The Writers Circle Speaker Series #4
Graphic Novels, Comic Books
& the Art of Visual Storytelling
With Mark McKenna
January 15, 2012
Sages Pages, Madison, NJ
The old adage, "A picture speaks a thousand words," was at play in The Writers Circle's latest Speaker Series workshop, Graphic Novels, Comic Books & the Art of Visual Storytelling, held on Sunday afternoon, January 15, at Sages Pages Bookstore in Madison, NJ.
To a packed room of kids, teens, parents and adults, Mark explained how he became a comic book artist. After starting at the bottom and working for minimum wage, he is now a well respected professional. drawing for both DC Comics and Marvel, two of the greatest comics publishing houses, on iconic series like Batman, Xmen and Stars Wars.
A little lesson in drawing came next, with participants learning some rules of proportion. "It's important to practice drawing your characters at different angles," Mark said as he demonstrated by standing on a chair. "Look into a mirror and practice capturing different facial expressions," he grimaced with comic ferocity.
Mark discussed how computers are changing the comic book industry and the skills artists need to keep pace. But he also focused on the basics. "In art school, you should take anatomy every year. It's important to be able to draw from life, draw accurately and by hand. Don't only depend on using a computer."
"I was amazed. Absolutely 'wowed'," said one of the participants. "It made me view art and writing in a totally different way."
Mark also shared his original work for children, "Bananatail", which he publishes and promotes himself. "Don't be afraid to get out there and do it yourself. Get a table at Comic Con. Start meeting people and showing your work. That's how it's done these days."