Abstract for Creating Comics, Creative Comics 2020: DIY Digital Comics Without Drawing: Craft, Collaboration and Materiality in the Digital Age 

I am delighted my paper for the Creating Comics, Creative Comics 2020- BEYOND Symposium at the University of South Wales: Cardiff Campus (Monday 6th – Tuesday 7th April 2020) has been accepted. I am looking forward to participating.

Below I share a slightly revised version my abstract.

The Blank Page (page 4), London is a real city that has been descibed as ‘unreal’. The situations, settings and characters in ‘The Blank Page’ are entirely fictitious. London is a real city that has been descibed as ‘unreal’. The situations, settings and characters in ‘The Blank Page’ are entirely fictitious.
The Blank Page, page 4 (2014)


DIY Digital Comics Without Drawing: Craft, Collaboration and Materiality in the Digital Age 

Dr Ernesto Priego, Centre for Human Computer Interaction Design, City, University of London

In this presentation I will discuss examples of the poetry, autobiographic and non-fiction comics that I have been producing through purely digital means since ca. 2006.

The usual assumption is that a precondition of comics is drawing or illustration, particularly in some traditions. For instance,  bande dessinée in French means “drawn strip”, whereas in other languages terminology refers to tone or genre (“comics”, originally referring to the content being comical), length or cultural status (“historietas”- meaning little or pseudo stories) or layout features (“quadrinhos” literally meaning little boxes, panels; “fumetti”- literally little puffs of smoke; balloons). It is interesting that in the English language, the term “fumetti” is frequently used to refer to photo comics, regardless of origin or language.

I grew up surrounded by comics and fotonovelas or photo-comics (see, for example, Priego 2011), and though this fact most have defined my experience of graphic storytelling up to a certain extent, my work making comics without drawings has been more properly inspired by the collaborative nature of, initially, the craft of DIY fanzine making (I co-founded and edited Hemofilia, a horror comics fanzine [see Trujillo 2020], when I was 15), and, later on and more recently, the Web and Internet-mediated collaboration.

I will show examples from A Life Deferred (2006-2008), The Blank Page (2014), The Strip Hay-na-ku Project (2008-2019) and stand-alone examples such as “Addressing Sylvia” (2019a) and “Salut, Notre-Dame…” (2019b) and discuss how I have repurposed writing and images created by me and others, and how that practice fits in with my long-time interest in the comics grid (the array or layout of graphic panels; the specific distribution of images on a comic book page) as a poetic force, as a space for poetic revelation (Priego and Wilkins 2018). These are comics made with computers to be shared via computers (and of course mobile devices) that nonetheless are also embedded in the tradition of DIY fanzine making that, though digitally-mediated, still aim to achieve the feel and should I say “aura” of mechanical reproduction*.

I am interested in discussing the affordances of contemporary off-the-shelf software as a continuation and transformation of material practices of cut-and-paste and détournement, as exemplified by my own attempts at graphic storytelling with digital means.


*At this stage the Benjamin citation is not really needed, is it? ;-)


Priego, E. 2008. A Life Deferred Book 1. Issu. https://issuu.com/ernestopriego/docs/alifedeferredbook1  [Accessed 23 January 2020].

Priego, E. 2011. “¡Santo!”: The Stuff of Legend. The Comics Grid blog. http://blog.comicsgrid.com/blog/c2a1santo/ [Accessed 23 January 2020].

Priego, E. 2014. The Blank Page. Everything is Connected. https://epriego.blog/tag/the-blank-page/ [Accessed 23 January 2020].

Priego, E. and Wilkins, P., 2018. The Question Concerning Comics as Technology: Gestell and Grid. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, 8, p.16. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/cg.133 [Accessed 23 January 2020].

Priego, E. 2019a. Addressing Sylvia. figshare. https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.7803530.v4. [Accessed 23 January 2020].

Priego, E. 2019b. Salut, Notre-Dame…. figshare. https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.7999418. [Accessed 23 January 2020].

Priego, E. 2019c. The Strip Hay(na)ku Project. A collaborative experiment in sequential graphic poetics. California, USA: Meritage Press and L/O/C/P. ISBN 9781934299135. http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/21927/ [Accessed 23 January 2020].

Trujillo, R. 2020. HEMOFILIA, fanzine de comics y terror. 5 January 2020. https://ideacomics.blogspot.com/2020/01/hemofilia-fanzine-de-comics-y-terror.html [Accessed 23 January 2020].


Ernesto Priego is a lecturer at the Centre for Human-Computer Interaction Design, City, University of London. With a background in English Literature and Cultural Studies, he completed a PhD in Library and Information Science at the Centre for Digital Humanities, University College London, focusing on issues of comic book materiality in the digital age. In 2009 he co-founded The Comics Grid as a peer-reviewed scholarly blog. With Ernesto as Editor-in-Chief, the project was rebranded as The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship in 2013, becoming a fully-fledged peer-reviewed open access journal. The Comics Grid is now published by the Open Library of Humanities.




Presenting at The First USW Cardiff: Comics Symposium- Creating Comics, Creative Comics

Creating Comics, Creative Comics

Creating Comics, Creative Comics is a 2-day academic symposium taking place on Friday June 1st & Saturday June 2nd 2018 at the University of South Wales, Cardiff, United Kingdom.

I will make a presentation Saturday (panel 4) along Simon Grennan on a project we have been doing with Peter Wilkins et al. The title of our presentation is “Hypotactic correspondences between Yonkoma four panel manga, emotional ambiguity and story, in styling and drawing the comic Parables of Care: creative responses to dementia care (2018)”.

The First USW Cardiff: Comics Symposium is interested in creator’s perspectives. It will explore comics and creativity and will examine the practice of creating comics, and the particulars of storytelling in comics.

Does changing a panel, change the story? How might a medium’s materiality affect its construction and reception? How do the theoretical and philosophical objectives of the maker inform and frame the construction of the works?

This symposium addresses these needs from the point of view of the creators involved in the production and creation of comics.

Symposium Schedule

Friday 1st June

09:30 Symposium Registration: Registration Desk, The Street, Atrium

10:30 Symposium Welcome with FCI Deputy Dean, Huw Swayne

10:45 PANEL 1 ~ Philosophy, Communicating Concepts
Dr Peter Hodges, The Last Temptation: A Consideration of the Role of Sound in Comics
Xiyuan Tan, Guoxue Comics: Visualising Philosophical Concepts and Cultural Values Through Sequential Narrative
Ian Hornsby, UCOs, or Beyond the Marriage of Philosophy and Sequential Storytelling
Dr Nathan Kilburn, Practice as Research: The Visual Aphorism
Chair: Corrado Morgana

12:30 LUNCH

Chris Phillips, Creating Comics – 5 Page Red Riding Hood
With Geraint D’Arcy

14:30 PANEL 2 ~ Perception and Re/presentation
Jeannette D’Arcy, Creating Canon: Fun Home and Transmedial Adaptation
Dr Robert Hagan, Touch Me/Don’t Touch: Female Archetypes in Ann Nocenti’s Daredevil
Chair: Madelon Hoedt

Dr Julia Round, Anonymous Authors, Invisible Illustrators, and Collaborative Creation: Misty and British Girls’ Comics

Saturday 2nd June

09:15 DAY 2 Welcome

09:30 PANEL 3 ~ Practice-As-Research
Dr Paul Davies, New Choices of the Comics Creator
Ahmed Jameel, Studying Writer-Artist Comics Collaboration: A Practice Based-Approach
Dr John Miers, Fortuitous Realism at Work and Play: The Role of Imaginative Projection in Developing a Cartooning Practice
Chair: Brian Fagence

11:00 PANEL 4 ~ Comics, Parables of Care and the Medical Self
Tony Pickering, Diabetes Year One: Drawing my pathography: comics, poetry and the medical self.
Dr Enesto Priego, Dr Simon Grennan and Dr Peter Wilkins, Hypotactic correspondences between Yonkoma four panel manga, emotional ambiguity and story, in styling and drawing the comic Parables of Care: creative responses to dementia care (2018).
Chair: Emily Underwood-Lee

12:00 LUNCH

Jon Davis-Hunt and Rob Williams
With Brian Fagence

14:00 PANEL 5 ~ History, Memoir and Autoethnography
Nick Dodds, Reframing the Graphic Memoir: How can the comic-strip artist negotiate modality and fidelity in the depiction of personal and historical narratives?
Dr Simon Grennan, Drawing in Drag: self-observation, the dissenting subject and stylistic reformation in the production of a new pseudonymous comic album
Chair: Geraint D’Arcy



*In association with Cardiff Indie Comic Expo. Registration for the symposium grants entry to CICE Saturday 2nd June.

Registration link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/creating-comics-creative-comics-tickets-45194337480

ardiff Indie Comic Expo logo

3 November: Transitions 3, Programme

Transitions 3 banner

Although this event is free to attend, please register your attendance by email at transitions.symposium AT gmail Dot com!

The programme for the Comica Symposium 2012, Transitions 3: Mapping New Directions in Comics Studies is now available:

TRANSITIONS 3 – New Directions in Comics Studies
Birkbeck College
Main building, Torrington Square, London
Saturday 3rd of November 2012
9.30–10.00   REGISTRATION    
10.00 – 10.15 (Room B. 36) WELCOME(S)
10.15 – 11.15  (Room B. 36) KEYNOTE – Julia Round and Chris Murray  – ‘Title TBC
11.15 –11.25  SHORT BREAK
11.25 –12.40 (Room B. 36) 
Panel 1 – Image and narrative; chair: Ann Miller
John Miers: ‘Comics authorship and the relations between visual form and narrative content’
Paul Davies: ‘Animating the narrative in abstract comics’
Federico Pagello: ‘The Cinematic Superhero: comic book imagination and the aesthetic regime’
12.40–13.30   LUNCH  (own arrangements)
13.30 – 14.50 (Room B. 36)
Panel 2 – Contextual convergences; chair: Ernesto Priego
Matthew Freeman:  ‘An historical approach to transmedia storytelling: Superman and the convergence of comics and other media in the classical Hollywood era’
Paul Williams: ‘Art Spiegelman and J. B. Rund: The making and marketing of ‘Adult  Comics’ in the 1970s’
Caroline Dahl: ‘Comics disseminating science’      
13.30 – 14.50 (Room B.02)
Panel 3 – Politics and Representation; chair: Tony Venezia
Louisa Buck: ‘The boulder of Sisyphus in British political cartoons’
Harriet Earle: ‘Traumatic representation and 9/11 in American Widow’
Jonathan W. Gray: “Representing Revolt in Graphic Media: Magdy El Shafee, Martin Luther King, Jr and the Arab Spring”.
14.50 – 15.20       BREAK   (refreshments)
15. 20 – 17pm (Room B. 36)
Panel 4 – Imagined Communities: Culture and Identity; chair: Jason Dittmer
Adam Sherif: ‘The duality of 1940s Wonder Woman comics: the war heroine in whose culture men do not feature’
Bharain Mac an Breithiún: ’The comic strip and the street sign – linguistic landscape and sense of place in Brussels’
Daniel Marrone: ‘Seth’s historiographic metafiction: forging Canadian histories’
Simon Turner: ‘Japan Online: ethnic identity, culture and race in Yaoi manga fan websites’
17pm–18pm (Room B. 36) Respondent’s remarks and round-table discussion
Roger Sabin (UAL), Paul Gravett (Comica), Chris Murray & Julia Round (StiC), Ernesto Priego (Comics Grid), Ian Hague (Comics Forum) and Tony Venezia (Transitions, The Contemporary Fiction Seminar)
18pm –19pm   WINE RECEPTION, in B. 02
Although this event is free to attend, please register your attendance by email at transitions.symposium AT gmail Dot com!

Transitions 3: Mapping New Directions in Comics Studies

Transitions 3 banner

Update: the programme is available here.

On Saturday the 3rd of November 2012 I’ll be at  the Comica Symposium 2012 – Transitions 3: New directions in comic studies at Birkbeck College, University of London. I’ll be chairing the second panel, titled  “Contextual Convergences”, from 13.30 to 14.50 hrs.

Transitions is a one-day symposium promoting new research and multi-disciplinary academic study of comics/ comix/ manga/ bande dessinée and other forms of sequential art, now in its third year. For more information click on the poster below or the link above.

Transitions 3 Poster

4Humanities @ UCL: Showing the Arts and Humanities Matter

4Humanities at UCL

Tomorrow Tuesday 18th September I will be live blogging from “Showing the Arts and Humanities Matter”, a one day symposium at UCL in conjunction with 4Humanities, Arts Emergency, UCL Centre for Digital Humanities, and UCL Department of Information Studies, organised by Dr Melissa Terras.

Eva Kekou, a fellow international correspondent of 4Humanities, will be live blogging too and Dr Lucy Lyons will be the conference artist in residence.

A full program is available here. [PDF].

Speakers include:

  • Professor Alan Liu, University of California Santa Barbara, and 4Humanities founder: “Creating a Humanities Advocacy Media Plan”
  • Dr Rüdiger Klein, European Alliance for the Social Sciences and Humanities: “Making the Humanities Count – the dawn of a new era thanks to globalising Digital Humanities?”
  • Amy Westwell and Oliver Milne, The Free Hetherington Campaign: ““Occupy, Organise & Origami” The Free Hetherington, Student Radicalism and the Democratic Intellect”
  • Neil Griffiths, Arts Emergency: “The Arts Emergency we all face…”
  • Dr Anna Upchurch, University of Leeds, and Dr Eleonora Belfiore, University of Warwick: “Redefining ‘value’: the arts, humanities and the challenges of contemporary life”
  • Professor Andrew Prescott, King’s College London: “How the Humanities can Help Transform Science”

For complete information click on https://www.ucl.ac.uk/ah/4humanities/18thSeptember.

#libroelectrónico: Visualising an Archive of the eBook Symposium in Mexico


I wrote about the “Second International Symposium The eBook in Spanish” for 4Humanities, here.

I also translated my own post into Spanish/también hice una versión en español, here/aquí.

The event took place in Mexico City 11-14 September 2012. It was live streamed and the backchannel was active with the #libroelectronico or #libroelectrónico hashtags.