Ready to create your own story?
Working with local experts we offer unique and engaging workshops to advance your hobbies and lead you through creative activities. Learn more about our current workshops here.
We are please to introduce you to one of our instructors: Tayson Martindale!
What workshops do you teach?
I teach the Comics, Cartooning, and Storytelling workshops!
How did you get into your specialty?
I was first introduced to comics as a child, where in one wonderful year I discovered the Garfield comic strip, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and my Aunty bought me my first Spider-Man comic. That ignited a love for storytelling through the vehicle of comics that has never left me.
How long have you been working at it?
I’ve been making comics and telling stories has been one of my favourite things to do from since before I could even spell! (I’d tell the story to my Mom, who would write the words for me, and then I’d add the pictures).
Did you receive any formal or informal education in your specialty?
The biggest contributor to my development as a cartoonist has come from reading: reading comics, reading books, finding the things I loved in them and then working out why they made me feel that way and what the artist/writer did on that page to invoke that response from the reader.
What’s the most difficult thing about your specialty?
For me, personally, I’d say 2 things:
1) The layouts/breakdowns step of making a comic. That’s where all the problem solving and heavy lifting is done. It can be incredibly frustrating and tedious sometimes, but is also I’d say the most important part of the process.
2) Dealing with the emotional ups and downs of making something. Inevitably, whenever I’m working on something (especially during the long time it takes to make a graphic novel), I’ll go through the highs of loving it and then the valleys of thinking it’s just not good enough— only to eventually level out and hit that high peak of loving it again. It’s definitely a roller coaster working on a graphic novel!
What’s the most rewarding?
Without doubt, holding the finished page in your hand. Having created a real, live story that will go on to live in the imagination of the person reading it, from a previously blank page– that is the coolest feeling. I also REALLY love the inking stage of the comic making process. I find a lot of enjoyment and contentment when it’s time to work on that step.
What advice do you have to anyone just starting out?
READ! Read comics, books, watch movies, shows– take walks, go on adventures. All that stuff is going to fill you up and be something you can pull from when you start making things. Also: Make the thing! Something special happens when you finish a project– it’s almost like a super power is unlocked in you. You did it– you made a comic. Now you can do it again. Start with making a one page comic. Even just a single panel story.
Also Also: keep a sketchbook! I think a sketchbook is 3 things: a playground, a classroom, and a measuring stick.
1) PLAYGROUND: it’s a place where you can sketch and doodle and try things and noone ever has to see it if you don’t want them to. You can play around without the pressure of making some presentable thing.
2) CLASSROOM: it’s a place you can keep notes and studies on your craft.
3)MEASURING STICK: it’s something you can look back on once you’ve filled it and see the tangible progress you’ve made from when you started. Often it’s hard to gauge your development as a cartoonist as the improvement usually happens little by little over time. This is a way to visually track your development.
Is there anything you wish you knew before starting?
How to find your style. I tried to draw in a style I thought I should draw in for quite a long time, and I just didn’t enjoy it. As time went on I eventually discovered my drawing style and that opened up so many doors for me.
Do you have any mentors or inspirations?
Tons!! And new ones are always being added. I’ve really learned a lot by studying the work and lessons of teaching artist Jerzy Drozd.
Comic strips have been a big inspiration and my favourite strip of all time is ‘Cul de Sac’ by Richard Thompson. Also love the work of Stan Sakai, Luke Pearson, Skottie Young, John Romita Jr’s Spider-Man runs– and so, so much more!
What other hobbies do you enjoy?
Reading, guitar, watching the Edmonton Oilers and Manchester United (it’s been a rough decade with those two…),
Where can people find your work online?
I haven’t been super active on social media recently, but I occasionally post on my instagram account (tayson_martindale) and you can always get ahold of me via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org !