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Graphic Journalism by Dan Archer


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Graphic Novel

Nepal Project Updates

I’m now a few months into my Nepal project (for more, click the links below), which has seen me moving around the country interviewing survivors of human trafficking. The highly flattering picture above is with an interviewee who was tricked into selling his kidney, only to then be short-changed and left with permanent health defects. I’m posting pages from my graphic novel in progress on the Nepal Extras page, though you’ll have to pay a princely $5 for access – all proceeds go towards the Daal Bhaat (rice and lentils in Nepali) fund/living expenses while I’m out here until May.

Video Preview of “From Busan to San Francisco” Graphic Novel

Last week saw the launch of the 4th incarnation of the Stanford Graphic Novel Project, which I’ve had the fantastic opportunity to work on for 3 years. The latest book, From Busan to San Francisco, is based on the true story of a young south korean girl who is trafficked to Los Angeles before ending up in an asian massage parlour in San Francisco. It’s a testament to the determination, hard work and enthusiasm of the talented students we had on board that the final product looks so professional! (Even if I do say so myself). All this in just two semesters! Ok, so 2.5 really – and a ton of elbow grease/hours staring into an assortment of Macs around campus. The usual graphic novel glamour. If you’re an educator, publisher or book critic then drop me a line for a review copy.

From Busan to San Francisco from Dan Archer on Vimeo.

Hard Hats comic – the cover

After finally reaching a breathing point after months-worth of deadlines (could be the eye of the storm, mind you) I finally took the chance to get back to some illustration work. Here’s the new cover of my soon-to-be-launched comic (co-written with Nikil Saval), Hard Hats. For more info, go to the Hard Hats page.

From Busan to San Francisco: The new Stanford Graphic Novel Project is (almost) here!

Two (and a bit) semesters in the making, I’m pleased to announce that the new stanford graphic novel project is almost here. The story is based on an SF Chronicle piece, “Diary of a Sex Slave” that ran in 2005, highlighting the plight of a trafficking victim who was tricked into coming to the US from Korea, ending up in brothels masquerading as massage parlours in LA and San Francisco.

The course, now in its third year, offers 20 students the chance to write and produce a graphic novel from scratch over two (fast-paced) semesters. We split them into a team of writers, thumbnailers and artists, then switch some of them into scanning/colouring and eventually layout in indesign. You can check out previous years’ graphic novels here. This year’s book weighs in at 160 pages and relies on extensive picture reference and documentation passed on to us from the original reporter, Meredith May, at the Chronicle. It’s a big evolution from Pika Don, the previous graphic novel, which only featured single tone spot colour. As you can see from the sample page below, this year we went for 3-tone gradations of colour to fill out the line work more. More soon.

Sample page showing the US/Mexico border crossing

News galore: panels, conferences, courses and an archcomix exhibition

2012 is already looking to be a busy year for me, I’m pleased to say. From May 24-28 I’ll be in Phoenix, Arizona for the International Communication Association’s Conference, talking about comics journalism, followed a month later by the Woodstock Digital Media Festival, where I’ll be discussing visual storytelling on digital platforms. Straight after that I’ll be reprising my comics course at EPGY, Stanford’s Summer program in late June, followed immediately by my second stint at Idyllwild Arts College, near Palm Springs, California (that’s about 1.5 hours east of LA, non-yanks).  Click here to find out more about the 1 week adult class I’m giving at Idyllwild, and here for 2-week youth (14-18) class.

I know it’s a long way off, but I’m also delighted to say that this December there will be an Archcomix exhbition at Studio Unfiltered in Pleasanton, where I’ll be displaying select pages from my latest comics journalism projects. The reason I chose to work with SU was because of their “art for social change” ethos, realized in the fact that one third of all sales will be donated to an anti-trafficking NGO. But of course if you can’t wait for the festive season, you could always head over to the Archcomix online comic art repository and order a page directly through this site.

EPGY Comics Showcase: part 1

As promised, see below for a brief sampler of the anthology produced by students in my recent graphic novel course at EPGY. This preview features work from Beiatrix Pedrasa and Heywood Ye – all the more impressive considering they only had 12 days to put their stories together. More previews will be posted shortly, so support this new generation of visual storytellers and come back/share the link/tweet/shout it from the rooftops etc.

Hardhats and the no-longer AWOL laptop

After a brief hiatus, the hardhats story continues: only a few more corrections to go and the WHOLE first part is finally ready to send off.  If you’re new to the site, have a look around! Comics are accessible via the drop down menus above (hover over the different categories to choose a subject).

The more observant among you will have noticed that the comic above has not changed in a while. The reason? I left Archbeast I, my brand spanking macbook pro, in the world’s busiest airport (London Heathrow) after spending most of the night before working on a new website launch (about which, more another time). Thankfully it has since been tracked down and will be back safe and sound on the west coast tomorrow, together with my lovely wife. In the meantime, scroll down for news and updates of a more textual variety – alas my scanner and old macbook don’t get on, and Archbeast has all of my new material on. Time for an external hard drive backup methinks.

More Hardhats panels

Harry and Kwame debate the motivational discrepancies that student filmmakers face when making art with a message – a sample from my graphic novel in progress, Hardhats. More to follow. More info on the true story behind the project here for those new to the site.

Martin Luther King and the Vietnam War

Above is a continued sequence from Hardhats, my graphic novel in progress, set in May 1970 at the height of anti-Vietnam sentiment. Hit “previous” to read from the start of this little interlude. It being Martin Luther King day here in the US, celebrate it wherever you are in the world by listening to one of his speeches on Vietnam here: “the press generally won’t tell you these things, but God told me to tell you this morning…” RIP MLK.

New Hardhats panels

I’m now only a page or two from finishing the first third of my graphic novel, Hardhats – which you can read more about here. The above panels are part of a flashback sequence as two of the main characters talk on their way to an anti Vietnam protest at the Federall Hall in downtown Manhattan. I’ll post some follow-up panels over the next few days. Please leave your comments! You can also checkout my latest sketchbook doodles and watercolours here.

Remember to scroll down – news and updates are just a scroll away, under the fold.

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