Wednesday, September 28, 2011

WORKSHOP GUEST: Mike Raicht on The Pack!

In October, members of the Creators Workshop will have the opportunity to participate in our first ever "Professional Creator Project Thread," with special guest Mike Raicht.

In our online forums, Mike will be discussing his new series, The Pack coming in October 2011 from Th3rd World Studios! Members will be able to read a digital advance copy of The Pack #1 and then ask Mike questions about the book, his process, the craft of writing, or comics in general.

The Pack centers around a mystery: who killed the local high school football star, Brian Foster? To the new kid in town, it seems like everyone loved Brian. But perhaps the question shouldn't be who killed him, but what? Written by Mike Raicht with art by newcomer Daniel Faccilongo, this werewolf murder mystery is perfect for the upcoming Halloween season.

In addition to writing The Pack, Mike is the co-writer of the New York Times best-selling The Stuff of Legend, a former Marvel Editor, and the writer of many other titles such as GI Joe: Infestation from IDW, The Joker's Asylum: Killer Croc from DC Comics, and Army of Darkness from Dynamite Entertainment.



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.

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

Join the Creators Workshop!




Posted by Rob Anderson
rob@ComicsExperience.com
Twitter / Facebook

WORKSHOP GUEST: Joshua Fialkov on Echoes!

The next Comics Experience Creators Workshop live, online session will feature a guest appearance by Eisner and Harvey Award-nominated writer, Joshua Fialkov!

This will be a Book Club session, hosted by Paul Allor, and we'll be having an in-depth discussion of Joshua's graphic novel, Echoes.

The session will take place Wednesday, October 19, from 9-11 p.m. ET.

Joshua will also be providing a written guest critique on one script for a lucky member of the Creator's Workshop.

Josh is the creator (or co-creator) of several graphic novels, including the Harvey nominated Elk’s Run, the Harvey and Eisner nominated Tumor and the Harvey nominated Echoes.

He has written Alibi and Cyblade for Top Cow, Superman/Batman for DC Comics, Rampaging Wolverine for Marvel, and Friday the 13th for Wildstorm. He’s writing the DC relaunch of I, Vampire, as well as debuting the new Marvel character The Monkey King. This fall sees the launch of The Last of the Greats from Image Comics with artist Brent Peeples.

Echoes is a disturbing story of murder and mystery wrapped in questions of sanity. Brian Cohn was learning to deal with the schizophrenia inherited from his father. Supportive wife, new baby on the way, drugs to control the voices. But, when on his father's deathbed he learns that he also inherited the trophies of his father's career as a serial killer, will his madness send him further down into the crawlspace of his father's mind?

Echoes was the premiere title from Minotaur Press, an imprint of Top Cow.

The Comics Experience Creators Workshop sessions take place every month, and give members real-world knowledge that will help them succeed in their comics career.

It's not too late to join us before Joshua Fialkov's session, but if you miss it, a recording of the entire discussion will be available to Workshop members for a few weeks.

If you want to make comics, write or draw 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
rob@ComicsExperience.com
Twitter / Facebook

Comic Book Coloring Class SOLD OUT!

Our Introduction to Comic Book Coloring class, which begins October 3, 2011, is officially sold out! If you were one of the lucky folks who registered in time, congratulations and welcome!

We're sorry we couldn't fit in everyone who wanted to join us this time around -- but we have to keep the class size relatively small to ensure the best possible learning experience for our students. We certainly hope you'll join us next time!

Next up, we have our Introduction to Comic Book Writing course, taught by Andy Schmidt. This class begins January 17, 2012, and is very likely to sell out well before January. Read more about that class right here.

We hope to see you soon -- in our courses or in the Creators Workshop!


If you want to make comics, write or draw 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
rob@ComicsExperience.com
Twitter / Facebook

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

COMMUNITY NEWS: Shaun Manning a Semi-Finalist in Stan Lee MTV Geek Contest!

Just a few hours ago, MTV Geek announced Shaun Manning as a semi-finalist in Stan Lee's The Seekers writing contest! Congrats to Shaun, who is a Comics Experience alum and Creators Workshop member.

Shaun wrote a treatment and a script for The Seekers and was selected as a semi-finalist by the MTV Comics editorial staff from the massive pile of submissions.

Now, the next stage of the competition will be determined by a vote. The top 5 vote-getters will have their treatments sent to Stan "the Man" Lee, who will personally pick the winner!

Regarding his submission, Shaun wrote: "Though I played this submission pretty close to the vest, Comics Experience has been invaluable in helping me put together strong treatments, improving the pacing of my stories, and formatting my scripts for clean, readable presentation. I owe a lot to this group and the business-side lessons learned in the Intro and Advanced writing classes."

The comic Shaun created for the Advanced Class will be published as a hardcover original next year from one of the major indie publishers. In addition, his digital comic, Hell, Nebraska, is available right now on Graphicly.

But for the next few days, we're sure his focus will be on the MTV contest!

Voting polls close Friday, September 30th at 3pm ET, and voting is extremely easy. Why not check out the treatments and scripts and then pop over and give Shaun Manning a vote?

Vote for Best Writer in MTV Geek's / Stan Lee Competition!



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
rob@ComicsExperience.com
Twitter / Facebook

Monday, September 26, 2011

Only 2 Seats Left in Comic Book Coloring Class!

Our next Intro to Comic Book Coloring course starts in one week, but it will definitely sell out soon -- we're down to our last two open slots! If you were thinking about joining this session, beginning October 3, 2011, now is the time to sign up!

The course will be taught by Soto (aka Chris Sotomayor), professional colorist on countless Marvel titles (Spider-Man, X-Men, The Avengers, etc.).

You can read Soto's own thoughts on the class right here:

GUEST BLOG: Soto on the Intro to Comic Book Coloring Course

Or, from September 15th, you can read Soto's thoughts on why the Coloring Class is better than marriage!

Our courses are offered LIVE, online, and you can attend from wherever you live. You'll be able to see your instructor and his desktop, interact with your classmates, and discuss your classwork in real time. And you'll be able to communicate with your classmates all week long in a special, dedicated online forum for just you and your class.

Only 2 more people will be able to join this session, and it will likely be months before we can offer another section. If you've been thinking about taking this class, sign up now before we sell out!

Introduction to Comic Book Coloring with Chris Sotomayor
Begins October 3, 2011!


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
rob@ComicsExperience.com
Twitter / Facebook

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Next Comic Book Writing Class Open for Enrollment -- Last Chance at Current Price!

Our next Introduction to Comic Book Writing Class is now open for enrollment. Beginning January 17, 2012, and taught by former Marvel and IDW Editor, Andy Schmidt, this will be the last time the course is offered at its current price.

Our most recent Intro to Writing Class sold out weeks in advance, and due to on-going inquiries about the next class, we have opened enrollment now.

Our courses are offered LIVE, online, and you can attend from wherever you live. You'll be able to see your instructor and his desktop, interact with your classmates, and discuss your classwork in real time. And you'll be able to communicate with your classmates all week long in a special, dedicated online forum for just you and your class.

If you've been thinking about taking the course, there's another good reason to sign up now: this will be the last time the course is offered at its current price of $495.

We hate raising prices -- we want to keep our classes within reach for as many potential students as possible -- but our costs of running Comics Experience have continued to rise. As a result, after the current round of classes offered now, we'll be making some pricing adjustments for the first time ever.

We also encourage people to check out our on-going Creators Workshop. We continue to hold the price of membership in the Creators Workshop to $29.99/month, as of this writing, so it's a great way to check out Comics Experience.

The Creators Workshop is an on-going community of writers, artists, colorists, and letterers all dedicated to getting published and improving their craft. It's a community focused on making comics!

Our members post their work, critique each other, and discuss all aspects of creating comics in our members-only forums. But in addition to all that, we have live, online meetings with special guests (on September 27, 2011, Jeff Lemire will be joining us) and members are eligible each month for critique by our instructors and special guests! (See our past guest critiquers right here.)

In the meantime, the Introduction to Comic Book Writing Class is certain to sell out again, so if you missed the last session and want to ensure your seat in this course, jump in while you have the chance!

Enroll in Introduction to Comic Book Writing Now!


If you want to make comics, write or draw 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
rob@ComicsExperience.com
Twitter / Facebook

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

COMMUNITY NEWS: Robert Atkins Daily Sketch Challenge!

Robert Atkins, Comics Experience Intro to Comic Book Art instructor, and artist on Snake Eyes, GI Joe, Heroes for Hire and more, is practicing what he preaches in 2011!

Starting on July 7, 2011, Robert began a daily sketch blog challenge -- and "sketch" should be in quotations, because most of these pieces are far beyond what you think of as a typical sketch.

About the blog, Robert wrote:
"Every day I will update with a new sketch that I've used as my warm up. I have a full list of 366 characters (that many of you contributed) and will be working my way through them all year long starting today!

Each daily warm up sketch will be timed and take 30, 60, or 90 minutes. After which the timer goes off and I'm done. On to the rest of my day's work.

The blog is for the challenge, but I also want it to be a place to interact with people and answer any questions about my work or art in general. So comment if you have any questions about the work or process, and I will be happy to answer them.
"
As you can see accompanying this blog, Robert sometimes has a theme for the month (with this month being X-Men!) and, as with the examples shown here, sometimes has the sketch colored by the amazing Simon Gough.

With the daily sketch challenge, Robert shows the kind of commitment comics creators need to continue growing. And he also demonstrates why we think he's a fantastic instructor and valuable member of the Creators Workshop community.

His current Introduction to Comic Book Art class sold out, but keep your eyes open for more classes being announced in the future.

In the meantime, pop over to Robert's blog, check out his work, and leave a comment!

Robert Atkins Daily Sketch Challenge Blog


If you want to make comics, write or draw 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
rob@ComicsExperience.com
Twitter / Facebook

Monday, September 19, 2011

GUEST BLOG: Nathaniel Allen, Art Professor, on Sequential Art & the Workshop Challenge

In this guest blog, Nathaniel Allen, an Assistant Professor of Art at Alabama State University, discusses why he joined the Comics Experience Creators Workshop and enrolled in the live, online Introduction to Comic Book Art course.

Nathaniel recently posted an intriguing, one page "Workshop Challenge" story, titled "A Lighter & A Knife," shown in full below, which led to this Guest Blog post!


In the summer of 2011, I enrolled in the Comics Experience Creators Workshop to learn how to draw comic books.

A lot of my artwork has been influenced by comic book and advertising art. Suddenly, last summer, the obvious became crystal clear. After years and years of flirting with comic book art, doing paintings mimicking comic book-influenced techniques (in an attempt at a postmodernist critique of America's consumerist culture,...etc.), it hit me to finally do the obvious thing -- learn to draw sequential art; the stuff that got me interested in art in the first place.

I had come across the Comics Experience website at some point before the summer began and thought it looked interesting, but I had just discontinued taking an online class in the classical realist techniques and I was a bit skeptical about getting back into another one.

Then Heroes Con rolled around, and having got permission from my wife and daughter to attend, who do I meet but Rob Anderson? I had just randomly come across some post by him weeks earlier on Facebook about a new comic book he was publishing that had a zombie-fighting team of animals that included a talking dog and a baseball bat-wielding gorilla. I remembered commenting that I thought the art was fantastic and it looked like a really fun book. And there he was, standing right between the banners for his Panda Dog Press and Andy Schmidt's Comics Experience.

Rob told me that just a couple of years ago he would not have thought it possible that he would be creating a comic book, let alone multiple comics, and that his participation in Comics Experience played a very big part in his accomplishments.

Rob suggested I go talk to Robert Aktins, the Comics Experience Art Instructor, who was just a few tables away. I was impressed with their honesty, sincerity, and the fact that they were really involved, practicing what they preached, and I figured I might as well give it a try. I'm glad I did!

I joined the Comics Experience Creators Workshop on June 9, 2011. For me, the true strength of it is in the critique forums and the well thought out guidelines for getting and giving critiques. That interaction from other members has really been enlightening.

Very recently, I decided to participate in one of the monthly "Challenge" assignment in which all workshop members are encouraged to create a story based on a given theme. The theme for August was "Birthdays" and, as is typical with me, my first thought was to do an unusual and horrific take on what is supposed to be a happy occasion.

I went with my first idea: what if some disgruntled child made a particularly deadly birthday wish and it came true? It was an interesting enough premise, but then, thanks to my continued interest in the horror genre, another stylistic set-up came to mind.

I watched a very disturbing French film early in the summer called Irreversible. It had a backward narrative and essentially began with a really horrible murder and then went back in time to show the horrible, almost unwatchable, events that provoked the lead characters to commit such brutal mayhem.

The backwards timeline has been attempted in films a few times. Momento comes to mind from quite a few years back. In that film, it was used in conjunction with a mystery narrative, which complicated things almost to the point of total confusion (it worked better in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and really well in an episode of Star Trek: Voyager that I saw a long time ago). I decided to give it a try with a simple narrative: a horrible event and the moments that led up to it.

In doing my thumbnails and planning out the page, I started out thinking about the recent Chris Bachalo issues of the Avengers (#13 & #15). I am a fan of his drawing style, but in Issue 13 there were tons of these 12 or 16 panel pages -- little boxes and lots of "talking heads."

I remembered reading somewhere that he often inspired great criticism for his little box pages early in his career -- and so, next thing I know, I'm thumbnailing my story out in 12 boxes for 1 page -- just to see what happens.

Then I realized that I needed room across the top for a title...and getting rid of one row would make a box that I could make into a gift-wrapped present, which went with the birthday theme really nicely.

I think the general ideas of the story came through in the first "finished" version that I posted for critique. One gets that things are going backwards, and we see the damage caused by this angry little girl. But there were also some problems with the first version of the story that I was just too close to see. The comments and suggestions from the other workshop members really allowed me to step back and see the story with new eyes, and then to make some small but significant changes that I know really improved the narrative. And making those changes made a world of difference in the final version:

[CLICK IMAGE FOR LARGER VIEW]


Last weekend, I took my portfolio to Dragon*Con to show it around, and I have to admit, I felt pretty good about showing my most recent page to people. I got some really great comments on it and I know that the success of my storytelling has been greatly enhanced from participation on the Comics Experience Creators Workshop.

I've gone ahead and enrolled in the Introduction to Comic Book Art being taught by Robert Aktins which looks like it will be even more helpful, and right now, I literally have to get back to the drawing board.

Thanks for reading.

-- Nathaniel Allen


If you want to make comics, write or draw 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
rob@ComicsExperience.com
Twitter / Facebook

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Soto on Why Coloring Class is Better than Marriage

Recently, in the "Ask Soto" thread in the Creators Workshop, we had a Workshop member ask about the upcoming Introduction to Comic Book Coloring class.

The Workshop member wrote:
Hello there!

I'm debating on taking the coloring class. It looks great, but as I'm getting married next month (yay!), money is a little tight.

I was wondering if there was any way we could find out how many spots are left open, and when the sign-ups close, to see if I could get it all together?
Soto replied:
Oh, my friend.

Let me explain something about marriage to you. I've been married for 13 years, I've got 3 kids, and I wish I would have taken my coloring class.

My coloring class will make you feel validated and confident for 6 weeks, whereas your wife will stop paying attention to you about 3 weeks after the honeymoon. That's an extra 3 weeks of creative validation! You can't put a price on that!

At some point your wife will refuse to make you breakfast, and you'll be eating unfrosted Pop Tarts and drinking water (like I'm doing now). I really don't want you to make a decision you'll regret. My coloring class is better than marriage.
And, to back him up, another Workshop member and alum of several other courses chimed in:
I've been married for 10 years, I've got 2 kids, and I am taking Soto's coloring class.

I wish I took these classes 10 years ago. It's six weeks of encouragement and support, from complete strangers, you are unlikely to find elsewhere.

All I know is that my husband has ONE thing to do around the house which is put out the recycling twice a month, and I still have to remind him to do that. He has made me breakfast twice and only in the last two years, both times badly.

Is Soto's class better than marriage? It's a no brainer.
Still need more? Soto shared a few final thoughts:
Just like any class, whatever you put in, is what you get out of it.

I don't demand that you do the homework assignments, but if you don't do them, you really only have yourself to blame.

Oh, and I'll tell you if the work you submit sucks. I've done it before. But, I will tell you how to make it better. It's up to you to either take my suggestions or not.

I'll stay as long as possible to get through the necessary information. Also, you can review the recorded sessions if you think you missed anything. If you don't understand something from the previous week's discussion, let me know. I'm happy to review anything and everything again, and I'll try to explain it in a different way so it's more understandable.

All in all, I want you to get the most from your hard-earned money and learn, because chicks dig colorists.
There you have it. If you'd like more information, check out Soto's Guest Blog about the class right here:

GUEST BLOG: Soto on the Intro to Comic Book Coloring Course

Our courses are offered LIVE, online, and you can attend from wherever you live. You'll be able to see your instructor and his desktop, interact with your classmates, and discuss your classwork in real time. And you'll be able to communicate with your classmates all week long in a special, dedicated online forum for just you and your class.

There are only a few seats left open in the class beginning October 3, 2011. It will be months before we can offer another section. If you've been thinking about taking this class, sign up now before we sell out!

Introduction to Comic Book Coloring with Chris Sotomayor
Begins October 3, 2011!


If you want to make comics, write or draw 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
rob@ComicsExperience.com
Twitter / Facebook

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

COMMUNITY NEWS: Rich Douek Discusses Gutter Magic

Comics Experience Writing alum and Creators Workshop member, Rich Douek, recently penned a column for ComixTribe about writing comics and the winding path to his first comic book, Gutter Magic.

In the column, First Steps, Rich discusses how he had almost given up on writing comics, even though he had a story in mind -- one that began life as a prose story.

"Writing comics was one of those things I had always wanted to do, but was always finding excuses not to," Rich wrote.

But after coming across Andy Schmidt's appendix in the Peter David book, Writing for Comics and Graphic Novels, Rich looked up the Comics Experience online courses and signed up. In the column, Rich continues:
"In terms of creating comics, taking the Intro to Writing course was definitely a good move for me.

The course was equal parts learning how to write a proper script and construct a story, and how to maneuver and network within the comics industry. I picked up a lot of great tips, but the most valuable thing to me was the fact that I had homework. I had a project! A deadline! Concrete goals I could work towards completing. It was electrifying..."
Rich has since gone on to create Gutter Magic, and just this week he released the second story in the series, currently available for free on his website.

The story, entitled "Nice Work," is written by Rich Douek, with artwork by J.C. Grande, and letters by Creators Workshop member E.T. Dollman.

Congrats, Rich, and keep making comics!

Read Rich's Column, First Steps

Read Gutter Magic: "Nice Work" on SixGunComics.com


If you want to make comics, write or draw 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
rob@ComicsExperience.com
Twitter / Facebook

Monday, September 12, 2011

Creators Workshop Pro Critiques & Guests!

The Creators Workshop is an on-going community of writers, artists, colorists, and letterers all dedicated to getting published and improving their craft. It's a community focused on making comics!

Our members post their work, critique each other, and discuss all aspects of creating comics in our members-only forums. But in addition to all that, members are eligible each month for critique by our instructors and special guests!

This month's special guest critiquer is Chuck Dixon. Chuck has more than twenty-five years of experience in the graphic novel field as an editor, writer and publisher. He's contributed well over a thousand scripts to publishers like DC Comics, Marvel, Dark Horse, and currently writes in the GI Joe universe for IDW. One script posted on our forums by September 24, 2011 will be eligible for a written critique by Chuck!

In addition, one artwork post by that date will be eligible for a written review by professional penciller and Comics Experience instructor, Robert Atkins (Snake Eyes, GI Joe, Heroes for Hire).

Plus, every month, Andy Schmidt, Comics Experience founder, writer, and former Marvel and IDW Editor, provides a written critique of an additional script and artwork post.

Our past guest critiquers have included:
  • Peter David
  • Jason Aaron
  • John Romita, Jr.
  • Wil Moss, DC Editor
  • Jim McCann
  • Andy Lanning
  • Pablo Raimondi
  • Tom Feister
  • Nathan Edmondson
  • Jody LeHeup, Marvel Editor
  • Allan Heinberg
  • Jim Cheung
  • Mike Raicht
  • Charles P. Wilson III & Nick Pitarra
The Creators Workshop is the ideal place to receive honest and helpful feedback on your work from both like-minded colleagues and professionals!

Beyond our forums, we also have regular, live, online meetings -- often with special guests -- where we discuss comic-related topics like marketing, budgeting, cover design, breaking in, pitching, self-publishing, and more.

Our past live guests have included:
  • Robert Kirkman
  • Christos Gage & Chris Samnee
  • Kurt Busiek
  • John Layman & Rob Guillory
  • Jason Aaron
  • Tom Feister
  • Nathan Edmondson
  • Jim McCann
  • Mike Raicht, Brian Smith & Charles P. Wilson III
  • Adam Withers & Comfort Love
Our live guest this month is Jeff Lemire, the multiple award-winning writer and artist of the Essex County trilogy as well as the new Animal Man and Frankenstein titles from DC Comics. We'll be discussing Sweet Tooth, Volumes 1 and 2 in a special Book Club session on September 27, 2011. (See more on that right here.)

If you want to make comics, write or draw 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!

Join the Creators Workshop!

Posted by Rob Anderson
rob@ComicsExperience.com
Twitter / Facebook

Sunday, September 11, 2011

COMMUNITY NEWS: Amy Chu Writes About a Difficult Topic

Comics Experience Writing alum, Amy Chu, has released a comic book short story, titled Closure, which was written as part of a 9/11-related writing challenge on the Creators Workshop several months ago.

In a blog post, Writing About a Difficult Subject, Amy wrote:
I was surprised at how emotional I became during the writing process. During 9/11 I lived in lower Manhattan and watched the towers fall outside my window.

All I could think about at the time were the people in the building, and how my husband had turned down an offer from a firm on the 103rd floor, and ever since I have avoided revisiting the coverage of those events, especially around this time of year. So I suppose the title of this story “Closure” has meaning for me personally as well.
With story by Amy Chu, art by Silvio DB and lettering by Creators Workshop member E.T. Dollman, Closure is currently available on Amy's website, NerdyGal.com.



Posted by Rob Anderson
rob@ComicsExperience.com
Twitter / Facebook

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

GUEST BLOG: Soto on the Intro to Comic Book Coloring Course

In this guest blog, Soto (aka Chris Sotomayor), professional colorist on countless Marvel titles (Spider-Man, X-Men, The Avengers, etc.), and Instructor of the Comics Experience Introduction to Comic Book Coloring class, shares his thoughts on the course. Classes will be held live, online, beginning October 3, 2011.

Before I start this guest blog about how awesome my coloring class is, and why it's better than any of the other Comics Experience classes (D'oh! I can hear the typing of angry e-mails from Andy, Rob, and Dave), I'd like to quickly explain how it got off the ground.

Andy already had Comics Experience off to a good start by the time he and I first started fantasizing about how to expand it to include a coloring class. Our first brainstorming session found more hurdles than solutions, but Andy and I share two important things (besides our love of good comics, which I guess would make it three things):
1. Sharing knowledge;
2. Innovating.
When Andy made the move from New York to San Diego, it became apparent to us that technology was going to be the missing link to proper expansion. With that, Andy and I came up with Comics Experience's best first online class (the one that started it all) -- Introduction to Comic Book Coloring.

We designed the class with slightly differing, but complementary, goals. Andy wanted a coloring class that he would be excited to take, and would instruct anyone in the steps necessary to coloring a complete piece from the ground up.

I wanted to design a class that was an art class first and foremost (seeing as how my background is in illustration), in order to properly teach how to use the computer as a tool, because I want to see good art and good comics.

What we came up with was one bad-ass class that's an unmatched experience in comparison to anything else available. It's completely interactive and in real time -- meaning that any time you have a question (or want to discuss a particular topic) during any of the 2-hour sessions, you can ask it and get an immediate answer. (Ever try to ask one of those DVD tutorials a question?)

We've had students from all over the U.S. (and the world) enjoy a carefully crafted curriculum that teaches the art of painting and color using Adobe PhotoShop as the tool of choice. Every student comes in with a different skill level--some already professional working artists, and some never having used PhotoShop before. And everyone comes out having learned way more than they thought possible.

Students complete homework assignments using sample artwork from the top comic book publishers, all in an effort to complete a fully realized portfolio at the end of the 6-week course. But one of the best things about the course is the supplement of the private-access forum, where the discussion and learning can continue far past the 2-hour weekly session. Plus, you get one month's free access to the very popular Comics Experience Creator's Workshop, which is a great place to hone your skills and discuss comics, creativity, and art with all the other Workshop members.

Everything that's packed into this class makes it as exciting to teach as it is to take. I've had many students contact me after the course is over, or meet me at conventions, and tell me how fun and informative the class has been. Some have even contacted me to tell me about the paid coloring work they were able to get, based on their completed coloring portfolio.

But be warned: I'm very honest in the class--sometimes to a fault (but not my fault). I don't pull punches, but I do name names. This is a no-nonsense class where your feelings may be hurt, but you will make good art in the process.

Above all else, I enjoy working in comics. It's exciting and rewarding, and I love the idea of sharing my love of comic books, art, and the business side of it all.

-Soto



The next session of the live, online Introduction to Comic Book Coloring class begins October 3, 2011. Enrollment is still open, but seats are limited, so sign up now!

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

Posted by Rob Anderson
rob@ComicsExperience.com
Twitter / Facebook

Monday, September 5, 2011

Comfort Love & Adam Withers Discuss Self-Publishing on the Creators Workshop


In last month’s Creators Workshop live session, the husband and wife comics-creating team of Comfort Love and Adam Withers discussed their road to independent comics, and why other creators should be realistic about what steps are necessary to reach their goals.

Adam and Comfort are the Harvey Award-nominated creators of the comic book series Rainbow in the Dark and The Uniques, as well as the Harvey Award-nominated anthology, Unique Tales.

However, Adam and Comfort didn’t start out with the goal of self-publishing creator-owned comics.

“We tried to pursue comics in the way people used to do, and the stories you used to be told,” said Adam. “You go to a convention, you show your portfolio, and if you’re good enough an editor will shine down upon you and take you under their wing. And that’s how it’s supposed to work.”

Instead, as the years went by, Comfort and Adam received more and more work as freelance illustrators, and worked with writers on pitch books and other projects, but were unable to gain traction with the Big Two publishers.

Part of the problem, Comfort said, is that she and Adam were influenced by artists who straddled the line between an animated and realistic style, such as Chris Bachalo, J. Scott Campbell and Joe Madureira. But when they were trying to break in, publishers were more interested in an uber-realistic style of art. Comfort said editors would often tell them, “I love your stuff, it looks great, I wish I could do something for you, but I don’t know where it fits.”

But Adam and Comfort both said that, style issues aside, it would still be extremely difficult to break into the Big Two through portfolio reviews alone.

“It doesn’t happen that way anymore,” Adam said. “You have to be published to be published.”

And so they turned to self-publishing. Fast-forward to the present day, and Comfort and Adam are highly sought-after convention guests, the critically acclaimed creators of The Uniques and Rainbow in the Dark, and 2011 Harvey Award nominees for most promising new talent, and best anthology for Unique Tales.

Their journey to self-publishing was just one small part of Comfort and Adam’s presentation. They also discussed the collaborative process, marketing your creator-owned material, selling digital comics, and how to make the most out of comics conventions (hint: the most profitable cons may not be the ones you’ve heard of).

A recording of the entire discussion will be available to Workshop members for a few weeks, so it's not too late to check out the full session.

The next live session will feature writer/artist Jeff Lemire discussing Volumes 1 and 2 of his Vertigo title, Sweet Tooth, in a Book Club session of the workshop. (Read more about that upcoming session right here.)

Comics Experience live sessions take place every month, giving members real-world knowledge that will help them succeed in their comics career. There’s still plenty of time to sign up before next month’s session. We hope to see you there.

-- Posted by Paul Allor

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