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. Gary will discuss the creative decision-making process behind the serial, and compare and contrast it with his self-contained, stand alone gag strips. He will not only focus on WHAT has been written and illustrated in each panel, but WHY, paying special attention to scripting, his cast of characters within the Swamp universe (The Aviators, Swamp Dwellers, Fringe Dwellers, and The Establishment), art style, colour palette, layouts and panel points of view, gags and pay offs, emotional resonance and more.

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.

Who Should Participate

This masterclass is ideal if you are:

  • A cartoonist who wants to learn how to create comic strips for print and digital formats
  • A comics creator who wants to learn about comedy and timing, as well as set ups, framing and staging in sequential art
  • An animator, storyboard artist or illustrator who wants to cross into another medium and focus on comic strips.

What You Will Learn

This masterclass will give you insights into:

  • Understanding the comic strip creation process from its seed form
  • Building a comic strip universe and brand, and keeping characterisation consistent
  • Choosing a narrative style and planning story arcs
  • Adding variety to your writing and choice of framing
  • Establishing key moments
  • Understanding multiple framing and staging in a two or three panel strip
  • Adding drama and mood through settings
  • Becoming aware of and being responsive to what your audience wants
  • Creating visual interest for the long time reader
  • Taking the mystery out of the artistic process one strip at a time
  • Inspiring yourself to create
  • Gaining confidence, enthusiasm, and courage to undertake and build your own body of comic strip work.

About the Presenter

Gary Clark is the creative genius behind the comic strip, Swamp. First published in 1981 by the Sunshine Coast Daily, the strip is seen in newspapers throughout Australia and Europe, including Scandinavia. Inspired by childhood memories of playing in creeks, Swamp is a watery environment that is home to a quirky mix of characters. The most popular character is Ding Duck who is known world wide in aviation circles. Despite being the only duck in the swamp that can’t fly, Ding has been used by the Civil Aviation Authority to introduce significant changes to aviation users on new air traffic control routes. The French Air Force use Ding cartoons to teach their pilots English, the universal language of aviation. In fact many Swamp cartoons have been used in education to teach literacy and creative thinking. In the Northern Territory, Swamp cartoons have been translated into Aboriginal languages to teach Indigenous children their cultural language. Through cartoon workshops hosted by the State Library of Queensland, Clark has taught thousands of children how to cartoon and create ideas. The consistency of humour and development of art style has seen Clark amass a collection of awards: Finalist for the Premier of Queensland Export Achievement in Arts/Entertainment 1999, 13 Stanley Awards for Best Comic Strip Artist, one of the top 1% most viewed LinkedIn profiles for 2012 (LinkedIn has over 200 million members), the Twitter People’s Choice Award at the 28th Rotary Cartoon Awards 2016, as well as the Rotary National Cartoon Awards 14 times. Clark has also self-published 13 titles in Australia and had many titles published in Europe by several publishers. One of his career milestone, which is only achieved by a few cartoonists worldwide, was the publication of the 10,000th daily cartoon on October 11, 2013. As of 2016, and combined with his Sunday cartoons, the figure stands at an impressive 13,000+ cartoons! This amazing wealth of cartoon creation, sees Clark extremely well qualified to share his approach to the creative thinking process.

Event Information

Date: Saturday 18 February 2017
Time: 10:00am to 12:00pm
Duration: 2 hours
Format: Online
Audience: Age: 15+
Comics Category: Comic / cartoon strips
Mastery: Creative development
Level: Aspiring, emerging and developing comics creators
Materials & Equipment: Computer with a good internet connection plus pen, notebook, and / or computer to take notes
Investment: Please find following our fee structure:

  • The Comics Voice Ezine Subscribers: $57
  • Partner organisation – Australian Cartoonists’ Association (ACA), Australian Society of Authors (ASA), Australian Writers Network (AWN), Book Expo Australia (BEA), Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), Sydney Comics Guild (SCG): $77
  • Full: $97

Further Information: Email admin@comicsmastermind.com or phone (02) 9606 4728 or 0412 445 511.


Please nominate the appropriate fee category on the the PayPal pull down menu below to register for the webinar. If you are an ezine subscriber you will find your COUPON CODE in the January and February 2017 issues of THE COMICS VOICE.

If you are a member of a partner organisation, please fill in your MEMBERSHIP NUMBER if you were issued with one. All partner organisation members will be verified prior to the event.

By registering for the event, you will be agreeing to the Comics Mastermind Terms and Conditions.

Registration is limited to 100 people!


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