draw-blog asked: Hi there, I’m a Canadian cartoonist interested in applying for some grants to make comics. I’ve heard that you have received some grants (apart from the now discontinued Xeric) to make comics and I was wondering if you could specify which ones, or talk a little bit about the process? Thanks a whole bunch!
The Canadian government has several grant programs to support the arts within Canada. I’ve gotten grants to make comics at both the provincial and federal level. These allowed me to continue working full time in comics during a very shaky financial period in my life.
The federal grant program in Canada is overseen by the Canada Council for the Arts. They support a variety of work from dance to sculpture to prose to comics. I’m actually not sure of all of the varieties they support, but it’s quite a lot. The grant for Creative Writing includes graphic novels, so if you are a cartoonist, you can apply for a grant to work on a comic. However, there are eligibility criteria to fulfill, so make sure you read that carefully to find out if your work is actually eligible for a grant.
The provincial grant programs vary from province to province. I got one from the Nova Scotia Communities, Cultures & Heritage grant program, to write and draw Friends with Boys. I would suggest googling to see what kind of grants are available to you in your province. I tend to suspect that there are less applicants on a provincial level; the Canada Arts Council is well know, and competition to get a grant is very strong at that level.
As for actually getting a grant, my advice is to make your application as strong as possible. If you are applying to do a graphic novel, include samples of that graphic novel, so the people on the grant jury can see your work and see what you want to achieve. Ask for the maximum amount of money available to your category, as you don’t get points for asking for less. Also, the grant jury changes every year, so if you fail to get a grant with a certain project, you can re-apply with that same project at a later date and it may be successful. But remember to make your application as strong as possible! You are pitching people on the merit of your work, and asking them to invest financially in it.