Claude Policart threw himself enthusiastically into Comics Experience courses. With Intro to Comic Book Writing with Andy Schmidt, Intro to Comic Book Coloring with Chris Sotomayor, and Intro to Comic Book Art with Robert Atkins and Phil Sevy all under his belt, he’s ready to share his one-man read Amplexus with readers around the world.

Available now on comiXology, Amplexus blends science fiction and horror in a post-apocalyptic tale of betrayal and biological weaponry.

We spoke with Claude about how Comics Experience courses helped shape his new book, as well as his inspirations.

Comics Experience: You’ve been busy taking so many Comics Experience courses! How have they shaped your approach to comics, and how do they intertwine and interact with one another?

Claude Policart: I don’t think people understand how much work it is to complete a comic. The Comics Experience gave me a realistic overview of how to approach creating a completed book. I had so many set backs, because I didn’t understand how complex each step of the comic making process was. The Comics Experiences courses helped me to refine my vision. Because of the Comics Experience my work left the drawing table and became a sellable commodity. It was worth every penny.

CE: With Amplexus, you take on every duty in the comic’s creation process, from writing to drawing to inking to lettering and every other step. What is your process like?

CP: The first step is the writing. I create the script. Instead of writing a one shot, I created a spinoff for a horror/science fiction novel that I created. The name of the novel is Brigade: The Tears of a Monster. The main character from Amplexus is also the main character from Brigade: The Tears of a Monster.

The next challenging step was penciling the comic. The Art Studio with Rob Atkins and Phillip Sevy helped me a lot. Phillip helped me to think about each panel as something that moves the story. They also showed me how to use perspective and anatomy to make the penciling in each panel more dramatic. Every artist needs direction. Rob and Phil gave me the direction I needed. I learned how to use reference as simply that — a reference. Sketches are always key before the final pencils.

When the pencils are done, I scan them in with my large scale Epson scanner. After the scanning I save them as high res tiffs in Photoshop. I import them into Illustrator for the inks. Illustrator creates nice crisp lines. After I ink the pages, I reimport the panels into Photoshop and I create the flats.

The last step is the coloring. Coloring I learned from Chris Soto. Coloring takes time to wrap your head around. The colors have to remain consistent from page to page. The colors have to help tell the story. Those are the important teachings that I took away from Chris. Then I color the pages, and fix a few of the inks with Photoshop during the process. I look at my coloring now compared to the coloring I did 4 years ago. It is like night and day. I am so much better because I understand how each step works together. If a person wants to learn how to color they must take Chris Soto’s class.

Finally, I’d like to add that the lettering I learned in Pratt during my undergrad. Getting approved by Comixology is very hard, especially when you have to wear all of the hats. It was the Comics Experience that prepared me for success.

CE: Where did you cook up the concept for Amplexus? What other creators – not just in comics – inspire you?

CP: Reptiles. The blue female antagonist in Amplexus was based on the Poison Dart Frog from South America. I used the frog flicking its tongue as a defense strategy (super power) for one of the characters. Tegus also influenced me, as I love lizards. Deep-water sea life like Jelly-fish helped me create the design of the soldiers in Amplexus.

“Amplexus” is the scientific term for the mating position of frogs and toads; the male clasps the female about the back. I like monsters, that is why my comic book inspiration comes from books like Dracula with Gene Colan and writer Roger Stern; The Teen Titans with George Perez and Roger Stern. Doctor Strange with Gene Colan. I loved Jack Kirby’s work with the Fantastic Four; and, John Byrne’s work with the Fantastic Four and Alpha Flight. These stories are really heavy science fiction and they do have monsters in them. Last but not least, Neil Adams for creating the paranormal Deadman. I met Neil Adams at a comic conventions years ago. He liked my work, and he is the one who suggested I become part of the Comics Experience.

You can download Claude’s Amplexus on comiXology here!