A Master Comic Visits Schuchinsk

For the first time, school children and students of the Burabay district had the opportunity to take part in master classes on the creation of comic books from Daniel Akhmed – the young author of British publishing house, Hertfordshire Press.

Daniel, the young author of “The Final” graphic novel, made his first visit to Kazakhstan, where he visited both Nur-Sultan, Almaty, and Burabay. The purpose of the visit was to hold a series of art presentations for the youth of the city. The program was organizsd by the creative residence of ECG HORIZONS BURABAY (Shchuchinsk) with the support of the non-profit public organization Eurasian Creative Guild (London)

During the five days Daniel held seven presentations. More than 200 young people, from 11 to 25 years old (as well as their teachers and mentors) learned the basics of creating comics, thanks to the support of the Guild Ambassador in the Burabay district, Yussuf Krykbessov.

 “We were very lucky that Daniel came to us in Schuchinsk. I was moved to the core that our children are striving to learn English, they tried to talk to Daniel! We are finally joining European models of creative activity, this is a very significant event” – Mr. Krykbessov emphasised.

The first presentation started on the hospitable venue of the Higher College of Technology, where future programmers and designers learnt the art of creating comics. During the meeting, the audience received not only techniques and tricks that Daniel had experienced first-hand, but also discussed with Taina Kaunis, executive director of ECG (London), the relevance of comic books for programmers. 

The director of the school Mr. Kuanyshbek Shayakhmetov expressed gratitude to the Guild team. “We are grateful to our guests for lighting up a spark of desire in the souls of the guys to create, study, learn and create something new in their lives,” he said.

Daniel continued the cycle of meetings with a presentation at the Arman School of Art, where the youngest students delved deeper into the technical details of the rendering of characters and pages. “Daniel held a master class on creating comics, which made the kids very interested. It should be noted that Daniel is only 13 years old, and he already has personal creative publications on this topic,” – the school director Mrs. Aigul Turguzhina shared. No less actively and exciting, Daniel held a master class for students of Gymnasium No. 1. Curious students did not plan on stopping him any time soon, asking question after question.

Students of the school “IQanat Burabay” also discussed the creation of comics. The audience gathered in the cinema hall, where a theatrr rehearsal had just ended, so a creative atmosphere surrounded the event from the very beginning of the meeting. And the boldest of the meeting participants even asked Daniel for autographs, so he gladly signed copies of his book for them.

Daniel talked intensively with translation students of the Higher Pedagogical College: the students not only enthusiastically participated in the conversation, but also supported the idea of volunteer assistance to the international festival “Voices of Friends: Poetry & Art,” which will soon take place in Shchuchinsk at the initiative of the ECG (London). “Surprisingly, even I, a person twice as old as Daniel, found a lot of new and interesting things for myself in the master class,” – Nelly Filippova, a hotel designer, shared.

Of course, participants benefited not only from the performance of Daniel himself but also the projects in which talented young people can participate. The founder and head of the Hertfordshire Press publishing house, vice-chairman of ECG (London) – Marat Akhmedzhanov – was also present and noted that “Often teachers and parents find the comic to be something frivolous and sometimes harmful. 

But let’s turn to statistics. In 2020, the entire US comic book industry (all periodicals, graphic novels and digital editions of all publishers, genres and channels, as well as merch) – brought a record $1.28 billion, that is, approximately 800 billion tenge (according to the DTF portal). Not so bad to make more than a billion dollars, right? At the same time, Comics beat published statistics on sales of graphic novels and manga in the United States for 2021. Judging by it, the popularity of the genre is at an unprecedented height, and sales are growing at a huge pace. For 2021, sales grew by almost 70%, and the total number of comic books/graphic novels sold for the year is more than in 2018 and 2019 combined. Since 2003, growth has been an impressive 558%. The industry is probably going through a new golden age. The manga has even better numbers – the genre generated 280% more profits than last year (according to Shazoo).

The heads of the ECG HORIZONS BURABAY and ECG (London) residence plan to make such creative “business trips” of foreign cultural and art workers regular, allowing residents of the Akmola region to become acquainted with modern trends in creative industries and realize their creative potential.