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Urban Art Biz- The Art of The Graphic Novel

Urban Art Biz- The Art of The Graphic Novel

Artist(s): Alice RL, Richard Van Camp, katherena vermette
Start: January 25, 2023 12:00 pm
End: December 25, 2022 1:00 pm
Galleries: Online

Presented in partnership with Urban Shaman Contemporary Aboriginal Art Gallery and Creative Manitoba-Indigenous Program.

The workshop is offered Free. Please register online by 10:30 am CST Jan 25, 2023, a zoom link will be sent to your email address by 11AM!
Register here-

With our very special guests:

Illustrator/Comic Author – Alice RL
Author – Richard Van Camp
Author – katherena vermette
Host/Moderator – Jessica Dumas

How do you know if the story you want to tell should be illustrated as a graphic novel, a comic, or a picture book?

Join us in conversation with Richard Van Camp, katherena vermette, and Alice RL as they dissect and discuss the process. For a long time, graphic novels were considered as the inferior form of literature, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, they help foster a love of reading and the presence of illustrations helps aid visual and verbal literacy. There is a common misconception that the lack of text makes graphic novels less beneficial for language learners. However, fewer words does not equal simpler words. The language found in graphic novels is often more complex when compared to regular books. Think about it this way, if the book has limited space for text to tell the story, every single word must count!

As we live in an increasingly visual and digital world, it’s important to critically think about the images we are exposed to on a daily basis. The images add additional context clues that do not exist in novels without illustrations. In graphic texts, students must analyze the images, looking for signs of character development, or clues that help build plot. All of this experience developing textual and visual reading skills contribute to peoples understanding of their world — the ways the text and images all around them communicate — and in turn help them in crafting their own stories.

How do you know if the story you are telling wants to be illustrated? Do you need to be both a writer and an illustrator to create a graphic novel or illustrated story? What comes first, the story or the imagery? If you are a writer, how do you choose an illustrator and if you are an illustrator how do you choose a writer? And if you are both, how do you focus on each aspect of the story telling? What is the working relationship between writer and illustrator? What is the appeal of working in illustrated story forms? How do you pitch a graphic novel to a publisher? So many questions!

With Richard, katherena, and Alice we’ll explore what goes into the development of a graphic novel/comic/illustrated text.

If you feel that you haven’t received the zoom link, please check your junk mail folder.


Alice RL is an Ojibwe non-binary 2Spirit professional Illustrator and Art Teacher based in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Alice is a Graduate of the University of Manitoba Fine Arts Program and Digital Media Design at Red River College. Alice is deeply involved in the local art community and strives to improve themselves and others. Whether working in digital or traditional art, Alice brings a unique personal style and emotional impact into all their creations.

One of Alice’s great achievements has been collaborating on the development of and illustrating the downloadable zine How Comics Work with the University of Winnipeg.

They love teaching Digital Illustration for Teens with Forum Art Institute. And the Queer Coded Camp with New Media Manitoba, where teens who are interested in games learn the basics of how games work, and then how games work for them.

“A lot of my inspiration comes from media, mostly video games. I’m quite into anime and animation in general, as well as movies, so a lot of my inspiration is informed by media and my interpretation of them. Often this comes in the form of creating something perhaps similar, but Queer and/or Indigenous. I also watch a lot of Multi-Animator-Projects (MAPs) and animated Memes on Youtube which also I find quite enjoyable and have started doing little animations inspired by them.”

Richard Van Camp is a proud member of the Dogrib (Tlicho) Nation from Fort Smith, NWT, Canada from Fort Smith, NWT. He is a graduate of the En’owkin International School of Writing, the University of Victoria’s Creative Writing BFA Program, and the Master’s Degree in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia.

He is an internationally renowned storyteller and best-selling author. His novel, The Lesser Blessed, is now a movie with First Generation Films and premiered in September of 2012 at the Toronto International Film Festival. Richard has published a second novel, “Whistle”, which is part two of The Lesser Blessed, and it’s a story exploring mental health through the eyes of Darcy, the bully in The Lesser Blessed, played by Adam Butcher in the movie. He is the author of five collections of short stories, six baby books, and three children’s books. All of Richard Van Camp’s children’s books are available in Braille for free, anywhere in the world, courtesy of the Provincial Resource Centre for the Visually Impaired (PRCVI) and Accessible Resource Centre-British Columbia (ARC-BC).

Richard has six graphic novels and comic books out: his first comic book on deterring youth away from gangs, Path of the Warrior, is published with Cree artist, Steve Sanderson, through the Healthy Aboriginal Network. His second comic book on sexual health is Kiss Me Deadly, with Haida artist Chris Auchter. His four graphic novels are Three Feathers (published in Bush Cree, Dene, South Slavey and English, illustrated by Krystal Mateus, on restorative justice; The Eisner Award Nominated A Blanket of Butterflies, on the theme of peace making, illustrated by Scott Henderson, The Blue Raven, illustrated by Steve Sanderson on mental health, and Spirit, a suicide prevention comic book illustrated by Emily Brown (which is also published in Bush Cree, Dene, and South Slavey and English).

Richard wrote for CBC’s North of 60 television show for two months under their Writer Internship Program and was a script and cultural consultant with them for four seasons. He taught creative writing at the University of British Columbia, worked as a Creative Writing and Storytelling instructor with the Emily Carr Institute and was the Writer in Residence at the University of Alberta for 2011 and 2012 and at MacEwan University in 2013 and 2014.

katherena vermette (she/her/hers) is a Red River Métis (Michif) writer from Treaty 1 territory, the heart of the Métis Nation. She has worked in poetry, novels, children’s literature, and film. Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, her father’s roots run deep in St. Boniface, St. Norbert and beyond. Her mother’s side is Mennonite from the Altona and Rosenfeld area (Treaty 1).

vermette received the Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry for her first book, North End Love Songs (The Muses’ Company). The Break (House of Anansi) won several awards including the First Novel Award, and was a bestseller in Canada. Her National Film Board documentary, this river won the Canadian Screen Award for Best Short. She has also written the four-book graphic novel series A Girl Called Echo, The illustrated childrens’ book The Girl and the Wolf was named one of Kirkus Review’s Best Books of 2019, and her illustrated childrens’ series on the Seven Teachings was mentioned in the SOLS Frist Nations Communities Read reccommended titles and selected for CBC’s bets books for kids and teens. Her second novel, The Strangers (Hammish Hamilton) won the Atwood Gibson Writers Trust Fiction Prize and was named Chapters Indigo’s Book of the Year 2021. It was also longlisted for the Giller Prize. She holds a Master of Fine Arts from the University of British Columbia.

katherena lives with her family in a cranky old house within skipping distance of the temperamental Red River.


Jessica Dumas is a professional speaker, coach and the host of The Confidence and Communication Podcast. She has been recognized for her professional expertise as a recipient of the Manitoba 150 Women Trailblazer Award from the Nellie McClung Foundation for 2021, Ace Burpees Most Fascinating Manitobans for 2019, the 2017 Future Leaders of Manitoba and the CBC’s Top 40 Manitobans under 40 for 2015. She has a 2017 TEDx talk called The Journey to a Woman’s Identity.

Jessica’s volunteer contributions have gained her wide respect across Manitoba and Canada. She has served as Chairperson for both the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce and the Indigenous Chamber of Commerce and continues to sit on numerous committees and boards at the executive level. She is a powerful role model and advocate for women’s empowerment, leading others to overcome challenges by developing personal strengths, vision and self-confidence. You can connect with Jessica directly on instagram


Urban Art Biz is a a series of online workshops focusing on the business side of art from an Indigenous perspective. Our goal is to provide insight into the professional world and work of Indigenous artists and Indigenous galleries.


Urban Shaman: Contemporary Aboriginal Art Gallery acknowledges the support, throughout the year, of our friends, volunteers, community and all our relations, NCI FM, Wawanesa Insurance, Winnipeg Foundation, Manitoba Heritage, the Winnipeg Arts Council, the Manitoba Arts Council, and the Canada Council for the Arts.

~Miigwetch/ Pidamaya-ye(-do)/ Marsi/ Ekosi / Maarsii/ Miikwehc/ Nakurmiik/Thank you