The Hippo


Jul 21, 2019








Art of Comic Book Story-Telling 

Where: Studio 550 Art Center, 550 Elm St., Manchester 
When: Now through Nov. 4; gallery hours are Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday through Friday from 3 to 9 p.m., with additional hours from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday
Special event: Saturday, Oct. 28, 6 to 8 p.m.; free admission
More info: 232-5597,

In the making
Exhibition shows the process of creating comic books

By Angie Sykeny

 If you want a close look at how comic books are created, Studio 550 Community Art Center in Manchester is offering it in its new exhibition, “The Art of Comic Book Storytelling,” on view now through Saturday, Nov. 4, with a special event on Saturday, Oct. 28. 

Studio 550 often hosts exhibitions and community workshops centered around traditional arts and crafts, such as pottery, fiber and paper arts, drawing and painting, stained glass and jewelry, but program director Monica Leap wanted to bring something new to the center. She linked up with marketer and comic book enthusiast NaBeela Washington to develop an exhibition that would highlight the steps involved in producing a comic book from start to finish. 
“This isn’t a traditional comic book exhibit,” Washington said. “It allows people to step back and see the big picture, and to get a peek behind the veil of what goes into making a comic book, and how it gets onto the shelves or even onto the big screen.” 
The exhibition will feature work by several artists, including an artist from Russia, New England art students and New England College alumnus and comic book writing instructor Brian Furtado.
Visitors can see in-progress and completed comics in various stages, from the notes brainstorming the story arc and characters, to the dialogue script and first sketches, and finally, to the completed product where everything comes together. 
“We’re trying to show the whole process,” Washington said. “Everything has to be planned and laid out a certain way. It doesn’t happen overnight. These artists spend months and sometimes even years working on one comic book.” 
While the exhibition will focus on superhero-themed comics, there will be a range of media and artistic styles represented. For example, Washington said, some of the comics are drawn with bold lines and exaggerated features whereas others tend more toward realism, with thinner lines and detailed shading and colors. Mediums may include marker, ink, watercolor or digital art. 
“There are so many different types of comics, and the stories and styles are so varied and unique,” she said. “You can see the ways that these artists differentiate themselves and are able to say, ‘Hey, this is my style, and when you see this image, you’ll know it’s me.’” 
In addition to the exhibit, there will be a special event on Saturday, Oct. 28, from 6 to 8 p.m., celebrating comics and superheroes with free, family-friendly activities. Costumes are encouraged, and there will be prizes for the best costumes and goodie bags for the first 10 people in the door. Manchester comic book store Double Midnight Comics & Games will have a table with free comics for all. There will be a make-your-own-mask activity for kids, and superhero-themed hors d’oeuvres will be served. At 7 p.m., featured artist Brian Furtado will give a brief lecture on comic book storytelling and the process of crafting a narrative for comic books and graphic novels. Of course, attendees will also have a chance to see the exhibition, and to ask Leap or Washington any questions they have about it. 
One of the primary goals of the exhibition, Washington said, is to bring the general community and the local comic book scene together to learn about comics as an art form, and to facilitate the recent resurgence of interest in comic books. 
“It’s been hard for comics — or books, or any physical paper medium, really — to thrive in this digital era, but I think lately, comics are becoming more appreciated,” she said. “More and more people are coming back to it because they miss the tangible connection to stories and being able to actually see the work that an artist puts into something.”

®2019 Hippo Press. site by wedu