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Word Balloon Academy

Free skill-building and career management programming for comics creators!

Fri, May 10, 2024 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM 

9:00 AM

Panel: Artists Talk on Grants, How to Get Them and How to Use Them

Location: Bluma Appel Salon

Allison O'Toole (Host), Steven Andrews, Victoria Day, Josh Rosen

 

Our goal for this session is simple: making grant applications less scary! We’ll discuss our experiences applying for grants at the city, provincial, and national levels, and try to answer some of the basic questions you might have about navigating the system. Publisher Steven Andrews, visual artist Victoria Day, and cartoonist Josh Rosen will share their experiences to cut down some of the mystery around grants so you can feel more confident researching grants that could support you and your work!

 

9:00 AM

Presentation: Comics Kickstarters for Indie Projects

Location: Novella

Adriano Ariganello

 

Kickstarter, along with other crowdfunding platforms, are ushering in a new frontier of comics. Utilizing these platforms will not only help you fund your project, but find a whole new audience of eager readers seeking out indie comics. Join Adriano Ariganello for an overview of how to start, hit your goals, find your audience and roll your crowdfunding success into future projects. 

 

10:30 AM

Panel: Exploring Difficult Subjects in Comics

Location: Novella

Lonnie Mann (Host), Özge Samanci, Lucy Sullivan, Cyril Chen

 

Graphic memoir and auto-bio comics offer a unique and intimate glimpse into the lives of artists, and are increasingly recognized in the mainstream for their storytelling impact. Exploring the life-altering and excavating trauma takes a great level of care. Join Gaytheist writer and artist Lonnie Mann and a panel of artists examining the process of exploring the most difficult topics from our lives in nonfiction comics.

10:30 AM

Keynote: Indie Comics: Now more than ever! with Avi Ehrlich

Location: Bluma Appel Salon

Avi Ehrlich, Allison O’Toole (host)

 

For Word Balloon Academy’s 2024 keynote presentation, join publisher Avi Ehrlich in conversation with award-winning freelance comics editor Allison O’Toole. Avi is the founder and publisher of Silver Sprocket, a punk music label turned radical publisher and retailer championing indie comics. At the intersection of identity, politics and financial viability, Allison and Avi will discuss what it takes to build, maintain and celebrate an indie publisher that practices what it preaches. Along with the limitations and challenges in a publishing system under increasing, and necessary, scrutiny.

 

12:00 PM

 

LUNCH BREAK

 

1:00 PM

 

Workshop: Creative Storytelling and Improvisation for Comics

Location: Novella

Sami Alwani 

 

Join cartoonist Sami Alwani in this workshop for creative storytelling and developing exciting and inventive narratives through improvisational writing for comics. Explore a series of story prompts designed to stimulate the imagination, and leave with several of your own short comic strips. Feel free to bring your own supplies or use the provided paper, pens and pencils.

1:00 PM

Presentation: Creative Law 101 with Michael Duboff

Location: Bluma Appel Salon

 

A staple of WBA, school’s in session with entertainment lawyer Michael Duboff. Join 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

 

Workshop: Memory Into a Mini-Comic

Location: Novella

Lara Antal

 

Join cartoonist and illustrator Lara Antal for a workshop about distilling a memory into a mini-comic, using a single sheet/8 panel format. Learn how to use evocative and sensory storytelling techniques to turn your experiences into a short comic. Rather than focus on plot, explore memory as sights, sounds, feelings, and moods. Results will range from poetic to memoir, and participants will leave with the skills to apply this storytelling approach to any project.

 

2:30 PM

Presentation: The Art of the CV: Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How

Location: Bluma Appel Salon

Irene Velentzas

 

Are you trying to fund or publish an original graphic novel project? Do you find the grant system confusing? What's the difference between a "Funding Stream" and "Program Component"? How do you know if you're a "Literary Writer," "Early Career Artist," or "Literary Professional"? Isn't a CV just the same thing as a resume? This panel will answer these questions and explain how to create a successful CV for grant applications and pitches.

 

4:00 PM

 

Panel: State of the Industry III: Return of the Indie Publishers Round-table

Location: Bluma Appel Salon

Andy Brown (Conundrum), Avi Ehrlich (Silver Sprocket), Alexander Finbow (Renegade Arts Entertainment), Tracy Hurren (Drawn & Quarterly), MJ Lyons (host)

 

Join publishers from Renegade Arts Entertainment, Drawn & Quarterly, Conundrum and Silver Sprocket for a yet another revival of WBA’s “state of the industry” conversation and the final session of WBA 2024. As always, 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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