On March 3,The Comic Arts Workshop held it’s last live event in Manhattan’s Chelsea district. That night’s featured guest speaker was Valiant editor Lysa Hawkins. Since then the workshop has hosted David Saylor from Scholastic, Heidi MacDonald from the Beat, Alison Wilgus from Graphic Novel TK, and Jaydee Rosario from Unstoppable Comics. All on Zoom. That’s 4 months worth of events forced online due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Though the reasons might be dark, the shift to virtual events has allowed The Comic Arts Workshop to get attendees from around the world since they no longer have to be held in person. This sudden move to virtual has also given the workshop the impetus and opportunity to beef up the format and content.
It has pivoted beyond moving to virtual events.
The Comic Arts Workshop now offers curated content, mini-coaching sessions, virtual bullpen sessions, an online community, and weekly lessons for folks who want to become confident and prolific comic and graphic novel creators.
Quarantining has been a boon to many businesses with online content delivery models. Netflix, TikTok, Udemy and Facebook are seeing tremendous surges in their user engagement. Ironically, now is a great time to have a web-based business.
For most of his adult life, Professor Ramon Gil has worked towards more visibility for Asian Americans and minorities in general. Also being a comic book writer and artist, Ramon is merging these two passions by organizing what will be Diversity Comic Con at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT).
The event will be held on Thursday, October 11 from 10am to 6pm at the Great Hall of FIT’s Conference Center. There will be professional artists tables, panel discussions on a wide range of topics and cosplayers parading their latest fashion fantasy creations. Special guests include award-winning author of The Fifth Beatle – Vivek Tiwary, Batman artist and Black Lightning Co-creator – Trevor Von Eeden and comics editor and diversity advocate – Heather Antos.
Many more creators will be exhibiting, including Larry Hama, Heidi MacDonald, Dean Haspiel, Robyn Chapman, Reilly Brown and Janice Chiang. Many of whom have worked for top comic publishers like DC, Marvel, Image, Archie, IDW and more. There will even be animators, graphic novelists, storybook authors and publishers on hand. All professionals will be giving reviews to students who bring their portfolios.
With help and support from other FIT faculty and students, namely Prof. Kyunghee Pyun and senior Chase Bluestone, the Diversity Con is mere weeks away from reality. The convention launched on the advice of Gil’s fellow FIT faculty and is made possible by a grant.