Graphic Artist Matt Dembicki Discusses "Trickster: Native American Tales"

"Trickster: Native American Tales: A Graphic Collection" is an amazing collection of more than 20 Native American tales cleverly adapted into comic form. Each story is written by a different Native American storyteller who worked closely with a selected illustrator, a combination that gives each tale a unique and powerful voice and look. Ranging from serious and dramatic to funny and sometimes fiendish, these tales bring tricksters back into popular culture in a very vivid form.

This unique collection of Indian lore was conceived and edited by cartoonist Matt Dembicki, the founder of DC Conspiracy, a comic creators' collaborative in Washington, DC. Matt will be here to discuss this work, the Indian lore which inspired it, and what it takes to create a graphic novel.

Monday, March 14, 2011: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm --- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Kids Read Comics Extravaganza

KRC ExtravaganzaKRC Extravaganza

Meet some of the most super cartoonists in the Southeast Michigan area at the Ann Arbor Art Center and work with them to make some comics and manga of your own! SEE a gallery exhibition of cartoons and comics pages by cartoonists from Michigan and beyond! LISTEN as some of Michigan's brightest cartoonists lead presentations on how to make comics! WATCH comics being created live on site! PARTICIPATE in fun and interactive storytelling and drawing events with local cartoonists! Whether you're a kid or an adult, if you've ever wondered about making your own comics stories, this free event will have something for you!

Saturday, March 12 --- 10:00 am to 8:00 pm --- Ann Arbor Art Center, 117 West Liberty St.

March Comic Artists Forum

Chicken GirlChicken Girl

Join us for the upcoming Comic Artists Forum. Guest artist Jannie Ho will discuss how she got the inspiration for her comic story, If you lived here, from her experiences of living in Ann Arbor and her participation in the Sketch Book Project. She will also discuss the similarities and differences between creating a comic book and a picture book. There will be a live demo of her drawing her chicken characters!

Afterwards take time to chat and share your work with fellow cartoonists or draw while listening to other cartoonists as they discuss techniques. Basic drawing supplies will be available.

Comic Artists Forum | Sunday, March 6 | 1:00-3:00 PM | Downtown | Grade 6 – Adult

Author Birthdays: Ford, Banks, Ellis

February 16th marks the birthday of authors Richard Ford, Iain Banks, and Warren Ellis.

Richard Ford is an American writer. He won the Pulitzer and the PEN/Faulkner Award for the sequel Independence Day, which is the second in a trilogy of books featuring the character Frank Bascombe, also seen in The Sportswriter and The Lay of the Land.

Ford's first novel was A Piece of My Heart, a "story of two godless pilgrims" which turns violent. His first collection of short stories, Rock Springs, is described by Booklist as having "characters so put upon by life that resorting to desperate acts even murder is totally within the realm of possibility".

Iain Banks is a Scottish author. If you see a book written by Iain M. Banks, that's also him, but specifically in the sci-fi genre. He was named one of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945" by the New York Times.

Banks's newest novel is one of those M. sci-fi ones, called Surface Detail. Part of the "Culture novels", it continues the line of stories of the Culture, an interstellar society that is both socialist and utopian. If you're not interested in sci-fi, his 2009 Transition, a historical fiction novel (perhaps erroneously published under the name Iain M. Banks), might be more your style.

Warren Ellis is an English writer of mostly graphic novels, though his Crooked Little Vein is a mystery (non-graphic) novel. One of his works, Red, you may recognize, since it was recently made into a film starring Bruce Willis.

Among Ellis's other many graphic novels is the series Fell, which is extremely interesting in its layout. Ellis created the graphic novel so that it would be cheap to buy--$1.99, actually--by using more panels per page to create less pages.

Author Birthdays: Grey, Oe, Morrison

January 31st marks the birthday of authors Zane Grey, Kenzaburo Oe, and Grant Morrison.

Zane Grey was an American author who wrote primarily westerns; his most famous was probably Riders of the Purple Sage. Many of his books were turned into movies, including Fighting Caravans (starring Gary Cooper) and The Thundering Herd (with Harry Carey).

Grey's westerns also include Betty Zane, which was inspired by his great-great-grandmother of the same name and was his first novel, and The Great Trek: A Frontier Story, which was inspired by Grey's deep-sea fishing trip to Australia in 1935.

Kenzaburo Oe is a Japanese writer and Noble Prize winner. His first novel was Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids, which Booklist called a "bleaker and more pessimistic" Lord of the Flies.

Oe's books are almost all influential. A Personal Matter is a semi-autobiographical story that touches on the subject of his son's brain hernia; also semi-autobiographical is The Changeling, which includes a fictionalization of the suicide of Oe's brother-in-law.

Grant Morrison is a Scottish comic writer and adult graphic novelist. He has done quite a few issues of Batman and Robin graphic novels, as well as many other superhero works with DC Comics.

Morrison's other works include the graphic novel series WE3, which is about three household pets turned deadly cyborgs, and Sebastian O, the steampunk story of an alternate Victorian London and the assassin Sebastian.

It's Go Time!

by hatdow, Flickr.comby hatdow, Flickr.com
Time to play the ancient strategy game, that is! Saturday February 5, 2011 from 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm at Traverwood Branch, Michael Zhang of the University of Michigan Go Club and his super-crew will offer an introduction to Go -- at the same time the simplest and the most complex game of strategy on Earth.

As Iwamoto Kaoru -- a 9-dan professional Go player -- said "Go uses the most elemental materials and concepts -- line and circle, wood and stone, black and white -- combining them with simple rules to generate subtle strategies and complex tactics that stagger the imagination." Need I say more?

If you're interested in learning more about Go before coming to play it with us, check out Go by Charles Matthews, Go Basics by Peter Shotwell, or, perhaps the most entertaining introduction, Hikaru no Go -- a manga series about a young teen haunted by the ghost of a Go master.

Comic Artists Forum: Paint with Your Computer

Jared SledJared Sled

Meet in the 3rd floor Computer Training Center for guest artist Jerzy Drozd’s presentation, “Paint with Your Computer”. In this hands-on session, you’ll learn how to digitally prep your black and white illustrations for publishing and discover some easy tips for using Adobe Photoshop Elements to add a splash of color! Jerzy will demonstrate some basic image editing techniques followed by an exploration of some of the handy coloring techniques used in professional comic book coloring. Materials will be provided, but you are welcome to bring your own artwork to be scanned and used during the session.

For those of you who also want to spend some time drawing and sharing with fellow cartoonists, tables will be set up next door in the AADL Free Space room.

Comic Artists Forum | Sunday, February 6 | 1-3 PM | Downtown-3rd Floor Computer Training Center | Grade 6-Adult

Cyber-Safety Series -- Copyrights ...and Wrongs?

image by dimitri c, sxc.huimage by dimitri c, sxc.hu
Copyright is an issue that often goes undiscussed in talks about cyber-safety. As the recording industry cracks down on intellectual property violations, a culture of ripping remixing, and mashups continues to grow. An intriguing development is the growth of Creative Commons – an alternative to copyright in which the creators of artistic and literary works decide for themselves how others can use their work. I’m not going to lie; I am a real fan of creative commons! If you enjoy remixing or need audio, video or visual content for your projects, using creative commons materials simplifies the process enormously – and you get to participate in a reciprocal community of artists and creators. What's not to like?

Here are some resources to help find creative commons and public domain content.

Photos: Every Stock Photo, Stock.Xchng and Wylio.
Music and sound effects: ccmixter, Incompetech, Beatpick and the Internet Archive.
Video: The Internet Archive’s stock footage database and SocialBrite.org.
More Info: The Public Domain and this list of 30 creative commons sources.

To learn more about the issue, try these.

Watch:
Copyright Criminals
Rip! A Remix Manifesto

Read:
Bound By Law? – A graphic novel about a filmmaker’s copyright woes.
Piracy: The Intellectual Property Wars from Gutenberg to Gates
Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy
The Pirate’s Dilemma
Viral Spiral

AADL programs provide inspiration!

If you live hereIf you live here

Jannie Ho who participated in last summer's AADL Comics Fundamentals six-week workshop recently announced on her blog that she has finished her first comics story for the Sketch Book Project. In the epilogue, she thanks Comics Fundamental instructor Jerzy Drozd whose question sparked the idea for her book, If You Lived Here. And now Jannie’s book will tour the country before joining the book collection of The Brooklyn Art Library.

Pretty cool huh? If you want to develop your visual storytelling ideas join the next Comics Fundamentals six-week workshop. It will meet on Wednesdays July 6-August 10 (6:00-8:00 p.m.).

The Night Bookmobile

You may already be familiar with Audrey Niffenegger, author of best-selling works such as The Time Traveler’s Wife and Her Fearful Symmetry. What you might not be familiar with is Niffenegger’s newest publication, The Night Bookmobile. Initially serialized in the UK newspaper, The Guardian, The Night Bookmobile is her first graphic novel. Topping out at 40 pages, the graphic novel could be called a “graphic novelette”. But this short work really packs a punch, and the artwork is unique and endearing.

The story is about a young woman who, after a fight with a boyfriend, takes a walk in the middle of the night and encounters a night bookmobile, with a night librarian, too! Contained in the traveling library is every book she has ever read, even going all the way back to Pat the Bunny. A strange story follows, and it is indeed thought-provoking to say the least, especially for those involved in library work, and anybody who has ever truly loved to read. Some have criticized the work - but you be the judge. For myself, I think I will be a little haunted by this one for years to come.

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