Upstart Comics wants to connect with other comic book artists, writers and enthusiasts to provide support and constructive criticism. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)

Upstart Comics wants to connect with other comic book artists, writers and enthusiasts to provide support and constructive criticism. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)

Okanagan group promotes creativity among local comic book artists

Upstart Comics offers local artists a community to share content, receive feedback

Writing, drawing, inking and colouring a comic book isn’t just a one-person job, which is why an Okanagan-based group is offering fellow comic book artists and writers the support they need.

Before the group was called Upstart Comics, it was called Okanagan Comic Creators. Founded by comic writer Ed Brisson. The group’s purpose was to provide Okanagan comic book writers and artists with a space to talk about their love for comics and exercise their creativity.

Leland Bjerg was part of the group when it was still known by its former name, and he said members would get together to talk about the comics they love and to have “comics jams.”

“Comics jams is where you make up a comic on the spot,” he said.

“About three years ago, I started making comics, and when I joined the group, I really wanted to have workshops. I wanted people who care about comics to look at my work and give me honest critiques.

“As anybody making anything knows, you show it to your friends, you show it to your family, and they go ‘that’s cool,’ and they’re not going to tear apart like you need to be torn apart when you’re learning.”

Bjerg started organizing workshops, and slowly, the group began to meet more frequently. Now, they’re eying expansion.

“Since the pandemic started, we realized that we don’t need to just be Okanagan-based. We can open up and expand to include people from all over the place,” said Tylore King, a member of the group.

“The group has evolved, and we’ve turned into this hodge-podge of different creators, and we all have very different tastes and styles with the comics we create, but lots of different perspectives make lots of good feedback.”

Since many of them can’t meet in person due to COVID-19 restrictions, organizers started a Discord channel where members can share what they’re working on and get the feedback they need.

The group’s members are at different stages in their art and comic journey, but all of them have one goal in mind: to work in the comics industry.

Nathan Nelson has been with the group since it first started, and he currently self-publishes his comics. He said Upstart is important to keep his own creativity fresh and push his art to be better.

“I started out drawing in a room by myself. Now, I have people I work with, people I can get advice from, people who I can share skills and resources with,” he said.

Currently, members of the group are getting ready to participate in a competition where they’ll have a week to come up with, write, draw and colour a four- to eight-page comic based on a prompt. The winning groups will be included in an anthology, which can give artists exposure.

For more information on Upstart Comics, visit their website.

READ: ‘It’s silly:’ Director of Bigfoot movie thanks Alberta energy ce3ntre for controversy


Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
Email me at twila.amato@blackpress.ca
Follow me on Twitter

Okanagan

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Machinery could be seen working to clear land behind a pair of houses on Main Street for the future site of the Shuswap and Secwepmc Healing Centre, a medical facility on Friday, April 9. The Sicamous Fire Department has been using the buildings for training exercises ahead of their demolition. (Jim Elliot/Eagle Valley News)
Snapshot: Clearing space

Land is being cleared for a new medical centre on Sicamous’ Main Street.

Winter driving conditions returned to the Coquihalla Highway on April 10. (ICBC image)
Coquihalla motorists warned of fresh snow

Five to 10 cm of snow is expected today for the mountain highway.

B.C's COVID-19 dashboard shows the peaks and valleys of cases prior to the record daily report of 132 on April 9, 2021. (Dashboard image)
Interior Health has record day of COVID-19 cases

132 cases reported Friday, April 9, more deaths in Vernon hospital outbreak

School District 83 trustees are leaning towards an option in the school district’s Long Range Facilities Plan that favours making Salmon Arm Secondary’s Sullivan campus and Jackson campus (pictured) both Grade 9-12 schools. (Google maps image)
Letter: Two high school option for Salmon Arm will create ‘have, have not’ situation

Writer concerned with E5 option, says transparent talk about implications needed

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.[CDC]
More COVID-19 exposures reported at schools in Kelowna

Interior Health added additional schools and dates to their list of exposures

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
Vehicle launched into B.C. Walmart removed following rescue of trapped workers

Crews cut new hole in parkade wall to remove vehicle safely

Four members with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans were out at Cultus Lake on March 28 and 29 hauling trash out of the waters. (Henry Wang)
PHOTOS: Out-of-town divers remove 100s of pounds of trash from Cultus Lake

Members of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans hauled out 470 pounds of trash over two days

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

A new saline gargle test, made in B.C., will soon be replacing COVID-19 nasal swab tests for kids. (PHSA screenshot)
Take-home COVID-19 tests available for some B.C. students who fall ill at school

BC Children’s Hospital plans to provide 1,200 kits to Vancouver district schools this April

Sun Peaks is tracking rising COVID-19 cases. (Kamloops This Week Photo)
Sun Peaks sees spike in COVID-19 cases at end of ski season

On April 9, there were 15 positive cases confirmed.

Ruming Jiang and his dog Chiu Chiu are doing fine following a brush with hypothermia that saw several people work together to get them out of the Fraser River near Langley’s Derby Reach Park on March 25, 2021 (Special to the Advance Times)
Man finds men who rescued him from drowning in B.C.’s Fraser River

A grateful Ruming Jiang says he will thank them again, this time in person when the pandemic ends

Most Read