OUR FIRST GRAPHIC NOVEL WORKSHOP IN ALICE SPRINGS
Graphic novelist Brenton McKenna first picked up a comic book when he was just nine years old. He was immediately drawn in by the detailed pictures and soon afterwards set about drawing comic-style illustrations of his own.
In mid-November this year the young Yawuru artist and author headed from his home town Broome to Alice Springs to mentor four talented emerging graphic novelists in ILF's first graphic novel workshop. Over several days the students, who are in Years 9 and 10 at Centralian Middle School and Senior College in Mparntwe (Alice Springs) in Arrernte country, developed their own illustrations and storylines, at times helping one another out.
“They had a lot of material to work with,” explains Brenton, who took them through the processes of getting the foundations of their stories down.
Brenton’s first two books for middle readers in the Ubby’s Underdogs series have been published by Magabala Books in Broome. The third in the series, also set in the Kimberley pearling town in the 1940s, will be out next year.
Having been mentored himself by Wolfgang Bylsma from Gestalt Comics, Brenton was keen to pass on what he has learnt about writing and illustrating to his mentees, one young man and three young women.
“And I wanted to explain to them how to present to a publisher,” he says.
With Wolfgang Bylsma co-mentoring and workshop facilitating, it turned out to be a very productive week at Centralian College. And a follow-up workshop is planned for 2019.
Both Brenton and Wolfgang were blown away by the students’ ideas and vivid imaginations, and by their energy and enthusiasm.
“They’re still learning the basic steps but they were all quite passionate … On two days they even missed their lunches! They wanted to do as much as possible.”
Originally we had hopes of publishing one graphic novel as a result of the workshops. Now it’s looking like there could be three!
Thank you to Centralian Middle School and Senior College and Teacher, Wendy Cowan, for your support of the students and the project.