Balnacra Arts by Vicky Stonebridge

Octocon part 1.

Octocon is the Irish National Sci-Fi convention. Myself & Rich were honoured to be invited back this year as guests. The convention is brilliantly organised, friendly and a whole load of fun. Guest of Honour this year was John B Higgins ( Watchmen, Dredd, Razorjack etc ). As ever the weekend was a whirlwind of talks, meeting new people, catching up with friends, meals and laughter. I’d love to have more time for in depth reviews of occassions like this as some of the discussion panels can be very mentally stimulating and are worthy of more than a passing comment. However time is not my friend, so here is a round-up in two parts with photos!

First panel on the Saturday 11pm was “Answering Tharg the Mighty’s call “. Richmond with his 2000ad fanzines editorial hat on, Mike Carroll, Sally Hurst and John Higgins who have a strip in the current Judge Dredd megazine as well as many previous strips. The panel talked about how to pitch to Tharg and the massive influence of 2000ad on the comics industry now and historically.

At 12pm I ran a workshop on ‘How to draw demons and Monsters’– of course the joke being that i never draw demons & monsters & have always chosen to stay in the ‘light’ with my art!  I enjoyed doing the research for this workshop however & who knows what nasties I may unleash!  First I did some quick ideas storming with the participants;

Then we cut straight into drawing with piles of wacky photos for references, the great thing about scary beasties is that there is no need to get hung up about technical things like symmetry, perspective or anatomy, i prefer to get pencils on paper as soon as possible. Everyone came up with crazy and wild creatures!

Here’s my doodle, i might run him through photoshop sometime for extra grossness.

Next up; no stranger to drawing monsters and everything else, John B Higgins gave an illustrated talk about his work, assisted by the lovely Micheal Carroll.
Then at 3pm. a rather lively panel, which i have no photographs of being on it myself. This was ” ‘Women in sci-fi/ comics/ fantasy panels’- Do they ghettoise women?”. The discussion was moderated by Maura McHugh, we also had on it Ruth F Long, Sarah Rees Brennan, and in the name of equality James Bacon.  At conventions there tends to be loads of discussion panels on a range of subjects, mostly being discussed by an all male or at least majority male guests, then a token panel for women will be stuck in the middle ‘ women in comics etc ‘ . We looked at whether this is a true representation of the industry’s gender balance, lazy convention organising, why this happens, what to do about it, how to move forward. It was interesting as we had two convention organisers on the panel. It appears upon discussion that women guests are more reluctant to put themselves forward to talk, that when women do speak out they are often silenced. It was very disturbing to note how still in this day and age that women creatives who speak out, express opinions and blog about things are subjected to death and rape threats as a matter of course. Little wonder we don’t pipe up so often as our male counterparts! How can we build up other women’s confidence to express themselves in public? Ideally all discussion groups should have a completely random gender mix, but it soon became clear that we are a log way off from that with a whole raft of gender based cliched assumptions about what we like to read and write still out there. There is much work to be done ! ( team Hi-Ex have duly taken a note of this ! )
4pm both myself and Rich were on the ” Maintaining and Online community ” panel along with Micheal Carroll and Sarah Rees Brennan. This was an interesting overview of the heady, rapidly evolving and weird world of putting yourself and your work out there on the internet, how to juggle personas, time management, boundaries, pseudonyms, trolls and stalkers. Answers on a postcard please !

6pm, ” Humorous Writing” with Ian Sharman, Richmond, and Alan Nolan, dealing bravely with the problem that dissecting humour is seldom humorous- but they still were, extra brownie points for all those books they managed to plug.

We were feint from hunger by this point so missed John Vaughan’s famous vault of Horror. Now dear reader I suggest you take a break and put the kettle on while I blog up part 2 of Octocon.
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This entry was posted on October 19, 2011 by in Blog and tagged , , , , .

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