Field Trip : TCAF 2018 & Word Balloon Academy

On May 11-12, 2018 I decided to take part in the annual Toronto Comic Arts Festival (or as it’s referred to as TCAF). I’ve been to my share of TCAFs because it’s great to learn and see some of the upcoming independent comic book artists. Majority of the creators are self-publishing, where are a few operated as a collectives or small press. You don’t necessarily get the big comic book publishers here like Marvel, DC or Image; but you’ll find some of the artists and writers who previously worked for them.

Word Balloon Academy

My focus this year at TCAF was to take in the career development day that took place on the Friday, before the weekend event. I’ve had the chance to attend previous talks and workshops featuring artists and writers like Lynn Johnston (For Better Or For Worse) and Scott McCloud (Understanding Comics). The workshops I attended revolved around networking in the business, approaching comics as a side hustle venture, and using old models of distributions such as mail order, meets subscription services. They were also offering services like professional headshots, and biography writeup critiques.

Books I Picked Up

Black Sun: The Longest Night

Black Sun by Kelvin Nyeusi Mawazo

Kelvin is a good friend of mine way back in the day. I met him through brother Sherwin who I went to public & high school with. Sherwin and Kelvin shared a love for all things and introduced me to the worlds of comics, computer games, anime, and hip-hop & rap culture. I’m happy to see Kelvin launch his new self-published comic label Black Sun Comics. Black Sun delves into the themes of afrofuturism that’s not commonly explored in science fiction. Could Black Sun be the next Black Panther, you’ll have to  Not only is Kelvin creating an interesting world with some amazing CGI work in comic book form, he provides tutorials to his creative process. You can find our more by visiting

Skullkickers: Treasure Trove

Skullkickers by Jim Zub

I’ve followed Jim Zubkavich aka (Jim Zub) for a while now. Ever since I got this book called Toon Art by Steven Withrow, it featured a tutorial by Jim on his work; Makeshift Miracle. I then followed Jim to his work at UDON, and picked up his run of Samurai Jack based off the Cartoon Network series. However Jim is still one of my top resources for anything related to the business of comics. He has a wealth of knowledge to share on top of the work he’s done. I’ve heard of Skull Kickers but never got to dive in to read, until now. You can check out more of Jim’s work at



RAID (The Royal Academy of Illustration and Design) is a collective of comic book creators based in Toronto. I never knew of them as RAID, but I was familiar with some of their members like Ramon Perez and Francis Manapul. I think it’s cool there are a group of artists working on separate projects, who can bounce off ideas and push each other create even better work. This book is a collection of separate stories from members of the RAID talent pool. Maybe one day I can form a collective just as good as RAID 😉 . You can check them out at