Monday, October 24, 2011

GUEST BLOG: Gannon Beck on Teaching Talent

In this guest blog, artist Gannon Beck, Comics Experience alum and Creator’s Workshop member, discusses his experience as a student in the recent Introduction to Comic Book Art class. You can check out one of Gannon's pages from the class below.

Who is your favorite teacher?

I’ve never had an answer to this question. Early on I wanted to study illustration, but few opportunities were offered in my academic sphere. I’ve always been able to learn more through books than through the teachers I encountered.

That was before I signed up for Introduction to Comic Book Art at Comics Experience, taught by Robert Atkins. Robert is an amazing illustrator who has worked on titles for Marvel, DC and IDW. Incidentally, his teaching is on par with his art.

The class Robert taught spanned over six sessions. During that time, the students worked to create four pages (one cover and three pages of sequentials). We built the pages up from roughs, then to breakdowns, then to final pencils -- all the while getting critiques on how to make our pages better.

Robert has the uncanny ability to make artists feel good about what they have produced even while covering their art in corrections.

During class time, Robert critiqued artwork in Photoshop (which we could see in our browser) and made corrections to the artwork by flipping panels, enlarging, adding, or deleting parts to improve the art turned in. At the end of a critique, rather than feel bad that I didn’t do the art better, I felt invigorated to have new artistic weapons in my arsenal. As a result of Robert’s instruction, I left every class a better artist.

I improved a great deal during the class and enjoyed it the whole way. The other artists that participated in the class seemed to have had a similar experience. It was great at the end to see everyone’s pages and how much we all improved.

I don’t consider myself a great artist yet, but I feel that I’ve been firmly placed on the path to become one. That’s what a great teacher does. Now, if anyone asks me who my favorite teacher is I can tell them: It’s Robert Atkins.

-- Gannon Beck

If you want to make comics, write, draw, letter, and color comics, or improve as a comics creator, you'll find like-minded friends and colleagues in our online workshops and courses. We hope to see you there!

Posted by Rob Anderson
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1 comment:

  1. Absolutely agree with this. Robert was a great teacher and I learned so much from him in this class. The critiques and input received were from a true professional, and a helluva nice guy! This class is a must for anyone wanting to push themselves with their craft and see what they have inside. Although I missed the first offering of the Advanced Comic Art class, I am looking forward to enrolling in it when it is offered again.