Comic Jams

By Mike Valiquette

I’ve just discovered that some animationy people I know are taking part in a new Comic Jam in Toronto.  I’m a big fan of these kinds of events.  We’ve got one here in Ottawa that ‘s been organized by Sue Marsden for a couple of years now, last Wednesday of each month, at a very supportive local eatery, the Shanghai Restaurant.

For those of you who don’t know, a comic jam is when a bunch of us drawing geeks get together to eat, sometimes drink, and finish each others’ comics.  One person starts with a blank piece of paper and simply draws the first panel.  When they’re done, they pass it on to the next available artist, who then draws the next panel.  It’s a lather-rinse-repeat kinda process.  The original artist has no say in how the narrative will grow once it’s out of their hands, so the outcome is completely unpredictable, usually amusing, and almost certainly dirty.

For me, personally, this is my opportunity to get out and hang with other artists.  Like a lot of us, I work from home, all by myself, secluded in a metaphorical bubble of pencil shavings and coffee cups.  But I was reared on studio life.  A much bigger bubble filled with pencil shavings, coffee cups,and dozens of other artists.  So events like these jams are my substitute.  I get to talk to, and learn from, other people who do what I do.  You make new friends, witness others’ technique, and once in a while, you discover a new pen that you simply must have.

It’s not a new concept, and there are many other similar types of events out there.  Sketchnights, Drink and Draw, Dr. Sketchy… Just do a quick search.  If you don’t find one in your area, just start something yourself.  All you need is people and a place, and someone to bring some paper.

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