We just passed a major milestone on the Creators Workshop forum community -- 10,000 posts focused on writing, drawing, lettering, marketing, budgeting.... MAKING comics!
The Creators Workshop is an on-going community of writers, artists, colorists, and letterers all dedicated to getting published and improving their craft. Our members post their work, critique each other, and discuss all aspects of creating comics in our members-only forums. It's a community focused on making comics!
So, we thought what better way to celebrate our community than to share our members' thoughts on our Workshop and our Courses?
Let's let our community speak for itself!...
Comics Experience was the first step on a long road that ultimately led to a rewarding career in the industry. I learned a lot in the classes I took, met some great people, and had tons of fun. I continue to be a part of the forums because I think it is a truly unique and amazing resource--a fantastic place to hone your skills in any part of comics creation, as well as gain insight from professionals on how the industry really works. Truly a place where the more effort you put in, the more you get out of it.
Congrats on 10K posts!
Between the Intro to Writing class and the Creator's Workshop, my confidence as a writer has been bolstered exponentially. Before all of this, I knew that I could write, but what I was doing was more along the lines of writing scripts just to please myself, because who else would want to read this?
Since then, through the feedback I get on the Challenge scripts, through the discussions I've had with CE members (here and in [gasp!] real life), and through the live workshop sessions, I've realized what my strengths and weaknesses are as a writer, how to build on those strengths (while hopefully minimizing those weaknesses at the same time), and that people will want to read my work. And that's made me actively go out there and find people who can help me get these stories completed and published.
To echo Bobby above, this has been a fantastic experience for me, and something I'm going to continue enjoying.
Comics Experience ruined my life. I used to have a normal family, friends, and a semblance of a career. Now I mull over scripts while grocery shopping and drag my kids to comic-cons all over the country. It's been a downward spiral since I took Intro to Writing with Andy, and even worse with Soto's Coloring class. Fortunately there is a great support group of dedicated teachers and other fellow crackheads (I mean, creators) here that help manage this addiction in a positive way. With everyone's encouragement in the forums and after four classes in six months I've gone from knowing nothing to producing a full color comic book. How cool is that?
Comics Experience changed my life. I'd been struggling as a writer for years, with pages and pages of unfinished prose and boxes and boxes of comics that I loved to read, but was too afraid to take the plunge and write. The Intro to writing class gave me the confidence in my writing abilities to finish a script, and leave the class believing that I could make a comic. Then, that's exactly what I did.
The workshop has been a continuing source of support and good times. I've made a lot of friends here that are all working towards the same goal, and I'm amazed at the amount of great feedback I get every time I post one of my projects. One thing about comics is that it's not an easy business, at any level. I'm not 100% sure I'd be able to stick it out without the support and help of my fellow workshoppers.
And yes, making comics is like crack.
I have been a comic book fan for most of my life, but never even considered the possibility of actually writing my own comic until I heard Andy on an iFanboy podcast discussing Comics Experience. The classes and forums taught me that writing comics (and lettering and coloring for that matter) does not belong to an exclusive club of creators located in the Land of Oz. Rather, he taught me that anyone with enough talent, the drive to learn and improve, and with just the right amount of luck can break in--if breaking in is even the goal.
Working with such incredible, comic-loving people in the forums, all of whom are willing to point out and help me through rough areas of my scripts, is priceless, and on those occassions when I make someone laugh or hear that they enjoyed what I had written makes my day, month and year all at the same time.
Every time I think of all the Comics Experience community has done for me, it starts to feel a little overwhelming. Where do I even start?
So, I’ll start here:
Before I found Comics Experience, I knew I wanted to be a comic book writer, but I had no idea how to make it happen. No idea what editors were looking for, no idea how the industry worked, no idea how to market myself, no idea how to format a comic script.
Comics Experience gave me all these skills. It also gave me an incredible group of men and women who are all working towards the same goal. The Creators Workshop members are a tremendous resource, for support, for guidance and for advice.
This isn’t to say that “breaking in” will be easy. It still takes talent, and determination, and more than a little luck. But with Comic Experience’s help, it’s gone from feeling like a pipe dream to feeling like a realistic, attainable goal. I am so happy to be on this journey, and so proud to be a part of the Comics Experience community.
After years of struggling to get feedback for my stories, Comics Experience was a dream come true. The instant critiques on the forums are absolutely worth the price of admission. The CE community is one large family, sharing a common goal: making comics. There's nothing better than that.
And Andy Schmidt is a kind and handsome man.
Comic Experience definitely changed the way I've viewed our industry as a whole. In my comic book career, I've made many friends along the way but I've always heard of working in the comic industry as a competition. You have to beat this guy to that job, or while you're not writing, she is writing, etc. Looking at the opportunities, job offers, contest notifications, support, helpful and constructive critiques and publishing opportunities that the people on this forum have shared with each other has definitely shown me how strong the comic community can be if we stay that - a COMMUNITY.
Writers, and artists, and editors... oh my. Writers, and artists, and editors... oh my.
What I love about Creator's Workshop is that it's this wonderfully demilitarized zone where creator's of all hats can come together, take those hats off, and just appreciate the medium. You find writers loving art, artists praising scripts, and editors letting people have opinions different from their own. Yep, it's Bizzaro World, but in a great way. It's the most perfectly safe environment for a creator to get out of their comfort zone, experiment, and grow.
For the past few years I have been posting scripts for review on several of the major sites that do that sort of thing. On those sites I would rarely get any worthwhile result. If I got positive feedback it would be "Wow! Great! Nice work!" And if it was negative feedback it would be the kind of bizarrely nit-picky stuff that hints at some other psychological issue. There is no serious consideration of WHAT DO I NEED TO DO TO MAKE THIS BETTER?
That is what I found in the CE workshops.
The people here are serious about actually getting comics made. When someone here offers a criticism, I know that it is something I should consider. When they offer praise, I know they mean it.
I feel like I can offer whatever honest criticism I feel a fellow creator needs and I know that I don't have to couch it in all kinds of "Well, just my opinion but....". Not because folks here have thicker skin, but because they are not here for little ego strokes. They are here to make comics and make comics better.
And so am I.
And as a result, I've learned a lot.
Without a doubt, my writing has gotten better.
I've officially been a member of the Comics Experience Workshop for a year now -- the best investment I've made in a long time. In that time, I've seen it grow exponentially, filling itself with talented, warm, and exceptionally respectable people. We all have a common goal; to make it in comics. Now, some would think that we'd all be really competitive and a little aggressive toward one another, but in fact we are the complete opposite.
The Workshop is a community, like a family spread out across the globe, related by one unique bond. We go above and beyond the normal 'membership requirements', often creating lasting friendships and successful creative teams.
But, it's not just the community aspect of the Workshop that makes it great. The honesty and integrity of its members provide a level of professional feedback and peer learning that you can count on. We might not all make our comic dreams come true to their fullest, but as a group we make every effort to help each other reach those goals.
In short, the Workshop's greatness is not solely in its value, but in its people, its accurate guidance, its integrity, and its potential.
Comics Experience has been a great community for testing out scripts and ideas, as well as pushing myself to try new things through the monthly challenges. Giving and receiving critiques is a great way to learn about the storytelling process, and find out the sorts of things that readers really respond to and the devices that just don't work. CE members are also incredibly supportive, and a fairly lively group. It's been tremendous fun.
I am a charter member of this forum (if there is such a thing). I thoroughly enjoy the workshops and the forum. On the one hand, the forum acts as learning tool. The monthly challenges keep me writing, and the helpful and constructive criticism is hopefully making each script stronger. Similarly, through critiquing others, not only do we get to read some amazing stories in a variety of genres, but we also get to see what works (and more importantly what doesn't work) in the scripts.
On the other hand, this forum is a place for creators to provide support for each other. There are a lot of different paths and goals, but ultimately we want to succeed in comics. So whether it is looking to write a licensed property at one of the Big Two or creating the next Indie blockbuster (or anything in between), the forum provides a sense of camaraderie. And that is because of the great people on this forum. You review my scripts and pitches to make sure they are perfect. You join me in my righteous anger when things are unfair. You celebrate my victories and you help console me when things don't go well. Most importantly, you all inspire me to keep writing with your successes and top notch scripts. After all, it's all about coattails.
I didn't know what a comic script looked like until joining Comics Experience workshop. Dreams of becoming a writer would never have amounted to anything without the basics on script writing that I learned in Intro to Comic Book Writing. Now I try to create ten short stories a year and having the support of this community is essential. I'm still intimidated by the amount of talent here, but it's a welcoming place for people of all experience levels.
Andy's Comics Experience writing class helped me finally draft something without feeling like I was being simultaneously tortured! Through the Creators Workshop and the Book Club, I've found out about comics I might want to check out, which has really broadened my reading. Most importantly, Comics Experience is a way of getting valuable, constructive feedback on ideas and scripts, watching a lot of creative ideas get developed, exchanging information about various aspects of producing comics, and interacting with artists and writers from many different backgrounds. How wonderful that these opportunities are offered to people who live outside of New York and Los Angeles.
Living overseas, I always felt that I was one step removed from the comics community I wanted to be a part of. Until I found Comics Experience, that is. The Creators Workshop has given me the opportunity to get feedback on all my comic-related questions and interact with some wonderful people, regardless of where we live. Now if we could just figure out this time-zone thing, so I don't have to show up on the live sessions as a pajama-wearing zombie.
Being an Australian hasn't put me in the middle of the world of comics, but Comics Experience has made that possible. The Comics Experience Workshop is a creative community unlike any other. Build your skill as an author or artist, critique each other in a friendly, encouraging but open and honest manner, and learn all about the business of making comics.
Wherever you are, joining Comics Experience will enable you to harness your talent and connect with people doing the same thing! We all bring something different, yet through our creativity, we all have the same goal - making (great) comics!
Neil Gaiman once said in an interview that writing for different mediums - comics, film, prose, etc. - takes different "writing muscles." That is something that has stayed with me for a long time, but not until I came to be a part of the Comics Experience workshop did I truly understand what that meant. Through the critiques from fellow members, and the need to work harder on my scripts thanks to those critiques, I've been able to better define that difference between writing for comics and writing for prose. I can't say I fully understand it yet, but it's this blossoming understanding that is, I believe, helping me become a better writer. I have Comics Experience to thank for that.
Comics Experience was a much needed first step on the road to creating comics. Not only is the class a great experience, but you walk away from that class with a newfound understanding in not only the creation process, but the production process as well. As for the Workshop, it's an invaluable resource if you're serious about dipping your toe into the world of comics. The support and encouragement you get from your colleagues is great, and it's always nice to have someone to bounce ideas off of. I'm truly grateful for the friends I've made and the help I've received along the way.
I've only been a member for a very short time, since starting the Intro to Comic Book Writing class, but I already feel that my craft has advanced tremendously in these 6 weeks. I also learned that no writer is an island: it's not a matter of taking your raw, rough idea and running it into the ground. The course taught me the importance of having an editor to work with, to help make my work look professional. I can say with a great level of confidence that this class made me think "yes, this is what I want to do for a living".
I first came across Comics Experience in an Internet-frenzied search for some comic writing courses. I had already been reading the books and attempting my own stories but something felt missing that I couldn't put my finger on. I came across the huge banner, and Comics Experience felt like a neon sign on a dusty road in the middle of the night. Granted I considered it could be a vampire bar--or a place for people like me looking for direction, guidance and what I soon found to be the missing ingredient I was intuitively searching out - COMMUNITY!
Having already signed up for the writing course I didn't know what to do with my time and came across the workshop. Wow, like a kid walking into a toy store for the first time, I dove in head first and barely came up for air in time. Between reading others scripts and working on my own, the critiques, the jarring suggestions that gave me and my writing more room and more space to play in. I went from such a tiny world of only what I knew to a wealth of knowledge and experience that was inspiring me every day. I was able to get to work in a way that I could not do on my own.
I found that critiquing is not just helpful for the other writer but has made me a better writer myself. The workshop and the courses are really a two-way street and fun beyond anything I could have at first imagined. Starting out in comics is a wild scary ride and Comics Experience is the road to a destination that on my own I would not have found. I'm not even close to being the caliber of writer I yearn to be, but the journey there through Comics Experience is more fun and challenging every day.
Gerald von Stoddard
The idea of making comics can be an intimidating experience. What the forums, and Comics Experience, does really well is bring you behind the curtain and give you the support to pursue the comics dream.
If you're still reading, then I bet you're making comics -- or want to make them. In that case, what are you waiting for?
You can read what I wrote about Comics Experience back in mid-2010 right here --this was long before I joined the staff as General Manager.
Or, if you need a star writer to tell you, then check out what Nick Spencer, a Comics Experience alum, wrote back in January of 2010. (Read Nick's Guest Blog right here. Luckily, courses are now online, so YOU won't have to quit your job and move to New York City just to take a class like Nick did!)
It's not an understatement to say Comics Experience has utterly changed my life for the better. We hope you'll join us and see what everyone's talking about!