photo-icon Georgina Chadderton

Inky monsters and mates: Adelaide’s comic groups

At Play Cultural Heart

Welcome to Inky Fingers Comic Gang, where turning a blank page into something else is true magic. Your pencil is your wand and your imagination provides the spells. You will be taught by Adelaide’s comic-group sorcerer, Georgina ‘Gina’ Chadderton.

A t-rex Venus flytrap, a lollypop eating baby lollypops, a 9001-year-old monster that lives in a lawn mower. Those are just a sample of ingenious creations from the Inky Fingers monthly comic workshop. 

Each session, Gina leads the ‘scouts’ through activities like character design, monster cross-sections and life drawing. The workshops are split into two different age groups 7 to 12 year olds and 13 to 17 year olds. Regardless of the group, what’s created is unexpected and completely unique.

Although the physical workshops are on hiatus during COVID-19, they’re usually hosted at Greenlight Comics off Rundle Mall. The store has been supporting the group since 2016, when Gina used her teaching background to start the group as a gift to her younger self.

“I would have LOVED to have been part of a comics drawing club as a young person. There is something special about hanging out in a safe space with other people who like doing what you like doing. You don't have to explain why you like the thing, there is just the unspoken understanding.”
Gina Chadderton

While the workshops are on hiatus, Gina has been mailing out Inky Fingers Postal Pals packs. The packs arrive complete with activities, nice paper, links to specially designed online resources and an extra little gift like a sticker. Packs are available for anyone to order but for those who can’t, there are also free online guides and resources on Gina’s illustration website, George Rex Comics.

DOWNLOAD DRAWING GUIDES

Consistency of the workshops is key. Not only does it give the scouts a positive routine and builds bonds, it allows Gina to help the returning students to improve. Some have excelled in spectacular ways.

“There are a few kids who have made their own comics (and self-published them to sell at Greenlight in the local comics section), which is really impressive. I personally didn't really know that I liked comics until high school, so the fact that there are 10-year-olds already publishing comics blows my mind.”

Moulding tomorrow’s artists isn’t Gina’s main motivator for the workshops ­– it’s really about friendship.

“If I can create a safe space for the attendees to find and relate to other people, well, that's more important to me than passing on drawing skills (although if I can do both, that's even better).”
Gina Chadderton

Comics with Friends and Strangers

The strength of comic connections cannot be overstated. That’s how Gina met her partner Owen, and together they’ve connected hundreds of comic-fans across Adelaide. Acting on an inkling that Adelaide had “a fairly high percentage of comics makers per capita”, they started Comics with Friends and Strangers for adults in 2013. The group is still going strong and now meets monthly at the City of Adelaide's Box Factory Community Centre (although they're also on hiatus during COVID-19). Around 30 people of all ages rock up at the centre and work on their comic projects together in an environment of encouragement and inspiration.

But what if you don’t draw? Starting to draw can be daunting but Gina urges people to set their perfectionism aside and "have a go" because the benefits are immense. “Drawing can get you thinking about things in a different way, pictures can transcend language and you can make connections with many people.” 


If you’re interested in letting your creative side loose, connect with Gina and the Adelaide comic groups.


Inky Fingers Comic Group: Facebook

Comic with Friends and Strangers: Facebook

Georgina chadderton and owen heitmann

GEORGINA CHADDERTON AND OWEN HEITMANN AT GREENLIGHT COMICS IN THE CITY.

Article by

Georgie Smith

Georgie Smith

Maker and curator of things

Georgie has been BFFs with Adelaide her whole life. They’ve shared many special moments: over cheese platters at art exhibitions, cycling through the park lands and immersed in sequin-clad theatre shows.