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Daniel Akhmed during a master class

SHCHUCHINSK, Kazakhstan — From April 13 to 18, at seven educational venues in the city of Shchuchinsk in Kazakhstan, the 13-year-old author of the comic book "The Final" from London, Daniel, made master classes for schoolchildren and students of the Akmola region on the basics of creating this popular and profitable type of literature.

Daniel, the young author of "The Final" graphic novel, had his first visit to Kazakhstan, where he visited Nur-Sultan, Almaty, and finally Burabay. The purpose of the visit was to hold a series of art presentations for the youth of the city. The program was organized by the creative residence of ECG HORIZONS BURABAY (Shchuchinsk) with the support of the non-profit public organization Eurasian Creative Guild (London). The idea to organize speeches of international speakers for the youth and creative teams of the Akmola region, arose at the meeting of delegation of the Guild with the Governor of the region, Ermek Marzhikpayev, which was held back in March of this year. This is the first initiative of the residence at the invitation of a foreign speaker after the pandemic, and the experience turned out to be very successful and positive!

During the five days during which Daniel held seven presentations. More than 200 young people, from 11 to 25 years old (as well as their teachers and mentors) learned the basics of creating comics, thanks to the support of the Guild Ambassador in the Burabay district of Yussuf Krykbessov.

"We were very lucky that Daniel came to us in Shchuchinsk. I was moved to the core that our children are striving to learn English, they tried to talk to Daniel! We are finally joining European models of creative activity, this is a very significant event," Mr. Krykbessov emphasized.

The first presentation started on the hospitable venue of the Higher College of Technology, where future programmers and designers learnt the art of creating comics. During the meeting, the listeners received not only techniques and tricks that Daniel experienced firsthand, but also discussed with Taina Kaunis, an executive director of the ECG (London), such an important question: "What do programmers need comic books for?"

After that, the students of secondary school No. 6 took part in the presentation very actively, where students of grades 7-8 participated, with great passion, in an interview with Daniel. The director of the school Mr. Kuanyshbek Shayakhmetov expressed gratitude to the Guild team, and also expressed his desire to participate in other projects from the ECG HORIZONS BURABAY residence together with the children. "We are grateful to our guests for lighting up a spark of desire in the souls of the guys to create, study, learn and create something new in their lives," he said.

Daniel continued the cycle of meetings with a presentation at the Arman School of Art, where the youngest students delved deeper into the technical details of the rendering of characters and pages. "Daniel held a master class on creating comics, which made the kids very interested. It should be noted that Daniel is only 13 years old, and he already has personal creative publications on this topic," the school director Mrs. Aigul Turguzhina shared her impressions. No less actively and incendiary, Daniel held a master class for students of Gymnasium No. 1. Curious students did not plan on stopping him any time soon, asking questions after questions. As the director of the school Mrs. Lyubov Tukacheva said, it is very important to adopt the experience of countries more advanced in certain issues, as the gymnasium has already done with the experience of educational institutions in the UK.

Successfully, the students of the school "IQanat Burabay" whose intensive life does not stop for a minute discussed the creation of comics. The listeners gathered in the cinema hall, where the theater rehearsal had just ended, so the creative atmosphere surrounded the event from the very beginning of the meeting. And the boldest of the meeting participants even asked Daniel for autographs, so he gladly signed copies of his book for them.

Intensively and diverse, Daniel talked with translation students of the Higher Pedagogical College: the students not only enthusiastically participated in the conversation, but also supported the idea of volunteer assistance to the international festival "Voices of Friends: Poetry & Art," which will take place in Shchuchinsk soon on the initiative of the ECG (London). And the listeners of the latter in this series of presentations, held on the basis of the Rixos Borovoe hotel, were not future talented artists, but hotel employees. "Surprisingly, even I, a person twice as old as Daniel, found a lot of new and interesting things for myself in the master class," Nelly Filippova, a hotel designer, shared her emotions.

Of course, listeners benefited not only from the performance of Daniel himself but also the projects in which talented young people can participate, as well as the comic itself, were personally presented by the founder and head of the Hertfordshire Press publishing house, vice-chairman of ECG (London) Marat Akhmedzhanov. "Often teachers and parents find the comic to be something frivolous and sometimes harmful,” said Marat Akhmedzhanov. “But let's turn to statistics. In 2020, the entire US comic book industry (all periodicals, graphic novels and digital editions of all publishers, genres and channels, as well as merch) brought a record 1.28 billion dollars, that is, approximately 800 billion tenge [according to the DTF portal]. Not so bad to make more than a billion dollars, right? At the same time, Comicsbeat published statistics on sales of graphic novels, comics and manga in the United States for 2021. Judging by it, the popularity of the genre is at an unprecedented height, and sales are growing at a huge pace. For 2021, sales grew by almost 70%, and the total number of comic books/graphic novels sold for the year is more than in 2018 and 2019 combined. Since 2003, growth has been an impressive 558%. The industry is probably going through a new golden age. The manga has even better numbers - the genre generated 280% more profits than last year [according to Shazoo]".

The heads of the ECG HORIZONS BURABAY and ECG (London) residence plan to make such creative "business trips" of foreign cultural and art workers regular, allowing residents of Akmola region to get acquainted with modern trends in creative industries and realize their creative potential. And a pleasant bonus for all participants will be the final material with a photo, published in the British quarterly OCA Magazine this summer.

Hertfordshire Press is a British publishing house that since 2002 has specialized in publishing contemporary fiction and non-fiction by authors of the Eurasia region in both English and national languages, magazines, guidebooks, as well as making presentations and forums. In addition, the publishing house focuses on reprinting works of past years, which, despite their non-fading relevance, are currently not available in English. During its history, Hertfordshire Press has produced over 200 books by both classics and contemporaries.

Eurasian Creative Guild (London) is a non-profit public organization founded in 2015 in London in order to unite and promote cultural and art figures of the Eurasian region in the English-speaking space. The main activity of ECG (London) was the organization and holding of festivals in different countries of the world, literary and creative competitions, conferences and other events in which creative people have the opportunity to discuss new projects, present their works, as well as get acquainted with the works of colleagues and get the opportunity to reach the international level.


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