11/21/2016

Juan here with: Recent work by Juan; the Pittsburgh Comics Salon; Moomins across media; CAKE application deadline; Mike Diana’s arrest warrant cleared; QuickDraw; Secret Acres CAB 2016 report; Tillie Walden and Anna Selheim; March and the National Book Award; Santoro School’s Correspondence Course applications.
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⚡️What have I been working on? Lots of event planning and strip thumbnailing. I’m getting a little too precious in that process as I build a backlog of ideas to work from before going live so I’ve worked out a way to make fast, loose and spirited comics to be shared through instagram.

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First take drawing. Doodles while reflecting on a couple of ideas.
Through widely available tech, I’m arranging comics on the go. No panels, lots of space, text and image in a free floating tension. I’m using the instagram layout app and then editing the images to have. These are digital ephemera. They are jpegs. I’m making art and I don’t care about the publishability of this in print.
It’s more relevant to make the work and distribute it digitally.

Follow me over on instagram @juan.jose.fernandez to  keep up with whatever comes out of this process. It’s a digital process where only the editing and composing happens digitally. All the drawing is done with pen on paper. Usually Pentel Rolling Writers or Papermate Flair tip pens.

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⚡️Just had a session with the Pittsburgh Comics Salon on Saturday at Biddle’s Escape. Warm space, good people. It was good to be together for Pittsburgh’s first snow. I’ve been exhausted these past couple weeks and these gatherings get me through it all. Thanks to the core crew that always comes hungry for comics making

I had everyone study, copy and remix some comic books. Jenn Lisa knocked her Multiple Warheads studies out of the ballpark… Top secret exercises. Come to Pittsburgh to find out what’s up.

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⚡️My great friend, Jena Tegeler sent me a link to this funny page, Little Gems, that documents all the stop motion animation Moomin television shows via screen caps.
The site, Little Gems is brought together by Steve Wright. Lots of different tv shows captured to keep them from fading into memory. I want to focus on The Moomins.

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The Moomins – The Winter Bonfire

16 episodes have been captured and summarized by screenshots and text. It’s a beautiful thing to see these miniature puppet worlds bring the Moomins to life. Take a look at the one for “The Winter Bonfire”.

The Moomins was a stop motion animated children’s television series based on the Tove Jansson’s Moomin series of books. produced by Se-ma-for and Jupiter Film between 1977 and 1982 for Polish, Austrian and German television.

Above all, though, it’s funny to me because of how they mirror Tove and Lars Jansson’s strips – distilled through the web from TV episodes based on novella’s. 3 panels tell the story – Comics all the way through…

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⚡️Alright comics peddlers, don’t forget: the exhibitor application for is open until November 28th. People make good money out in the Midwest at this show, so try applying!

Apply here.

NOTE:If you live way out on the East or West coast and haven’t tabled at too many shows in your life as a comics maker, I would discourage you on applying to go so far to Chicago for CAKE. Look more locally and regionally. You’ll reap better rewards from the energies you spend. These things can get stressful and I want to spare you that.Print some comics and share them in your tristate area first ;)—————————————————————————————————

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⚡️Good news in the history of free speech in America – the Kickstarter for Mike Diana film raises enough to clear arrest warrant.

Does Freedom of Speech mean anything when authorities see only obscenity? Does an artist’s vision matter when community standards conspire to suppress it? In a small town in Florida back in 1994, Mike Diana learned that the answer was a resounding no. Freedom of Speech doesn’t mean anything when your art is declared obscene. And one man’s art could be another man’s obscenity.

Diana’s crime? Publishing a hand-made comic zine called Boiled Angel full of graphic, outrageous, often hilarious confrontational art, full of sex and violence, meant to shock and disturb. But it was a zine only sold to adults by mail. With a print run of only 300 copies, Diana’s zine was NEVER available in comic racks or in stores. And only one copy – count ‘em, one! – was ever sold to a customer in Diana’s hometown. And that one customer was an undercover cop!

You can get the details on the completed campaign here.

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⚡️https://quickdraw.withgoogle.com/
This Google Computer is a baby right now but with the right teaching, it’ll know how to decipher your poorly drawn bicycle! I live in Pittsburgh, home of Carnegie Mellon where they run computers round the clock just to build these kinds of neural networks.

Go on and try your hand at QuickDraw. It’s fun. I’m always fearful of everything AI related, so this kind of thing scares me, obviously. Nevertheless, this can definitely expand the ways that humans interact in digital environments. Instead of communicating to a database via language abstracted through letters, humans can begin to communicate queries with language abstracted through images.

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⚡️the Secret Acres crew reflects on Comic Arts Brooklyn (CAB) 2016. Sean Ford takes the lead in the recap with Leon and Barry. They write about the feeling that I got this year, that because of the circumstances in the lead up to CAB, there was dominance of many exciting, yet relatively unknown cartoonists. I reckon reviewers and buyers will be unpacking much of the work that was on display over this winter…

Perhaps due to the late announcement of CAB this year, (and like eighteen competing comic shows happening across the globe that same day), the show missed a few stalwarts like D+Q, Koyama, AdHouse, Fantagraphics and a spiked punch bowl full of eggnog. Who needs the carbs, anyway? Instead, artist tables dominated for once, interspersed with royalty like Charles Burns, Richard McGuire, and Dame Darcy. This left more time and space to find less obvious gems than one might otherwise.

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Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell, John Lewis, Daniel Borzutzky, Colson Whitehead, Ibram X. Kendi – photo: Robin Platzer

⚡️ Over on the Washington PostMichael Cavna writes on the breakthrough success of Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell, and Congressman John Lewis’s March.

“March: Book Three” is the first graphic novel to win a National Book Award. What a time to be alive. This is a huge achievement for the March team. Michael Cavna writes:

“March: Book Three,” the third installment in Rep. John Lewis’s powerful civil rights memoir, received the National Book Award on Wednesday evening in Manhattan.

Five times before, a graphic novel had been named a finalist for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature — beginning with Gene Luen Yang‘s “American Born Chinese” a decade ago. Yang, now the Library of Congress’s national ambassador for Young People’s Literature (and a 2016 MacArthur grant recipient), repeated that feat three years ago with “Boxers & Saints.”

David Small’s “Stitches” and Noelle Stevenson’s “Nimona” also have been finalists. Yet this year, the building achievement that is “March” could not be denied the ultimate prize.

⚡️ And over at the Guardian, they’ve spoken with Congressman Lewis on his thoughts on the win. It’s especially interesting in the context of the emboldening that racists and misogynists have gotten through the recent election. Congressman Lewis speaks of hope:

“I never lost faith, because for every racist idea there was an anti-racist idea,” said the author. “For every killer of the mind there was a lifesaver of the mind. And in the midst of the human ugliness of racism there is the human beauty in the resistance to racism. That is why I have faith. And I’ll never lose my faith that you and I can create an anti-racist America … where black lives matter.”

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⚡️“Novel Graphics”
Over on NPR Glen Weldon talks to himself about the usefulness of the term “graphic novel”.
Wanting to strike a faux-populist contrarian note about the whole the graphic novel, comics, sequential art taxonomy it comes off as a dizzying bore.

As you’ll likely be talking about this great achievement of the March team with grandma and auntie over your turkey when avoiding discussing politics, someone’s going to bring up their confusion over what constititues a comic vs. a graphic novel. Maybe this article will help?

Fundamentally, though, only new forms of comics will be able to continue to express the continuum of what comics are and aren’t. The question isnt anymore “how” to make comics or what to call them but what to do with them.

For what it’s worth as a bookseller, terms like comic book, trade paperback and graphic novel are all very useful to help understand what people are looking for. And in this world, that money is key. It’s how commodity art forms survive.

For what it’s worth, here’s a little throwback from The Comics Journal for flavor.

“GROTH: Let me ask you something that was nagging at me. It’s A Good Life is subtitled a “A Picture Novella.” Which seemed like a very self-conscious effort to put a tag on it.

SETH: Yeah, it is a pretty self-conscious effort. I very consciously tried to come up with an antiquated-sounding term. I went through a couple of the normal varieties of labels. “A picture story,” or I could have just put “a comic book,” which crossed my mind. It goes without saying that I didn’t want to use the term graphic novel. I just don’t like that term.”

– Gary Groth, “Seth,” The Comics Journal 193 (1997)

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⚡️You might remember this comic about Tillie Walden and Anna Selheim‘s experiences at Planned Parenthood. I shared it with you all a while back, when they made it. They are now selling physical copies of this comic for $6, and all proceeds will go to Planned Parenthood. If you want it or if you’re just willing to spread the word, I’m sure they’d appreciate it.

You can paypal $6 to Anna Selheim at bighappyjet@gmail.com.

You can read the whole thing here: .

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⚡️Comics Workbook has announced the Winter Semester of the Santoro Correspondence Course for Comic Book Makers – course starts Dec. 29th 2016!

8 week course – 500 bux – 10 spots available – apply by Dec. 13th 2016 and get $100 off course fee!

Email santoroschoolATgmail for more details.

Santoro School Application guidelines:

-3 figure drawings done on blank 3 x 5 index cards

-3 landscape drawings done on blank 3 x 5 index cards

-3 still life drawings done on blank 3 x 5 cards

-draw in a contour line style – Think Matisse – no under-drawing – draw directly in ink

-just send small jpgs of images – dont post to your blog pls

-specific url links to any comics work you have done.

Send applications to: santoroschoolATgmail

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until next time 😉
juan

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Juan Fernández

Juan Fernández

Juan José Fernández is a Pittsburgh comics community organizer, most recently named as one of “Pittsburgh’s Creative Forces: 12 People to Meet in 2017” in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and one of seven 2016 Fuerza awardees by Café Con Leche for providing Pittsburgh Latinx leadership. He co-organizes the annual Pittsburgh Zine Fair, leads the Pittsburgh Comics Salon, and provides educational outreach for the Comics Workbook and the ToonSeum. He currently works at the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council.
Juan Fernández

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