Tell us about The Sydney Comic Guild and your role?
Sydney Comics Guild is a community group I started just over four years ago after finding out that there wasn’t any network for comic creators in Sydney. We used to meet in a board game café, chat and work on our comics. These days we meet at Art Shine, chat and on our comics. So a lot has changed but a lot has stayed the same, at the heart of it we are still a community dedicated to making and promoting great Australian comics.
Alex Hammond at the ACAF stand in Canberra selling her comic
What are the five words that people who know you would use to describe you & SCG?
Christian, Driven, Stubborn, Nerdy and Creator
For the guild, I’ve heard it described as
Welcoming, Informative, Unique, Fun and inspiring
Tell us about SCG and how you can do to help comic artists?
Sydney Comics Guild is a community focused on teaching, encouraging and empowering comic creators in Sydney and beyond. We host monthly workshops run by guild members and professionals about everything from writing, drawing, printing, publishing and marketing comics. We always ask the comic community about what they want to learn. We also run fortnightly social events on Tuesday nights and Saturdays. Lately we’ve been experimenting with holding events like book swaps, stock photo shoots, life drawing and more! We really try and run things that are useful and interesting to the comic community. We also run yearly events like our anthology, which will be printed for the first time this year, and our first comic camp to be run in 2017! Finally we have a Facebook group which we use to share useful resources, opportunities and Sydney events as well as a number of social media pages (you can find Sydney Comics Guild on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter) which we use to promote Sydney comics. We also have a website full of careful collected links which we are renovated this year so it can be used to promote our members and comic events in Sydney.
The SCG team from left Han Nguyen, Annie Riart, Alex Hammond & Sandra Fong
What was the purpose on starting SCG and how has the concept come about?
Sydney Comics Guild was started after Graphic about 4 years ago when I found out that there was no current social network for comic creators. I knew nothing about comics at that point and wanted to learn so I thought I try and find other comic people. Sydney Comics Guild has been growing even since then and as more and more members come on board more exciting things become reality, like printing our anthology!
What are the most common issues that your members who come to see you about?
To create comics you need to be both an artist and writer or be able to find one, you need to be able to publish and market and network. There are so many skills one needs to create comics and most people come to us with a unique set of skills and needs. Although our creators always love to learn more about their crafts, the most common request at the moment is business and marketing related. A lot of people want their comics to reach a bigger audience and are itching to get their stories into as many hands (or screens) as possible without sending themselves mad or broke.
SCG at a social meeting
Tell us more about SCG services to the SCG Community?
Here’s the comprehensive guide:
On the 2nd Saturday of every month we hold a workshop and on the 4th Saturday of every month we hold a social meet up. There are fortnightly Tuesday meet ups and a lively facebook group here: facebook.com/groups/SydneyComicsGuild/
Every year we create an anthology based off a theme, this year it was silence. We are also holding year exhibits and planning our first camp in January. We also book a table that members can be a part of at most comic events in Sydney.
We have recently started a comic library and will be launching a comic store at ArtSHINE Gallery on the 25th of June.
How does one become a member of SCG? What is the process?
Sydney Comics Guild has just started paid membership which is really exciting as this opens a lot of new opportunities for the group and creators in Sydney. We have three membership levels to carter for our members. Free membership for new creators, still learning considering comics as a medium. Associate membership for creators looking to learn the craft of comics and full membership for creators who are ready to sell their comics and learn about the professional side of comic creation. We understand for a lot of people comics is a hobby nonetheless we consider professionalism important for everyone in the community so we’ve made our membership very affordable.
You can become a member on our website by filling out the membership form on the ‘join’ page, sydneycomicsguild.org/join/
Can you tell us about your upcoming opening launch on 25 June at ArtSHINE Gallery.
It’s very exciting! It will be the official launch of ArtSHINE as Sydney Comics Guilds home! We will also be launching our anthology, our new comic store at ArtSHINE, the 2016 Comics Guild exhibit and Bento Net. Sydney Anime and Manga Production House will be holding a social event and Sydney Comics Guild will be holding a story writing workshop. In between that all there will be games, food and a comic lab. A comic lab is a lot like an open studio, comic creators bring their comics to work on and chat to each other while the public gets to see what they are doing and can ask questions.
How did ArtSHINE Business Mentoring /coaching help you and SCG?
Besides from providing an amazing space to hold workshops and events, ArtSHINE has provided a lot of business advice to us. This year Sydney Comics Guild needed to open register as an association and everything that entailed and ArtSHINE was a lot of help. ArtSHINE has also provided coaching about partnering with businesses and other groups as well as practical advice that is helping Sydney Comics Guild grow as a community and an organization. We’ve been able to achieve so much more after getting help from ArtSHINE and a lot of exciting opportunities have opened up!
What advice can you offer to emerging artists & designers who are just starting out?
Network and be professional! You’ll forever be improving your skills in your craft but if you alienate your community you’ll find it hard to get help and build your audience. It’s a wonderful thing being part of a creative community, you can ask questions, support and encourage one another or just bask in the creative energy. There is nothing more inspiring then being surrounded by people who are creating and can share in your struggles. Your community will lift you up but you’ve can’t just ignore it and then expect everyone to help you at the drop of a hat. Be kind, considerate and professional. That will get you further than anything.
Do you have a book that you would like to recommend?
It’s really hard to pick one! There are so many wonderful comics out there. I’ll compromise with two.
I really enjoyed The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook by Eleanor Davis. It’s a great story for all ages about accepting yourself, adventure and science! It’s beautifully drawn and simply a wonderfully fun story to read.
Pat Grant’s Blue, which can be found online here boltonblue.com/1.html, is a thought provoking story about racism and community. It’s a powerful story.
Where do we find your services?
Our office is at ArtSHINE, 3 Blackfriars St, Chippendale NSW 2008
Our website is sydneycomicsguild.org
I am the current contact person and I can be contacted through firstname.lastname@example.org
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