Comic-book authors Sinomonde Ngwane, Loyiso Mkize, Becca Human and Nas Hoosen gathered last month at the Durban leg of the 2017 Creative Hustles discussion on comics and graphic-novel making.
The event was part of a series of gatherings intended to nurture creative African talent.
The authors shared advice on getting started, the currency of ideas in the digital age and what it takes to master one's craft.
"Don't be scared about what people think - that your work is not perfect or that it doesn't look as good as other people's work. Keep working in your own style until you master it," says Ngwane.
Visual artist and designer Mkize is the creator of cocky teen, digital native and part-time superhero Kwezi (Nguni for "star") of the eponymous comic book. See more at kwezicomics.co.za
"A lot of creative people have an idea that never launches. With Kwezi I knew it would work. I had to get the first illustration of him down. He had spandex, he had a cape and he looked ridiculous," says Mkize.
"After a couple of drawings I started to understand what he needed to look like. I printed 50 copies of the first Kwezi comic book with my own money in 2012 and distributed them in Cape Town. I barely broke even. But I threw money at my passion and it started gaining momentum."
Human is a filmmaker, illustrator and the creator of comics including 'Foyer', a graphic novel following the adventures of a receptionist in heaven's waiting room, and the upcoming online series 'Peppermint Gun'. View her work on beccahuman.com
''Try everything. Try anything. Don't be precious about your work," says Human. "When you put your stories out into the world, people will hijack them. But if you're confident in yourself and what you have to say, you'll come up with other stories. Who's going to execute it better - someone who's hijacked the surface of your story and hasn't understood where it came from, or you? Create the stories you wanted to see when you were younger."
Hoosen's graphic novel 'Red Air' stars a black man and a woman of Indian descent as astronauts on Mars. Hoosen is the co-creator, with Ben Rausch, of the comics anthology 'Sector'. Find him on Twitter and Instagram under the handle @naswho
''The most important piece of advice when it comes to creating work is to finish it," says Hoosen. "When it's done, you can look at it and say: 'That's terrible. I need to do this again and make it better'. Or, 'I nailed it. I know what I'm doing and I can do this again'."
• This article was originally published in The Times.