Tonight at The State Library of Victoria: Ledger Awards

The revamped Ledger Awards are on tonight at the State Library of Victoria. The ceremony starts at 7:30pm and features a performance of the Shipwright and the Banshee by cartoonistmuso's Christopher Downes and Joshua Santospirito.

FB event page.

Among the sponsors of this years awards are the wonderful Jeffries Printing in Sydney. Admire their stunning Pat Grant graphics below:

The shortlist for the Bronze, Silver and Gold awards are:

Ambient Yeast. Pat Grant (self published)

The ANZAC Legend. Dave Dye (self published)

Art as Life. MP Fikaris (Silent Army)

At Work Inside Our Detention Centres: A Guard’s Story. Sam Wallman, Pat Grant et al. (The Global Mail)

Awkwood. Jase Harper (Milk Shadow Books)

Brothers. Andrew Fulton (self published)

Blood and Bone. Tom O’Hern (San Kessto)

Bug. Scarlette Baccini (self published)

Burger Force #15-18. Jackie Ryan (self published)

Captain Congo: The Perils of Pug. Ruth Starke, writer. Greg Holfeld, artist. (from The School Magazine)

Dark Hope Legacies. Phil Spinks, Chris James Melkizedek (Dark Hope Comics)

Dies Horny and Afraid. Andrew Fulton (self published)

Fortress of Regrets. Katie Parrish (self published)

Frankie Holliday. Nic Lawson (self published)

Gasoline Eye Drops. Chris Gooch (self published)

Gazer. Carla McRae (self published)

Gente Corriente. Vincent Zabus, writer. Thomas Campi, artist. (Ediciones La Cúpula)

In the Tasmania. Christopher Downes (self published)

Itty Bitty Bunnies in Rainbow Pixie Candy Land Save Xmas. Dean Rankine (Action Lab/Danger Zone)

Kudelka and First Dog’s Spiritual Journey. Jon Kudelka and Andrew Marlton (self published)

Megahex. Simon Hanselmann (Fantagraphics)

Modern Polaxis. Sutu et al. (self published)

Monster Zero. Frank Candiloro (FrankenComics)

Mr Unpronounceable and the Sect of the Bleeding Eye. Tim Molloy (Milk Shadow Books)

Ned Kelly. Monty Wedd (Comicoz)

Neomad #3. Sutu & Love Punks (Gestalt)

OI OI OI #2 .Various (Comicoz)

Onna-bugeisha. Frank Candiloro (FrankenComics)

Pinocchio. David Chauvel, writer. Tim McBurnie, artist. (Editions Delcourt)

Pistoleras. Frank Candiloro (FrankenComics)

Seven #4. Alisha Jade (self published)

The Squidder. Ben Templesmith (44Flood/IDW)

Squishzine Brunstown. Various (Squishface Studio)

Teen Dog #1-3. Jake Lawrence (Boom! Studios)

Thistle. Sarah Howell (self published)

Tristian and the Gaza Strip. David Blumenstein (self published)

Two Posh Old Ladies Who Found Themselves in a Bit of a Zombie Apocalypse. Nic Lawson (self published)

Very Quiet, Very Still. Chris Gooch (Optic Pop)

We’m. Andrew Fulton (self published)

“When is A Door Not a Door?” Jen Breach, Douglas Holgate (from Explorer: The Hidden Doors, Amulet Books)

Comics Art Workshop: Pat Grant Interview Part One

The inaugural Australian Comic Art Workshop was announced early this year, an opportunity for developing cartoonists to receive instruction from professionals during a full immersion workshop. I like the idea that cartoonists down this end of the world will be able to benefit from this sort of tuition and hope this is the start of a larger comics education initiative combining comics academics and pencil and paper tutors.

Deadline for applications for the first workshop is May 29th 2015.

From the Comics Art Workshop website,

'We're here to incubate a new generation of world class comics.'

I asked one of the facilitators and tutors of the Comics Art Workshop Pat Grant a few questions.

Matt Emery: I really like the idea of a comics art workshop, offering instruction and mentorship outside of what may be available in tertiary education (actually I don't know what is offered in this country, I presume there are no dedicated cartooning papers?). I know you attended a comic workshop in Florida a few years back, I wondered going into that, what did you hope to get out of it? And what did you end up taking away from it?

Pat Grant: The embarrassing truth is that The Comic Art Workshop hasn't come about because of some benevolent impulse. I'm personally doing this for selfish reasons. I'm having a terrible time with my current project and I wish so hard that there was a place I could go every year to get the a useful critique and technical support to help with my graphic novel. I want the support that screenwriters and novelists seem to be able to get.

For years I've been thinking through the role of education in comics. I have been asking myself: If there was a place where someone like me could go to develop as a cartoonist then what would that place look like?

I went to a residency run by the Atlantic Centre for The Arts in Florida in 2010. It was 24 cartoonists in the middle of nowhere with some impressive mentors like Craig Thompson and Paul Pope, and we're all doing our very best to figure out how to make better comics. It was immersive and intense. Without a doubt the most important educational experience of my life. But here's the really important thing, there was no 'curriculum', there was no 'teaching'. It turns out that all you have to do to create the ultimate comics school is to get a group of talented cartoonists as somewhere remote and make sure they're well fed. The rest they'll figure out for themselves.

Liz and I are amongst the few people in this country lucky enough to be able to teach comics at a tertiary level. It's great to be able to work in the education side of the field and meet some up and coming comix ninjas but, and I'm only speaking for myself here, working for a university is more often heartbreaking than it is inspiring. My feeling is that universities are actually very limited in what they can offer to any talented artist. If you really want to create a space for advanced learning in our art-form then you probably have to forget the university and build something from the ground up. That's what we're trying to do.

Emery: What inspired the setting of Tasmania for the workshop?

Grant: We picked Maria Island in Tasmania because the place is remote, affordable and unbelievably beautiful. I went down for a reccie last year and I just can;t wait to get back there. It's the ideal place to spend two weeks drawing, talking, reading, eating good food and drinking the odd tumbler of Tasmanian whiskey. I've always found arts events and festivals that are held in major cities to be droll. People turn up for the day have 37 shallow interactions and are back in their routine before bed. There'll be none of that at CAW. Real discussions about art practices and art projects need serious time and a relaxed space to properly unfold and my hope is that our choice of venue creates the right conditions.

But it's not always gonna be in Tas. The coolest thing about the CAW project design is that we don't have a building and that we're not tied down to any given place. Our next workshop might be in Central Australia or South Island New Zealand or by the beach in Indonesia.

The Comic Art Workshop

More details at The Comic Art Workshop.

Leading the workshop in 2015 are our international Master Artists Leela Corman and Tom Hart. Corman and Hart are acclaimed cartoonists, and founders of a pioneering institution in comics education, The Sequential Artist Workshop in Gainesville, Florida. Also facilitating the program are workshop directors Dr Elizabeth MacFarlane of Melbourne University and Australian cartoonist Pat Grant.

2014 in Review: Pat Grant

What have been your personal cartooning/comics highlights of 2014?
Really thrilled to be involved in the group that produced the Serco story for the Gobalmail. Turns out it was a landmark piece of journalism — not just comics Journalism — in Australia. I also really enjoyed my role as a producer on a project, particularly with a cartoonist as good as Sam Wallman and the other geniuses involved. I started the drawing on a new book called Ambient Yeast which is, as always, unbelievably fucking difficult. I finished my Phd in comics studies and had my thesis marked by two of my heroes Charles Hatfield (swooon) and Gary Panter (gasp! hot-flush) who said nice things and, more importantly, passed the lousy fucken thing.

What are some of the comics you've enjoyed in 2014?
Andrew Fulton's mini comics about a room-mate who is an amazing ball of flesh. I can't remember what the mini is called but I got it in the mail as a part of the mini comic club and I read it on the toilet and then I tweeted at Fulto while I was on the toilet and he replied while I was wiping. This is the future we're living in.

I also loved the shit out of Sam Alden's book It Never Happened Again, Simon's Megahex, The new Jessie Jacobs one about this couple on a Safari Honeymoon in this amazing fleshy jungle, DeForge's new Lose is great as you'd expect. Jed McGowan's Control Room . Actually, one of the best comics I read this year was an assignment submitted by a student of mine called Meg Oshea she's one to watch. Also totally besotted by the utterly filthy work of another student Nikki Minus. She really stole the show at this comic book reading at the New South  Wales Writer's Centre the other day. Last one who impressed me this year is Chris Gooch who has been sending me stuff all year. Chris is always ambitious and interesting and just keeps getting better. I wish I could work and think as fast as that guy. A lot of my favourite cartoonists these days are younger than me which makes me feel old and past-it.

These lists are so breathlessly compiled so sorry to anyone who was amazing that I forgot. To be honest I spend more time reading non-fiction than I do reading comics, so, what the fuck do I know?

What is something non-comics that you have enjoyed in 2014?  
Fargo and True Detective were the most important stories of my year. I really liked seeing the Serial Podcast emerge as the biggest podcast of all time and then overshoot the mark and go a bit stale, all in 12 weeks. It's always thrilling to see a new format becoming what it is in real time. I liked the Chuck Close Exhibition at the MCA in Sydney. Dan Berry's Make it Then Tell Everybody podcast which I was delighted to be on this year. This great gaming podcast called A Life Well wasted. Oh man, I read a fantastic book about the aids epidemic called And The Band Played On which was an incredible and nightmarish journey. I really got into the novelist Lionel Schriver this year after hearing her speak at Ubud Writer's festival in 2013.

What are you looking forward to in 2015?
Me and my sweetie are having a baby in March so I'm expecting to be watching a lot mindless sitcom trash late at night while we poke the little monster to sleep with a soldering iron. Might burn through some nineties stuff like Friends or Seinfeld or something. Hey what about Alf?  That can't possibly be as bad as I remember, right? I'll have to revisit Alf.

I've been plotting and scheming all year to set up an artist-in-residence program for cartoonists based on my experience at the Atlantic Centre for The Arts in 2010. We'll be launching the project in Jan so I can't say much yet but the first event will be in late 2015.

Ambient Yeast

Pat Grant Art