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Fan Expo Canada: Artists And Animation

Chris Barnes Chris Barnes
September 7th, 2015

I'm a 35 year old Canadian living in Ontario. I read comics, I love to draw and I collect comic art. I also teach karate, play hockey, and am a dad to 3 girls! My comic book passion lies with Batman and his pals with Nightwing taking a very close #2 favourite position. I began collecting comic art in 2013 and I have several commissions done by Ken Lashley and an amazing Francis Manapul Batman. As well I have sold a few of my own creations!

Fan Expo Canada: Artists And Animation

Our Chris Banes recounts his walk through Artist Alley at Fan Expo Canada, and the creative minds he met from the Max The Mutt College of Animation, Art and Design.

I spent the morning on Friday at Canada Fan Expo touring the Artists Alley section again, but this time I was directed to a few tables where students and graduates of the Max The Mutt College of Animation, Art and Aesign were showing off the skills they had learned while attending the Toronto based College.  Max the Mutt offers three diploma programs: Classical Animation, Concept Art and Sequential Art.  The students I chatted with were participating and graduated from the sequential arts program.

I was first introduced to Haley who is currently attending the school’s three-year sequential art (comics) program. Haley’s work is inspired by Hellboy and web comics which she read when she was 13.  Her own comic Evil You Know can be found by clicking the link and is a great example of her work.



At Fan Expo Haley was busy selling a collected book of her webcomic that she would prefer to publish on her own.  Max the Mutt is providing her with the art school side of that desire, with classes on drawing and storytelling, and while there are no formal classes on the business side of comics, there are workshops the students can attend to acquire the skills and knowledge they need to be successful when they exit the program.

A prime example of that success is Becca T-R a graduate I talked to.  When Becca heard about the sequential arts program she called to make a simple inquiry and immediately got called back by the admissions office that walked her through the application process that included a portfolio review, interview and essay. When talking about the program Becca spoke about the emphasis on their focus on being professional.  At Max the Mutt she learned how to market herself to the major comic companies and got tremendous support as she progressed through the program.

One thing I found particularly interesting was that part of the curriculum at the college was to attend comic conventions and present your work to industry professionals to be reviewed.  After hearing so many of the professional artists talk about how they broke into comics, this ability to be confident, professional and concise enough to present yourself and your work to editors seems like it would be a tremendous asset.

Becca was excited to point out that since graduating from the program, art has been her main source of income for the last four years.  Her main source of income is commissions which speaks to the ability to promote one self as well as work on a yet to be released board game where she designed every single visual.


Story continues below

Becca also has a creepypasta inspired horror comic now with two volumes that are available called Proxy.  It’s a mini horror series based on real life events altered by a malicious entity.  Becca is inspired by horror and driven by exploring fear.

Both Becca and Haley were quick to point out that Max the Mutt takes students that might have little skill and at the end of the three-year sequential arts program they would be capable of successfully drawing their own comic, and telling a story visually.

I really could not have been more impressed with my experience chatting with the students and staff from Max the Mutt College of animation, art and design.  Not only did they present themselves professionally, but the art and books that they had on display was a testament to the hours of practice that they had put into the program.  If you live in the Toronto area and want to get an education in art Max the Mutt is worth looking into.

If you are interested be sure to follow this link to Max the Mutt!


Chris Barnes is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @Chrispy47

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