We worked with Sequential Artists Workshop (SAW), one of only three comic book schools in the country, to dream up & execute the design. 

Conveniently enough, SAW's studio is located along 435 South Main Street--in our Downtown redevelopment area. Crazy idea + local talent = doubly awesome. 

WHY COMICS?

Increasing civic engagement & participation was a major project priority from the beginning. Florida Statute requires community redevelopment agencies to publish a "report of its activities for the preceding fiscal year . . . on or before March 31 of each year" for viewing by taxing authorities, advisory board members and the general public. Sadly, most of the time these public records collect dust in the backs of municipal filing cabinets and rarely engage the people we serve. 

This dilemma led us to join forces with SAW to find an inventive way of capturing the attention and imagination of new, diverse audiences. If a picture is worth a thousand words... 1,232 square inches of cartoons must be the equivalent of a War and Peace novel! We partnered with our local newspaper (the Gainesville Sun) to distribute the annual report comics parody inside their Sunday print edition and bring local government to the doorsteps of 31,000 citizens! 

Justine Mara Andersen inking the "Molly in Dreamland" front page. Fun fact: the little girl depicted in the comic is modeled after SAW Founder Tom Hart's adorable daughter.

Justine Mara Andersen inking the "Molly in Dreamland" front page. Fun fact: the little girl depicted in the comic is modeled after SAW Founder Tom Hart's adorable daughter.

The 16 custom comic strips were all hand-drawn in pencil, laboriously inked & then colorized electronically. SAW made a concerted effort to pay homage to many influential, pioneering cartoonists--becoming intimately acquainted with the spirit of each artist's line weight, character style and color palette, before adding their own unique Gainesville, FL-twist to the spoofs. As an arts school, education was a big component. Extensive research went into each strip... SAW blended both familiar 21st century comic styles and other historical influences going as far back as the 1920s! 

Where the magic happened... Justine's desk!

Where the magic happened... Justine's desk!

Creativity takes flight!

Creativity takes flight!

CRA Project Manager Nathalie McCrate and Master Artist/SAW Instructor Justine "Barefoot" Andersen talk comics at Newnans Lake.

CRA Project Manager Nathalie McCrate and Master Artist/SAW Instructor Justine "Barefoot" Andersen talk comics at Newnans Lake.