Greetings from a comics certificate program student!

Hello IPRC followers, members, friends, and strangers! I’m Fiona Smith (sometimes I go by fionakilla, or Fiona Avocado… still feelin’ both of those out…) I am a newbie to Portland who moved here a month ago from Michigan to do the IPRC’s Comics and Graphic Novels Certificate Program this year! I’m really excited to be here, am looking forward to the program, and getting to know Portland from an insider perspective. I’m going to be blogging about once a week here about my experiences in the comics certificate program, volunteering at the IPRC, and my life in Portland.

So, the certificate program starts in a couple of weeks. Meanwhile I have been volunteering at the IPRC as a way to get to know the organization better, meet people, and to further inspire my work. I’ve never really been in a space that offers a place to create and share work quite like this, so it’s been pretty exciting. Some of the conversations I’ve had here were insightful and inspiring. Last week, I met a guy from Australia who came to Portland just for the Zine Symposium last month. It was really fantastic to compare and contrast zine culture in Australia versus here. I was supposed to send him off with a few of my zines but got swept up in the craziness of working and getting settled, so I missed my chance. Rats.

As an IPRC volunteer, a lot of what I have been doing involves answering peoples questions, giving tours, doing random odd jobs here and there, and also the opportunity to pursue my own work. It’s been great to be in a space where one can receive feedback and has access to all the self publishing/creative resources one could want! Here’s some of what I’ve worked on since being here. This is a comic I drew upon my 3rd day in town, when I was practically living in coffeehouses because I was sans job/internet. I just finished digitally coloring it:

New Town Dilema

I’m looking forward to writing about my life as a comics certificate student, and sharing my work as it progresses. If you’re interested in seeing my work, feel free to check out my portfolio and my blog (the latter of which has been dormant for a bit.) As I create more, I’ll be updating both quite frequently.

Will update more soon!