Write: 24-Hour Comics Day Challenge / by Sonya Paclob

The Pennsylvania College of Art & Design holds Skype sessions with other artists during the 24-hour Comics Day Challenge in Lancaster. Several students, alumni and faculty create their own 24 graphic novel page in 24 hours starting Saturday, Oct. 4. SUBMITTED

The Pennsylvania College of Art & Design holds Skype sessions with other artists during the 24-hour Comics Day Challenge in Lancaster. Several students, alumni and faculty create their own 24 graphic novel page in 24 hours starting Saturday, Oct. 4. SUBMITTED

FlipsidePA publication for Thursday, Oct. 4, 2014

Pennsylvania College of Art & Design faculty encourages students to catch as much sleep as possible before 24-hour Comics Day in Lancaster. The challenge is a global event for students and professionals artists to create a 24-page graphic novel in 24 hours.

There are no prizes to win, but in the end, students walk away with a feeling of accomplishment. The local event, in its third year, will start Saturday, Oct. 4. Robert Hochgertel, chair of the illustration department hopes students gain confidence and efficiency when working on a deadline. It seems impossible to create a comic book from conception to publication within the allowed time he said, but he has seen an improvement from last year's participants.

"They (the students) produce more and better work than they thought they could ever," he said.

About 40 current students and 15 alumni are estimated to participate this year. They can on their own individual graphic novel or work in a team.

Charles Ferguson-Avery, a senior illustration major and student chapter president of the National Society of Illustrators, is ready to take the challenge for the third time. It's pretty easy at first he said, but when midnight hits, many students are running on coffee to stay awake.

"However, despite it being an incredibly strenuous and mentally taxing event, everyone truly wants to be there working alongside each other," Ferguson-Avery said, "Partially for the sake of rising to such a challenge and also as a way to walk away with something we're proud of."

Professional artists will critique others work throughout the process. Last year, the college Skyped with students in Singapore, who also participated in the event. Through the challenge, the college connects with video online chats to several groups and artists around the world.

"Depending where they are, they (the students) will be inspired by others work," Hochgertel said.

The challenge is open to students and professional artists, but not the general public. Any artists interested in the challenge can contact Hochgertel by email, rhochgertel@pcad.edu.

The college will also host a public event before the challenge called,"The growing cultural acceptability of Manga and graphic novels, and the influence of comics on American culture."

The discussion starts at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 3 at the college. The panel will feature Toyin Odutola, Mosaic Project artist and Jamar Nicholas, artist and educator. It will also feature PCA&D educators Bob McLeod and Mike Hawthorne who both has done work for Marvel and DC Comics.