Raptus Comics Festival 2016 – Saturday

The Raptus International Comics Festival 2016 is currently taking place in Bergen, Norway. The festival, which this year is held from Friday 16th to Sunday 18th of September, is an annual highlight for comic readers, anime fans and creative people like artists and cosplayers… Just to mention a few. I’ve written about Raptus a few times before on this blog, and you can check out my previous posts here: 201120122013 part 12013 part 22014 part 12014 part 2 and 2015.

This time around, Raptus is being held at Scandic Bergen City hotel in the city centre. I went to two panels today (Saturday). One was an interesting talk about drawing with nib pens and ink, held by Norwegian comic artist Tore S. Olsen (Instagram, website). The other was more of an artist interview with Agnes Garbowska (Instagram), focusing on making comics, how she loves telling stories and how she got hired to make My Little Pony comics.

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In past years, the festival itself would suffer from lack of space, particularly at the artist tables. The new venue seems to offer slightly more space for people to move about. On the downside, the exceptionally hot weather and lacking air circulation makes being inside a tad unpleasant. In turn, this makes the visitors hang out in the streets and open spaces outside of the venue. It’s worth mentioning that the three rooms reserved for talks and panel discussions are very nice, with nice chairs and lots of fresh air and light. Also, the staff and volunteers (and there are a lot of them) are very visible, cheerful and helpful, even bringing coffee and fresh drinking water to artists during panels.

Some artists and visitors are posting updates from the festival on their social media accounts (check out Agnes Garbowska’s account on Instagram). I’ve borrowed this gem from the couple behind strekinstinkt.com (Instagram).

Come see our booth and stare at our happy faces at #raptus2016 this weekend!? #strekinstinkt #comics

Et bilde publisert av Strekinstinkt (@strekinstinkt)


PS: Can you tell that my favorite social media platform at the time is Instagram? I mean, I haven’t updated this blog in a year. But that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been meaning to get back to it… In the meantime, you can follow my Instagram. You can also send me a tweet @InvPaperclip.

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.

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…

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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!).

Sunday
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.

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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.

Raptus 2014 – Sunday

My «report» from Raptus – Bergen International Comics Festival 2014. (read part 1 here).

Sunday 21st
Another day, another stack of comics. The haul I brought home today was a bit heavier than yesterday’s, and I don’t dare to think about the amount of money I spent. I can’t complain though, as I got to meet and get books signed by both Lene Ask and Thierry Capezzone. Here’s the latter, pictured together with yours truly.

Capezzone and me

As a side note, Capezzone was very friendly and interesting to chat with. He asked me about what I do for a living, and he even gave me some drawing tips when I told him that I dabble in comics. What a great guy! (Also, thank you to the Outland employee who took the photo).

I also completed my set of «Dadaph Serraph» comic books made by Bård Lilleøien, and I bought an anthology from Überpress called «Überwestern». I look forward to reading them all soon.

One of the things I attended today was Lene Ask’s presentation about her new book called «Kjære Richard». The story takes place in the late 19th century, as a young boy is left to live in Norway while his father leaves to work as a missionary in Madagascar .

Lene Ask 3

Ask tells the story through a real correspondence of letters between father and son. The collection of old letters she has used exists today in an archive in Stavanger, a city which Ask during her presentation called «the missionary capital of Norway». She also read excerpts from the book with great feeling.

Lene Ask

Later in the afternoon, I went to a panel discussion about comics as documentaries. I had been looking forward to hearing about the topic, and I was hoping for a large turn up. Sadly, there were only 7-8 people in the audience. However, I don’t think the low attendance affected the quality of the discussion.

Documentary Comics panel

Expert moderator Kristian Hellesund (right) had (from left) Ingebjørg Jensen, Lene Ask and Øystein Vågnes on stage, and they talked at length about autobiographical comics and the journalistic quality of documentary comics.

Last, but not least, was the big show, which also marked the end of the festival. The remaining audience could witness drawing battles between some of the guests.

Drawing battle - Potato man

They drew live on stage, using suggestions from the audience for superhero/sidekick combos. I think the people in the audience must’ve been kind of hungry, because there were suggestions like «Potato Man», «French Fries» and «Banana Woman». There was also «Apple Woman», which Mike Collins redubbed «Apple-Lass» and drew a spoof of the infamous Spiderwoman cover by Milos Manara.

That’s it for this year. Next year will be the festival’s 20th anniversary. The dates are already set; Raptus 2015 will be held on September 18th to 20th. Raptus.no should also update soon, so be sure to check it out.

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.

Lund

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).

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.

Carroll_interview

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.

four-female-cartoonists

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.

Kvaerneland

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.

kvaerneland-selfie

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.

Raptus 2013 – Friday (Sept. 13th 2013)

(Most of this post was written on Friday 13th of September 2013, the opening 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.)

This is a short write-up of my personal experiences from Raptus International Comics Festival 2013. Today was the first day of the festival for me. I missed the official opening, but I got there in time to attend a few late afternoon talks. And, of course, to peruse comics and spend some money.

oleksyk-interview

I went to listen to an interview with Sarah Oleksyk (website/tumblr), who is a storyboard artist working on Regular Show. She talked about how she at an early age wanted to be a cartoonist, and how she developed her style through making autobiographical comics. She studied illustration in university, while working on her cartooning in her spare time. An interesting fact was that comics were looked down upon, and not even taught, at her university at the time.

My favorite part of the interview was when Oleksyk (sitting to the left in the photos above and below) explained how a storyboard artist works. She described in detail the process from initial outline of the plot, to how she collaborates with another storyboard artist on the sketches and the dialog (Regular Show episodes are always created by a pair of storyboarders working together). The final step is to make a finished polished version of the storyboard so that it is “legible” for the animators. During her presentation, Oleksyk also showed the audience her workspace, and talked about her comic book named Ivy, minicomics, and the importance of warm-up sketches (tip of the day: doing warm-up sketches is very important!).

oleksyk_interview2

After the interview, I stopped by Oleksyk’s signing table and bought a signed copy of Ivy. I awkwardly asked her if she could sign my Moleskine notebook that I’m hoping to fill with autographs by comic artists. To this day I’ve actually only had one sketch and signature in it (hey, you’ve gotta start somewhere). She was very nice and drew a character from Regular Show for me as well.

I also managed to catch a part of an interview with Lene Ask. She talked about her autobiographical comics, and presented a part of her new project based on old letters and photographs related to early Norwegian missionaries on Madagascar. The event itself was very informal, and there were a lot of jokes exchanged between interviewee and interviewer (Ida Larmo, another Norwegian cartoonist and illustrator). The latter had recently become a mother, and was keeping an eye on her baby in her partner’s arms, who were also in the audience.

At one point, the baby started crying. Out of necessity, Larmo had to breastfeed her baby when finishing the last questions of the interview. This all happened on stage, in a very classy manner in front of the audience. Hilarity and laughter ensued, in particular after Larmo had asked if anyone else were in need of some milk. It was a classic “you had to be there” moment, and I’m sorry for not having a better way to tell the story.

One downside of today has been the feeling of constantly standing in someone’s way. The venue is very nice, but also very impractical. There’s a lot going on, and a lot of people milling about, especially in between the events and talks. And to get from one room to another, you have to go through crowded corridors and narrow doorways. Also, you can only fit about two or three people standing beside each other in the lanes in between booths, so it can get awkward if you want to stop and browse the items on sale. Apart from this, I have to say that today was an invigorating start of a great comics festival.