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P.E.I. comic makers go beyond the frames

Robert Doan, left, Greg Webster and Sandy Carruthers are showing the artwork from their first graphic novel in a new exhibition at The Guild this month. Entitled Sandstone Comics: A 2019 Retrospective, the show runs until Jan. 21.
Robert Doan, left, Greg Webster and Sandy Carruthers are showing the artwork from their first graphic novel in a new exhibition at The Guild this month. Entitled Sandstone Comics: A 2019 Retrospective, the show runs until Jan. 21. - Sally Cole
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

A little under one year ago, three Island graphic artists came together to publish a 72-page graphic novel. 

Now Sandy Carruthers, Robert Doan and Greg Webster are showing the original artwork used in their first edition in a new exhibition in Charlottetown. Presented by The Guild, Sandstone Comics: A 2019 Retrospective gives gallery-goers insight into the creative process.

Sandy Carruthers shows the sketches for Century Man, a story he’s working on for the next edition of Sandstone Comics Presents, which will be released in March. - Sally Cole
Sandy Carruthers shows the sketches for Century Man, a story he’s working on for the next edition of Sandstone Comics Presents, which will be released in March. - Sally Cole

 

The book, Sandstone Comics Presents No. 1, was launched on March 30, 2019. The graphic novel contains three stories that were written, illustrated, inked, coloured and lettered by these three Island artists.

With comic book art, people often only get to see the finished page. But the creators felt it was important to show the public the various steps leading up to the final piece.

“It’s a really great way to see the craft and the fingerprints behind it. It’s also a celebration, the first-year anniversary of Sandstone Comics,” says Carruthers of the show which continues at The Guild until Jan. 21.

The Ghost of the Cradle is Greg Webster’s first foray into the world of comics. The graphic designer lives in Stanley Bridge. - Sally Cole
The Ghost of the Cradle is Greg Webster’s first foray into the world of comics. The graphic designer lives in Stanley Bridge. - Sally Cole

His images for Leap Frog, his contribution to the graphic novel, shows the pen and ink drawings plus the finished, camera-ready colour images that are reproduced in the book. (Set between one star and another, it’s the tale of a race to the next star because people can’t survive where they are.)

“You can’t have one without the other. Our presentation at The Guild allows us to show our work prior to print.”

Doan agrees.

“People are always curious about the process and the original art,” says the Sherwood artist who has worked for comic companies for the past seven years, including Star Trek, Disney and DC Comics. 

He hopes the exhibition will shine some light on the creation of Indestructible, his first, full-length, creator-owned project. It’s a superhero story about Nucleus that takes place in the fictional Charlotte City.

“This is the first comic I’ve ever drawn and written by myself. When I started working on this, nobody knew I worked for all these companies so it’s nice to get some local recognition.”

Webster is also thrilled to be recognized. His story, The Ghost of the Cradle is his first foray into the world of comics.

 “It’s a brand-new experience for me. And it involves a lot,” says the P.E.I. graphic designer and illustrator.

Learning terms like closeup, medium shot and long shot and setting up the frames was the easy part.

“The hardest part was coming up with the story. Comic creators are artists so, for many of us, writing is challenging. So is penciling everything, that’s the tough part. 

“Once you get the pencils on the page and the drawing is done, you take it and it evolves into that final page.” 

Comic book creator Robert Doan stands next to a banner for Indestructible, his first, full-length creator-owned project. - Sally Cole
Comic book creator Robert Doan stands next to a banner for Indestructible, his first, full-length creator-owned project. - Sally Cole

Fast facts

  • Sandy Carruthers was five years old when he first saw the Batman TV series which inspired his love for costumed heroes. His contribution to the graphic novel is Leap Frog, a sci-fi story. He’s an instructor in Holland College’s graphic design program.
  • Robert Doan has worked in the small press industry for the past six years. He’s worked mainly as an inker over such artists as Eric Henson, Carlos Gomez, Joe Corroney and Francisco Menor. He lives in Parkdale, P.E.I.
  • Greg Webster is a freelance graphic designer and illustrator working out of Stanley Bridge. He has recently completed work on the cover design and interior illustrations for Five Crow Publishing’s Terra Obscura: A Knock in the Dark.

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