Idea

Five trends in comics and graphic novels

By Fiona Smyth

An emerging cartoonist doesn’t have to rely on a large publisher to have their work printed these days.

In recent years, the media have rung the death knell of publishing but, surprisingly, there is a wealth of graphic novels being published.

The biggest trends in comics

  • Digital platforms are looking for creators of compelling content.
  • Comics are being used as an accessible and engaging literacy tool.
  • Universities are finally recognizing the merits of the comics medium as literature, and as research and educational tool.

How to start your own comic or graphic novel

An emerging cartoonist doesn’t have to rely on a large publisher to have their work printed these days.

  • You can begin a blog and use social media to create an audience.  
  • Crowd funding can be used to publish your work (e.g., Kickstarter, Indiegogo).

The comics medium is flourishing because of self-publishing, smaller publishers, and an insatiable reading audience’s search for stories told by creators outside the mainstream media.

 

Fiona Smyth teaches a Comics and Graphic Novels course at OCAD U's Continuing Studies. She is also a Toronto-based painter, illustrator and cartoonist. Smyth's first graphic novel, The Never Weres, was published by Annick Press in 2011. A collection of her Exclaim comics, Cheez 100, was published by Pedlar Press in 2001. She illustrated Cory Silverberg's Kickstarter-funded picture book What Makes A Baby in 2012, re-released by Seven Stories Press in 2013.




In recent years, the media have rung the death knell of publishing but, surprisingly, there is a wealth of graphic novels being published.

The biggest trends in comics

  • Digital platforms are looking for creators of compelling content.
  • Comics are being used as an accessible and engaging literacy tool.
  • Universities are finally recognizing the merits of the comics medium as literature, and as research and educational tool.

How to start your own comic or graphic novel

An emerging cartoonist doesn’t have to rely on a large publisher to have their work printed these days.

  • You can begin a blog and use social media to create an audience.  
  • Crowd funding can be used to publish your work (e.g., Kickstarter, Indiegogo).

The comics medium is flourishing because of self-publishing, smaller publishers, and an insatiable reading audience’s search for stories told by creators outside the mainstream media.

 

Fiona Smyth teaches a Comics and Graphic Novels course at OCAD U's Continuing Studies. She is also a Toronto-based painter, illustrator and cartoonist. Smyth's first graphic novel, The Never Weres, was published by Annick Press in 2011. A collection of her Exclaim comics, Cheez 100, was published by Pedlar Press in 2001. She illustrated Cory Silverberg's Kickstarter-funded picture book What Makes A Baby in 2012, re-released by Seven Stories Press in 2013.