Arts

illustration by Natasha Oickle

Local artist set to host

internationally celebrated event

IN THE SUMMER of 1990, Scott McCloud, an American graphic artist, suggested an interesting solution for his friend and fellow artist Steve Bissette’s creative block: Create a 24-page comic in 24 hours, working at a rate of one page an hour. Bissette took McCloud up on the idea, and 24-Hour Comics Day was born.

Two decades after its inception, 24-Hour Comics Day is celebrated in over a dozen countries around the world. For the last three years, the contest has included a group of creative-minded people right here in Ottawa.

“I’d been looking at the 24-Hour Comic Day website and I thought, ‘I really want to do it, maybe there’s one in Ottawa,’” says Suzanne Marsden, Ottawa-based graphic artist, writer, and designer. “The closest one I could find was in Kingston. I thought, ‘Well, maybe I’ll just do it at my house—Dragonhead Studios!’”

From 10 a.m. on Oct. 1 until 10 a.m. the next day, illustrators, writers, and art fans alike are welcome to join Marsden in Kanata for the local branch of the international event.

“You’ll never find a more creative opportunity to really dig into yourself,” explains Marsden.

Many people read comics every day without realizing the amount of hard work and deep thinking that go into their creation. Potential participants should be prepared for an experience unlike any they’ve had before.

“It’s a lot harder than you think it will be. You will never have enough time, but it’s worth it,” she says. “You’ll find out things about yourself that you come up with at 3 a.m. that are completely different than what you think about at 11:30 in the morning when you’ve had your coffee.”

Frustrations aside, Marsden assures potential artists there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

“You make it through that dark night, and there’s nothing finer than when the sun comes up and you’re done.”

For those interested in working on comics, but are unable to make it to the 24-Hour Comics Day event at Dragonhead Studios, there is more than one opportunity to get involved. Ottawa Comic Jam is a group that is sponsoring this year’s 24-Hour event, and they also host a comic jam on the last Wednesday evening of each month at the Shanghai Restaurant on Somerset Street.

“Basically someone draws a panel, passes it to your friend, they draw the next panel, and crazy stories happen,” explained Marsden. “It’s free, paper’s provided, and it’s a really great way to meet other comic artists and just have fun.”

If you don’t have a lot of talent or are hesitant to draw a comic, don’t worry. Everyone is welcome at 24-Hour Comics Day—all you need to bring is a love for art.

“No experience necessary: You don’t have to have done it before. You don’t even have to be an artist,” Marsden says. “Anyone can do it and it’s not something that you regret. You may be tired or upset during it, but it’s a very rewarding experience.”

For the 24-Hour Comic Day at Dragonhead Studios, attendees are asked to confirm by Sept. 28. To register, go to Comixjam.tripod.com

—Keeton Wilcock