Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Herblock Prize 2014

Congrats to Jen Sorensen for winning this year's Herblock Prize for excellence in editorial cartooning. She's been at it for years and it's great to see her as the first female to win this award. It was also exciting to see a presentation by journalist Bob Woodward of Herb Block's Nixon cartoons.

I first saw Jen's cartooning while I was a student at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA. There was a local weekly newspaper which really blew my mind back then called Punchline and Jen's cartoon Slowpoke was published in it. This was also a time when I was discovering Elizabeth Watasin's Charm School and James Kochalka at Velocity Comics down the street from my dorm. It was a great moment of eye-opening inspiration for me on those Richmond streets.

I remember purchasing Jen's first Slowpoke book at the VCU bookstore back then. A couple of years later I would meet her at SPX when I worked as a volunteer. Last year, I got to hang out with her at the National Cartoonists Society Reuben Awards weekend. Above is a photo from Keith Robinson at NCS -- left to right: Barbara Dale, Carolyn Belefski, Jen Sorensen, Cathy Guisewite, Teresa Roberts Logan).

Congrats again to Jen! My favorite is her Drooly Julie character.

What a wonderful evening in DC last night. Thanks to all the local cartoonists who came out to support Jen and the US Library of Congress for hosting us.

You can see more photos for the 2014 Herblock Prize on the Curls Studio Facebook page and give us a "Like" while you're at it:

Sunday, April 27, 2014

May 3 is Free Comic Book Day

Next Saturday, May 3, 2014 is Free Comic Book Day. In preparation for the "Cartoonists Draw Blood" blood drive we are putting on with the American Red Cross later in the month (May 31), several of the contributing artists will be making appearances at local comic stores to promote and encourage people to sign up to donate blood.

Visit these fine creators on May 3 for FCBD:

Joe Carabeo and Carolyn Belefski at Big Planet Comics 
426 Maple Avenue E., Vienna, VA

Teresa Roberts Logan at Big Planet Comics 
1520 U Street, NW, Washington, DC
1PM to 3PM

Joe Sutliff  at Big Planet Comics 
4849 Cordell Avenue, Bethesda, MD
1PM to 3PM

Troy-Jeffrey Allen and Matt Rawson at Fantom Comics 
50 Massachusetts Avenue, NE, Washington, DC

Here is the Facebook RSVP, if you are planning to stop by the Vienna, VA location of Big Planet Comics to see Curls Studio:

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Recap: Awesome Con DC 2014

I still have to fully recover because I spent all last weekend BEING AWESOME at Awesome Con! The event took place April 18-20 at the DC Convention Center. I knew from the start that the second year of this convention would be huge: there was a Kickstarter, plus major advertisements on Metro signage, commercials airing during The Walking Dead and other TV shows, and promos before movies in local theaters. Yes, DC was being taken over by Awesomeness.

The weekend started early for me because I was traveling in with Joe Carabeo and his film crew from Astray Productions. They spent the whole weekend shooting footage for the Awesome Con documentary, which Joe is producing. I arrived while things were still being set-up at 8AM on Friday. The show would not start until 3PM, so I had some time to burn and stuffed some attendee bags with promos for the upcoming blood drive I set in-motion with the American Red Cross called "Cartoonists Draw Blood" and my comic strip, Curls. I could see even with no one there yet that the convention would be huge: just the badge registration area was the space of the con last year. The large Awesome Con archway was also a nice visual touch to welcome everyone into the exhibit hall. Friday was a good preview day for special Kickstarter backers and 3-Day pass holders.

Another cool thing that happened on Friday in front of the Capitol Reflecting Pool was an attempt to break the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest gathering of people dressed as comic book characters in one place. Unfortunately, the record was not broken and I was unable to make it out there to see it, but I hope Awesome Con's growth this year will help the drive to break this record in the future.

I got asked to do art for a special badge for certain Awesome Con Kickstarter backers called "Superhero Assist" and for my concept, I illustrated a hip elderly woman knitting a cape.

Saturday was obviously the biggest day at the convention. There were a lot of people! I had two panels that day: The Other Side of the Table: Lessons from Creators (featuring local comic artists and writers) and The Carolyn and Joe Show (in which we recorded a podcast with three cast members from AMC's The Walking Dead). I should mention that the audio from both of these panels will be available in the next few weeks at

One of the biggest personal moments for me on Saturday was seeing Richard Thompson as an attendee  there on wheels! Thanks to Nick Galifianakis for bringing him to the convention and to all the Team Cul de Sac members who got to see him again. It was quite a surprise and I actually told Richard to eat his vegetables!

Being with the film crew means you are the first to arrive and the last to leave and by the time we left on Saturday night, I was already exhausted. There was an Andrew WK concert associated with Awesome Con at The Black Cat that night, which I originally wanted to check out, but we needed to get a power nap (also known as sleep) so we could be ready for the final day. Thing is, I saw Andrew WK over 10 years ago with a full band, so I don't feel horrible because I have seen a show of his before. But again, there are only so many hours in a day and I felt exhausted to the level of a 4-Day New York Comic Con.

Sunday was Easter, so of course I was expecting a lighter crowd. It was a much more relaxing day where attendees could spend time at the table and we did the best that day. I participated in the Women in Comics panel, organized by Teresa Roberts Logan and featuring Michael Cavna, Juana Medina, and myself. The audience really engaged a lot of opinions which lead to this being a much bigger issue on a global scale. Joe moderated the Kevin Sorbo panel and we have audio which will be posted on The Carolyn and Joe Show.

Magic Bullet, the comics newspaper anthology I edit was seen on Fox 5 News! Thanks to Rafer Roberts for the image spotting. We were able to give out several copies for free to Awesome Con attendees.

The show is huge and next year will be even more awesome. The security team did a good job. I felt like this was the most secure convention I've been to. Thanks to Ben, Rachel, Paul, Debbie, the film crew, and volunteers for making last weekend so amazing and successful. Everyone learned a lot while this show is growing by leaps and bounds. I look forward next year: May 29-31, 2015.

More photos can be found on the Curls Studio Facebook Page -- and give us a "Like" while you're at it!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Carolyn Belefski: Runner-up Best Visual Artist - Best of D.C. 2014 in Washington City Paper

Thanks to all of you who voted in Washington City Paper's 2014 Best of D.C. Reader Poll. The votes are in and I am a runner-up for the second year in a row for Best Visual Artist. Thank you all so much for voting!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Awesome Con is April 18-20, 2014

We hope you can join us later this month for the second edition of Awesome Con DC on April 18-20, 2014 at the DC Convention Center. Last year was super amazing and it looks like this year will blow our socks off! Curls Studio will be located at table I12 in Artist Alley. Check out the awesome map above so you'll know where to find us.

Joe and I are scheduled to be on four panels, including a DC edition of The Other Side of the Table, which we've hosted at NYCC twice. We hope you can join us at table I12 as well the panels listed below -- plus we might have some surprises up our sleeves...

The Other Side of the Table: Lessons from Creators (Washington DC Edition)
Saturday, April 19, 2014
10:45 AM to 11:45 AM
Room 209B
Creating your product is only half the work it takes to succeed in the comics industry. What about the other half that we don't see as clearly after the product is released to the world? This important panel will explore what it is like to be on the other side of the table, as a creator. We will discuss what it takes to exhibit at conventions, promote yourself, gain a loyal audience, and hopefully survive the life as comic book creator in today's wild west industry - from the POV of professionals already behind the table. Moderated by filmmaker/comic writer Joe Carabeo.

Panelists: Joe Carabeo, Carolyn Belefski, Steve Conley, Matt Dembicki, Arsia Rozegar

The Carolyn and Joe Show Podcast
Saturday, April 19, 2014
2:45 PM to 3:45 PM
Room 207B
Join Carolyn and Joe as they interview special guests on their podcast!

Pro Wrestling Today: The New Movement
Saturday, April 19, 2014
4:30 PM to 5:30 PM
Room 201
After an extremely successful Pro Wrestling Today panel held at the first ever Awesome Con, Joe Carabeo is bringing it back for round 2! What can happen in year in the Pro Wrestling world? Find out, as certain Awesome Con guests (Including DC101’s Mike Jones and Astray Productions’s Joe Carabeo) talk the talk and walk the walk about how they feel about today's current pro wrestling product, its storylines, it's superstars, and maybe even a surprise. Pro Wrestling fans unite, this is the panel that will make you chant YES! YES! YES!

Women in Comics
Sunday, April 20, 2014
12:45 PM to 1:45 PM
Room 209A
Comics professionals Juana Medina, Carolyn Belefski, Michael Cavna, and Teresa Roberts Logan will discuss women in cartoon-land: character sand creators, the changing world of comics, and how they make their livings with pen, paper, and a mouse or two.

Kevin Sorbo Q&A
Sunday, April 20, 2014
2:15 PM to 3:15 PM
Room 207B
Kevin Sorbo will discuss his exciting career and answer audience questions. Moderated by filmmaker/comic writer Joe Carabeo.