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IMAGE EXPO: Image Comics Creators Announce New Grant Award "Creators for Creators"

As ImageExpo 2016's keynote address drew to a close, Nick Dragotta, Joe Keatinge, Rick Remender, Jonathan Hickman and Leila del Duca joined David Brothers for the final announcement of the presentation: "Creators for Creators," a new grant set to award $30,000 to a creator or creative team. Charlie Adlard, Jordie Bellaire, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Matt Fraction, Kieron Gillen, Robert Kirkman, Jamie McKelvie, Declan Shalvey, Fiona Staples, Eric Stephenson, C. Spike Trotman and Brian K. Vaughan are all also involved in "Creators for Creators."

"It's been incredibly powering as an artist," Dragotta said of working at Image. "Not only creatively, because I basically get to draw whatever I want, but also the education has been huge." Dragotta invited other creators to contribute to "Creators for Creators" -- a non-profit -- and to potentially be involved in a mentoring aspect of the program.

"There's no stipulation, too, on what the work is," Dragotta said.

The first submissions for "Creators for Creators" open on May 1.

UPDATED: Image Comics has provided Nick Dragotta's essay on Creators for Creators:

Why creator-owned comics? Why read, support, or produce them? I believe in creator-owned comics because they're empowering. Creator-owned comics push the medium forward, educate, and enable us to shape the business we want to work in.

We are facing a time of unpredictable potential in comics. The landscape of comics today is vastly different from even fifteen short years ago, as print, digital comics, and the increased prominence of independent artists have pushed comics from the spinner rack to our phones, tablets, video game consoles, and beyond. We are on the cusp of something amazing, but with that potential comes risk, and risk doesn't always reward talent, no matter how deserved.

There are no guarantees in any business, but comics are also an art form. It's one of the most vibrant and fascinating art forms, one that's found expressed in beautiful ways in every corner of the globe. For an art form to progress, artists need opportunities, especially the young artists. I want to read more fresh new voices, ones that are unrestrained and shock us with the new. I know they're out there. I visit them every time I'm online, but are they getting a prominent enough stage to debut? Are they learning the ins and outs of an industry that is stacked against them? I'm sure every person in comics right now shares a history of hard knocks, and our saving grace was creating work we owned and having the support of publishers who share those values. Can we use our shared success to create new alternatives for the next generation of creators? Can we create opportunities to foster and grow our community, industry, and art form?

I think so. We all love this art form, and at the very least, we're giving back just a fraction of what comics have given us.

Following in the footsteps of valuable initiatives like the Xeric Grant, we'd like to introduce the Creators for Creators Grant. The goal of the grant is to help pave the way for the next generation of comics creators by supporting their work financially and through mentorship, and providing opportunities for their creations to reach a wide audience.

We plan to start by giving $30,000 to one creator, selected by an anonymous expert committee, to support their creation of a single work over the course of a year. The recipient is free to choose how and where they publish their comic, with the only stipulation being that they own it 100% and it comes out and is completed within a year.

A mentorship network will be in place to help the creator in any way they see fit. Creators for Creators will be there to help recipients along the production process, whether they need advice on creating or production or marketing, and especially on the business and legal side of comics.

We're happy to announce Image Comics and Iron Circus Comics as the first publishers to support the grant by offering a publishing deal to the recipient, should they choose to accept it. With more publisher support, we can create more options for these creators. If you're a publisher and are interested in joining this initiative, please contact us. If you're a creator who would like to lend your voice to the cause, please contact us.

If you'd like to apply for the grant, please visit creatorsforcreators.org, carefully read the submission requirements, and drop us a line.

Creators for Creators is a nonprofit, public benefit corporation and is not organized for the private gain of any person. It is organized under the Nonprofit Public Corporation Law for charitable purposes. Together, as creators, we fund and operate it. If you'd like more info on the grant, feel free to check our website or email info@creatorsforcreators.org

Creators for Creators was founded by:Charlie Adlard

Jordie Bellaire

David Brothers

Kelly Sue DeConnick

Nick Dragotta

Leila del Duca

Matt Fraction

Kieron Gillen

Jonathan Hickman

Joe Keatinge

Robert Kirkman

Jamie McKelvie

Rick Remender

Declan Shalvey

Fiona Staples

Eric Stephenson

C. Spike Trotman

Brian K. Vaughan

You can follow all of Image's announcements as well as publisher Eric Stephenson's keynote address right here on CBR.

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