The Maine Comics Arts Festival (MeCAF), an annual comics event that brings over one hundred cartoonists to Portland each year, has announced a new partnership with the Portland Public Library for the 2016 show. The show will be held at the Portland Public Library’s Main Branch at Five Monument Square on Friday and Saturday, June 3rd and 4th, 2016. Over 120 comic writers, artists, publishers and cartoonists are expected to attend and exhibit at the eighth annual event. The 2016 event will be free to attend and open to the public.
Show organizers Rick Lowell and Laura O’Meara of Casablanca Comics in Portland started the festival in 2009 as a way to promote comics and provide the public with an opportunity to meet the creative talent behind the comics. “We are excited to bring this festival to the Portland Public Library. It is the perfect venue for this event, and we welcome the partnership of working with the library.” says Lowell. The show has been especially popular with families. The festival is not a typical comic book convention in that there are no stores or dealers set up selling books. Instead, the exhibitors are the creative people behind the comics. The artists will have their own work on display and available for sale.
“Comics and graphic novels are so hugely popular with Portland Public Library patrons of all ages, and Casablanca Comics is one of our long-standing community collaborators, so hosting MeCAF here seems like such a natural fit.” says Kelley Blue, Teen Librarian & Teen Team Leader at the Portland Public Library. “We’re excited to use our space in this creative way, and for the programming potential around the festival that we can bring as a partner.”
The mix of writers and artists covers a wide spectrum and includes many best-selling and award-winning comic creators. There will be programming running all day Saturday including cartooning workshops and an “Iron Cartoonist” competition. In addition, there are plans for events on Friday as part of the First Friday Art Walk.
The Maine Comics Arts Festival is a production of Casablanca Comics of Portland, Maine. Casablanca Comics is an award winning comic book retail store with two locations in southern Maine. Store owners Rick Lowell and Laura O’Meara have been sharing their love of comics with the public since 1987.
The Maine Comics Arts Festival has announced its pre-convention panel schedule for Saturday, May 22nd hosted by the Portland Public Library (Main Branch, 5 Monument Square, Portland, ME)
All Saturday events will be held in the Rines Auditorium unless otherwise noted.
Kids Cartooning Workshop – 10:00 AM
Children ages 7-12 are invited to try their hand at cartoon art. Using simple shapes, comic book artist Jay Piscopo will demonstrate how to build figures and perspective to create art that tells a story. Stand by for adventure in this hour-long, interactive workshop! Click here to watch a video clip
Portland, Maine artist Jay Piscopo is the author and illustrator of The Undersea Adventures of Capt’n Eli all-ages graphic novel series. Piscopo also co-created The Scrap City Pack Rats, art directed the award-winning Fizz and Martina Math Adventures, and was an animator for ABC TV’s Squigglevision.
The World of Graphic Novels – 11:00 AM
Presenter: John Shableski, Diamond Book Distributors
“The graphic novel is to publishing today very much as rock and roll was when it first entered the music industry mainstream: a strange format already familiar to the popular culture but not yet understood by the established distribution channels.” ~ John Shableski, Diamond Book Distributors
This free presentation is for librarians and educators who are interested in the world of graphic novels and are looking for definitions, explanations, and advice on where to begin or expand your collection or how to effectively use graphic novels in the classroom. John conducts this workshop nationally with librarians and educators and is known for his interactive, conversational style. This is his first time presenting in Maine. You won’t want to miss this unique opportunity!
THE PRESENTER: John Shableski is sales manager at Diamond Book Distributors, the world’s largest distributor of English-language comic books, and one of the biggest distributors of graphic novels in the U.S. through its Diamond Book Distributors division. John has been a panelist at BookExpo America, a moderator for graphic novel panels at the New York Comic Con, a guest speaker at library events, regional book shows and a symposium coordinator. He’s currently collaborating on several graphic novel symposiums across the country. His focus is on the independent bookstore market, public and school libraries.
Cartooning Styles – 12:30pm
A humorous presentation about art styles, featuring images of popular cartoon characters like Sponge Bob Squarepants and Mickey Mouse, and how different artists interpret them. We’ll talk about designing characters, and then give an interactive drawing demo, in which the audience will instruct Raina in creating characters and images.
Age range: 5 – 12
Center for Cartoon Studies Presents: Page Building Workshop – 1:30pm
This hands-on workshop will take a closer look at the basic building blocks of the comics page. Cartoonist and teacher Robyn Chapman will explain how to use page composition to control pacing and create effective stories. No matter how little experience you have, you will leave this workshop having composed a comics page! All supplies will be provided.
Live Comics Reading: Smile & Astronaut Elementary – 2:30
Raina Telgemeier and Dave Roman will read (and perform) chapters from their all-ages graphic novels, as the illustrated panels are projected onto a large screen for all to see. They’ll also ask for some volunteers from the audience to play some of the characters.
Age range: 5 and up.
Featured Guest Discussion – 3:00pm
Jeff Lemire, Brian Wood and Skottie Young
This panel discussion will cover the works of the festival’s featured guests and will include a question and answer session.
The Pros and Cons of Small Press Publishing – 4:00pm
When a writer or artist decides to pursue the comic book industry, the 21st century has provided them with several different options, one of them being small press publishing. But how does one decide the best route to take. Join the creator of Sky Pirates of Valendor, Everett Soares along with Promotions Consultant, Susan Soares as they discuss the Pros and Cons of small press publishing as they share their journey through the industry.
Sunday, May 23 – 10:00 AM- 5:00 PM
Maine Comics Arts Festival
Ocean Gateway, Portland
Meet over 100 comic writers, artists and publishers, see exhibits and shop for cool comics and graphic novels. Click here to see the full guest list