INTRODUCING: KARRIE FRANSMAN @ PROGRESS BAR
08 July 2016
In the run-up to our Graphic Novels edition of Progress Bar in Brighton on 7 July, we’ve asked our guest speakers to give us a little insight into what they do, their artistic process and what we can expect from them at the event.
Here, award-winning comic creator Karrie Fransman tells us why being experimental, getting out of your bedroom and having enthusiasm for what you do are key to being a comic artist.
Karrie will be talking about the power of comics and the books that go into making books at Progress Bar on 7 July.
How would you describe what you do?
I tell stories using words and pictures. But I like the word comic rather than graphic novel. It’s more down and dirty.
How did you get into creating comic books and graphic novels?
I drew stories as a child. Everyone does, right? But I returned to it after reading Ghost World by Daniel Clowes aged 20 and I am still at it 15 years later. Five-year-old me would be proud.
What is your creative process? Does it change depending on the type of project?
Yes. Each project has a different tone of voice, so I tailor-make the style for the story. This keeps me experimenting with different forms from photography to collage and model-making. And that keeps me learning.
Your work tackles some challenging topics, like the comic you created for the British Red Cross Over Under Sideways Down, that follows the story of Ebrahim, a brave teenage refugee. Do you think that presenting these topics in a comic or graphic novel can make them more accessible?
Absolutely. I gave a TEDx talk on this very subject. Comics are a hugely powerful medium that can bring stories to new audiences and create empathy. I’m working on a couple of new stories about refugees this year and hope they’ll have a similar impact.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’ve just been commissioned to do a digital story that I’m really excited about. It’s episodic and a dark thriller story.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to become a graphic novelist or comic artist?
Get out of your bedroom and go and meet people. Comic artists are notoriously shy, as we spend our time drawing fictional worlds to hide in. But the creative industry is full of geeky folk just like me and you! Go to conventions, get tables, visit galleries and meet editors. You don’t have to ‘sell yourself’. Just talk passionately about why you love your medium and your enthusiasm will become infectious.
What can we expect from your talk at Progress Bar?
I’ll be talking about just how powerful the medium of comics is and introducing the wonderful Daniel Locke and David Blandy who will be talking about their amazing collaborative graphic novel – Out of Nothing.
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