This month we head to Dundee – birthplace of The Beano, The Dandy and many, many more comics. Damon Herd tells Hannah Sackett all about the brilliant Comic Clubs running at the Dundee Comics Creative Space.
Name of your Comic Club: Comics Club at Dundee Comics Creative Space
Where do you meet and how often? We meet every week in our own dedicated space in The Vision Building in Dundee. Tuesdays from 4.30-6.30pm for 10-13 year olds and every Wednesday from 4.30-6.30pm for 14-17 year olds. We also do outreach workshops at local schools and community groups.
Average number of members: 15-20
How long have you been running? Since March 1st 2016
Tell us about your club: DCCS is a social enterprise and studio project set up by the University of Dundee with funding from the The Rank Foundation. The aim is to provide educational workshops and to encourage creative learning through comics. Ink Pot, our studio, is filled with comics artists, many of whom are graduates of the comics courses atthe University and Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design here in Dundee. The Ink Pot artists facilitate our workshops.
Most weeks we will do an exercise to learn a bit about comics but there will always be free drawing time. Sometimes we are working towards a publication, such as our anthology Tales From Dundee & Beyond, which was launched at Dundee Literary Festival last October. The Comics Clubbers also put together 8-page zine-style comics of their own work for the festival. Some of them became super entrepreneurs, handing out flyers and encouraging people to buy their comics! We also had an exhibition of comics in Dundee last year and the children’s comics were included in that too. Our connection with the University means we are able to get some great guests, such as Will Morris and Cam Kennedy. Dave Gibbons is our patron and did a workshop and portfolio review here when we first opened.
Do you have a comic club activity you’d like to share: We love to start our workshops with warm up exercises and the favourite, by a long way, is consequences (or exquisite corpse), which always has everyone in stitches when the wacky characters are revealed at the end.
Which comics should we be reading right now? Tales From Dundee and Beyond: Comics Club Comic Strips Volume 1. The anthology of strips by the young people in our workshops from the first six months of Comics Club – available from our website! The characters on the cover were designed for us by Glasgow-based artist Letty Wilson, who is a graduate of the Comics Masters at the University of Dundee. The Beano is still a favourite with our comics clubbers, and there is usually a Marvel/DC argument going on among some of them. Anything with a pug in it would be a big hit too. We looked at Lumberjanes a few weeks ago and that was popular, everyone started running round shouting ‘What the junk?’ Personally, I really like The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Love and Rockets and anything by Julia Gfrörer.
What are your plans for the coming year? More of everything. More Comics Clubs, more anthology comics, more exhibitions, more guests, and more collaborations with other groups.
Many thanks to Damon and to the members of the Comic Clubs for sharing their work!