Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Andy Schmidt Interviewed On "Badmouth"

The pop culture and entertainment website Badmouth recently interviewed Comics Experience Founder and former Marvel and IDW Editor Andy Schmidt.

The article begins:
Hey comic book fans, here’s some trivia for you.

What do Nick Spencer, writer of Morning Glories, and Shaun Manning, a semi-finalist in Stan Lee’s The Seekers writing contest from MTV have in common?

They’re both alums of Comics Experience, an online school for people who want to break into the comics industry as writers, artists and editors
...
Writer Hilton Collins had an in-depth conversation with Andy that begins with a run-down of Andy's career and then covers everything from how Comics Experience got started to his writing work on the creator-owned 5 Days to Die published by IDW!

Check out the full interview on Badmouth



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, January 30, 2012

WORKSHOP GUEST: Brian Wood Joins Creators Workshop LIVE 2/8/12!

On Wednesday night, February 8, 2012, writer Brian Wood, will be joining us for an online Creators Workshop Book Club discussion of Northlanders, Book Four from Vertigo/DC Comics!

Set in Viking Russia in A.D.1020, and with story elements from crime, history and survival fiction, Northlanders, Book Four: The Plague Widow follows the life of a remote settlement under siege by a contagious outbreak.

The residents of the village are so focused on shutting the outside world out, that they don't consider who they're shutting themselves in with...

Brian Wood has focused his career almost entirely on creator-owned work, with such original series as DMZ, Northlanders, Demo, and Local. He released his first series, Channel Zero, in 1997 to critical acclaim and has continued to produce comics and graphic novels ever since.

He’s become one of the most notable creators of the last decade, earning multiple Eisner Award nominations. Editions of his work have been published in close to a dozen foreign languages.

This year, Wood kicks off the second major phase of his career with the original series' The Massive, Anthem, and Mara, as well as Conan for Dark Horse Comics and The X-Men for Marvel.

Join us at the Creators Workshop to take part in what's sure to be a fascinating discussion with Brian!


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, January 25, 2012

iFanboy's "Making Comics" with Andy Schmidt Podcast, Episode #6 posted!

The sixth episode of iFanboy's Making Comics with Andy Schmidt podcast has been released!

In the sixth episode, iFanboy host Josh Flanagan and former Marvel and IDW Editor (and Comics Experience founder) Andy Schmidt discuss "Comic Book Scripts".
As explained over on iFanboy:
"Recently, comics superstar Warren Ellis posted this piece on “What a Comics Script is For,” prompting a discussion between Josh and Andy, on what writers should be thinking about when putting together their script. "
Check out this new episode, plus all of the previous ones on iTunes, or listen to them right here:

Listen to Episode #6, "The Comic Book Script"

Listen to Episode #5, "Convention Networking"

Listen to Episode #4, "Good Feedback"

Listen to Episode #3, "Long Stories or Short Stories?"

Listen to Episode #2, "Finding Collaborators"

Listen to Episode #1, "Start Writing"


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

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Andy Schmidt's "Submission Checklist" in Writer's Digest magazine!

The February 2012 issue of Writer's Digest magazine contains an article on submitting your work to comic book publishers, written by former Marvel and IDW Editor and Comics Experience Founder Andy Schmidt.

The February issue contains a special section on "How to Submit Anything (& Everything!)," from screenplays to novels, and includes a section by Andy on "Graphic Novels & Comics."

In the two-page article, Andy offers an overview of how the comics industry works, and then provides a checklist of the key items to include in your submission, from captivating cover art to tips on writing your synopsis.

The February 2012 issue of Writer's Digest is available in print at your local newstand or bookstore, or you can order a PDF version directly from Writer's Digest 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!

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

Monday, January 23, 2012

Paul Tobin Joins Us LIVE Tomorrow Night! (1/24)

Tomorrow night, Tuesday, January 24, 2012, writer Paul Tobin will be joining us LIVE and online for a Creators Workshop discussion of his career and his experiences writing for Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, Top Shelf and more!

As Rich Johnston has pointed out, Paul is arguably the most-read superhero writer working today, when you factor in his work on the widely reprinted "all ages" Marvel Adventures line, along with many custom comics, including recent toy and fast food promotional comics.

His recent Justice League comic book, included in cereal boxes as part if a DC Comics promotion, had several million copies printed!

In addition, to his extensive Marvel work, Paul has worked on such popular properties as the Falling Skies webseries, based on the TNT television show, Conan in Robert E. Howard's Savage Sword from Dark Horse, and Batman in the Batman 80-Page Giant, to name a few.

Paul has also published creator-owned work such as the critically acclaimed Gingerbread Girl with artist Colleen Coover, from Top Shelf.

Join us at the Creators Workshop to take part in this sure-to-be great discussion with Paul!




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, January 18, 2012

iFanboy's "Making Comics" with Andy Schmidt Podcast, Episodes #4 & #5 posted!

The fourth and fifth episodes of iFanboy's Making Comics with Andy Schmidt podcast have been released!

In the fourth episode, iFanboy host Josh Flanagan and former Marvel and IDW Editor (and Comics Experience founder) Andy Schmidt discuss getting "Good Feedback" on your work.
As explained over on iFanboy:
"One of the hardest things about making comics on your own is finding valuable feedback on how you’re doing...We’ll talk about what "good" feedback means, and how to get it."
And in the fifth episode, just released today, Josh and Andy chat about the important topic of "Convention Networking":
"Andy and Josh talk about the best way to take advantage of the many comic book conventions, and how you, as a new comic book creator can take the best advantage of them. Whether you’re trying to meet other creators or collaborators, or talk to editors or publishers, there’s a way to do it, and a way not to. "
Listen to Episode #5, "Convention Networking"

Listen to Episode #4, "Good Feedback"

Listen to Episode #3, "Long Stories or Short Stories?"

Listen to Episode #2, "Finding Collaborators"

Listen to Episode #1, "Start Writing"


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

COMMUNITY NEWS: Paul Allor's Clockwork Anthology (& Scripts) on Graphicly!

Comics Experience alum and Book Club Manager Paul Allor has released his comic book anthology Clockwork, Vol. 1 on Graphicly.

And, for a limited time, you can read all twelve stories, totaling 60 pages of storytelling, for only 99 cents!

Graphicly digital comics can be read on your desktop, mobile phone, tablet, and the web.

Of special note for those interested in making comics, this digital version also contains the original scripts for all twelve stories as a Graphicly exclusive.

Paul is known on the Creators Workshop for his clean, concise scripts, and this is a great opportunity for writers to view the completed artwork along with the original scripts!

The book contains artwork by Comics Experience art alums and workshop members Ken Frederick and Carl Peterson, alongside well-known artists including JM Ken Niimura (I Kill Giants), Brett Weldele (Surrogates) and Nikki Cook (Memoir).

Space-faring gorilla pirates, heart-broken robots, a beautiful gunfighter, and even a man on death row are among the cross-genre characters featured in Clockwork, Vol. 1.

Check it out on Graphicly right here!



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

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

WORKSHOP GUEST: Writer Michael Alan Nelson on Strengthening your Craft

In last month's Comics Experience Creators Workshop, special guest Michael Alan Nelson spoke about his career writing a number of series for BOOM! Studios, including Hexed, 28 Days Later and, currently, Valen the Outcast.

During the discussion, Nelson advised workshop members to focus not just on their strengths, but on improving their weaknesses.

But, he said, creators should avoid thinking, "'Oh, my biggest weakness is that I work too hard.' No, be honest. Because that's what helps you improve and become a better writer."

Nelson used himself as an example. Coming from a prose background, he said, he had some difficulty adjusting to the space limitations of the comics medium.


"I would write too much dialogue, not understanding that there's only so much space on the page," he said. "I would get notes that said, you have to cut 50 percent of what's written. I had to learn how to find the most economical way to get something across."

By focusing on your weaknesses, Nelson said, you improve your craft and work to become a well-rounded creator, rather than a "one-note" writer or artist.

"We always want to be improving," he said. "We want to get better at our craft. And that's what it is; it's a craft, it's something we have to work hard for and learn how to do."

And Nelson's advice for strengthening your craft is simple: practice, improve, and gain input from others.

"Take criticism to heart," Nelson said. "If you bring your portfolio to an editor for a portfolio review, listen to what they have to say. Don't ask them, "do you like it?" Ask them, "does it work? What can I do to improve?"

Together, Nelson said, practicing your craft and networking with creators and editors are the best way to break into the comics industry.

"If you love telling stories, become the best storyteller you can be," he said. "Eventually, somebody will give you a chance."

Those interested in learning more about Nelson and his work can go to mansmachinery.blogspot.com.

Creators Workshop sessions take place every month, and feature special guests giving members real-world knowledge that will help them succeed in their comics career. Additionally monthly Creators Workshop Book Club sessions feature guest writers and artists discussing the craft and art of comics, as well as the business side of the comics profession.

Our next live Workshop will be held Tuesday, January 24, 2012. We'll be joined by special guest Paul Tobin, discussing his extensive work on the Marvel Adventures "all-ages" line as well as his work with DC Comics, Dark Horse, and Top Shelf.

Read more about the session with Paul Tobin right here.

There's still plenty of time to sign up before the next session. We hope to see you there.

-- Posted by Paul Allor

Monday, January 16, 2012

WORKSHOP GUEST: Comic Book Writer Paul Tobin Coming Soon!

We're pleased to announce that on Tuesday, January 24, 2012, writer Paul Tobin will be joining us for a Creators Workshop discussion of his career and his experiences writing for Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, Top Shelf and more!

As Rich Johnston has pointed out, Paul is arguably the most-read superhero writer working today, when you factor in his work on the widely reprinted "all ages" Marvel Adventures line, along with many custom comics, including recent toy and fast food promotional comics.

His recent Justice League comic book, included in cereal boxes as part if a DC Comics promotion, had several million copies printed!

In addition, to his extensive Marvel work, Paul has worked on such popular properties as the Falling Skies webseries, based on the TNT television show, Conan in Robert E. Howard's Savage Sword from Dark Horse, and Batman in the Batman 80-Page Giant, to name a few.

Paul has also published creator-owned work such as the critically acclaimed Gingerbread Girl with artist Colleen Coover, published initially online by Top Shelf and now collected as a graphic novel.

Join us at the Creators Workshop to take part in this sure-to-be great discussion with Paul!




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, January 11, 2012

Breaking In / Making Comics TweetUp 1/4/12 - Last Questions Answered!

icon-designed-by-thedesignsuperhero.comWe had a few "breaking in / making comics" questions that went unanswered at last week's first Comics Experience TweetUp (hashtag #CMXEXP), but former Marvel and IDW Editor and Comics Experience Founder, Andy Schmidt, took the time to provide the answers!

You can follow Andy (and Comics Experience) on Twitter at: @ComicExperience.

Now for the Q&A...

@davidbaillie
How important do you think it is it to attend US cons if you're hoping to break the US market but based elsewhere?

Andy Schmidt
This is a tough one and kind of hard to answer without more information, but I'd say if you're looking to get freelance work from American companies, going to American conventions, or at the very least a convention with American publishers, is a really valuable resource. Not being able to attend wouldn't prevent you from breaking in, but it just means that one (of many) resources isn't available to you. You can still reach out to American publishers and their employees via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and various online communities like the Bendis Boards or Kirkman's boards or Millarworld or a host of others. Heck, the Comics Experience Creators Workshop has several working professionals as a part of the community and that includes a handful of editors. So while it's a slight handicap, it's only that--a SLIGHT handicap.



@rdouek
When trying to build a relationship with an editor or publisher, can you send them work, without pitching? Or is that seen as annoying? I mean sending them things you've worked on but not looking to pitch them on.

Andy Schmidt
Writer or artist, it's fine to send editors work if they've said it's okay. There's a lot of fear about annoying people, and I get where that's coming from, but if you simply ask if it's okay on a person by person basis, you'll likely avoid falling into that trap. So if an editor says to go ahead and send your work, do so. Don't send them something every day, maybe once or twice a month at most. Often they'll even say something like, "Sure, that's fine with me. No more than once a month though please." I used to say that a lot.



@JUNgKulture
When dealing with an editor in person, is it a bad thing to pitch more than one story?

Andy Schmidt
When in person, pitching is actually pretty rare unless you already know the editor fairly well. Regardless, it's not bad, per se. I might just start talking to figure it out as you go. Maybe ask to follow up with them with a couple of quick-fire ideas on characters that editor works on. That'll give you time to think and hone those ideas into concise, one-paragraph pitches to send in. That way you're giving him or her something polished and he or she is expecting to hear from you.



@bebernal
When creating a new story do YOU typically start with character or conflict?

Andy Schmidt
I typically start with character. But that's just me. I usually come up with a character I like. Other ways I've gone are: A title that worked for me and the rest fell into place, a high concept that seemed like fun to explore (then I figure out the right kind of character to go in that concept), a world that seems interesting and the kinds of people who might inhabit it.



@zipyrich
how often will a penciller ask for/make changes to finishes/inks independent of editor input?

Andy Schmidt
I think you're asking how often a penciler or finisher gets asked to make changes by an editor. If that's the question, it's sort of an avenue of last resort. If I can't cover a minor mistake with a tidy dialogue bit, a color correction, or something like that, and it's not a small error I can live with (and that means doesn't disrupt the story), THEN I'll ask an artist to make a change. There have been times when art has come in that hasn't been up to snuff and I've asked for art corrections at that time.



@Siennapup1024
What advice would you recommend for a writer trying to pitch a story to a publisher like DC comics?

Andy Schmidt
Have some other work to show in the comics field. Your own creator-owned book is great. Work published by other publishers. Most creators don't start at DC at Marvel. It can happen, but that's becoming rarer. If your only goal in comics is to write Batman, then right now you'll have to be more than better than Scott Snyder. You'll also have to be able to PROVE that you're better than Snyder, prove that you can deliver on deadline and prove that you can do it again and again. And most of that is covered by a body of work to support that assumption. And even then, you'll have to wait for Snyder to leave Batman when he chooses to do so. Sounds harsh, I know, but it's yet another case for why making your own comics with your own characters is such a great and rewarding thing to do.



@Strong_Within
What was toughest obstacle for you to overcome in your comic career in the beginning?

Andy Schmidt
Wow. I think learning the ropes of editorial at Marvel was really difficult for me. There were specific reasons for that in my case. I was in an office down a long hall from my boss, so it was really difficult to learn from him. In the office with my boss was his other assistant who had been working with him for about two years. They were a well-oiled machine so I was a third wheel for a while. In that six months, the smartest thing I did was talk and make friends with the good and talented people in Marvel's bullpen. I learned a lot about things I didn't know about production work, the importance of file sizes, copy safe, bleed, all these things that are extremely important to publishing good comics that doesn't get talked about a lot. Also, those guys were willing to do a little extra on my projects from time to time because we got along. I also talked with as many freelancers as I could and learned as much as I could from them. For that first six months, I felt like I was pretty useless and was likely to get let go at any moment--and I wouldn't have blamed them. Then, and I'm not sure whose idea this was, it could have been Tom, my boss's idea or it may have been Marc, his first assistant, or someone in management, I honestly don't know--but the decision was made for Marc and myself to swap desks. I moved in with Tom, allowing me to learn from him directly--and what a huge amount there was to learn from him. And it allowed Marc, who had done great work, to start to establish himself independently of Tom a bit more so he could move his career forward a bit more. It was really an elegant solution. But those six months were really tough for me. I think once I was in the office with Tom for a few months, he began to feel like he could depend on me more and that was when I was able to start growing as an editor and a collaborator.



@TDRBach
As an unknown, do you think I should focus on one idea--start a series--or throw a lot out there, multiple books?

Andy Schmidt
That's a tough one. I think that depends on a lot of factors, the first of which is how you work most effectively. Are you the type of person who really focuses on one thing and only that or do you enjoy bouncing from project to project? Also, your financial situation may come into play. If you're working on multiple projects, that could be a lot of money going away from you before you see any start to head your way. There are a lot of factors, but basically, I think it would come down to how you work and what's comfortable for you in your situation--and ultimately--what your real goals are.


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

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Breaking In / Making Comics TweetUp 1/4/12 - Question & Answer Highlights!

icon-designed-by-thedesignsuperhero.comLast week, Comics Experience held its first TweetUp, using the hashtag #CMXEXP, allowing Twitter users to speak directly with comics professionals about breaking in and making comics.

Former Marvel and IDW editor Andy Schmidt, artist Robert Atkins and colorist Chris Sotomayor answered more than 70 questions on the comics craft, networking at conventions, preparing a great pitch and many other topics.

The Tweet Event participants all have Comics Experience courses beginning in January, including Introduction to Comic Book Writing, Introduction to Comic Book Coloring, and Advanced Comic Book Art.

You can follow our instructors on Twitter right here:
@ComicExperience -- Andy Schmidt
@SotoColor -- Chris "Soto" Sotomayor
@RobertAtkinsArt -- Robert Atkins

Here are just a few of the questions and answers from the event. And tomorrow we'll hit some of the questions we weren't able to answer during the live session!

---- WRITING ----

@rdouek
When someone says "good idea, but you need to push it", what are some good strategies for doing that?

Andy Schmidt
For "pushing it" what I do is take my concept and circle it in the middle of a sheet of paper. Then I draw lines out like spokes on an old wheel. At the end of each spoke, I come up with something unique that comes from the concept. How it affects young people, mothers, different races, politics, the weather, the economy, the environment, and so on. Pushing a concept means you may not be getting the full potential out of it yet.



@joesergi1
What is the one thing I could do today to be a better writer?

Andy Schmidt
Write something you're not good at or haven't done yet. Stretch genre and format. and do the research on those things.



@bebernal
Do you like when a script has camera angle suggestions often?

Robert Atkins
No, Unless it is specific to story or mood. I take them as suggestions. If I find a better composition I will use it

Andy Schmidt
I don't like camera angle suggestions often. Most artists have better ideas on this than most writers (general rule) .

---- ART ----

@DangerDigest
Do you have any personal rules for when it's appropriate to break action out of a panel border or into the bleed?

Robert Atkins
Only when it leads to the next consecutive panel, never move the action backwards. It's RARELY necessary.



@trobinson79
What should a penciler focus on first when he hasn't drawn in 8 years (i.e. me)

Andy Schmidt
Panel layout, I think. I could always tell the guys who weren't into telling stories from their panel layouts. The guys who do want to tell stories, have nice, clean layouts. I wanted to know what the story was FIRST

Robert Atkins
Sketching in a sketchbook, figures, places, hands and faces. ALWAYS draw on your free time to get back into a groove.

---- COLORING ----

@LewisJasonR
Any tips on when it's appropriate to add textures and how much?

Chris Sotomayor
As long as it doesn't distract the reader, you're okay. But I always recommend a subtle touch so as not to clutter. Also, more open line art can sometimes support the use of textures pretty well. But again, a subtle touch is best.



@rdouek
I'm already married. Will taking your coloring class cause me to leave my wife for it?

Chris Sotomayor
No, but it'll make your marriage better. You'll gain a better understanding of each other's needs.

@rdouek
IS THERE ANYTHING YOUR CLASS CAN'T DO? :)

Chris Sotomayor
My class is Supreme and all encompassing!

@RobertEAnderson
For those who didn't ALREADY know Chris Sotomayor’s Coloring class is better than marriage, read here: http://blog.comicsexperience.com/2011/09/soto-on-why-coloring-class-is-better.html



@lewisjasonr
Any Time management tips for colorists?

Chris Sotomayor
Try to section your day & see how long it realistically takes to color a page. Set small goals & learn the quick keys.


---- CONVENTIONS AND NETWORKING----

@foreignmatter
What is the best way to approach a con? I have no experience in this and am a writer.

Andy Schmidt
I think you want to approach a con as a place to meet people. It's not really a place to pitch your story ideas. Sad but true. But you can really start to get to know people that way and that's great. You can start seeing them as friends instead of intimidating people to talk to. And that's a very cool feeling (and a good sign).

Robert Atkins
If you’re a writer by yourself at a con, have plenty of product and a concise, descriptive salespitch. Also something to give away, postcards, free comic, stickers . Don’t let them leave empty handed. If you cant hit a con (expense or schedule) create a presence online (Facebook, Twitter, Deviantart, etc).

Andy Schmidt
And product could mean more than your books. Dog tags with the logos, shot glasses, nic-nak stuff.



@RapidCityComic
I have written lots of scripts, and published comics. How can I get editors to read them?

Andy Schmidt
Sadly, I know of no way to force someone to read your comics. I think what you want to do is target where you're sending them. Try to get to know the people you want to read them and see how open to it they are. Additionally, the more coverage you can get on your comics, that always helps. But target the editors you think would like it. Personalize your correspondence with them. A lot of it is networking and that's harder work than a lot of people realize.

---- PITCHING ----

@trobinson79
If I was to pitch art to an editor, what are they exactly looking for in a portfolio?

Andy Schmidt
1. Clean storytelling. 2. Dynamic art. 3. unique execution (or voice). And in that order.

Robert Atkins
Clean storytelling, reproducible pages/style of art, competant figure work and environments. 3-6 pages story, 1 pinup.

@trobinson79
Good tips for the portfolio, but good gosh - my mind's a blur. What's a pinup?

Robert Atkins
Cover image. You only want one, but make it your best. It isn’t even necessary and the editor will focus on your pages.



@LukeABarnett
How can a pitch really stand out from crowd - for both an email pitch and in-person.

Andy Schmidt
It's easier than you think. Clarity and follow through help. Most pitches have big problems. Just the basics put you at the top of the heap. But be concise and remember to TELL THE STORY. Make your pitch EXCITING to read.

Robert Atkins
Solid art, good story. Quality will always stand out. Editors get a lot of samples, not many are good

---- BREAKING IN ----

@joesergi1
If you had one tip on breaking in, what would it be?

Andy Schmidt
Be yourself and be confident (even if being confident is not being yourself) ;) It really does make a difference though.

Chris Sotomayor
Learn everything about your craft. And don't be a douche when interacting with people in this business. This is a small business. Word gets around if you act unprofessionally.

Robert Atkins
It'll help to define "douche" in this context...basically have a balance: looking out for yourself and helping others



@joesergi1
@ComicExperience @RobertAtkinsArt @SotoColor what is a common mistake you see new creators make in artwork, writing, or coloring?

Chris Sotomayor
In coloring, too many FX that don't have any bearing on the storytelling. Nonsense.

Robert Atkins
Overconfidence when they are still amateurs...it's annoying. Poor presentation as well

Chris Sotomayor
Yes, if you're working your way in, don't say you're better than this guy or that. This is a small business, and it'll get around. Again, don't be a douche.

Andy Schmidt
Writers write one type of character, pencilers have messy layouts, colorists rely on special effects. 3 common mistakes.

@PaulAllor
Could you explain what you mean by 'writers write one type of character'?

Andy Schmidt
Usually it's the stoic tough guy. But some will write a bunch of stoic tough guys. I'd like to see a comedic character, children, women, older people, different races, political beliefs, and so on.



@HAMMEROFTIM
How old is "too old" to begin a comic career?

Robert Atkins
Never too old, it depends on how good you are, or if you're bringing something original/marketable

@RobertEAnderson
You're NEVER too old, if you've got will & imagination!

@Andy Schmidt
NEVER TOO OLD TO START SOMETHING YOU LOVE! I mean it. I really do. If you love it, DO IT. You can make a comic tomorrow

---- SELF-PUBLISHING, WEB-PUBLISHING AND MARKETING ----

@danriveraprime
Do you feel that putting out a web comic is worth the expense in order to get exposure?

Andy Schmidt
I think you can only determine that on your own goals and finances. It's an option. But if you do that, how are you going to drive people to your site to see it? You need a plan to get folks there to read it!



@LukeABarnett
What's the best way 2 get an artist collaborator if u can't pay a page rate early on?

Robert Atkins
Make sure they're not married or have any bills to pay ... I’m not joking. The artist HAS to be just as excited about it or a co-plotter to feel invested.

Chris Sotomayor
Troll Artist Alley at cons and be upfront about expectations. Also, there are other means of compensation besides money. Chances are that they'll be looking for exposure, as much as you.

@GolemLord
Offer them partial page rate or offer them partnership in the enterprise.

Robert Atkins
Partial page rate is better than no page rate every time. fyi



Thanks to everyone who participated in the TweetUp Event. To learn more about Comics Experience, check out the classesand Workshop, or sign up for our newsletter.

-- Posted by Paul Allor

Monday, January 9, 2012

Scott Snyder Joins Creators Workshop LIVE Tomorrow Night! (1/10/12)

Tomorrow night, Tuesday, January 10, 2012, writer Scott Snyder, will be joining us for an online Creators Workshop Book Club discussion of American Vampire, Volume 1 from Vertigo/DC Comics!

Volume 1 of American Vampire follows two stories: one written by Scott Snyder and the other by Stephen King, with art by Rafael Albuquereque.

In Scott's story, set in 1920's Los Angeles, we follow Pearl, a young woman who is turned into a vampire and sets out on a path of revenge against European Vampires who tortured and abused her.

Scott is the red-hot writer of Batman and Swamp Thing from DC Comics, as well as the horror title Severed from Image.

Join us at the Creators Workshop to take part in this sure-to-be great discussion with Scott!




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

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Comic Book Writing Class SOLD OUT! Only Couple Slots Left in Coloring & Advanced Art!

Our latest Introduction to Comic book Writing course has sold out once again!

The class, which doesn't start for another week, will be taught by former Marvel and IDW Editor, Andy Schmidt. Next up will be our Advanced Comic Book Writing course, followed by another session of Intro to Comic Book Writing later this year. The course and exact schedule will be posted in the next few weeks.

We have only one spot left in our Introduction to Comic Book Coloring, starting tomorrow night, Monday, January 9th, and only two spots in our Advanced Comic Book Art class, beginning this Thursday, January 12th. Sign up soon, if you want to join these classes!

In the meantime, any writers or artists wishing to work on their craft are welcome to join our on-going Comic Creators Workshop! You can read more about that right here.

We hope to see you there!


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, January 5, 2012

Andy Schmidt's "2011 Year in Review"
-- Part II -- The Courses

As I spoke about a few days ago, 2011 was a huge year for Comics Experience. It was also a huge year for me and my family. Most noteworthy for me was the addition of Oliver Nicholas Schmidt to our family on January 28th of 2011. He was born in San Diego and knows more about making comics than any of his peers the same age in the area.

Of course, we also moved across the country this year to Rhode Island. Why Rhode Island? The weather! It was much too nice in San Diego. I like dramatic weather!

The big news for Comics Experience was that this year we offered more courses than any previous year and also had more students than any previous year. This thing seems to really be catching on!

We offered our perennials -- Introduction to Comic Book Writing, Introduction to Comic Book Art, Introduction to Comic Book Coloring, and Lettering and Production. All done online, live and with your course instructor right there with you (digitally). Being able to interact so directly with the instructors is key to the success of these courses.

We added a new course this year: Comic Book Editing and Project Management which ran the second half of the year and was a big hit. I have to admit, I had been resistant to doing this course because I felt like it was too close to home for me. I wasn't sure I'd have enough distance from it to really do it justice. Probably in part because of that nervousness, I think it was a success. I was determined to make it really stand apart from any other class, not overlapping any of the material covered in the other courses and it went over very well. What a relief!

Another interesting thing that we found was that between the Creators Workshop growing, and more courses filling up -- EVERY CLASS but one sold out this year. We had more people taking multiple courses this year than ever before. They just kept feeding into one another. We also had our first two people complete taking every introductory course offered. Congratulations, Amy and Joe!

It's been a very heartening thing to see the way people keep coming back and soaking up all the information and the fun in comics. And it's great to see that word of mouth still has a lot of power.

We're all very grateful to everyone who has taken a course, joined the Creators Workshop, retweeted our tweets, liked the Facebook page, and attended a convention panel. Thanks for your support.

And if it's the right time for you to start making comics, this month is the perfect time to jump in, with three courses beginning soon. There are only a handful of seats left for each of these courses, so act quickly!
Introduction to Comic Book Writing
with Andy Schmidt
Begins January 16, 2012!

Intro to Comic Book Coloring
with Chris "Soto" Sotomayor
Begins January 9, 2012!

Advanced Comic Book Art
with Robert Atkins
Begins January 12, 2012!
We'd love to see you in a course or joining the Creators Workshop this year! Join us and start making your dreams come true!

Happy New Year!

Andy Schmidt
Comics Experience Founder
January 4, 2012

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

TONIGHT! - TweetUp on Breaking In/Making Comics!

icon-designed-by-thedesignsuperhero.comTonight, Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 8pm Eastern Time, Comics Experience instructors will be answering questions about making comics and breaking in during a live Twitter Event.

You can ask our comic book writing, art, and coloring instructors your burning questions.

Please make sure to use the hashtag #CMXEXP on all your questions or comments, like so:

@Sotocolor Why are you so awesome? #CMXEXP

Starting at 8pm Eastern Time, just begin tweeting your questions to any of our instructors:
@ComicExperience -- Andy Schmidt
@SotoColor -- Chris "Soto" Sotomayor
@RobertAtkinsArt -- Robert Atkins
This "Tweet Event" leads up to the start of our three courses -- Intro to Comic Book Writing, Intro to Comic Book Coloring, and Advanced Comic Book Art -- all beginning in January and open for enrollment right now, with just a couple slots left open in each course!

Don't miss this chance to ask comic book professionals your questions! "See" you at the TweetUp!...



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, January 3, 2012

iFanboy's "Making Comics" with Andy Schmidt Podcast Episode #3 posted!

The third episode of iFanboy's Making Comics with Andy Schmidt podcast has been released!

In the third episode, listen in as iFanboy host Josh Flanagan and former Marvel and IDW Editor (and Comics Experience founder) Andy Schmidt discuss "Long Stories or Short Stories?"

As explained over on iFanboy:
"This week, we discuss how long you should go! Should you start making short stories, or go for the long epic tale that’s been festering in your brain for as long as you can remember. What’s the best way to start? We’ve got our take on the long and the short of it, when it comes to comics."
Listen to Episode #3, "Long Stories or Short Stories?"

Listen to Episode #2, "Finding Collaborators"

Listen to Episode #1, "Start Writing"


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, January 2, 2012

Andy Schmidt's "2011 Year in Review"
-- Part I -- The Creators Workshop

Comics Experience has really grown significantly in 2011. And I don't mean that we just added new courses as well as new activities in the Creators Workshop. The membership has tripled in the last 12 months and just keeps on growing. I mention this because it's astonishing. We've done no advertising, we've done almost no promotion for Comics Experience. We post on Twitter occasionally and we have our blog and a Newsletter for those who sign up for it. That's it.

So when talking with Rob Anderson, our General Manager and Paul Allor, our Book Club Manager, we wondered why membership has been growing so fast. And it comes down to one huge thing. Word of mouth. Our Workshop members and course attendees are talking up how comprehensive, fun, and intensive the courses and workshop are. But even more than that, they're talking about our community.

2011 saw our first in-person meetings at conventions. Almost every major convention in the United States -- like NYCC and SDCC, just to name two -- had a Comics Experience meet-up where we all got together at night, continued to get to know each other, swapped stories, and compared notes on the convention. We'd do this about halfway through the convention so that we could all strategize the second half of the show. Members have been helping other members meet with comics editors and publishers, or taking them by to meet great artists or talented writers.

The community -- the genuine desire for everyone else in the Workshop to succeed -- more so than anything else, has made Comics Experience's Creators Workshop an untouchable success.

And as membership has grown, we've been feeding those funds from member's payments right back into the content. There's a Book Club where we review a graphic novel together with at least one of the creators. These sessions usually last about two hours.

Just last month we were pleased to welcome Terry Moore (Strangers in Paradise) to discuss his awesome book Echo. Before that we had Joshua Hale Fialkov (Elk's Run, I, Vampire, Tumor) on to discuss his Top Cow book Echoes. (No, it wasn't a themed book club, but Echo and Echoes are both fantastic books!) And we had in Jeff Lemire (Animal Man, Frankenstein, Essex County) to discuss Sweet Tooth before that!

Coming up just next week, Scott Snyder (Batman, Detective Comics, Swamp Thing, Severed) is joining us to discuss American Vampire, Volume 1, his Vertigo book.

And all of those top-notch guests have come about because our membership has grown and we've been able to bring Rob and Paul on board to bolster up the programs. We've had more Workshop meetings on topics and with creators in 2011 than I thought possible.

Last month's session with Michael Alan Nelson gave us some great insight into breaking into comics and his relationship with BOOM! Studios, a continually growing comics publisher.

Coming up, we've got a session with Drew Gaska who is the only person I know of who was able to license properties from Fox directly -- not through a known publisher. He actually got Fox's attention HIMSELF and got licenses for Planet of the Apes and Space 1999. He's going to talk with us about just how he went about doing that.

Paul Tobin will be joining us to discuss his career writing "all ages" superhero comics. His credits include Marvel Adventures Spider-Man and every other Marvel Adventures book (in addition to work with DC Comics, Dark Horse, and Top Shelf)! He may just be the most widely read superhero writer working today as his work gets repurposed and distributed through more channels -- and more "custom" and promotional comics -- than any other mainline superhero books.

Every month, we've got writer and artist members of our community receiving professional critiques from outstanding comics creators. Michael Alan Nelson (Valen the Outcast, 28 Days Later), Chuck Dixon (Batman, Punisher, G.I. Joe), Peter David (Incredible Hulk, X-Factor, Supergirl), Mike Costa (Blackhawks, G.I. Joe: Cobra), and many more have done professional reviews for our community members.

I'm committed to making the Creators Workshop the BEST place for budding comics creators to hone their skills, learn every aspect of the comics business, and network effectively.

When the Workshop was created in 2010, I honestly thought it would be several years before we'd be able to say that we achieved that goal. But only a little over a year later, we're there. But don't worry, there's plenty more we have planned as membership continues to grow. We're not content with being the best, we want to be the only place worth considering!

2011 also saw several success stories from Comics Experience Alumni and Workshop members. We had more than twice as many comics published by our alums this year than in the previous four years combined! My sincere congratulations go out to everyone (too many to name) who published their own books and who had their work published by others! Nice work!

This last year, our members and alumni were published by Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Image Comics, IDW Publishing, and many more! We've also had alumni on staff at Marvel Comics, IDW Publishing, and DC Comics. Congratulations to you all!

Okay, I feel like I've talked enough and I've only covered the Creators Workshop, really. So maybe I'll get a chance to write about the courses in the next few days. (You can still sign up for the Introduction to Comic Book Writing, Introduction to Comic Book Coloring, and Advanced Comic Book Art courses right now -- although all three are close to selling out!)

If you're interested in making comics -- writing, penciling, inking, coloring, or lettering -- there's no better place to get started, to learn, to practice, to grow, and to start getting your work out there! If you've got a genuine love of comics and interest, join us today -- the Creators Workshop only gets better with each new member!

Thank you to all Comics Experience alumni and Creators Workshop members for your continued support and spreading the good word!

Happy New Year!

Andy Schmidt
Comics Experience Founder
January 2, 2012

Read PART II of Andy's 2011 Year in Review right here.

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