Monday, 17 November 2014

Thought Bubble thoughts + travels with my art

I wish I was able to give my thoughts and observations on the excellent Thought Bubble comic festival in Leeds this weekend, but having spent a whole day behind my table full of comics, drawing faces and chatting to the public, and not being able to stay for the Saturday night or the Sunday, I really hardly saw a thing.

I managed to make the Friday night drinks, and got talking to a few people (good to speak to Rich Johnston for the first time in yonks, and meet some new faces), but realised there were so many more I didn't get to see.

Comic festivals have exploded in size and number since I stopped running the Comic Festival in Bristol 10 years ago, and there's an entire new generation of independent self-publishers, many of whom seem to be making a good living from this business. I come away from this weekend's event wanting to make more of my comics, and to get myself back into the thick of the business.

En route to Leeds I did a Comic Art Masterclass day near Harrogate, and if I return next year I'd like to add more classes in the area to fund the weekend. As it was, I broke even on the hire of my table, and would have probably doubled that had I been able to stay for the second day. I'll need more titles to sell if I'm to return, but I'm certainly not short of inspiration now. I think, recently, I've been a bit clueless as to where the comics market lies, being so focussed on the old-school newsstand market of The Beano, which seems to hardly exist now. But new and alternative markets, from online through festivals to bookshops, seem to be the way to go.

I'm now writing my blog from a staff room in Dungarvan, at the start of a week in Ireland which will see me visit Waterford, Wexford, Enniscorthy and Naas. Yes, you should be jealous.

Kev F Sutherland, as well as writing and drawing Pansy Potter, Bananaman, Biffo The Bear et al in The Beano, runs Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, libraries and art centres - email for details, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter. He's been writing and drawing comics for 25 years, he must know something. 

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