Whatcomics features talented teen artists

The Whatcom County Library System (WCLS) will celebrate talented young artists in our community during a reception for the Whatcomics exhibit and publication. Everyone is invited to attend the reception, which will take place Saturday, January 11, 2020, from 2:00 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. at the Lynden Library, 216 4th Street. 

The annual program began in 2007. Teens submit amazing artwork in many styles including pen and ink, colored pencil, paint, and digital art. Artists who are accepted for publication receive a copy of Whatcomics. This year’s original artwork will be on display at the Lynden Library throughout January.

The program is coordinated by WCLS Teen Services Coordinator Tamar Clarke and promoted countywide by WCLS and the Bellingham Public Library (BPL). “Whatcomics gives teens a chance to contribute—to share their passion, talent, and artwork,” said Clarke. “Publishing their artwork helps teens gain confidence in their work.”

This year, the artwork selected for the cover of the publication was created by 11th grader Payton Elefson, who decided to submit two of her illustrations after seeing a copy of Whatcomics at the Ferndale Library. “Being selected for the cover of Whatcomics is really exciting,” Elefson said. “I submitted what I thought were my best works to Whatcomics, hoping that I would get in. I had no idea that I would even get a shot at becoming the cover of Whatcomics!”

Elefson added that the cover art “is essentially the prototype promotional art for my little webcomic called ‘Dimensional Wars,’” the same title of her illustration. Her piece was chosen by a committee that included WCLS teen intern, Giordanne Panis, a South Whatcom Library patron whose illustration “Venus” is also included in Whatcomics 2019. Blaine Library teen Alex Sebastian’s work “Yuri” is included in Whatcomics with a portion of the piece featured on the back cover of the publication. Artwork was received from teen patrons at nine of the 10 WCLS library branches, the WCLS Bookmobile, and all three BPL libraries, including “May I Have a 10th Serving” by BPL patron Raya Stiles.

When asked to describe this year’s collection, WCLS Youth Services Manager Thom Barthelmess said, “Witnessing such a wealth of talent and creativity from young people across Whatcom County gives me hope for our future. These are teens who see their world clearly and express that vision with self-assurance and candor.”

In addition to the Whatcomics publication, the Whatcom County Library System publishes a teen poetry anthology every spring called A Forest of Words. Submissions for this year’s anthology are accepted Jan. 1 through March 15, 2020, online or through any of the WCLS library branches. Visit www.wcls.org for more information.