Specifications: The 20 page premiere issue of The Gathering Place will contain four chapters of story - each chapter will be five pages in length. The 6.75” x 10.75” comic book will be in full colour, on 100lbs paper for the interior pages, and 120lbs cardstock for the exterior cover.
Having the opportunity to combine my career as an arts educator with my love of storytelling and a background in illustration, has allowed me to create The Gathering Place - a collection of short stories profiling Toronto artists, illustrators and storytellers.
The premiere issue of The Gathering Place will contain four chapters, each chapter will capture a moment within the artist’s life that celebrates significant achievements, illustrates important turning points and allows us to develop a greater appreciation for these artists. As the series progresses, each biography will reveal unfamiliar stories about well established artists, and showcase artists who truly deserve a greater moment in the spotlight.
Each issue of The Gathering Place will contain twenty 6.75” x 10.25” full colour pages of story - each chapter being five pages in length.
The illustrations in each chapter have been created in a distinctive style, and have been either watercolor painted or digitally coloured. All to give each story a specific voice to match the mood and themes of those stories.
The first chapter begins with an acknowledgmeant of the enduring presence of Canada's Aboriginal people on the lands now known as Toronto. It is a true celebration of the first artists and storytellers of this land. Every page is carefully illustrated to highlight the indigenous peoples’ commitment to the arts, to the land, and to serve as an inspiration to those working within the Toronto arts community.
Chapter two offers a glimpse of Toronto in 1910 on an ordinary Friday afternoon, as a young Tom Thomson looks forward to a weekend landscape painting trip with his colleagues from Grip Ltd. Future co-founders of The Group of Seven, Frank Johnston and Franklin Carmichael, help the small town boy with artistic aspirations to adjust to life in the big city.
For the third chapter, I purposely chose to research and showcase a Toronto artist with a large body of work who hadn’t received the recognition they deserved, and who’s story desperately needed be told. Marjorie Pigott was an incredibly skilled watercolour artist who I knew absolutely nothing about before beginning my research, and have now fallen immensely in love with her story and artwork - my own skills in watercolour have since improved from studying her works.
After having spent a life dedicated to and mastering the Nanga painting technique in her homeland of Japan, Marjorie Pigott is inspired to explore fresh innovative possibilities in her newly adoptive homeland of Canada. Marjorie’s chapter is an inspirational story about being torn between two homes - an immigrant story - one I feel fortunate to have learned much from, and to share with all of you.
The final chapter of this story is the most personal of all the stories within the covers of The Gathering Place. Prior to teaching, I had the good fortune of working in the field of art restoration. It was during those years that I became familiar with the Browne Family of painters.
For three generations, the Browne Family were responsible for painting hundreds of murals across Canada. In this short story, Thomas Browne Jr. must come to terms with the prospect of becoming the last in his family to continue in this tradition.
Being able to illustrate and tell stories about the artists who have helped shape, beautify, criticize, and educate this great city has been quite the learning experience. Whether they were born and raised, immigrated to, studied for a short time, or only worked in Toronto, I would like to share their story and honour them the best that I can - through a comic book. So, thank you for considering to support and honour the legacy of these talented artists.
Risks and challenges
With any creative endeavour, there will always be risk. Putting yourself out there for the world to see is a challenging act to commit. As artists, we take those risks and face those challenges constantly, in order to entertain, to communicate and make this world a far more beautiful place.
The most tangible of those risks are financial. For comic book creators, that would include the hiring of writers, editors, a team of artists for layouts and illustration, inking and colouring duties. That's all before printing, shipping and distribution costs. As I knew the stories I wanted to tell, and how to tell them, and I have enough artistic skill to handle the visual side of the storytelling, I decided to take on all those duties myself. Supplies and materials were afforded from my teaching salary, after putting a roof over my family's heads, food on the table and shoes on their feet. Research came in on the weekends and holidays. After a full days work and responsibilities, it was (and still are) late nights in the studio after tucking my two boys into bed, were also on me. When my studio suffered water damage, I persevered with this comic book project and the repairs on my own. The only task on my list that I couldn't check off on my own were the printing, shipping and distribution end, making it my greatest challenge.
This artistic endeavour has only ever been about sharing these stories that need to be told. I know there are people waiting to read these stories - to learn from, to grow, and then pass on these stories to others.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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