Interview with Comics Mastermind presenter Gary Clark

Multi-award winning cartoonist Gary Clark talks about his daily comic strip Swamp, which has been syndicated across Australia and Europe since the 1980s. In this masterclass he will dissect 12 hand picked comic strips – panel by panel – from a 35 strip serial he produced as an experiment in form. The “Comics Stripped Bare™” series is a new creative initiative that works on the presumption that in order to truly understand something you need to pull it apart.


In the webinar you will be dissecting 12 of your own comic strips, panel by panel. Why did you choose to take this approach in the class?

This series runs for around 38 cartoons and I chose 12 key cartoons where the storyline surprised me and took twists I had not expected. My whole approach to creative writing for cartoons in my regular daily and Sunday cartoons is to not pre-think anything. The creative thinking only begins when it is time to produce gags. I want to be surprised by what I write.

It sounds as if the content of the class is very much grounded in your experience as a cartoonist. Is this your own creative process stripped bare?

Yes, the course has helped me to tease out all the layers involved in the creative process. Comparing the long form special series with the regular cartoon series I do each day is very helpful in understanding each layer involved.

The class will cover not only the ‘what’, but also the ‘why’ of your creative decision-making. What’s the difference between the two and how does it impact the storytelling?

Cartooning can appear very simple and straightforward. Exploring the ‘why’ is a very good way to realise that a lot of thinking goes into each deceptively simple writing or artistic decision. In cartooning everything you do has to be well thought out, firstly in regards to the cartoon gag and expression of that, then in relation to the artistic expression as well.

What practical skills can those in the class hope to gain from the webinar?

By practical skills I take it that you mean things that can be seen, such as character creation skills, rendering skills, design skills, writing skills. Yes, I hope this class will sharpen the thinking of all who participate in all of those visible areas.

Also I’d like to add to that list of skills the skill of being creatively confident, positive and adventurous about their own creativity. This is the key skill that helps make everything else fun and enjoyable.


Date: Saturday 18 February 2017
Time: 10:00am to 12:00pm
Duration: 2 hours
Format: Online


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