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Latinidad - 10/12: Mastering Comics

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    Latinidad – 10/12: Mastering Comics Contents: 1. Saludos 2. Q&A: Matt Madden 3. Workshops: Comadres and Compadres Writers Conference 4. Resources: NY Comic
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 3 7:18 AM
      Latinidad – 10/12: Mastering Comics

      1. Saludos
      2. Q&A: Matt Madden
      3. Workshops: Comadres and Compadres Writers Conference
      4. Resources: NY Comic Con
      1. Saludos

      I'm puzzled as to why there seem to be many Latino comics illustrators but
      comparatively few Latino comics writers. Perhaps this is evidence of a need
      for a guidebook as inspiring, accessible, and comprehensive as Mastering
      Comics, the follow-up to the Eisner Award-nominated Drawing Words &
      Writing Pictures. Both books should be considered essential reading for all
      aspiring cartoonists. To learn more, read this month's Q&A with Matt Madden,
      co-author of Mastering Comics.

      Helping Latinos get published,
      Marcela Landres

      2. Q&A

      Matt Madden is a cartoonist who also teaches comics and drawing at the
      School of Visual Arts. His work includes 99 Ways to Tell a Story: Exercises
      in Style, a collection of his comics adaptation of Raymond Queneau's
      Exercises in Style; a translation from the French of Aristophane's The
      Zabоme Sisters; and Drawing Words & Writing Pictures and Mastering
      Comics, a pair of comics textbooks written in collaboration with his wife,
      Jessica Abel. The couple are also series editors for The Best American
      Comics from Houghton-Mifflin Harcourt. He is currently on an extended
      residency in Angoulême, France with his wife and their two children. You'll
      find recent news at http://www.mattmadden.com/ and http://dw-wp.com/

      Q: How did you get started as a cartoonist?

      A: Unlike a lot of cartoonists, I didn't grow up dreaming of being a
      cartoonist. I read some comics as a kid but it wasn't until my teens that
      I really fell into the medium. There were no schools or guidebooks so I
      just taught myself how to write, draw, and design comics through trial
      and error. The comics world has a strong history of a self-publishing,
      from photocopied fanzines to full-color hardcovers, and it doesn't have
      the stigma of vanity publishing that I see in the literary publishing world.
      So I simply began drawing comics and publishing them in little
      photocopied booklets that I would sell and trade through the mail and at
      comics conventions. Gradually my work got noticed by a few critics and
      editors and that led to my first two books, Black Candy and Odds Off,
      being published by small independent comics publishers.

      Q: If you knew then what you know now, what would you have done differently?

      A: I wish I had spent more time doing life drawing and generally
      concentrating on my drawing when I was starting out. I'm contradicting
      what I say as a teacher here: I do think it's valuable to dive into comics
      and start making work right away. There are so many skills to master in
      order to make comics that if you wait until you've learned each one you'll
      never get started! If I hadn't started making mini comics, I'm honestly
      not sure I would have had the motivation to keep going and keep improving.
      But all that said, at a certain point I realized that I was lagging in certain
      basics of drawing—the human figure in particular—and that was holding
      me back as an artist.

      Q: What three mistakes should newbie cartoonists avoid?

      A: Building on what I just said, I think it's a good idea to learn by doing
      and start making comics using whatever skills you have at hand, even if
      it's just stick figures or clip art. Some artists move on to more expressive
      modes while others find that a simple visual language is all they need. I
      meet a lot of young artists who get stuck at the stage of world-building:
      they have notebooks full of character sketches, maps, and family trees
      but they can't make the transition to telling actual stories. Finally, though
      comics are a highly visual language, too often I see writing in comics
      that is sub par, both in terms of its quality as prose or dialogue but also
      in its basic mechanics.

      Q: Alternatively, what are three signs of a top-notch cartoonist?

      A: One quality of many of the best cartoonists is a usually hard-earned
      capacity for understatement, both in drawing style and in storytelling.
      It's very easy to be over-the-top in comics and that's fun but it's an
      approach that lacks subtlety. (It's worth pointing out that that is fine and
      even preferable for some authors and readers, perhaps more so in comics
      than other media.) Most of the best cartoonists have a supple command of
      the often ironic interplay between word and image in comics. Finally, many
      of the artists I admire embrace their quirkiness in some way; rather than
      change their drawing or their subject matter to conform to some kind of
      norm, the cultivate that weirdness.

      Q: Who is your agent and how did you meet him/her? If you don't have an
      agent, how did you come to be published by First Second?

      A: My agent is Bob Mecoy and I first met him in the late 90s when he was
      still an editor at Crown and my wife Jessica had an appointment with him.
      I tagged along and he bought me a martini and asked me about my work–
      I hadn't published much at the time. About five years later, he called out of
      the blue. He had retired from editing and started a new career as a literary
      agent. He was calling to see if we would be interested in illustrating a book
      together. That project never panned out but it turned out that Bob had been
      following my project http://www.exercisesinstyle.com/ online and really
      liked it. "You should sell it, then," Jessica said, half joking. "OK, let's meet
      tomorrow," he answered. He sold my project to Penguin as 99 Ways to Tell
      a Story: Exercises in Style and then leaned hard on me and Jessica (whom
      he now also represents) to pitch a comics textbook which he then sold to
      First Second Books in 2005. To me, the lesson here is that whenever you
      meet someone you should be aware that they may come back around and be
      very important in your life, even if under a different guise than you expected.

      Q: Aside from your book, Mastering Comics, what resources would you
      recommend to writers who want to learn more about comics?

      A: First off, it goes without saying that you should have Drawing Words &
      Writing Pictures, the predecessor to Mastering Comics. It covers the
      nuts-and-bolts basics of how to make comics.

      My book 99 Ways to Tell a Story: Exercises in Style is used in a lot of comics,
      writing, and film classes as a guidebook to the richness of storytelling
      (sometimes in tandem with the book that inspired me, Raymond Queneau's
      Exercises in Style).

      Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics is canonical for anyone interested
      in visual storytelling and communication. His more recent Making Comics
      has lots of useful insights for working cartoonists.

      Ivan Brunetti's Cartooning Philosophy and Practice is an excellent
      step-by-step class in making comics.

      Lynda Barry's books What It Is and Picture This have been a huge inspiration
      to people in all kinds of creative fields.

      Finally, Gary Spencer Millidge did a very good overview of all the different
      stages of drawing and publishing a comic called Comic Book Design

      Q: Do you have upcoming projects that my readers should have on their radar?

      A: Jessica and I are series editors of the Best American Comics from
      Houghton-Mifflin; the 2012 issue just came out with Françoise Mouly as
      this year's guest editors. As for my own work, I am currently shopping
      around a collection of experimental short comics that I have done over
      the last eight years or so. (No bites yet.) Now that I'm in France on a
      two-year residency, I'm determined to enter a period of high productivity
      so you can expect to see a bunch of new stuff from me in the years to come.
      I have no plans to do another textbook at the moment, but teaching will
      always be an important part of what I do.

      3. Workshops

      The Comadres and Compadres Writers Conference

      WHAT: Meet agents and editors who have a proven track record of publishing
      Latino books. Get an insider's perspective on how best to navigate the particular challenges--and opportunities--faced by Latino authors. Join a vibrant national community of writers, who are traveling from as far away as California, Florida,
      and Mexico to attend. Made possible through the generous support of AT&T,
      PubIt!/Barnes & Noble, and Scholastic.

      WHEN: Saturday, October 6

      WHERE: Medgar Evers College, 1638 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY (at Crown Street)

      WHO: Speakers include Michelle Herrera Mulligan, Editor-in-Chief of
      Cosmopolitan Latina, Nicholasa Mohr, author of the classic novel Nilda,
      and Sonia Manzano, author of The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano and
      beloved actress who played Maria on Sesame Street. In addition, leading
      agents and editors will conduct one-on-one sessions with attendees. For
      a complete list of participants, please visit the conference web site below.

      REGISTER: Pre-registration is strongly encouraged, especially if you want
      to book a one-on-one session with an agent or editor. Visit

      List of upcoming workshops:

      4. Resources

      "I read How Editors Think in one sitting and was engaged from beginning to
      end. It is well written, highly informative, and humorous—I found myself
      laughing out-loud in a few spots! Thanks for sharing the secrets of the trade."
      —Mayra Lazara Dole, author of Down to the Bone

      Inspired by my experience as a former Simon & Schuster editor, How Editors
      Think: The Real Reason They Rejected You reveals what it really takes to get
      published. For more information, visit:
      Dates: October 11-14
      New York Comic Con plays host to the latest and greatest in comics, graphic
      novels, anime, manga, video games, toys, movies, and television. Their
      panels and autograph sessions give fans a chance to interact with their
      favorite creators. For more information, visit
      Deadline: October 12
      Arte Latino Now invites U.S. Latino artists to submit new media, visual arts,
      performing arts, and creative writing. For more information, visit
      Registration Deadline: October 31
      In this two-session class, you'll work on excavating the rich stories behind
      your special family recipes, and preserve that history for generations to come.
      Bring two of your favorite recipes along with a couple of family photos for
      inspiration. For more information about the class, visit http://geminiink.org/
      and for more information about the instructor, visit
      Deadline: October 31
      The Miller Williams Arkansas Poetry Prize offers $5000 and publication by
      the University of Arkansas Press for a poetry collection. For more information,
      visit http://www.uapress.com/geninfo/poetryguidelines.html
      Starting: November 1
      Unmanned Press seeks storytelling that exhibits literary skill, sharpness, and
      originality for their short fiction series, Short of the Month. Unmanned actively
      seeks to publish a diverse set of voices and is committed to advancing the
      work of emerging and underserved fiction writers. For more information, visit
      Deadline: November 15
      The Publishing Innovation Awards honor the most innovative e-books in 14
      categories. For more information, visit
      Deadline: November 15
      Elsewhere Litmag seeks fiction, poetry, non-fiction and visual art that
      deals with marginalization in some form or another. For more information,
      visit http://elsewherelitmag.com/submissions/
      Deadline: November 15
      A prize of $1500, publication in the journal Louisiana Literature, and an
      all-expenses-paid trip to the New Orleans Literary Festival is given for a
      short story. For more information, visit
      Bard College's literary journal Conjunctions is now reading for their In
      Absentia issue in which they will explore the presence of absence, the losses
      that gain on us, the black holes in our everyday lives: the darkness as well as
      the light that blinds. This will be an issue of missing persons, phantom limbs,
      sensory deprivation, amnesia, lost masterpieces, broken artifacts, islands that
      sink under the skin of the sea. Stories, poems, and memoirs will take vanishing
      and vacancy as both their subject and their form. For more information, visit
      One October morning in 1932, Vicente Sorolla entered the white house on the
      hill and was never seen again. Now, Detective Dori Orihuela restores her
      dream home while recovering from a bullet wound and waiting to go back on
      duty. Then one afternoon, Vicente materializes out of her butler's pantry and
      asks her to find a woman named Anna. Dori wonders if she's not only about to
      lose her badge, but also her sanity. Mary Castillo's new novel, featuring the
      wild Orihuela family that first delighted readers in Names I Call My Sister,
      weaves romance, history, and mystery into an unforgettable story. For more
      information, visit http://www.marycastillo.com/
      Please forward Latinidad® widely.
      For more resources, visit http://www.marcelalandres.com/resources.html
      Has Latinidad® been of help to you? E-mail your success stories to
      Want to see your announcement in an upcoming issue of Latinidad®? E-mail
      your postings to marcelalandres@...
      You are welcome to reprint part or all of this e-zine; please credit
      Latinidad® and include a link to http://www.marcelalandres.com/
      Visit http://groups.yahoo.com/group/marcelalandres/

      "The reason I love comics more than anything else is that the longest story
      will be just a few pages. With a novel, it takes so many pages to get to one
      thing happening."
      --Sergio Aragones

      Latinidad® © 2003 by Marcela Landres

      Marcela Landres
      Author of the e-book "How Editors Think: The Real Reason They Rejected You"
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