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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!


NEW LIVE WORKSHOPS ANNOUNCED: Camera Angles! Layouts! Sandman!

ComicsExperience_logoOur next Live Workshop session topics have been announced!

Our Live Workshop sessions are live, online events for Creators Workshop members. We focus on unique topics geared toward helping comic creators achieve their personal best.

Details about our next Live Workshop sessions are below. We hope you’ll join us!

Tuesday, March 27, 2018 at 9:00 pm ET
Book Club – Sandman
PAUL ALLOR: Break out your eye-shadow and your ankhs, because we’re talking about Sandman! Rather than our usual guest format, this will be a freewheeling discussion moderated by our own Paul Allor. Workshop members who would like to make their own presentation on some aspect of Sandman’s craft, let us know! Our session will focus on the first volume, but the entire series is game for analysis (and spoilers). This should be a fun discussion, as we dig into just what makes this book such an endearing classic.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018 at 9:00 pm ET
Layout and Panel Order
ANDY SCHMIDT: We talk a lot about how a core tenet of comic book storytelling is clarity. But when dealing with a visual medium with juxtaposed and static images, what does that mean? How do we bring order to the madness? What are the boundaries of what works with layouts and what goes too far, making a page difficult to read? The answers lie within this Live Workshop session!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018 at 9:00 pm ET
Craft Presentation – Pacing
PAUL ALLOR: The monthly Comic Book medium is marked by its extreme space limitations, creating  a series of unique challenges for writers and artists alike.  In this session, volunteers from our community will be sharing their thoughts on how to overcome these challenges — best practices, how the masters of the craft have used narration, common traps to avoid and more!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018 at 9:00 pm ET
Character Acting
ANDY SCHMIDT & PHILLIP SEVY: We often get so caught up in our cool layouts and the sizes of the images, that we forget about the characters themselves. That cuts us off from perhaps the most important and powerful part of comic book storytelling–emotive characters who draw us in! Andy and Phillip will talk about (and show) the power of character acting on the comic book page!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018 at 9:00 pm ET
Flashbacks
ANDY SCHMIDT : Andy laments that flashbacks were the bane of his existence as an editor, where “No one trained writers or artists on how to deal with them properly, how to make them intuitive, or for that matter, what they were supposed to do dramatically. Too often they were mis-used and mis-handled.” In this Live Workshop, Andy will explain how to effectively use flashbacks dramatically as well as how to execute them clearly. You’ll never have a mis-fire flashback again!

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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!

Posted by Nicole Boose


Frank Gogol’s Kickstarter Anthology GRIEF Comes to Source Point Press!

Creators Workshop member and ardent Comics Experience student Frank Gogol is bringing his Kickstarter success Grief to our Source Point Press collaboration! On this anthology, he is joined by collaborators Nenad Cvitcanin, Kim Holm, Ryan Foust, Bethany Varni, Jey Soliva, Luca Bulgheroni, Esther P. Gil-Munilla, Emily Elmer, Sean Reinhart, and Dani Martins.

“The most important lesson I learned, without a doubt, is to make a campaign personal. Anyone who’s read Grief or has watched my campaign video on the Grief Kickstarter page knows that Grief is an incredibly personal book for me. Creating it was cathartic in a lot of ways and sharing it was meant to be my small contribution to help others who are grieving. And I channeled those things into the book and into the campaign and it resonated with people,” Frank says.

Grief and the Kickstarter campaign, I think, became more than one person trying to sell their comic book to other people. The backers felt connected to me and to the book, and that’s a powerful thing.”

The anthology explores the various ways in which people experience and express grief, using Elizabeth Kübler-Ross’ outline of the five stages as a framework. Grief began life as a direct result of Frank’s start taking Comics Experience founder Andy Schmidt‘s Introduction to Comics Book Writing course.

“From there, I set out to write a few more stories that had been percolating in the background. I figured I could put together a portfolio of short stories—different genre pieces and with different characters and so on—to show some storytelling range. I wanted to start out small, to build myself up, and to try new things, and if I had a couple of pieces to submit to anthologies or to show to editors, all the better,” Frank said.

“Then one day, I was sort of taking stock of the comics I’d made to see where I might go with the next story. I’d done sci-fi. I’d done horror. I’d done drama. And though these genres were pretty disparate, I noticed that all of the stories were about characters grieving in one way or another. That was sort of the spark of the idea that these stories could all fit together as an anthology.”

Beyond the introductory writing course, he also found the Creators Workshop community a pivotal source of support and growth as he worked on Grief and other projects. The connections he forged during his time guided the story to Kickstarter, and then on to Source Point Press.

“Top-to-bottom, the Comics Experience community, especially the Creators Workshop, is a place designed to help members succeed… The CE community is a place full of people, who just like me, want to make comics. It’s pros and amateurs and everything in between as peers,” says Frank.

“They support one another and empower one another. And without that support and empowerment, I absolutely would not have been able to move along at the pace I have… Being able to interact with and learn from my peers on the Creators Workshop was invaluable to me as I put Grief together and to it becoming the book that it is.”

You can pick up Grief and the other Source Point Press/Comics Experience beginning with the launch at C2E2 April 6-8!

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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!

Posted by Meredith Nudo


Episode #147 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 #147 – Page Rates and Asking Questions
A conversation about page rates including finding other people to talk about industry rates, what questions to ask, and thinking about your personal budget planning.

List of All Episodes

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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!

Posted by Nicole Boose
nicole@ComicsExperience.com


Introduction to Comic Book Coloring Begins Again in March!

Our popular Introduction to Comic Book Coloring class starts back up on March 26, 2018! Don’t miss your chance to take part to grow your skills in the new year. Remember: because of our personalized, student-centered approach, we cap each course at a limited number of seats – and they tend to fill up fast, so sign up as soon as you are able!

Taught by prolific colorist Chris Sotomayor, Intro to Coloring emphasizes coloring comics with Photoshop and how to use color as a storytelling device. You can read what Chris has to say about his curriculum and approach to teaching in this interview.

And you can watch Chris in action up on YouTube. This sunrise cloud tutorial and a Nightwing cover should give you an idea about what to expect from the course.

Intro to Coloring is required if you ever want to move up to Advanced Comic Book Coloring. You can learn more about that course here.

Register today for your chance to develop your craft, increase your skills, and achieve your goals as a comics creator! To begin the process, click here.

Visit our Courses page for a complete listing of Comics Experience classes.

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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!

Posted by Meredith Nudo


Two Workshop Members have Kickstarter Campaigns Running!

Want to support the work of our Creators Workshop members? Roddy McCance and Will Allred both have Kickstarter projects up for you to support!

Roddy’s Tales of Fractured Worlds features the work of ten different artists, including Una Dunphy (pictured), Munro te whata, Kristen Lehua, and other talent. As with his previous Kickstarter, Tales of the Fractured Mind, this project focuses on major contemporary issues in an anthology. Despite the science fiction settings, Roddy grounds all of his stories in fully-realized human experiences to provoke thought and action.

Will is joined by artist Gene Gonzalez and letterer Rus Wooton for Diary of Night, Vol. 1. It collects all four issues of the sold out miniseries about a woman caught between her vampire and human heritages. She protects both communities from the ire of the other, but winds up the prey of a mysterious hunter.

We also spoke to Will about this campaign, and how his strategy has changed since the last time he Kickstarted a project.

Comics Experience: What lessons did you learn from your previous Kickstarter campaign and how did you apply them to your current one? What crowdfunding lessons are you learning from your current campaign?

Will Allred: Kickstarter is not magic. You have to build an audience and bring that audience to Kickstarter. Kickstarter is the funding part, but you have to bring the crowd. To this end, I’ve spent the past several months building up my e-mail list. I’m also learning the importance of networking. Other creators are a wonderful source of knowledge and support. The comics community is such a wonderfully supportive group of people.

CE: What, to you, are some critical steps for comic creators to take if they hope to ensure success on a crowdfunding platform? What are some mistakes you think they need to avoid?

WA: I do really think the biggest mistake is not building your audience and preparing them before you launch, so taking time to build that e-mail list maybe 6 months before your launch and getting them ready and excited for what you want to create is critical. Honestly, the biggest mistake, and I’m guilty of this myself, is thinking that you have to do it all by yourself. There are some great communities for comics creators like Comics Experience and ComixLaunch, so know that you’re not alone. Also, a Kickstarter is a massive undertaking. Don’t kid yourself. It is a lot of work. Be prepared to put in the time, work, blood, sweat, and tears.

CE: How has your time in the Creator’s Workshop helped grow your skills and your work in comics, and how did it contribute to your respective campaigns?

WA: The Creator’s Workshop really has helped me grow as a creator, but it has also greatly expanded my knowledge of the business side of the medium. I know, I know. “We’re creators, not business executives.” However, we, as creators, want to reach as many readers and fans as possible, so we need to learn the ways of the marketer. Honestly, the biggest mindset shift I had to make was from the idea of being a “salesman” to instead being a creator sharing something that I love and put a lot of work into with people who are interested in it.

You can support Tales of Fractured Worlds here and Diary of Night here!

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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!

Posted by Meredith Nudo


Paul Allor Wants to Up Your Comics Writing Game with Two New Courses!

Paul Allor

Comics Experience staffer Paul Allor is offering up two exciting new courses: Creating Great Characters and Scripting Your Miniseries or OGN*. Both courses require previous completion of our Introduction to Comic Book Writing class.

Scripting Your Miniseries or OGN begins Wednesday, March 28, and Creating Great Characters starts Wednesday, June 6. Make sure to sign up as soon as you are able, as our classes only have limited slots available. They fill up pretty quickly!

We’re excited to be providing aspiring and established comic book creators alike a chance to better hone their storytelling skills. Paul graciously answered some of our questions regarding what students can expect from his upcoming courses.

Comics Experience: Please explain your approach to teaching.

Paul Allor: Oh, great question. Particularly in a class like this, I think it’s important to find out what your students’ goals are, and essentially come to them with the curriculum and teaching style, instead of the other way around. I also think it’s very important – especially when teaching a creative medium – to be both supportive and honest. You’ll always get my honest and unfiltered opinion of where you’re at, but you’ll also always get my full support as you work to bring your writing to the next level.

Another important facet of my teaching style is the realization that I am not the final authority on anything – least of all someone else’s story. I’m here to give you my thoughts, to work with you and to provide some guidance along the way. But you are the world’s leading expert on your own writing.

And finally, I find that I learn best when I’m having fun. I’m guessing most other people are the same way. So I aim to make these classes fun, stimulating and interactive.

And did I mention fun?

CE: How do these courses build upon the foundation established in the Introduction to Writing class?

PA: I learned so many lessons from Andy Schmidt’s Introduction to Writing class that I still use on a daily basis. That class provides so many of the basic building blocks that you need to create a great story. So in these courses, we’ll be talking about how to use those building blocks to create even larger and more complex structures.

CE: What do you hope students will get out of these classes?

PA: My ultimate goal is that students will come out of these classes feeling they’ve ‘leveled up’ in their writing, and that they now have a broader, deeper set of tools and skills that they can put to work on every comic they write. And I also hope that they feel like they had fun along the way!

CE: What are some of the most common mistakes first-time writers make when creating characters that you want to address in the Creating Great Characters course?

PA: I think the single most common mistake is creating a cast of characters that all talk, think and feel the same. Another common mistake is assuming your readers will relate to your characters, without putting in the work to make sure they do. Finally, a lot of first-time writers also put a ton of work into fleshing out their main character, but then surround them with a cast full of tropes and clichés. But these are all problems you can easily overcome, if you have the right tools and the right approach.

CE: What are some of the most common structural mistakes first-time writers make when creating miniseries and original graphic novels that you want to address in the Creating Great Characters course? What differences between the two formats should students keep in mind when deciding which best suits their stories?

PA: By far the most common mistake is not knowing your ending when you begin your story – essentially making it up as you go along. You should definitely have some flexibility to discover new things about your characters and your story along the way, but going complete improve is a recipe for disaster. Another common mistake is not having something to say, other than “I like this genre/setting/type of story, so I’m writing a comic in this genre/setting/type of story.” That doesn’t sound like a structural problem, but a lack of theme nearly always leads to a lack of drive, drama and tension in your story.

And the main difference between a mini-series and OGN is simply pacing. In a mini-series, you have to worry about keeping the reader hooked 20 pages at a time, which necessitates a somewhat breakneck pace, whereas in original graphic novels you have far greater flexibility in how you approach pacing, scene length, weaving in subplots, and on and on.

Sign up for Creating Great Characters and/or Scripting Your Miniseries or OGN here.

*Original graphic novel

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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!

Posted by Meredith Nudo