An Andy Schmidt Community website

Comic Book art

The Comics Experience Blog

Here you will find all the latest Comics Experience news and events! Check back often, or subscribe via RSS for updates!


All About Our Creators Workshop!

comicsexperience-logoCreators Workshop is one of the major points of pride for Comics Experience. We bring together a wide range of aspiring, established, and even legendary comic book creators for lively discussions and critiques. Members also enjoy access to monthly live sessions covering topics like marketing, editing, social media strategies, overlooked art techniques, and plenty more.

“The discussions that we have in earnest about the industry and that feeling that we all share in each others’ successes and we all share frustrations for one another,” says Comics Experience founder and CEO Andy Schmidt.

“Sometimes it’s fun and jovial and we’re all chatting about things we love and at other times there’s such real compassion and a thirst to learn and grow that I honestly find the whole thing inspiring.”

Nicole Boose, Comics Experience’s communications manager, agrees.

“My favorite aspect is that it’s a universally, unconditionally welcoming place to grow. Every member has a different background, different experience level, different knowledge, and different goals from every other. We try to keep the climate as open and inviting as possible, so that each member can connect with the information and support that’s most valuable to them,” she says.

Participants in the Creators Workshop are held to a high standard of basic decency and respect. Andy and Nicole attribute this to a variety of factors, and believe the forum’s values directly nurture the productivity and creativity within the community.

“There are a few important things to know about how we uphold a safe and welcoming climate. One is that all members use their real names, so there’s a sense of transparency and responsibility for your own words. Second, we encourage open and honest discussion, with the understanding that we treat all other members with unconditional respect,” says Nicole.

“Our boards are moderated in order to ensure we all uphold that standard, yet it’s been extremely rare in the Workshop’s history that a discussion has needed intervention. Members themselves do an excellent job of keeping the tone thoughtful, respectful, and candid, in equal measure.”

Andy says, “We value critical thinking, we value positive attitudes, honest evaluation and critique. We value a love of the craft and of telling stories. We love creators who experiment and try new things. We value honest discourse. It’s okay to disagree and it’s okay to break the mold. We value differences of opinion as much as we value individual respect.”

If you’re interested in taking part in our Creators Workshop to meet fellow creators and expand your skill set and opportunities, you can sign up here! Did we mention it makes a great gift? Because it makes a great gift… even if you’re the recipient.

——————————————-

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 Meredith Nudo


Episode #143 of the Comics Experience “Make Comics” Podcast Posted!

CE_podcast_logoA new episode of the Comics Experience Make Comics podcast has been posted! Each episode provides ~15 minutes of advice on all aspects of creating comics and breaking in to the industry.

Join Comics Experience founder and former Marvel and IDW Editor Andy Schmidt and his co-host Joey Groah as they discuss making comics!

Subscribe to our podcast via iTunes! Or check out the latest episode below or on our Podcast page!

Episode #143, “Making Comics to Make Connections in Comics”
Andy and Joey address a listener question, and discuss making comics to make connections in comics.

List of All Episodes

——————————————-
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 Nicole Boose
nicole@ComicsExperience.com


Ramon Gil’s Story Ark Opens Opportunities for Diverse Creators!

Creators Workshop member and course alumnus Ramon Gil is excited to launch his Story Ark project! This initiative, which will launch between three and four Kickstarter campaigns per year, with themes based on the types of submissions received and possible partnerships with major publishers. His goal for Story Ark is to create more opportunities for creators from underrepresented demographics to get their comics out to audiences.

“Throughout my adult life, raising awareness for people of color has been a theme. Through clubs in college to short-film projects to nonprofit organizations in New York City. When I started producing my own comic book stories, I always featured minority lead characters. The stories themselves often had nothing to do with immigrant experiences or racial issues but the characters just happened to be Asian or Hispanic or Black. But mostly Asian,” he says.

“Story Ark continues that mission by finding and publishing work that features diversity within the stories. The goal is to find character-driven stories that are more about life and the human experience rather than capes, masks or more traditional comic book genres. But the hope is that Story Ark will fill that gap between mainstream comics and original graphic novels. But the ultimate goal is to bring these stories to an even wider audience through film or TV.”

Ramon is currently in talks with production studios for possible adaptations as one of the perks of publication with Story Ark. He doesn’t pay lip service to the concept of diversity, treating it as an ethos rather than a buzzword.

“Diversity can and does mean different things to different people. While one can write stories about the experiences of people of color, I feel like there are enough people doing that. In fact, I feel that immigrant and ethnic stories have a tendency to primarily attract readers of color,” he says.

“My goal is bring color to the mainstream by telling regular genre stories but featuring minority lead characters without their race being part of the narrative. Call it subversive or subliminal, but that’s the contribution I want to make under this banner of diversity.”

If you’re interested in participating, Ramon is now accepting stories!

“Submissions are rolling and we’ll put together anthology themes based on what comes in. Artists and writers can submit samples, pitches or finished stories to info@storyark.com,” Ramon says.

“And yes, creators retain all rights.”


An Intro to Our Intros: Andy Schmidt on Writing!

Andy Schmidt

With 2018 only weeks away, we’d like to start sharing a little more about our introductory courses aimed at aspiring comics creators.

This week, we’re speaking to Comics Experience founder and CEO Andy Schmidt, who teaches Introduction to Writing. Enrollment is now open for the class beginning on January 31!

Please explain your teaching philosophy for the introduction to comics writing class.

It’s two things: The first is I’ve created the kind of course I wish had existed when I was trying to learn comics writing and how to break into the industry. The course has evolved over time as the industry and the creators have shifted priorities and goals, but I stay true to the core philosophy—making sure it’s a course that I would want to take.

The second, and the one that applies directly to the content of the course is that I take a step-by-step approach to storytelling. We start at the beginning and hone in on your story as you work through a short story for the class, layering each step of the way. I’ve created a repeatable methodology that a student can do over and over for any comics story.

The true hope is to give people the tools they’ll need to execute a truly compelling comic book story. And we cover all of the fundamentals in the introduction course.

What are some overlooked nuances of comic book writing that your class will cover?

How to communicate with both an artist and your audience at the same time in your script. In some ways, you’re really writing two scripts at the same time. The one your artist—your partner in storytelling—reads and works with you on the final product and the other is for your audience, ratcheting up tension, revealing character, and so on. That’s different from almost any other kind of writing.

A lot of people really have trouble writing for static images. I spend a whole night on how to write for your artist to set the artist up for success and to set your page up for visual dynamics. That’s a huge part of effective comics writing, and it’s something that’s very hard to get anywhere else.

What does your writing process look like? What lessons and takeaways from your process would you like to heavily emphasize to students?

I use a process that I’ve come to call layering. I approach one aspect of the comic at at time—really focus on it and how to make it effective. Then I move onto the next stage, and then next, building a complete and (hopefully) compelling story from start to finish. This approach has the benefit of reducing the monumental task of writing an effective script into bite-sized chunks that are approachable and doable.

I developed this approach when I was just writing. I’ve always been analytical about stories and writing in general, and so I developed a process that worked really well for me. And now that I’ve been teaching for ten years, it appears to work very well for many others—and that’s maybe the most satisfying part of my job.

One quick note, I know that the methodology approach can sound like a “paint by numbers” approach, but I want to clarify that it isn’t at all. It doesn’t apply to one genre, or one type of story, and it doesn’t have you creating comics that look or read like my comics. It’s designed to give you a framework to craft your own stories—to fill those comic pages with your voice. This class is about you. It’s about your goals, your aspirations, and telling your story in the best, most effective, way.

You can keep up with the courses we offer and when they’ll be open for enrollment 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 Meredith Nudo


Creators Workshop Gift Memberships: A Holiday Tradition!

It’s time to deck your halls, spin your dreidels, and make your comics!

In what’s become a proud holiday tradition, Comics Experience is offering a special 3-month gift membership to our Creators Workshop! This offer is available ONLY until January 3, 2018.

comicsexperience-logoFor a one-time payment of $75, you or your gift recipient will receive full access to our Creators Workshop for 3 months. It’s the perfect opportunity to share the Workshop with a friend, OR to try it out for yourself!

All Creators Workshop members receive access to:

  • Monthly Workshop meetings held LIVE online,
  • Art and Writing Critique threads, where members exchange valuable feedback on their work,
  • Exclusive forums dedicated to discussing hot topics in the comics industry.

See our blog posts here and here to learn more about what our members gain by being part of the Workshop: friendship, creative collaboration, career building, and more!

This offer is available ONLY until January 3, 2018!

To purchase your gift membership now, use the special PayPal button on our temporary Gift Membership page!

Thanks and Happy Holidays from Comics Experience!

——————————————-
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 Nicole Boose
nicole@ComicsExperience.com


Comics Experience Courses Make Great Holiday Gifts!

Instead of the usual trinkets and treats this holiday season, how about an investment in your creative goals — or helping a loved one pursue theirs? Our introductory courses make great gifts to give OR to request — and they’re timed just right for the season. Register for a course now, and you or your recipient can ring in the New Year by learning to #makecomics!

There’s still time to sign up for our lineup of introductory courses beginning in January. Just make sure you take care of it quickly – our classes have a tendency to fill up pretty fast! If your 2018 resolutions involve improving your comics creation skills, get started early… especially since these courses are required if you want to move forward to our respective advanced classes!

To purchase a course as a gift, just mention the recipient’s name when you register for enrollment. It’s that easy!

On the slate for January:

Comic Book Lettering and Production – Starts January 29
Instructor Dave Sharpe bio

Introduction to Comic Book Coloring – Starts January 29
Instructor Chris Sotomayor bio

Introduction to Comic Book Art – Starts January 31
Featuring our newest instructor, Phillip Sevy! You can read his bio here.

Want to learn more? Check out our full course listings 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 Meredith Nudo