Thursday, August 9, 2012

Phrases to Pages

Phrases to Pages was Pronto Comics first foray into fundraising took place on Saturday July 28th at Pearl Studios on 8th Avenue here in Manhattan. The event brought together writers and artists from all over the city to compete for a chance to win prizes. The premise of the event was to get participants to draw and write one comic book page based on a pre-selected phrase. Participants had free range to draw whatever they liked. The quotes selected were from a wide range of people such as Winston Churchill, Dennis Miller, and Mae West.
“It’s really interesting to have writers and artists together for different rounds. It is a really interesting idea. I like seeing the different artwork on display,” said Jack Samson a participant in the contest.

Early Participants enter into Pearl Studios

Phrases to Pages also offered patrons a chance to party with food and an open bar sponsored by Brooklyn Brewery and Casa Herradura Tequila. It was a night of margaritas and magic as industry professionals provided additional entertainment. Sean Von Gorman an escape artist and comic book creator performed an escape routine where he freed himself from a straightjacket and handcuffs. Also, aspiring artists had a chance to showcase their work for portfolio reviews and network the room to find creative collaboration.  

Sean Von Gorman escapes from Simon Fraser at the after party at No Idea Bar


Teams form to collaborate on their page for the phrase given

Julianne Serrano who was attending the event had this to say: “I liked to see everyone mingle and merge their ideas together. I think it’s a good opportunity for artists and writers to…create something within their aspects of how they want to do things.”

The guest judges were comic book professionals working in different parts of the industry. Colorist and penciler Felix Serrano of Top Cow was the events surprise guest judge. Ken Knudtsen the creator of the independent title My Monkey’s Name is Jennifer and second judge was happy with the turnout.

“I thought it was great. I was amazed at some of the artwork that got turned around in a very quick amount of time. Just seeing the frantic artists, that were not me, turning out a page of comic art in a half an hour. It was amazing. I hope we see [Phrases to Pages] again soon,” said Knudtsen.

 Ken Knudtsen talks with Pronto Comics art director Ellen Stedfeld

Simon Fraser was the events third guest judge. Fraser is a veteran artist and writer for the British based anthology comic magazine 2000 A.D. His new title is The Adventures of Lilly MacKenzie for ActivateComix also thought the night brought together many creative people.

“I thought it was great and there was amazing energy. [One piece of artwork that stuck out to me was for the phrase] “Alcohol is happiness in a bottle”, but I can’t describe [the artwork] because it’s too filthy. We got to talk about comics and how to make them work better right now. So many people there were really passionate about it,” said Fraser.

Guest judges from left to right: Simon Fraser, Felix Serrano, and Ken Knudsten

Pronto Comics is a New York City based comic book publishing collective whose aim is to produce comic books as well as help foster talent and offer advice through social media, podcasts, workshops, and networking events to help aspiring creators break into the industry. To pitch or be a part of Pronto Comics you can visit their website Monthly meetings are the first Thursday of every month at Pearl Studios at 500 8th Avenue. Interested parties can check their Facebook page ( for more information.

A full crowd at the event.

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