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LORE – That Which is Taught to Us: Comics workshop of modern Nordic folktales

Written by Maura Manninen on . Posted in Our Blogs, Workshops

Illustration © Jon Kuitunen 2018

Finnish Comics Society organises a workshop for twelve 18–30-year-old Nordic comics artists in Helsinki, August 2018 to make publications with a risograph. The theme of the week-long workshop is to delve into modern Nordic folklore, myths and urban legends and tell these stories in short comics story format. The finished RISO publications will be distributed during Helsinki Comics Festival in September 2018.

Theme of the workshop

There are always stories that stay with you, especially the ones you have heard as a child. Some you have learned from your grandparents or from friends during a sleepover. You’ll be walking down a dark forest road and you’ll remember the one with the ghostly footsteps of a dead suitor following a maid in the middle of night. Or on a cold winter night you might recall the one about the snowmobile driver whose brains froze when he drove without a helmet.

Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the traditions common to that culture, subculture or group. These include oral traditions like tales, proverbs and jokes. Other forms of verbal lore include e.g.:

  • Conspiracy theories
  • Folktales
  • Ghost stories
  • Jokes
  • Legends
  • Place names
  • Proverbs
  • Riddles
  • Superstition
  • Urban legends

At the workshop, the participants will create short story comics focusing on contemporary and traditional Nordic sources. The stories can be based on persisting traditional stories, unsolved mysteries from the past, topical urban legends of the day or even the roots of sayings and proverbs we use everyday. The North is full of sources from which to draw inspiration – where will you start from?

A note about cultural appropriation

We advice participants to avoid using source material from indigenous or minority e.g. Sami or Roma folklore, if you are not yourself of that heritage. We enthusiastically encourage artists of indigenous and minority backgrounds to apply for the workshop, so we can provide new platforms for your voices to be heard in the comics world.

The workshop in a nutshell

Finnish Comics Society invites 12 young Nordic comics artists to Helsinki to make publications with a risograph. The RISO printing machine gives the possibility to make almost offset-quality as easy as with a regular copy machine.

The participants will plan their initial story ideas beforehand with the workshop leaders via online feedback, giving then more time to execute the final artworks during the workshop week. The participants will print the publications for the Helsinki Comics Festival 2018 weekend.

The working language of the project is English, but the created comics can be in any language.

Structure of the workshop

Part 1: Preparation period

The project will include an online preparation period 1.6.–25.8.2018, during which the participants select and plan their stories ideas together with the workshop leaders and each other.

Part 2: Workshop in Helsinki

The workshop will take place 26.–31.8.2018 in Helsinki. During the week, the participants finalize their story pages and create the printed works (zines and posters) with Comics Center’s RISO machine.

Rights to works and distribution

Participants keep rights to their original works and the print runs created at the workshop. Finnish Comics Society reserves only the right to use artwork created during the project to promote the project in a non-commercial capacity. Finnish Comics Society will similarly keep a small portion of each print run for its archive and to showcase project results.

The created print runs will be distributed at Helsinki Comics Festival 1.–2.9.2018. The festival will provide a joint-exhibitor table at its Zine Fest sales area. The created RISO print runs can either be distributed free of charge or at prices decided among the participants.

Applicant eligibility

The workshop is aimed at young Nordic artists and artists living currently in the Nordic countries. The eligibility criterias for the workshop are as follows:

  • Applicant is of Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian or Swedish nationality or is living currently in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway or Sweden.
  • Applicant must be 18–30 years old.

Participant benefits

The workshop participants will receive the following benefits from the organiser:

  • Return travel expenses to Helsinki
  • Hostel accommodation in Helsinki
  • Complimentary meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks)

Application process

Fill in the following form by the application deadline 4th June 2018. In addition to your contact details, add links/attachment files to your comics portfolio/web comics and write about three (3) possible story ideas you would like to work on during the project. Present each idea in short 1–3 sentence paragraphs.

There are 12 workshop places available in total, and 2–3 places for each eligible country (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden). The participants will be selected based on their existing body of work and the story ideas presented.

Finnish Comics Society strives to further inclusiveness, accessibility, equality, diversity, community and and anti-racism in all its functions, including the Lore project. In addition to project proposals and body of work, the Society will take into account equal and diverse representation of genders, backgrounds and other factors in the participant selections.

Application Form (Google)


For questions and more information about the project, please contact:

Finnish Comics Society
Maura Manninen, Project Coordinator

Project support

Lore – That Which Is Taught to Us is supported by NORDBUK (Nordic Committee for Children and Young People) in 2018.

Nordicomics Youth! Comics Camps 2015

Written by Maura Manninen on . Posted in NC Youth BLOG, Our Blogs

tallinnacomicscamp 01

Nordicomics Youth! Comics Camp went to Tallinn in November 2015! This time the camps had participants from Finland, Estonia and Sweden. The main focus of the camp was on fast pace and making zines. Lots of fast exercises, accompanied by feedback.

The amount of comics made in Tallinn was staggering. The participants dipped to the world of game play by using RPG elements to make a improvised comic zines. The camp also had tiny history lessons concerning the history Finnish and Estonian comics scene.

What’s in store for the future? In January 2016 there will be an exhibition in Stockholm, Sweden where the works done in Helsinki and Tallinn camps will be present.

tallinnacomicscamp 04

About the project


The Finnish Comics Society organised two Nordicomics Youth! comics camps in the later half of 2015 to help young comic artists, between ages 18 to 29, from Finland, Estonia and Sweden. During both camps a lot of comics were produced, new revelations made and a lot learned. The participants got to plan and work on their own project in the Helsinki camp.

The workshops in Helsinki & Tallinn supported each other by offering different content. The comics camp in Tallinn focused more on exercises and making a lot of content in short amount of time eg. short one page comics, technique experiments and small zines.

The camp was a great way for people to meet old acquaintances and make new friends as well as share information about a mutual passion; making comics. The workshops were taught by Finnish and Estonian comics professionals.

Nordicomics Youth! exhibition will be held in January 2016 in Serieteket, Stockholm, Sweden.

The Nordicomics Youth! Comics Camps were organised by the Finnish Comics Society and received support from Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture and Svenska Kulturfonden.

Nordicomics Youth! exhibition in Helsinki 9.–26.11.2014

Written by Maura Manninen on . Posted in NC Youth BLOG, Our Blogs


Nordicomics Youth! exhibition
Dates: 9.–26.11.2014
Venue: Comics Center, Hämeentie 150, Helsinki

Finnish Comics Society organised the first Nordicomics Youth! comics camp for young artists in August 2014 at Luukki camp center, Espoo. Ten artists aged between 18–25 years from Norway, Finland, Sweden and Estonia took part in the camp. During their week-long stay the young artists worked on their own comics stories guided by Finnish professional artists. Gallery Sarjakuvakeskus is proud to present the finished stories and the working process of the camp now in an exhibition of its own.

The exhibition presents works by Johanne Eikå Bergill, Ida Eva Neverdahl and Jofrid Sandgren Østenstad from Norway, Jennie Sörensen and Sara Hernoldson from Sweden, Ina Rosberg and Yrtti Taivaloja from Finland and Leore Klyszejko from Estonia.

The Nordicomics Youth! camp was organised by the Finnish Comics Society and received support from Nordic Children’s and Youth Committee – NORDBUK.

Illustration credits: Ida Eva Neverdahl

Nordicomics Youth -Camp! Thursday – Storms and Grannies

Written by Maura Manninen on . Posted in NC Youth BLOG


Thursday was our last working day. We had a new guest teacher Anni Nykänen and she was giving us lecture about lettering in comics. She was also telling us what is like to be professional comic artist. We had lots of examples about Annis works and she of course introdused her Grannie character to us.

We were again many hours without electricity and for example cooking was pretty difficult. Ida left already today so there were only eight participants! We did again Broken fax machine -exercise, grilled and sang together the whole Bohemia rhapsody!

Tomorrow the camp will and we will be cleaning the place. We would rather stay here longer! Luukki has been good to us!

Todays Artists:
Leore Klösheiko
Ina Rosberg

Nordicomics Youth! Camp: Wednesday was all about panels!

Written by Maura Manninen on . Posted in NC Youth BLOG


So Wednesday came, and it was Karri Laitinen’s last teaching day! He gave us a lecture about page and panel design, backgrounds, perspective and many, many other things! So the morning was filled with intensity and hard work! A massive storm also woke us in the middle of the night. Luukki was without electricity for some time and the fire alarm kept screaming loudly!

Today we also did a “broken fax machine” exercice and Karri Lehtonen was teaching the basics of the storytelling in improvisation. We had a good grill session again and now the storm is rising once more! Hope we can keep our electricity!

Tomorrow Anni Nykänen will come here, we are very exited already!

Today’s artists:
Yrtti Taivaloja / Finland
Johanne Bergill / Norway

Towards Thursday and beyond!

Nordicomics Youth! -Camp Tuesday: The day we became famous!

Written by Maura Manninen on . Posted in NC Youth BLOG


Yes! Tuesday is almost behind us. Today we tried to move forward with everyone’s story as much as possible! We had also Petri Koikkalainen from Helsinki Comics Center here and he showed us his great A-exercise!

Like we say in the headline, this was the day we became famous. That’s because the Finnish Lotto programme was making a TV insert about Nordicomics Youth! We think they filmed pretty good footage of us drawing comics, fooling around and chilling on the pier! They also interviewed Maura Manninen the international coordinator!

Now we are getting ready to have a BBQ and the evening meal!

Tuesdays artists:
Julia Lipponen / Finland
Ida Neverdahl / Norway

Let’s see what Wednesday brings to the mix!

Nordicomics Youth! -camp: Monday feelings!

Written by Maura Manninen on . Posted in NC Youth BLOG

Today was our first whole camp day! Our theme was storytelling and teacher Karri Laitinen gave us lots of know-how on how to write a story and what kind of characters you might need init! Each Nordicomics Youth! -camp participant has their own comic project that they are working on during the week.

Now here in the blog we’ll report about our process and give you an idea what we are actually doing here in Luukki, besides comics of course! All our camp participants has a tutor pair/group and each pair/group has their own day to report.

Here-s the first groups amazing monday comic! Hope you enjoy it!

Jedni Sörensen
Jofrid Östenstad
Sara Hernoldsson


Karri Lehtonen
Camp coordinator

Sign language and monsters

Written by Maura Manninen on . Posted in CUNE CiR Blog, Our Blogs

A bunch of comics-enthusiasts gathered on August 8th at the Comics Center to celebrate the opening of a new exhibition at the Comics Center Gallery. The atmosphere was literally quite warm as people circled inside exploring all kinds of monsters and robots doing their daily routines.

Matt Boyce, photo by Jack BarnesThe man behind the exhibition is Matt Boyce (1981), a British artist who comes from a bilingual family. Both his parents are deaf, and he is fluent in English and British sign language. Sign language is part of both his own art and teaching work at a college in London. The Everyday Monsters exhibition is part of Matt’s residency project in the CUNE Comics-in-Residence programme.

The day before the opening I sat down with Matt and we talked about the residency and his stay here in Helsinki. What are his plans for the forthcoming month, what are his first impressions so far and what are the things that inspire him?

Matt told me that during his first week in Finland he has mainly done some touristy things like looking at sights and walking around Helsinki. During his residency Matt will be staying at Suomenlinna, an island off the coast of Helsinki that holds an old maritime fort built in the 18th century. He has been overall impressed by his lodgings at HIAP residence center.

“It’s great to have a big house all for myself. It’s the biggest place I’ve ever stayed in. It’s kind of funny to have a big space for painting and there I am, working on my comics.” During his residency Matt will be working on a new comic book, but that’s still very much a work in progress.

The way Matt uses sign language in his comics interests me. There is no sound involved in comics anyway, and all sounds from speech to effects are presented visually. Does he still feel like it’s important to incorporate sign language into comics? I revealed my ignorance to Matt and he gave me an answer:

“British sign language is different from English, and not everyone who speaks sign language knows English. For me, sign language was the first language I learned, and I still find English weird sometimes even though I can speak it fluently. In my teaching I use simple English and try to keep the style very visual. I teach courses for deaf children, and it’s important that everyone understands the comics I use for teaching.”

The most important thing for Matt is that everyone can draw comics and express themselves. This will also be the basis of the workshop he will be teaching during August at the Comics Center in Helsinki and HIAP’s Gallery Augusta. During the workshop the participants will be making autobiographical comics using sign language, similar to the courses Matt is teaching in London. He showed me some comics made in the workshops by deaf children who are leaving school. In the comics they talk about themselves but also their fears regarding the future. Matt explained to me that in England, deaf children get support and help with studies while they’re at school but after graduation they might have anxieties about the future. In their comics the children talk about their dreams for the future but also the obstacles they might run into.

Matt describes the island he is living on as both strangely silent and filled with tourists at the same time. The tourist crowds have actually given him an inspiration for a zombie-comic – both tourists and zombies are known to wander around in large packs with no sense of direction.


EVERYDAY MONSTERS exhibition is open at the Comics Center Gallery until August 31st.

Interview and exhibition photos by Laura Antola. Matt’s photo by Jack Barnes.

Dace Sietina

Written by Maura Manninen on . Posted in Artists, Dutch artists

 daceportrait_smallerDace Sietina (b. 1978), originally from Latvia, studied illustration in Willem de Kooning academy in Rotterdam. After graduating she very soon published her first comics in Kus! Magazine.

Later on her works also appeared in “van Spijk”, “Stripburger”, “Naturegraffix”, Popper and other various books and magazines. In 2012 she won “Stripgrafiek” prijs  in the Netherlands (Graphic comic prize).

Mathilde Vangheluwe

Written by Maura Manninen on . Posted in Artists, Belgian artists

mathildeMathilde Vangheluwe (b. 1989) lives and works in Gent, Belgium. She co-founded illustration and comics collective Tieten met haar.

In 2011, her work won her a first prize at the Fumetto international comix festival competition in Lucerne, Switzerland. Her comics appears in publications such as La Trama (IT) and Slang (NL).

Nordicomics and its projects are funded by Nordic Culture Point, Nordic Children's and Youth Committee – NORDBUK, and the Finnish Comics Society. All images are the copyright of their respective owners.