Juan and Andrew with an invitation to participate in 2018’s #30dayscomics

Juan here! November is right around the corner which means that not only will I finally let myself turn on the heat at my apartment in Pittsburgh, but #30dayscomics will soon be upon us! As the weather chills and most of us become indoor creatures in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s good to come together by working on and sharing comics making challenges, connected by the internet.

For those who don’t know, 30 Days of Comics is a month-long challenge. The parameters are pretty simple:
Make 1 comic a day for the month of November.
They can be anything you like, any format, any style, though most people do 1 page or 1 strip. Just do it everyday.

This November, I’m excited to be able to allocate some time (likely at work) to working on my esperanza00 series and to see where these neurotrash digital collages of drawings, jpegs, clippings from articles, poems and facebook posts take me. The idea will be to create a 4 panel comic composed of 3-6 colors in this fashion daily:

Needless to say, I’m excited.

Here at Comics Workbook we’d like to invite you to participate in this year’s comics making journey. With me today is Andrew White to tell you more about a little this year’s #30dayscomics. Take it away Andrew.

Starting on November 1st, I’m going to draw and post one comic per day for a month. I’ve done this almost every year since 2012, with varying success in terms of getting to the end of the month and in terms of the work itself.

The cartoonist Derik Badman first took on this challenge, which he called 30 Days of Comics, in 2009 and invited others to join him in 2011. Derik describes the month as, “a time for experimentation, exploring short forms, and a great way to produce work.” That sounds about right to me.

Often participants work with some kind of constraint, using the month to experiment with different approaches or new materials. See for example Kevin Czap’s A Lesson in Survival (2012), which appropriates text from Joni Mitchell and is visually very different from Kevin’s other work; or Simon Moreton’s set of printed zines produced near-daily; or Alyssa Berg’s Open Letter to Sleep (2016), an extended meditation on a single topic. Making one comic per day is of course a constraint itself. Personally, I’ve found the month most fruitful when I’ve gotten at a topic that I’ve been turning over in my mind for a while, which hopefully means that it will benefit from a rapid outpouring of work.

The 30 Days of Comics Tumblr archive is another place to see how others have approached the month in the past. On that note, the community aspect of 30 Days has been essential for me. We encourage each other to keep going, and I’m still happy with the year when I riffed on the work of other participants. I’ve first met some dear friends thanks to 30 Days.

Finally, implicit in the call to make comics daily for a month is the idea that making comics daily might not be possible through the rest of the year. We all benefit from a different balance between thinking about comics and making comics – and sometimes that balance is imposed externally by a day job or other life circumstance. We’re all affected, often negatively, by the idea that productivity is essential to our success as an artist, but we might wish we were more productive as well. For me, 30 Days helps with the difficult project of maintaining that balance. One comic per day isn’t too much work, but 30 comics in total is also significant. It’s okay if you miss a day. It’s okay if you aren’t happy with some of your work.

This year I’ll be making four panel comics, inspired by people like Juan Fernandez and Madeleine Witt. My strips will be loosely based on this paper in the academic journal Science.

I hope you’ll join us, and that you’ll use the hashtag #30dayscomics so that we can all find each other’s work!

10-24-2018 – Fifi Martinez

10-24-2018 – Niall Breen

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