Graphic novel fans gather to celebrate and create

The Kamloops Graphic Novel Club is back at the Kamloops Art Gallery

Susan McCowan (left of centre) looks on as club members examine some the graphic novels available at the library. (Jonathan Malloy/The Omega)

Susan McCowan (left of centre) looks on as club members examine some the graphic novels available at the library. (Jonathan Malloy/The Omega)

Created as a way to bring together young adults and fans with their interest in both the art and creation of graphic novels, the Kamloops Graphic Novel Club has been organized as a means to further the Kamloops art community. The club’s first meeting was held at the Kamloops Art Gallery on Jan. 20.

Co-run by Susan McCowan of the Kamloops Library and Melaina Todd of the Kamloops Art Gallery, the group felt like a casual and inviting atmosphere. A general explanation of what graphic novels are was followed by several different examples chosen by the hostesses as a means to show the group the different possibilities their work could create.

What followed was a 30-minute session dedicated to taking out and viewing any novel in the library’s large collection while also encouraging participants to grab their own free library card.

The last portion of the first meeting was dedicated to giving young artists the time and tools to come up with their own graphic novel ideas and begin to work on a small personal projects.

McCowan is hoping to dress up a corner of the library with each person’s art, bringing an example of Kamloops’ creativity to those who walk by.

Sparking that creativity in young people is what seems to be the main goal for the club as the focus seems to be on giving the community a place to discover and refine their own style and uncover what may be a possible love for graphic novels. McCowan also wishes to introduce readers to series and novels that are not as popular in order to broaden the appreciation of the medium while also giving readers the proper inspiration to fuel their own creativity.

The Graphic Novel Club starts out in one of the Kamloops Art Gallery’s studios. (Jonathan Malloy/The Omega)

The Graphic Novel Club starts out in one of the Kamloops Art Gallery’s studios. (Jonathan Malloy/The Omega)

The art form has grown in popularity recently due to the proliferation of many animated series that originated in graphic novels being created and premiered for young adult audiences.

Both hostesses share a love for the medium and are happy to answer any questions that may come up during the session. The discussion about different authors and artists provided inspiration to those in attendance by showing the various approaches one can take when approaching their own work. Several examples ranged from the relative light reading of the Bones series to more mature manga such as the lengthy series Akira.

Given the relatively easy vibe that the first meeting brought, future weeks will bring a more focused and driven narrative of how to properly advance the young artists’ voices and uncover the talent they may have hiding just underneath the surface, be it writing or drawing.

The club will meet every Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. at the Kamloops Art Gallery until March 16 and is free to anyone between the ages of 12 and 24 while also providing free materials to begin work on your own projects.