By glancing on social media, it seems like most people are very frustrated and sad with the year 2016. Many people are drained from the election and celebrity deaths. We can only hope that 2017 provides a fresh start for everyone. 2016 has been an busy year for Curls Studio creators Joe Carabeo and Carolyn Belefski, so we decided to celebrate with a year-in-review recap blog post!
The image above combines the #2016BestNine from @CarolynBelefski Instagram account, displaying people’s most-liked photos from the past year. The best nine features a mix of freelance design work, personal illustrations, a throwback Thursday post about meeting Jim Lee at my first Baltimore Comic-Con, and a glimpse behind-the-scenes of a Curls comic strip. You can also follow Joe on Instagram at @AstrayJ.
This year Carolyn was asked in participate in two sleepovers at The National Archives. The sleepovers had an overlapping superhero theme and included the activity station “Design Your Own Superhero with Carolyn Belefski.”
Carolyn was considered for an “Advertising / Product Illustration” Reuben Award from the National Cartoonists Society and although she did not win and was not expecting to win or even make it to the top three nominees, it was exciting for a day or two to be mildly recognized.
We made 7 comic show appearances this year with a total of 16 days behind the table exhibiting comics. We exhibited at Tidewater Comicon for the first time. We celebrated Free Comic Book Day at our local store and hit up major conventions including Awesome Con, Small Press Expo, Baltimore Comic-Con, and New York Comic Con. We ended the year with a small show at a used book store and got to meet a lot of fun personalities there!
In April and May, Carolyn launched a daily project called “ABCs of Country Music” where she created custom typography for each letter of the alphabet based on country music superstars.
At Awesome Con, Carolyn and Joe hosted, moderated, and served as panelists on many panels throughout the show. One of the highlights was recording a live podcast for the Carolyn and Joe Show with special guest Phil LaMarr! Carolyn moderated the Will Friedle & Grey DeLisle Q&A. Carolyn also took part in comics panels such as Heidi MacDonald’s “How To Break Into Comics (and Survive)” and “The Other Side of the Table: Lessons from Creators.”
In June, Carolyn became chair of the Washington, DC chapter of National Cartoonists Society. She has organized programs since 2012 with NCS, including Cartoonists Draw Blood and helped with “cARToons” exhibits and other activities.
Carolyn produced the first Cartoonists Draw Blood Art Exhibit at Takoma Park Community Center which was up for nearly two months. The exhibit featured 13 artists who have drawn at previous blood drives. We hosted an opening reception, hung the work, promoted the show, and more.
Speaking of exhibits, a poster Carolyn designed for AIGA’s Get Out the Vote Campaign was on the walls of the Washington Project for the Arts during DC Design Week.
Black Magic Tales was published in Magic Bullet, Washington, DC’s comics anthology. Issues #12 and #13 were released this year.
During New York Comic Con, in addition to spending all four days at our booth, Carolyn also spent some time at the National Cartoonists Society’s booth and was invited to participate in a fun event at Society of Illustrators, which celebrated the release of Wacom’s MobileStudio Pro. We were also able to enjoy the Ralph Steadman exhibit in the gallery space and meet a bunch of really great artists.
Joe and Carolyn released their new comic, French Fry Club, at New York Comic Con this year. The book has received good feedback and we look forward to continuing the story in 2017.
In October, Carolyn organized the fourth annual Cartoonists Draw Blood drive with Troy-Jeffrey Allen. Donors gave blood to the American Red Cross and then the Washington, DC chapter of National Cartoonists Society and other local cartoonists drew for the donors as a “thank you.” The event was a success and we saved many lives. We already have a date confirmed for next year — it’s Saturday, October 28, 2017.
In November, DC Chapter of National Cartoonists Society had our first “Cartooning for Kids” event at a children’s hospital. We drew for the kids and gave tips on learning how to draw too. The NCS Foundation organized a shipment of several goody bags that included t-shirts, crayons, comics, coloring books, and more to go to every child in the hospital.
Although it is not promoted very much, Carolyn started a Patreon tip jar this year where she posts thumbnails of Curls comic strips she’s created and other work process imagery. Pledge $1 or more per month to access the extra goodies and support the art you enjoy!
If you want to know more information about any of the experiences we’ve had this year, please look in the blog archives, as each event was recapped with photos! So much has happened this year and we’ve stayed productive. We hope to create more for you in 2017 and all the years to come!
Happy New Year from Curls Studio!