We caught up with Archaia Founder Mark Smylie to ask questions regarding a certain comics workshop next week…
Mark Smylie is the founder of Archaia and the creator of the award-winning title, Artesia, and next week he’ll be helping give a workshop hosted by the Emily Carr University of Art and Design. It’s part of a week-long series of workshops called the Comix Institute, culminating with the day-long Emily Con!
Why did you agree to participate in the workshop?
MARK: I’ve known Durwin Talon, who is organizing the workshop, for many years, and I’ve always been impressed by his efforts to mentor students and aspiring creators. He’s put together a nice crew for the workshops and “Emily Con,” including Dave Dorman, Scott Hampton, and Chris Moeller, so I was happy to join in. Academic environments that encourage students to explore narrative storytelling are still fairly uncommon so I think we have a duty and obligation to support them when they exist.
Tell us about the workshop. What kind of information will you be teaching?
MARK: The part that I’m helping with is a workshop called “Independent Comix,” which I’ll be doing with the illustrator Emily Carroll; Archaia has actually published some of her work in Josh Tierney’s fantasy quasi-anthology Spera. We’re mostly going to be walking the workshop participants through putting together comics stories from both a storytelling perspective and a mechanical sense (how to approach thinking of comics and graphic novels as digital and material objects and getting them ready for publication). And then we’ll probably also cover some of the ins and outs of the business side of publishing comics, including self-publishing, online and digital comics, submissions, and the comics marketplace. So it should hopefully be a “how to” workshop on a lot of different levels.
If you could give one tip to an independent aspiring comic artist/writer, what would it be?
MARK: Any arts or entertainment field is a pretty difficult path to find success in, so you have to absolutely love what you do. You’re going to hear “no” a lot more often than you hear “yes,” so you have to have the stomach and drive to get through the hard parts to get to the rewarding part, which is seeing your stories and ideas and art in front of readers.
Check out the full schedule of Mark’s and other workshops on the Emily Carr website!