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Word Balloon Academy

Friday April 28th 8am-5pm 


8:00 AM




Coffee, tea and breakfast fare from Daniel et Daniel served on a first come first served basis.


9:00 AM


CREATIVE STREAM - Drawing Health


Location: Novella


How are creativity and health related? Drawing can be hard on the body, but creative expression is so good for the soul. Join comics artist Georgia Webber for this workshop exploring practices that connect the dots between health and creativity, to find a sustainable and satisfying art practice that is tailored to you, in whatever condition of health you find yourself.


Georgia Webber is a comics artist, editor, and teacher living in Newfoundland. She is entirely occupied by the intersection of health and art, and her online classes teach comics through self exploration, with health and sustainability as a priority. Georgia is best known for her debut graphic memoir, Dumb: Living without a Voice (Fantagraphics 2018), and her collaboration on Vivian Chong's memoir, Dancing After TEN (Fantagraphics 2020). Draw with Georgia & learn more about her work at


BUSINESS STREAM - Comics Script Editing Best Practices


Location: Bluma Appel Salon


What are comics editors looking for when they’re reviewing a script? How can I apply these ideas to my own work when writing a comics script? Comics editor Irene Velentzes discusses how to structure your script, look for the important beats to highlight in a graphic narrative, how to communicate essential information through page and panel breakdowns. From an editor’s keen eye, explore how content affects story, clear messaging, transitions, deletions and scene rearrangements, special permissions, page and panel breakdowns, planning reveals, character and location descriptions, scene beginnings and endings, describing action, word counts, and showing vs. telling.


Irene Velentzas (she/her) is a comics editor with HighWater Press, assisting new and experienced storytellers to shape their story for the comics medium. Irene is a comics scholar completing her doctoral dissertation on Verbal and Visual Representations of Mental Illness in Comics, as well as comics journalist with The Comics Journal and a former TCAF Programming Manager.

10:30 AM

CREATIVE STREAM - Horror Comics in Six Pages or Less


Location: Novella

Creating a comic from start to finish can be daunting, but have you ever tried starting small? Really small? In this presentation, Joy will discuss her process and some tips and tricks in creating short-form horror comics, focusing on idea generation and getting to that strong punch line.


Joy San is an illustrator and comic artist based in Brampton. Her work features a lot of horror, and bizarre themes that straddle the line between disturbing and funny. She also loves to create autobio comics and zines. In her spare time, she films vlogs on YouTube about her life as an artist, food lover, and sticker hoarder.


BUSINESS STREAM - Fully Uncensored: the Business of 18+ Comics


Location: Bluma Appel Salon


Being a maker of adult, 18+ and “NSFW” comics presents its own unique challenges. Join host Amanda Lafrenais (Spiral Guardian: Starry Knight, Iron Circus Comics) with panelists Kendra (Wensleydale) and Kat (Ocicatsy) who make up Misadventure Central, Ed Firth (Horny & High) and Tim Bauer (Woahman Comics) as they talk all things 18+ comics.





1:00 PM


CREATIVE STREAM - Writing Comics Without Knowing All the Answers: Long-form Comics Techniques 


Location: Bluma Appel Salon


Creating a long-form comics series online or in print can be daunting and confusing. But what if you could just plan out what is necessary and keep having fun? This talk demonstrates usable writing techniques to keep your pen moving without breaking a sweat. Attendees will learn how to break down plots into manageable goals, and how to use their characters' traits to discover important moments as they work, instead of worrying about every detail before they draw their first panel.


Benjamin Rivers is the co-founder of Toronto indie game studio BancyCo, and an award-nominated comics author. He creates dramatic stories about everyday people in the romance, slice-of-life, and horror genres (Empty Words, Snow, Worse Than Death, Sorry, I Love You!).


BUSINESS STREAM - Creative Law 101


Location: Novella


Back by popular demand, school’s in session with entertainment lawyers Michael Duboff and Burt Gidaro. Join Burt and Michael for a conversational session and Q&A on the fundamentals of being a comics creator when it comes to creative law, copyright, publishing agreements and more.


2:30 PM


CREATIVE STREAM - 3D Art & Comic Creation (Making comics when you can't draw)


Location: Bluma Appel Salon


Want to make comics but don’t know how to draw? Get a behind-the-scenes look at how you can use 3D models and photo-compositing techniques to digitally illustrate the story you’ve always wanted to tell.


Kelvin Nyeusi-Mawazo is an author, illustrator, and owner of the publishing company named Black Sun Comics. They create Afrofuturist comics and graphic novels. Their books mix science, technology, magic & monsters with the timeless sophistication of black & white fine art. Set in an alternate universe on a planet named Alkebulan, Black Sun: The Longest Night is a graphic novel series that follows a group of unlikely heroes who must band together to reclaim their world from a ruthless, invading alien armada. Born and raised in Toronto (GTA), Canada, Kelvin uses the skills he's acquired as a Photographer, Front-end Web Developer, and College Instructor to digitally illustrate his books and teach others how to do the same. He is a self-proclaimed nerd and lover of Science Fiction and Fantasy, instrumental Hip Hop & Techno, post-apocalyptic zombie movies, and retro gaming.

BUSINESS STREAM - Crowdfunding from Eh? to Zed


Location: Novella


This session presented by David Barach, president of Crowdfundr, will provide tips, tricks and toolkits on how to plan and execute a successful crowdfunding campaign.


4:00 PM


CREATIVE STREAM - Indie Comics N' Me, 2008-2023

Location: Bluma Appel Salon

Join Eric Kostiuk Williams (2AM Eternal, Our Wretched Town Hall) for a keynote presentation reflecting on the development of his professional career in the context of the rapidly shifting landscape of illustration and indie comics in the 2010s. He'll be getting into the nitty-gritty of freelancing, working with small press publishers, the role of alt-weeklies in shaping local culture -- and reckoning with a bleak cultural ecosystem in the 2020s. Is there any hope for us!? Not to spoil too much, but Eric thinks… maybe, sorta-kinda.


BUSINESS STREAM - State of the Industry Redux: Indie Publishers Round-table


Location: Novella


Join publishers from Renegade Arts Entertainment, Conundrum Press, Drawn & Quarterly and Silver Sprocket for a revival of WBA’s “state of the industry” conversation. Veterans from the frontline trenches of comics creation and distribution discuss best practices for artists developing and maintaining a working relationship with their publisher, and paint a picture of day-to-day business with professional wisdom and their signature informative exhaustion.

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