It doesn’t take much to realize that Stuart Driedger, a student of the Camosun comic arts program, is eager to show his work to the community.
Saturday’s Camosun Comic Arts Festival is a chance for him and 19 other students to do just that.
Driedger, who creates work under the name Dallas Segno, will have multiple comics at the show with unconventional elements: some require 3-D glasses to view, another examines the effect of recreational drugs using text-speak.
The show is at the Lansdowne campus on Saturday from 12 to 5 p.m.
The Comic Arts Festival features tables where attendees explore and buy prints and comics created by students during their eight months in the program. There will also be a “comics jam” where people can draw their own panel and move onto the next panel. There will also be an opportunity to practise drawing from life as real-live superheroes will be posing.
The range and diversity of storytelling skills that comes from the students is a constant delight for instructor and program co-creator Ken Steacy.
“They get right away that graphic novels are literature, they are art, they are entertainment,” says Steacy.
First proposed by the Steacys, Ken and Joan, in 2010, the program now has waiting lists as it’s limited to 20 students. The eight-month program includes classes in writing, graphic design, character modelling, and more, which ensures that graduates can create a comic book from end-to-end.
“Visual arts programs will kind of cast a wide net and present a lot of options to students for them to find their voice,” Ken said. “We’re more like a harpoon; we know exactly the student who our program best serves.”
Joan says that most students already have “really formative drawing skills…so what we do is we kind of fine-tune them so that it’s really professional.”
For his part, Driedger is excited that the course produced a tangible final product. “If I took a writing class, I’m not sure I would have had a novel by the end of the year.”
The closing keynote will be held festival sponsor at Bolen Books in Hillside Centre on Sunday, April 17 at 6 p.m. featuring creators Tony Cliff (Delilah Dirk), Faith Erin Hicks (Demonology 101), Sam Logan (Sam and Fuzzy), and Renee Nault (Witchling).