Comic artist Laura Howell visited the University to share her experience and knowledge with undergraduate and postgraduate students.
Laura Howell is a cartoonist and comic book creator and artist she presently lives and works out of her studio in Birmingham with her cluster of cats. Laura has been a professional comic artist for 16 years, but a compulsive doodler all her life. Yet despite being born with the urge to draw, she very nearly missed out on this career path completely.
When Laura spoke with the students she explained how she was “lucky to be in the right place at the right time” when an opportunity arose for her to attend a course in the early noughties. She went on to talk about how she was even luckier to be mentored by the legendary Hunt Emerson (one of the godfathers of the British Underground scene) and subsequently went onto act as Hunt’s inker on The Ratz strip he was drawing at that time for The Beano.
Image: Courtesy of Laura Howell
However, Laura did emphasise the fact that “fortune favours the prepared” as she was only able to be accepted on to StripSearch, a highly competitive course aimed at enabling budding comic artists and writers to break into the comics industry, because she had been developing her own comic creations for many years during her spare time whilst working within the publishing industry.
She talked to the students about the dangers of self-doubt, learning to recognise (and trust others to recognise) your skills, and the ups and downs of breaking into – and staying in – the comics industry.
In 2006 Laura became the first woman to draw for The Beano, and is currently the artist in charge of everyone's favourite pigtailed powerhouse Minnie the Minx. She has drawn and written for many publications including Viz, the Dandy and the DFC, as well as comic adaptations of Angry Birds and Cartoon Network's Regular Show and Uncle-Grandad.