Leaping into superhero central, NYC, we catch up with Charles D Chenet to talk about his revolutionary comic book drawing group inspired by the Will Eisner Studio
New York’s Dare 2 Draw.
Charles D Chenet started Dare2Draw five years ago, following his resignation from the US Air Force. He put everything on the line, including his pension, to start something he believed in and he wished had been available to him: an affordable mentoring process for comic artists.
Charles began by building a studio in Harlem, New York. “I wanted to use a proven model of hard work and commitment, like the classic apprenticeship studios along the lines of the Will Eisner Studio,” he says. “Technology continues to make it easier for people to produce their own content and put it out there, which has created a platform for a lot of voices but very few choruses. The only unified voice seems to be coming from large corporations, making it even harder for independent talent to be recognised and discovered.”
Since Charles saw no union or real representation for artists, he felt companies were pitching artists against each other – creating a competitive and unhealthy space. “There’s a perpetual treadmill for any working artist, with a line behind them of freshly graduated art students, trying to get the same jobs.” So Charles created a proving ground for artists where professionals can be easily reached. The pro artists can give back to their community while newcomers gain invaluable contacts and tips.
“Art students and aspiring cartoonists can get together, learn something and get some cool, new art supplies from our sponsors,” says Charles. His five-year journey, to boldly go where no cartoonist has gone before, has been for him, “a glorious trek… bringing the events from bars and convention rooms to different art organisations. We’re currently producing a TV show, seeing amazing talent with some truly awesome mentoring artists sharing tips and stories of their own journeys – exciting times!”
Steve Rude “the Dude” shares some tips, as he does an oil painting demo, during an event held at the Art Students League of New York.