By Rick Morwick
If you have a story to tell and can tell it — and show it — with flair and edgy artwork, you might have what it takes to be a successful comic book illustrator.
Stuart Sayger will be the judge. Or at least, he’ll be one of the judges.
A professional illustrator who lives in Noblesville, Sayger will be one of three judges for Nickel Plate Arts’ seventh annual Comic Book in a Day Challenge, where participants are tasked with creating a comic book — from scratch — in eight hours.
Presented in partnership with Hamilton East Public Library, the Aug. 29 event will be conducted virtually this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. via Zoom.
Sayger, a self-taught artist who broke into the comic book industry by self-publishing his own comic, “Shiver in the Dark,” looks at a variety of qualities as a comic judge.
“A good comic can be many things, just like a good movie or song,” said Sayger, who has participated in Comic Book in a Day every year since its creation. “Any art that strikes a nerve is good. You don’t have to draw well to make a good comic book, but it helps. Comics can be made by only one person, which means that they can be an art form that is singular in vision. If you have something to say and you are committed to your idea, you will be half of the way to making a good comic book.
“Let’s not forgot, movies don’t need to have explosions. Comics don’t need to have superheroes.”
An accomplished illustrator whose credits include drawing for the “Bionicle” comic series, based on the Lego toy line of the same name, and the “The Walking Dead,” “G.I. Joe,” “Transformers,” “The Joker” and the “Superman: Man of Steel” movie. He also has drawn 21 comic book covers for the rock band Kiss.
“I grew up a comic fan and at age 13, I started working in a local comic shop,” Sayger said. “You could say that my career in comics goes back to those days. I’ve always enjoyed drawing, and I like storytelling. People who are drawn to illustration as their visual outlet often do so because they are also interested in telling a narrative, not just making attractive pictures.”
Sayger will join fellow Nickel Plate Arts 2020 featured artists Victor Dandbridge (Columbus, Ohio) and Yuri Duncan (Indianapolis) in judging the Comic Book in a Day Challenge, which will award prizes ranging from art supplies to comics to cash.
Sayger offers the following advice to anyone who wants to pursue comic book illustration.
“Can you tell a story? Do you have something to say? And do you strike a nerve saying it? If you can do that, you’ll be a fine comic book illustrator,” Sayger said. “There are a lot of musicians who are well-loved that are often out of tune. The great ones are always the ones that make us ‘feel.’ Do that, and you, too, are great.”