Today we’d like to introduce you to Alex Nall.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Alex. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My name is Alex Nall. I’m a cartoonist and teaching artist. I moved to Chicago in 2011. I moved to the city hoping to find an artistic community to join and create work with. Fortunately more me, Chicago is a haven for independent creators, bookstores, and non-profits working together to create a vibrant and thriving alt-comix community.
I’ve been a self-publisher since moving to the city and my enthusiasm for producing new work has been encouraged by many different facets of the artistic community, most notably Chicago Zine Fest, Chicago Alternative Comics Expo, and Chicago Publishers Resource Center. I became an organizer of CZF in 2014 and am excited for this year’s festival on Friday, May 18 and Saturday, May 19. You can find out more information about CZF at www.chicagozinefest.org.
I have been a volunteer workshop coordinator for CAKE and Chi-PRC for the last three years. I organize a regular drawing meet-up called Saturday Night Drink n’ Draw which has been a mainstay at Chi-PRC. My goal at these workshops is to create an environment for artists- seasoned and fledgling- to come together and collaborate on different projects from jam comics, sketchbooks, and murals.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I’d like to think I’ve grown as a teacher and that my students have benefited from taking my comics classes, but who’s to say. All I know is that the position has many demands and expectations, but it’s also very freeing and motivational. I truly enjoy working and exploring the infinite possibilities that comics can bring to younger creators, and I’d say my proudest moment is exhibiting their work at comic festivals around the country and selling their work to raise money for their after-school programs.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about I make comics and illustrations – what should we know?
I started working on my ‘Teaching Comics’ series after acquiring a job as an art instructor in a variety of after-school programs throughout the city. Having no practical teaching experience and noticing the differences between public and private schools, the challenges of working with elementary students as opposed to those in high-school, I decided to start writing and illustrating my experiences and posting them online. I collected these comics in a self-published book ‘Teaching Comics, Volume 1’ in 2016.
Last year, I published a short biography of Fred Rogers, better known as Mister Rogers or the seminal children’s television program, ‘Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood’. Researching about a man that shaped my own life and influenced my decisions as a teacher was a fascinating process and one that proved to have its own challenges. The book, ‘Let Some Word That Is Heard Be Yours’ was self-published in 2017.
My new book, ‘Lawns’ is a departure from the autobiographical teaching work I’ve been focusing on. It’s a 100-page story about a small town election and the lives and conflicts of various town citizens. It’s being published by Kilgore Books and Comics. They are hosting a Kickstarter fundraiser right now to publish it and eight other really great comic books: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1859912366/kilgore-books-and-comics-2018-releases
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
My success as a teacher is measured by the safety and engagement of my students. I have had students who are passionate about comics and drawing truly push themselves to create exceptional work beyond their age and skill range, as well as students who couldn’t give a hoot about self-publishing or art, yet still find a way to contribute their time and effort to creating work that represents our class as a whole. It’s good for adults to remember that students- children- are people too, and have their own ambitions and lives to lead and the best we can do is try and support them in their endeavors.
My success as a cartoonist can only be measured by how much I’m asking of myself. I have no delusions about making a career out of this. I’ve been making comics, drawings, books, etc. since I was in first grade and that seems to be enough. With each project I take on, I tend to ask myself, ‘What more can I do to make this work be better than the last one?’ That all being said, I do hope to find ways to use my editorial and educational background to use where I can make more than just comics.
- Teaching Comics: Volume One- $20
- Let Some Word That Is Heard Be Yours- $12
- Comics Workshop- $50/ hour
- Saturday Night Drink n’ Draw workshop- $5
- Website: http://alexnall.blogspot.com/
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @alexnall0
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alex.nall.56