March 28, 2013

Off Beat: Comics relief

Artists and readers enjoy the chance to relax and socialize at Coast City Comics’ ‘Drink & Draw’ sessions.

By Ray Routhier rrouthier@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

When comic book artist J.K. Woodward heard that Coast City Comics was hosting a monthly event called "Drink & Draw," he thought they must have created it with him in mind.

click image to enlarge

J.K. Woodward, guest artist at the next “Drink & Draw” sponsored by Coast City Comics, has recently worked on “Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who: Assimilation 2.”

Courtesy of Coast City Comics

click image to enlarge

J.K. Woodward also receives commissions for work like “Batman and Catwoman.”

IF YOU GO

"DRINK & DRAW"

WHEN: 8:30 p.m. Wednesday

WHERE: LFK, 188A State St., Portland

HOW MUCH: Free; guests are encouraged to buy food and/or drink

INFO: 899-1505

"Those are my two favorite things to do, so I think it's a very cool idea," said Woodward, 42, whose recent work includes "Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who: Assimilation 2" for IDW.

The folks at Coast City Comics in Portland did not actually create their monthly "Drink & Draw" series with Woodward in mind. But they obviously understand that comic book artists in general would welcome a chance to come out of their studios and have a drink with like-minded folks.

And maybe draw a little too.

The series started sort of organically in November, when people gathered for drinks after a comics convention hosted by Coast City. It seemed like a cool idea, so organizers decided to make it a monthly deal.

They invite at least one well-known, professional comic book artist each month, and then encourage fans and other artists to show up. The events are free, but because they are held in a bar -- LFK on State Street -- the Coast City folks encourage people to buy drinks and food.

The next "Drink & Draw" is at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, with Woodward as the guest artist. For people who don't want to hang out in the bar, he'll also be doing an in-store appearance and signing from 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Coast City Comics, 634 Congress St.

"Drink & Draw" serves another purpose too, said Jarrett Melendez, event coordinator for Coast City. Some of the art created at the event will be part of an exhibit that Coast City puts on every month as part of the city's First Friday Art Walk.

Some of the artists who have graced "Drink & Draw" so far include Renae De Liz ("The Last Unicorn"), Ray Dillon ("Mars Attacks"), Mort Todd ("Cracked") and Rick Parker ("Tales from the Crypt").

"Having a pro there is great, because local artists can chat with them and see how quickly they can produce something relatively polished," said Melendez.

For Woodward, "Drink & Draw" comes at a convenient time. He's renting a place from family in Fryeburg because he and his wife lost all their personal possessions when their Long Island, N.Y., apartment was flooded by Superstorm Sandy last fall.

Woodward, who grew up in Massachusetts and Maine, is also known for his work on the "Fallen Angel" series for IDW. He had been based in New York for years before Sandy hit. He plans to move out of Maine later this year, probably to California.

"We had 4 feet of water in the place, so basically we found the place suddenly in the middle of the ocean," said Woodward.

Luckily, his artwork was in a studio not near the flooding, and was saved.

On Wednesday, Woodward will get a chance to create new art in a very different setting -- in a bar, with fellow artists, new friends and drinks all around.

"As a comic book artist, you face insane deadlines, and you're usually working by yourself," said Woodward. "So I really love the idea of having time to socialize with fans and other artists."

Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at:

rrouthier@pressherald.com

Twitter: RayRouthier

 

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