"What I experienced at The Comic Art Workshop is at the forefront of professional arts development. It is an extreme boon to serious graphic artists to have this space, time and level of direct workshopping available. Any serious artist ready for the next level should apply. As a college instructor in graphic storytelling for 15 years, I have rarely (or never) seen this degree of space, time and direct workshopping available to professional artists"
14 artists participated in our first workshop on Maria Island in November 2015. Also on site were our two master artists Leela Corman and Tom Hart as well as workshop directors and some surprise guests. More about our artists.
Maria Island (pronounced Mariah) is an island national park about 100km outside Hobart in Tasmania, Australia's southernmost state. The workshop was held in a former penal colony on the northern tip of the island. The remainder of the island is wilderness, famous for dramatic landforms, empty white beaches, atmospheric ruins and friendly wildlife. It is a remarkable place to spend two weeks writing, drawing, thinking and talking.
Rather than designing a "curriculum" our role is to draw talented artists together and cultivate discussion.
During the 2015 residency our objective — as a group — was to figure out how to make better comics. The formal part of each day involved discussions and project workshopping. There were also presentations, practical exercises and informal skill sharing throughout the two-week residence. All participants were encouraged to contribute their experience and knowledge to the workshop. Remaining time was left unstructured for participants to write, read, draw, and share ideas. We believe building trust and friendship between talented artists is the best way to facilitate meaningful development of projects and creative skills.
"after working in something of a void for a long time, it was both challenging and eye-opening to participate in such supportive workshops. Everything about CAW, from the location to the facilitators to the organisers and the two weeks itself, was focused to honing and supporting all the workshop attendees. I don't even know how I created before this experience."
"The rich environment assisted to help focus the mind on to the broader matter of story telling. The light off the hills and the peak shrouded in mist, brought you to a place where you could think telescopically about your project with clarity and exactness.As a group of artists and writers we were able to look at each others work in as unsentimental light as possible and discuss the works in their formative stages, with great results."
"What Pat Grant and Liz MacFarlane have created is something very special: an intensive artists' retreat for cartoonists, entirely devoted to deepening the art form. As an instructor, I was awed and humbled by the strength of each participants' work, and as an artist, I felt rejuvenated and more committed to making comics after spending two weeks with them. There is no better place to go if you want to make better, deeper, more interesting work, and no better people to do it with"
"Words cannot describe how invaluable this workshop was. Not only for getting my own work read and workshopped by such talented, generous, and intelligent cartoonists, but for getting to read the work of others and feel so much a part of a cartooning community that is still new and fresh and exciting. It feels like the comic art workshop is one part of a beginning of a very rich comic art future in Australia."
"The ongoing professional support since the workshop ended has also been incredibly inspiring and motivating. I'm making comics faster and better since November, and for much of that I have to thank the team at The Comic Art Workshop. "
"As well as being physically nourished (we were all very well fed and watered), I felt artistically nourished. The workshopping itself was a fascinating experience. I had never workshopped one of my comics before – comic creating is quite a lonely sport — and opening yourself up to a whole group of people picking apart your work is terrifying. But as a testament to Liz’s skills at picking the participants and facilitating the workshops, what I got from the workshop was the best constructive criticism that I have ever received."