on a comic project – part 1). The following are some thoughts about how I tried out a digital workflow.

Digital inking
Mid-way in the comics project I’ve been doing, I started doing the inking digitally. This happened while working on the fourth four-page comic. I had discovered Kyle’s brushes, and I have since invested in a vast collection of his digital brushes. The brushes are capable of imitating a wide selection of traditional media, and it has been a lot of fun to try them out.










I would still start with a pencil drawing, and then scan it at a very high dpi. At the time, I thought that working with a high dpi (somewhere between 340-350 dpi) would make the art look good. But the result was probably the opposite, as I had a tendency to zoom in a lot and add details that would be too small to make sense in print.

This is one of a few things I learned about digital inking. I also found out that what worked best for me was to find two brushes that work well together, and stick with only those two. In the end, I worked with one called Clean Comics on the characters and foreground, which in my opinion needed clean edges and a reasonable amount of line variation. I tried to draw most of the background with a less “flexible” brush named Comics Tech Pen 12px (Clean Comics and Comics Tech Pen 12px are both Kyle T. Webster’s brushes).

Now, there are a few stylistic differences between my first comic and the final comic I did. Doing this project has been a learning process for me, and I can’t deny that my drawing style has evolved a bit while working on the comics. Just look at these panels, the first one from the first comic and the second from the seventh.


(Side note: The first panel of the comics usually had this gang of kids walking along the street, setting the season and the mood of the weather.)

Let me just say that I like working hands-on with the traditional process I mentioned in the previous post. I also have to mention that I personally feel it’s easier to draw and sketch loosely with a pencil and paper. And last, but not least, a pretty detailed pencil drawing was required for me to have something to work with when inking digitally. But all in all, I think I saved some time by eliminating the traditional inking step. Also, I could easily listen to a podcast or have an episode of a TV-show running in the background while working on my big iMac screen… Which in turn made the tedious task a bit easier.

Raptus 2014 – Friday and Saturday

I’ve made a habit out of visiting Raptus – Bergen International Comics Festival every year. And every time, I write a little log like this about what I saw and heard. This year, Raptus is happening from Friday 19th (which was yesterday) to Sunday 21st of September.

Friday – September 19th
Similar to last year’s festival, Raptus 2014 is being held at Litteraturhuset i Bergen. The only thing I had time to do yesterday was to go to Thierry Capezzone’s talk about his newest work, «Daisy». Capezzone has visited Raptus many times before, and it’s always a joy to hear him talk about comics.

He has an excellent stage presence and tells a lot of little jokes, so there were bursts of laughter among the audience as he went on to tell us about his process. Capezzone’s enthusiasm for comics is infectious, and I left the venue feeling very upbeat and happy that I had the chance to attend.

Saturday – September 21st
Bergen was in a grey, typical rainy Autumn day kind of mood today, as I went on my way to the festival venue just before one p.m. The first thing I did was go to Børge Lund’s talk about his popular comic strip, «Lunch». I had suspected that a lot of people would show up, since «Lunch» is one of the most popular comic strips around at the moment.


It’s currently running in 80+ newspapers in 9 countries, and is being translated to seven languages. Both Børge Lund and his editor were on stage in front of a nearly filled auditorium, and they talked about how Lund had started making his comic. They also talked about how the strip has evolved and his process for coming up with ideas for strips.

Lund - Silhouettes

Lund pointed out the importance of being able to see who the characters are just by looking at their silhouette. After the presentation, I bought a copy of the newly released Lunch comic book («Sykt travelt»), and got it signed by the artist himself.

Afterward, I stopped by these guys to buy their comic.

Håvard Heggenhougen and Eddie Jensen are the writer/artist duo behind «Grapple Seed», a comic I had read online and been blown away by the overall quality. The style and concept is impressive, and so is their use of vibrant colors. I’m really looking forward to follow along with the story (they hinted that they soon will resume updating the comic on a regular basis).

CrowdI walked around looking at stuff for a little while after that. There were a lot of comic fans and cosplayers around, so it was a challenge to move between the shops and artist’s tables. As I mentioned in one of last year’s posts, the venue does feels a bit cramped when there are a lot of people in one place at the same time.

Next up was a well attended presentation of «Krüger & Krogh» by Bjarte Agdestein (not present), Endre Skandfer and Ronald Kabíček. Joining Kabíček (right) and Skandfer (middle) on stage was their editor, Iselin Røsjø Evensen.

Krüger & Krogh

«Krüger & Krogh: Brennpunkt Oslo», a special agent story set to the capital of Norway in the sixties, has become somewhat of a phenomenon in the Norwegian comics scene. The team has rightfully been praised for their style, thorough research and detailed presentation of Oslo in the sixties. It’s a tremendous body of work, albeit not perfect, as readers have sent letters to the authors pointing out chronological errors. I guess this shows that it’s near impossible to recreate everything perfect through drawing (and with such a high level of detail, it would be pretty impressive indeed).

The guys also talked about how their idea to make a detective story had been conceived a long time ago, and that it had been a lot of hard work these past three years to make it into a real thing. Skandfer mentioned feeling pretty great about seeing a huge amount of Krüger & Krogh comic books on display in the window of the most comics-focused book stores in Oslo.

Kabíček and Skandfer

After the presentation, I bought a copy of the book and got it signed. I also secured a pretty nice signature and sketch in my Moleskine of awesomeness (or ongoing collection of signatures from comic artists, if you will).

That’s it for now! Here are my write-ups from the previous years, just in case you’re interested: Raptus 2011, Raptus 2012 and Raptus 2013 (part 1, part 2).

My process on a comic project – part 1

A few weeks ago, I finished the seventh and last story in a series of comics I’ve been working on since Autumn of 2013. The comics, most of them four pages long, have been run as a series in a Christian children’s magazine. Below are a few sample panels, and a brief explanation of how I went about drawing the comics. In part 2, I’ll explain a bit about how I switched to working more digitally.

Traditional inking
I went for the traditional approach when I drew the first three stories. Two of the stories were made as comics, and the third was presented as an illustrated short story. I should mention that I didn’t do any of the actual writing on this project, but I had a lot of freedom in how I wanted to illustrate the manuscript that was delivered to me.


I almost always placed the text and dialogue in panels in either InDesign or Illustrator first (pictured left, speech bubbles left empty), so that I could pace the story and size the panels appropriately. I would then print small versions of the pages and draw loose sketches of the characters and environment within the panels. I usually used cheap copy paper for this. When I was more or less happy about how it looked, I went on to draw a more detailed and refined version on bristol board (Daler Rowney Bristol Board). I would then ink the lines with a couple of Micron Pigma pens in various sizes (02, 03 and 04). From there, I would scan the comic pages at a ridiculously high DPI, add a threshold filter in Photoshop to get crisp, 100% black lines, and start coloring. Below is an example of the aforementioned steps. The last image is the finished full page width panel (without speech bubbles).




Here are a few sample images that I produced using this procedure. I might also mention that the last step in my process was to import the comic into a template in Illustrator, in which I added word balloons and lettered the comic.



The animated gif below shows how I usually colored the comic panels/illustrations.


Now I didn’t plan to make this post when I made the comics, so it’s not possible to show the real “step by step” procedure. However, I hope you get the gist of how I tend to work when making comics. In part 2 I will write about how I started using digital inking brushes in Photoshop (and saved some time in the process).

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.