Andy Schmidt

Guest post by Andy Schmidt, Comics Experience founder.

My original vision for the Creators Workshop was this: “I want to create a virtual Disney World for comics professionals and fans.” What that means is simple—members have access to all kinds of areas of interest—a section for critiques and reviews, reading groups, discussions on industry topics, job openings, places to find inspiration, and challenges to help you improve your craft and get to know (and get insider info on) the comics industry.

There are any number of reasons why someone might be interested in the Creators Workshop, but to help define some of the things that I love about it, I’ve created this Top 10 list (I’m told everyone loves a good Top 10 list…) of why I think the Creators Workshop is a great place to learn and grow as a creator and comics fan.

Drum roll please!

10. Supportive Community
Our community is made up of people who love comics and want to become the best they can be at making them. Whether making comics for themselves or creating a new career for themselves, the goal is the same—make great comics. The Creators Workshop itself is private—open only to its members, so you can expect a much more reasoned and open discussion than on other non-moderated parts of the internet. There’s no fear of a flaming here; part of becoming a professional is acting like one! The community is a wonderful place to feed your creativity, and we all want each other to succeed.

ComicsExperience_logo9. Industry Topics and Discussions
We keep our finger on the pulse of the comics and wider entertainment industry. These conversations are often intelligent and analytical, but also a lot of fun. Our “Whatcha Reading” and “Whatcha Watching” threads are a ton of fun to see what’s really great (and not so great) out there and just have fun talking with each other. There’s a lot of learning and producing in the Creators Workshop, but it’s also a fun place to come and hang out, too!

8. Professionals On The Boards!
Reilly Brown, Chris Sotomayor, Robert Atkins, Andy Schmidt, Phil Jimenez, Kyle Higgins, Justin Jordan, Khoi Pham, Chuck Dixon, Brandon Seifert, Nicole Boose, Molly Lazer, Marc Sumerak, David Marquez, and more all the time! All are, or have been, a part of our community, and there are more pros joining regularly! Getting into a community with working professionals gives you insider information and perspectives on all things relating to the industry—including “how to” stories and strategies for breaking into comics!

7. Creator Connections
Our boards are full of writers and artists, and many of them are now working together to produce great comics! Many of these collaborations have resulted in not just finished comics, but successful Kickstarter campaigns, comics published by reputable publishers, as well as long-lasting friendships!

6. Peer Critiques
One of the most powerful engines on the Creators Workshop is the peer critiques because when YOU critique someone else’s work, you’re learning and growing as a creator while you’re helping someone else out. And then when your work is critiqued in return, you know that our members are like you—serious about the craft of making great comics, and you’ll be learning and growing all over again!

Andy live5. Live Workshop Sessions
We hold monthly, live and online Workshop Sessions on real topics that help you make comics (and get the most from your budgets)! Past topics include:

  • Budgeting your Comics Projects
  • Contract Negotiation
  • The Art of Collaboration

…and many more nuts-n-bolts discussions presented by working professionals. There’s no other place where you can get this level of insight and experience, and then also be able to interact directly with the speaker – ask the questions that are most important to you! Also worth noting, we archive recordings and make sure that several recordings are always available to members.

4. Career Building Topics and Opportunities
Our members and the pros on our boards are often talking about current industry topics. Everything from company submission guidelines, job openings and changes, to more hot-button topics such as gender and race issues within the industry, and back to how to work a convention effectively and conduct yourself in portfolio reviews and conversations with other comics pros.

3. Professional Critiques
In addition to peer critiques, we also have several professional comic writers, editors, and artists who regularly give professional critiques to members’ work posted to the forums. And they’re all done in a supportive and honest way to keep the focus on improving your skills and getting your projects ready for publication!

IDW titles2. Comics Experience Publishing Program
For those who WANT (no one is obligated) to submit to Comics Experience for publication , we offer a publishing program in which, if accepted, our members could be published directly through Comics Experience! Right now, we have a print publishing deal with IDW Publishing to showcase our latest and greatest talented creators and their work, and get distribution world-wide.

We believe so much in our talented creators who work hard and improve their craft that we’ve set up these deals to show the world just what YOU can do! Our projects already on stands include the science fiction police procedural Creature Cops: Special Varmint Unit, the searing satire Drones, and the powerful war drama TET. We also have a digital line of books through Comixology, working alongside our print deal with IDW, so there are lots of chances to get your work out with Comics Experience.

Our #1 reason to join the Comics Experience Creators Workshop is…

1. It really works!
Members of our community have been and are working for every major publisher and many, many more are pursuing their dreams of producing their own comics without going through a major publisher. Marvel (Nick Spencer and Paul Allor), DC Comics (Amy Chu and Joe Lalich), Image Comics (Brandon Seifert, Nick Barber, and Nick Spencer), Dark Horse Comics (Shaun Manning), IDW Publishing (Rob Anderson and Max Dunbar), and that’s just the five front-of-Previews publishers!

Is it industry advice you’re looking for? Is it a desire to be a part of a friendly and creative community? Do you want to see cool projects before they’re released to the world? Do you want to have your work critiqued by professionals and peers? Do you want to kick-start your career in comics? Whatever your primary reason, our members often find that the value of the Creators Workshop far exceeds their expectations.

If you’re looking for something like what you see described above, give us a chance. Join today and start experiencing comics on a whole new level!

You can read more about the benefits and join here.

Andy Schmidt
Comics Experience founder and President
October 2015

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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!