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Comics Resident: Karen Rubins

Karen Rubins, Comics Resident at the V&A, July - December 2009

Karen Rubins, Comics Resident at the V&A, July - December 2009

Karen Rubins is a comics artist specialising in the manga style. She has a particular interest in mythology, dreams and folk tales which are explored in her first full-length solo comic, 'Tsuchigumo’. Karen was Artist in Residence at the V&A between July and December 2009.

Visit Karen Rubins' residency blog (archived)

Karen Rubins graduated from Middlesex University in 2001 with a degree in Visual Communication Design (Illustration). During this course she specialised in making comics, and the indie mini-series 'Dark' was born. 'Dark', written by her sister, Anna Rubins, and ran for 112 pages over four issues. It garnered critical acclaim from the comics community.

Through 'Dark', Karen became involved with the comics scene, attending events and conventions where she regularly speaks on panels, discussing diverse topics from self-publishing to manga in the UK.

After 'Dark' came to an end, Karen worked with on a variety comics projects with a wide range of writers, of which, most were published by independent publishers. Karen's first full-length solo comic, 'Tsuchigumo', explored her fascination with dreams and myths and was published in the 'Mammoth Book of Best New Manga 2' (Constable and Robinson) in 2007.

During that same year Karen was contacted by one of her favourite authors, Lian Hearn, with the proposal of creating some sample pages of art for a potential graphic novel adaptation of Hearn's teenage novel 'Across the Nightingale Floor'. This graphic novel now has interest from various publishers.

In 2008 Karen was a runner-up in the manga competition run by the Embassy of Japan for artists working in the UK, with a comedy horror story, 'Tales by Ghost Light'. This story became her most recent publication in February 2009 as part of manga anthology 'Leek and Sushi's Manga Show' published by ITCH.

Karen has won numerous awards for her work, and has been exhibited at arts festivals such as 'Ladyfest' and in such prestigious venues including the Embassy of Japan and County Hall, London.

The Residency Programme is supported by grants from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

Karen's website: www.karenrubins.com

'Bird in a Cage' video created in 2007 by Karen with Gurdish Haugsdal for Hey Gravity.

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