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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!


Make Comics Podcast Gets a New Lineup!

Make Comics LogoWe here at Comics Experience are very excited about the new host lineup for our podcast, Make Comics! The comic book editors Nicole Boose (who is also Comics Experience’s general manager), Heather Antos, and Jim Gibbons have taken the reins from Andy Schmidt, who started the podcast in 2011.

Make Comics will continue to provide listeners with content about writing, drawing, and reading comics — as well as tips for working in the industry. With three new hosts, however, there’s a greater opportunity to offer different perspectives on these subjects.

The new Make Comics is available now, beginning with episode #151. Listeners can subscribe on iTunes or listen straight from the Comics Experience website.

We talked to Heather, Nicole, and Jim about what their plans for Make Comics are in the coming weeks.

What, for you, is the main purpose of the Comics Experience podcast, Make Comics?

Heather Antos: Podcasts are all about building a community – and what better community is there than one filled with comic fans and creators? There is much to be learned about the industry – about making comics – from discussing our experiences as readers, retailers, publishers, creators, you name it. The best part of comic conventions, to me, are getting to catch up and share these experiences in person, but with this podcast, we’ll get to share those experiences with you every week.

Nicole Boose:  For me, it’s mostly about building community among comic creators and readers, in a way that benefits all of us. I’ve learned new things from listening to the podcast, and hopefully, my own thoughts and experiences will be useful to listeners as well. I’m also really proud of the fact that this is one of the resources CE offers that’s totally free, so everyone who wants to learn about making comics can do that, regardless of their budget.

Jim Gibbons: Life is hectic. While CE offers amazing courses and a valuable community in the Creators Workshop, I love that Andy and Joey have built this incredible free resource that you can listen to on the go—while commuting, while you cook dinner—that can help you improve your skills and gain knowledge while you do the things you have to do daily. So many of us live and breath comics, and I think being able to scratch that itch in an easy-to-consume podcast format is so beneficial.

What can listeners expect from Make Comics with you as the new hosts?

HA: A group of comics pros sharing stories, thoughts, experiences, and mostly learning more on how to Make Comics! Though the industry is small, the experiences one has when creating each issue, comic strip, and graphic novel can be VASTLY different. Making comics is a lot like alchemy – and we’re going to do our best to help listeners as they try and make comic gold.

NB: We’ll offer some of the same things listeners have come to appreciate: thoughtful discussion, takeaway info that you can put right to use on your own projects, plus the encouragement and inspiration to stay motivated. Only now, with three of us co-hosting, you’ll get a broader range of perspectives. Heather, Jim, and I have all been in comics for a while, but our experiences are varied enough that I think we’ll always have something new to share! And we’ll always take listener suggestions and questions, so feel free to reach out if you want to suggest a topic: info@comicsexperience.com.

JG: New perspective. Much like no one writes or draws comics the exact same way, no editor does things exactly like another. Andy’s experience has overlap with Nicole’s, Heather’s, and mine, but all of our experiences are completely different, as well. It’s a pooling of editorial and comics knowledge that I think will form a well-rounded, even more expansive collection of insights, tips, tricks, and information on how to make the best comics you possibly can. I’m excited to be one of the co-hosts, but I’m also thrilled to be a listener of the new format! I think continuing education on your craft is essential and I’m looking forward to adding Nicole and Heather’s knowledge to my personal experience and to everything I learned from the previous incarnation of the podcast.


Introduction to Digital Painting 2018 Open for Enrollment!

A new session of Introduction to Digital Painting is now open for enrollment! In this course, instructor Scott Johnson will teach you to paint over existing line art using innovative digital techniques. The upcoming session will begin on July 12, meeting weekly in our live online classroom. You can enroll here now!

Scott got his start in digital painting in the 1990s, developing his own practices in the field just as it was emerging. His pioneering methods, combined with his infectious enthusiasm, have made this a can’t-miss offering in the Comics Experience art curriculum. It’s designed to meet the needs of students at all levels, from beginner to pro.

Scott spoke with us about his work, and on what you’ll gain from taking this course.

Star Saga cover paints by Scott Johnson

What does your typical workday look like?

After I send the kids off to school in the morning, I head downstairs to my basement office. Working from home can be a double-edged sword, but I’ve been doing it for 19 years so I guess it works for me. I have 2 art stations in my studio. One is a traditional drafting table with art supplies, and the other is my computer and Cintiq (digital drawing screen). The majority of my work is done with the Cintiq. Right now I have 2 main clients: Marvel and Hasbro. I do artwork for toy packaging, merchandise and promotional materials for comic and movie related properties. I’m required to work in many different art styles ranging from cartoon to comic book to painterly. It’s difficult to keep regular work hours because freelance jobs can hit you at any time and have any deadline, so I’m often working in the office at night or weekends. Since I’m home all the time, I like to have a hobby that gets me out of the house. I teach martial arts classes a couple times a week at a local karate school, which is a nice escape from the daily grind.

How can digital painting skills help propel an artist’s career?

Back in 2003, Marvel first hired me primarily because of my ability to paint digitally. In today’s market you need to have some digital skills in order to compete. Many clients require the art to be delivered as a digital layered file. They also expect you to be able to make quick revisions and changes, which is digital’s biggest advantage over traditional painting. If the art director’s boss demands an unexpected change to the artwork and you can deliver that quickly, the AD will appreciate how you bailed them out. That could lead to more work for you in the future.

What’s one of your favorite techniques to teach?

It’s a fundamental skill:  understanding simple light direction and shadow placement is the basis of drawing and painting. That’s where we start in my class, and everything builds from that.

The live, online class begins Thursday, July 12 and lasts six weeks, with a skip week for San Diego Comic Con. Seats are limited so enroll now!

For more, check out Scott’s video demo or visit:

Student Reviews of Introduction to Digital Painting

Q&A with Scott Johnson

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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


Episode #151 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 #151 – Skills vs. Experience
Nicole Boose talks Skills Versus Experience when it comes to making comics, as well as goal-defining for your career or project in terms of skills and experience for yourself and collaborators.

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 Screenwriting with James Janowsky Begins in June!

James Janowsky moderates a Q&A at the New York City Apple Store with Academy Award winning director Danny Boyle.

James Janowsky moderates a Q&A at the New York City Apple Store with Academy Award winning director Danny Boyle.

As part of our new Screen Experience initiative, screenwriter James Janowsky will be teaching Introduction to Screenwriting beginning June 21! This six-week intensive covers the basics of the screenwriting format, as well as character development, genre exercises, and story synopses.

“For me, teaching screenwriting, especially an introductory class, is about teaching the students the fundamentals of the medium and then continuing to reinforce those fundamentals throughout each class. Ultimately, you want your students to be able to make informed creative storytelling decisions with their writing, and consciously understand why they made those decisions,” says James.

“Too often introductory screenwriting classes are about creating a project to shoot, rather than focusing on learning how to write a screenplay. In my class we will be focusing each week on different screenplay aspects–the first ten pages, scene versus sequence, etc. The other cool thing about the class is that each exercise will focus on a different genre. The hope is that each student will gain a better understanding of each genre, and from those five or six exercises they will want to expand one of their ideas into a feature length screenplay.”

As with any other form of writing, there are many myths, misconceptions, and dodgy advice on how to do it right. With this class, James hopes to demystify and simplify your approach to writing for film and TV.

James says, “I often hear people discuss that secondary characters in a movie have or don’t have an arc. The only character in a film that should have an arc is the protagonist. There is only so much time to tell a story on film, and to give numerous characters’ arcs diminishes the overall investment you should have with your main character.”

“What I really think they mean is the secondary characters should be fully fleshed out and not just cardboard cutouts or characters that are only there to serve the plot,” he explains.

“Film language is an important tool to screenplay storytelling. It is often overlooked because it seems more associated with directing or even editing rather than screenwriting. But if a screenwriter understands and is able to capitalize on the power of film’s language in their writing, the better and more effective their screenplay will be when a potential producer reads it. And as luck would have it, I will be teaching film language and its importance to screenwriting in the Comic Experience Advanced Screenwriting class being offered next year.”

You can also take advantage of our bundle offer! If you purchase this class as well as Advanced Screenwriting, you will receive a $200 discount! Click here for more information on this offer!

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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


Owen Welsh’s Introduction to Character Design Coming in June!

Aspiring animators or comic book artists looking to craft lively characters full of movement should sign up for one of the slots still open in Owen Welsh‘s Character Design course! Starting June 4, and running Mondays until July 16 (with a break for July 2), students will learn the basics of what makes a character strong, how to put together a model sheet, and more.

“My mission is to focus on the foundational principles and build from there. The bigest eye opening experiences will be when I draw over students drawings and explain my thought process. I will be encouraging students to research and observe nature. Often times nature can be the greatest teacher,” Owen says.

“Students will develop ‘new eyes’ to critique and improve their drawings outside of class. They will discover the secret language of design and how it applies to character development. You do not need to be imbued with a special ability to learn how to design a character. Drawing is a language and it can be learned if you are a careful observer and mindful of techniques we will learn in class.”

One thing Owen’s class will address is a common misconception about character design.

Owen says, “There is a tendency for characters to look overly complicated and busy. Simplicity is the key to appeal. Question every element you add to the character. Every detail should have value, further strengthening your design.”

Slots tend to fill up fast, so make sure to sign up as soon as you can! For more information, and to sign up, click here.

You can also take advantage of our bundle offer! If you purchase this class as well as Art of Animation 102: Introduction to Animating and Art of Animation 203: Introduction to Storyboarding, you will receive a $300 discount! Click here for more information on this offer!

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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


New Live Workshops Announced for May 2018!

ComicsExperience_logoWe’ve added even more Live Workshop topics to our May 2018 schedule!

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

Here’s our UPDATED lineup for May 2018:

 

Tuesday, May 8, 2018 at 9:00 pm ET
Craft Presentation: Pacing
This Live Workshop is part of our CRAFT PRESENTATION series, where we turn the floor over to our very own members! Workshop members will informally present talks on the subject of pacing, using some of their favorite work as examples. Workshop members can learn more, and find out how to participate, by logging in here!
Hosted by PAUL ALLOR

Tuesday, May 15 at 9:00 pm ET
Character Acting
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!
Hosted by ANDY SCHMIDT & PHILLIP SEVY

Tuesday, May 22 at 9:00 pm ET
INDIE CORNER: Freelancer Finances
Paul Allor will join guest Marissa Louise to discuss the ins and outs of freelancer finances. Between taxes, budgeting, negotiating page rates and keeping up on late invoices, the financial side of freelance work is extremely complex and can be more than a bit overwhelming! Marissa, a full-time comic book colorist who has worked for DC, Dark Horse, BOOM!, IDW, Black Mask and more, will take you through her time-tested process for keeping on top of everything and ensuring that your career is built to last.
Hosted by PAUL ALLOR and MARISSA LOUISE.

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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