Hosted by Adam Kubert, and featuring recent graduates Lloyd Biggerly and Joe Delgado
This panel was an informative session about the country's only trade school for cartooning, the Joe Kubert School in Dover, New Jersey.
Adam Kubert, who in addition to his industry success is an instructor in 3rd year narrative art, talked about the work of the school and the intense three year program. He introduced the crowd to the work of several alumni (some of whom had art tables out on the conference floor), and described the close connections the school maintains with Marvel, DC and the larger industry. Lee Weeks, Amanda Connor, Jan Duursema, and Tom Mandrake all studied there.
He also celebrated many of the faculty, who stress anatomy, work from life and narrative storytelling in introductory classes before moving on to advanced work in painting, animation and computer classes. Kubert stressed that the structure of the school is very job-like: there are ten classes per week, running Monday through Friday, from 8:00-5:00.
The introduction was loose and free flowing, using PowerPoint and a brief video featuring Joe Kubert himself, where the master artist celebrated the joy of pure expression in visual form. The audience was attentive, and even moreso once questions began.
Responding to a question about age limits for students, Biggerly confessed that comic art was probably his third career, after a military stint. If he'd been aware of a school dedicated to illustration, he may have chosen that path much earlier in life. Kubert mentioned that students just out of high school sometimes struggle with the pressurized schedule, whereas older students tend to have their priorities more in order and in some ways adapt more readily to the time demands.
Another student wondered about the state of inking as a career today, and Kubert admitted that the field was tough. While the school tries to stay up to date with modern lettering and coloring techniques, many artists such as himself are able to digitally ink their own works these days, and that it's a reality that established inkers are struggling to find work. He suggested a penciller and inker team-up as being one way to present a marketable product in today's industry.