Austinmer artist's comics are all about the story

Writing a graphic novel: Comic artist Pat Grant in his home studio at Austinmer. He is part of the Comic Gong festival.Picture: ADAM McLEAN

Writing a graphic novel: Comic artist Pat Grant in his home studio at Austinmer. He is part of the Comic Gong festival.Picture: ADAM McLEAN

Pat Grant has made comics his life's work, but do not expect to find any superheroes or monster villains in his Austinmer studio.

An initial passion for creative writing morphed into a series of illustrated literature, and a gradual shift towards drawings led him to his current medium, which he simply calls "long stories".

"I'm not interested in illustration, I worked as an illustrator and found it boring," Grant said.

"I'm interested in drawing to tell a story. It looks the same as illustration, but it is a completely different process."

Producing long-form comic strip stories, running for dozens upon dozens of hand-drawn panels, Grant's style is simple yet effective. He draws always with brush, pen and paper, using computers only when absolutely necessary.

Some of the best examples of his work deal in semi-autobiographical detail, and it will be this style he will show and teach at a workshop as part of the Comic Gong festival on Saturday.

"Autobiographical stories is a lesser known tradition of comics, but a really useful place to start in working with graphic novels," he said.

"You don't tell a story then illustrate it, you draw your way into the story. You mess around with it, that's how you develop ideas and improve through drawing."

Grant encourages people of all skill levels to come along, because he said actual drawing skill was often secondary to energy and motivation.

"I always say people who are good drawers often are not very good cartoonists. They can do a nice picture but are not the best at telling a story with pictures," he said.

"Often the best cartoonists tell astonishing stories with terrible drawings. The best cartoonists are people who haven't learned a lot of habits from illustration."

Comic Gong will be held on Saturday at Wollongong Town Hall from 10am. Entry is free.

See an example of Grant's work at www.patgrantart.com/toominavideo/toorminavideo.html.

Writing a graphic novel: Comic artist Pat Grant in his home studio at Austinmer. He is part of the Comic Gong festival.Picture: ADAM McLEAN

Writing a graphic novel: Comic artist Pat Grant in his home studio at Austinmer. He is part of the Comic Gong festival.Picture: ADAM McLEAN

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