“It’s an opportunity for you to push yourself to do this kind of crazy thing, and we’ll help you accomplish that,” Holt said.
Eric Knisley, a cartoonist based in Raleigh, has participated in twelve 24-Hour Comics Day events in his time working as an artist, and plans on attending the 8-Hour Comics Day this weekend. He said the best thing about the experience is the camaraderie.
“Cartooning is a very lonely existence," Knisley said. "You sit in a room by yourself, a lot, so it’s nice to be able to chat with other people. You get inspiration from what they’re doing, they get inspiration from what you’re doing, and there’s a nice social aspect."
Knisley also said that with the experience of having made cartoons since he was a little kid, he likes to offer assistance or ideas to those who need it. He also believes that the pressure and the working conditions can make for products that are different from an artist’s usual work in exciting ways.
“I like to draw a lot, and pack my drawings with detail, but you don’t have time to be precious," Knisley said. "You have time to crank out an effective story in the simplest possible way, and that’s all you have time to do. Some people like that less, and might be scared of it, but I think it’s fantastic."
Cartoonist Em Wiginton, who makes art under the name MeltyCat, encourages prospective attendees to not be intimidated by the comic marathon.
“It’s super accessible," Wiginton said. "Everybody is super nice and friendly, and it’s also a really good opportunity to sort of push you to share your work with others."
Wiginton said they recommend that artists who attend the event bring their work to trade with people, or to pass out. They cite TCCN as a factor in their evolution as a comic artist, as they didn’t start engaging with a comics community or publishing work until they moved to North Carolina and found the network through the Chapel Hill Public Library newsletter.
“It’s really hard to do comics by yourself and be a solitary artist," Wiginton said. "Being able to find community and connect with people has definitely been the best part of these events. Everyone is really kind, and it’s definitely a big motivator to keep making stuff, even when it’s hard and capitalism is crushing."
Wiginton is only able to attend part of the event, but is still excited. They praise the Durham Comics Fest organizers for supporting artists by allowing people to table for free, an obstacle that’s usually cost-prohibitive to small creators, and for encouraging comic-making in such a big way.
“I like to avoid essentialist statements, but I do feel that comics have the most going for it of expressive media when it comes to being able to tell your story or a story you’ve created without formal training,” Holt said.