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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!


Enroll Now in Introduction to Perspective & Environments with Phil Sevy!

Our Introduction to Perspective & Environments course, taught by comics industry veteran Phil Sevy, is now open for enrollment! There’s no prerequisite to take this class, but you will need it if you want to enroll in future offerings of Advanced Figure Drawing & Construction.

For five consecutive Wednesdays beginning on March 28, 2018, students will learn about the crucial skills needed to craft effective backgrounds and settings for your comic book worlds. As with all Comics Experience courses, we try to keep our class size limited to ensure you receive the most detailed and personal critiques possible.

“One of my favorite aspects of storytelling that is often overlooked or not considered is that environments and backgrounds are characters and tools to tell your story. They’re not time consuming or difficult – they can be really fun and immersive,” Phil says.

“The biggest challenge in designing interesting and engaging backgrounds is just the technical aspects of perspective, but once you get that down – it becomes a lot more fun. That’s what we’re going to do in this class – approach the technical aspects of perspective and design, then really start to have fun populating your stories with immersive, character-driven environments.”

To read more about Perspectives & Environments and sign up to ensure your spot, click 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


THE FAMILY GRAVES Coming Soon from Source Point Press

The Family Graves will be released on April 6-8, 2018 at C2E2, as part of Comics Experience‘s partnership with Source Point Press! Written by Creators Workshop member Tim Bach, drawn by Brian Atkins, colored by Dijjo Lima, and lettered by Marco Della Verde, the narrative blends sci-fi and family drama for a heartracing adventure through reality itself! We spoke with the team about the upcoming series!

What is the creative process like for The Family Graves? What does your working relationship look like, and can you give an example of a time you worked together and merged ideas to create something even more engaging and interesting than originally envisioned?

Tim: Brian and I have worked together on a previous comic, Gargoyle By Moonlight, and we developed a really good collaborative relationship on those stories. We trust each other, talk through stuff, and really listen to the each other. Comics is a team sport, and collaboration is everything. The best comics come from the artists and writer working together to tell a great story—and that’s true in our case.

The Family Graves began as an idea I had to do something about a team of monster superheroes. The concept came together in the Advanced Writing Class, and then I pitched Brian on the idea. He read the first script and the series outline and made some suggestions. And we talked and went back and forth, and the concept changed and evolved. I really value Brian’s input as a storyteller, so while I came up with the basic framework and write full scripts, everything is open to his interpretation.

Brian has a way of taking what I’ve written and making it better. His input on story beats or characterizations helped to shape the whole story, and his page layouts often change the pace or the way we show things. I’ll write one thing, and then when Brian is doing his rough layouts, he’ll add a panel or subtract one, or just do a totally different action—and the story gets better.

Marco is a very talented letter and production guy. I look to him to pull everything together and make it a comic book, you know? He’s good at font selection, balloon style, and all the finer points of production design. We have a few special things in The Family Graves: creatures who speak with different balloons or telepathy and all kinds of different sound effects. Marco designed some really great solutions. There are some pretty crazy pages in this series, and Marco’s lettering works to tie everything together—to guide the reader through it all seamlessly.

Marco: As the letterer I’ve started working on The Family Graves at a later stage, so I didn’t have the same involvement Tim and Brian had. I mainly worked close to Tim, and he knows what he wants, so his feedback is always clear and accurate, even though I had more than enough creative freedom to enjoy the process. There’s a moment, towards the end of the series, when we do something special with a couple balloons: working on that was fun!

How did your work with Comics Experience and Creator’s Workshop influence the creation of The Family Graves and subsequent opportunity with Source Point Press?

Tim: As a workshop and a creator community, Comics Experience is filled with supportive and serious people. It’s a great place to work out ideas, get feedback, make contacts, and just learn about all the ins and outs of making comics. And the courses provide excellent opportunities to learn basics but also to continue to hone your craft. I’m a member because I’m inspired and challenged by the cool people and projects here. The whole atmosphere pushes you and your work to another level.

I developed the core concept and the first script for The Family Graves in one of the advanced classes, and then I workshopped the script through several iterations, getting critical feedback and insight from CE members, both professionals and novices. As the story came about, I continued to workshop the individual issues. The feedback and nurturing I received was invaluable.

Working with Andy, I’ve developed a discipline I didn’t have as a writer. He doesn’t teach you a checklist like some kind of screenplay writing book, but he has really great ideas for how to set yourself up for success, how to build a good foundation for your script and your overall project. And as part of the CE community, I’ve learned how to table at cons, how to network better, how to pitch, and all kinds of nuts and bolts things, from lettering and basic production to contracts. I’ve also met collaborators.

In the end, there’s just no way I could have managed to bring a project like The Family Graves together without the people I’ve met and the knowledge I’ve gained through Comics Experience.

Being published through Source Point Press is another great thing. It’s very hard for new talent to get noticed let alone published. The Comics Experience and Source Point Press partnership is a great new way for talent to break into the industry. I feel very blessed to be a part of an initiative that’s redefining what publishing, selling, and marketing books is. To be a part of such a great team is awesome.

Marco: I met Tim in the Comics Experience Workshop a few years ago, I’ve been lettering his comics for a while now, and I’ve also met the Source Point Press people thanks to Comics Experience. Actually I met a lot of people in the Workshop, and some of the best comics I worked on come from there: Animal Control by Rob Anderson, Drones by Chris Lewis, Achilles Inc by Andy Schmidt… Comics Experience is a very good community, the perfect place for comics creators who want to grow.

What has it been like working with Source Point Press? What have you learned about publishing along the way that you think aspiring creators should know?

Tim: So far, Travis and the others have been very supportive. The health of comics and the direct market seem to be perennial issues. And what I like about Source Point is that they are innovating the way comics are sold. Their primary market is selling books direct to readers at cons. They’re at dozens of shows each year selling thousands of books, and that gives them a huge reach both in person and online. They also had a great presence in the direct market with sales relationships directly with key comic shops, and now they are expanding into the direct market with a distribution deal with Diamond. It really is a visionary and dynamic sales model—and it really benefits creators. We’ve been in touch about all the cons they have scheduled for 2018, and Brian and I plan to attend as many shows as we can.

Making a comic is only half the battle. Once you’ve made a comic—hey, congrats, pat yourself on the back—but now you have to have to get the comic in front of people, and hopefully sell it. You need to define your audience—who are your readers?—and you need to get the book out there. I’ve learned a great deal about marketing and networking from Comics Experience.

Aspiring creators need to stop aspiring and get creating. You need to get your work out there. Don’t just keep working on pitches to companies or submitting portfolios. Make comics. Tell your stories. There’s no stigma to self-published comics—self-published comics are published comics. Yes, pitch. And, yes, submit portfolios and samples. And, yes, network—but don’t wait around for someone to offer to pay you to make your comic. It’s not going to happen. Don’t let some publisher be a gatekeeper. With the Internet and all kinds of sites and apps to connect you with collaborators and printers, the barriers to making your own comic have never been lower. Yeah, it’s still hard, but it’s so rewarding. Brian and I made Gargoyle By Moonlight, and we went out and promoted it wherever we could. And doing that was a huge learning experience, and it led to all kinds of opportunities for both of us. You’re going to learn more putting a comic together than you ever could just reading about it, or hoping it’s going to happen.

Marco: We are just at the beginning of this partnership, and while I’m writing this I’m also preparing the files for print (deadline is 2 days from now!), that’s when I’ll work closer with Travis McIntire and Josh Werner. But so far I think they are great and professional, and friendly. Maybe that’s what I think aspiring (and sometime veteran) creators should know: be professional, but also kind to your colleagues, it’s easy to become superb when you move forward, but it’s important to be humble and keep your patience, even when things are not going your way. Which, by the way, is not what’s happening with Source Point Press, everything is running pretty smooth! This, I think, is the main lesson I learned while being part of the Comics Experience Workshop: respect your peers and use your words wisely and kindly, be constructive.

Without spoiling anything, describe The Family Graves in your own words.

Tim: The Family Graves is The Munsters meets The Fantastic Four with a dash of Locke & Key.

Together with his dysfunctional, mismatched family of monsters, Phil Graves, an alchemical engineer recently turned unpredictably shifting werewolf, must race across dimensions to collect a set of magical mirrors in order to stop a chronal vampire from devouring the space-time continuum and destroying reality. But can the family hold together before reality falls apart?

At its heart, The Family Graves is a family drama—primarily about fathers and sons—dressed up in the teeth and claws of a monster adventure story. There’s yelling and hugging, tears and laughs, but also monsters and grand adventure. The Family Graves is a book for anyone who loves monsters, sci-fi/fantasy, family drama, and unabashedly fun comics.

Marco: I think it’s a very well done comic involving a beautiful family on an exciting adventure… and there’s braaaaains!

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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 #145 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 #145 — Source Point Press Publishing Deal
Andy talks about the new Comics Experience and Source Point Press publishing deal with new comics debuting at C2E2.

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


Our Publishing Program in the News!

Comics industry media have been spreading the word about our recent announcement to partner with Source Point Press!

Newsarama shares details about the alliance between the two companies here.

Bleeding Cool also offers a feature complete with details on our four debut titles.

Also at Bleeding Cool, CE alum and Creators Workshop member Ramon Gil conducts an informative chat with Travis McIntire, Publisher of Source Point Press.

Finally, Travis himself hosted a live Facebook chat on January 24 to answer questions about Source Point Press, the SPP/Comics Experience alliance, and Source Point’s books in Diamond Previews.

Keep an eye on our sites and social media accounts for continuing updates!

And thanks to the staff at Newsarama and Bleeding Cool for sharing our news with readers!

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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


An Intro to Our Intros: Phillip Sevy on Art!

With 2018 now here, it’s time you started taking action to achieve your comics creation goals! Comics Experience offers a slate of introductory courses that get you acquainted with the basics of the medium.

This week, we’re speaking to Phillip Sevy, who teaches Introduction to Comic Book Art. Class begins January 31, and we’ve got a few slots still open. Sign up now to ensure you secure your space!

Please explain your teaching philosophy for the Introduction to Comic Book Art Class.

Whether you are brand new or you’ve been working at drawing comics for a long time, the most valuable skill you can develop is an analytical ability to examine your work, understand its strengths and weaknesses, and what you can do to improve areas that need improvement. In the Introduction to Art class, we’ll be going over the foundational blocks to visual storytelling – the key principles that separate the hobbyist and the professional.

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

Making comic books can be tainted by our love from reading them. Comics are a visual medium and are, initially, surface level. We look at it and we like it. But the surface polish on top belies the layers and layers of scaffolding and structure that makes the comic look so easy. We’re going to begin to peel back those layers and understand how to build a comic page.

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

My process is always slowly evolving as I’m constantly seeking ways to get better and more efficient. Generally, after working with my editor, writer, and reading through the script multiples times I’ll draw up rough thumbnails (sometimes many, many variations in order to find the right take), take those and refine them digitally and produce fairly right layouts. I’ll enlarge my layouts and pencil and ink from them. Depending on the scene, I’ll do a variety of research and design (some traditional, some 3D) to aid in my understanding of space, backgrounds, and the like. The most important part of my process is in the finding of the best way to tell a story.

I spend a lot of time and brain power on my thumbnails and layouts – but that is the core to comics. That is the storytelling. Pencilling and inking are just draftsmanship to help realize the story. Introduction to Art will be focus on the storytelling, not the techniques.

We’ve got three introductory courses beginning next week – including Introduction to Comic Book Art! You can learn more and sign up 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


Comics Experience Teams Up with Source Point Press!

Comics Experience and Source Point Press are pleased to announce a new partnership! We’ve launched an initiative that will support the development and publish the work of emerging comics talent.

The CE-SPP partnership will offer a path to publication for members of the Comics Experience Creators Workshop community, students and alumni of Comics Experience’s courses, and Comics Experience’s mentoring clients. The initiative will include both print and digital comics. Titles published through the program will be distributed to comic book stores through Diamond Comics Distributors, while digital comics will be for sale on comiXology.

The comics education leader Comics Experience and the publishing innovator Source Point Press have developed this initiative as part of their shared commitment to creating and nurturing relationships with their audiences, and with the creators whose work they publish.

Comics Experience’s founder and president, Andy Schmidt, said, “We believe our shared focus on helping creators will in turn help the comics industry, and grow our two businesses.”

Travis McIntire, Source Point Press president and editor-in-chief, commented, “At Source Point Press we’re always looking for new material to try and to get a larger comic audience. Partnering with Comics Experience is a terrific opportunity to acquire a pipeline of great, new comics from dynamic new creators that we think any fan of the medium will love!”

A submission window opened to Comics Experience community members in January 2018, and more windows will open through the coming year. An overview of the program and submission guidelines can be found on the Comics Experience website.

Comics Experience and Source Point will premiere their first four jointly-published titles at Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2), April 6-8, 2018. They are: Achilles Inc. by Andy Schmidt, Daniel Maine, Francesca Zambon, and ET Dollman; Wretched Things by Devon Wong and Ken Perry; The Family Graves by Tim Bach, Brian Atkins, et al; and Grief by Frank Gogol and various artists. Full descriptions and covers for each series are below.

Achilles Inc. by Andy Schmidt, Daniel Maine, Francesca Zambon, and ET Dollman

In a flash of light, the world changed, and a sliver of the world’s population gained extraordinary abilities. But what if these individuals decided not to put on brightly colored tights, and instead decided to use their gifts for their own benefits?

Wretched Things by Devon Wong, Ken Perry, and John Hunt

It was written in blood by the rat kings, woven in silk by the spider sages, recited in verse by the ancient warlords of the centipedes: The Vermin shall inherit the Earth. A rich fantasy in the tradition of The Secret of NIMH tells the stories of great heroes who live in the margins of our world.

The Family Graves by Tim Bach, Brian Atkins, and Marco DellaVerde

The Family Graves combines science-fiction adventure and family drama with a love of classic monster movies to create a fun supernatural action tale.

Grief by Frank Gogol, with art by Nenad Cviticanin, Kim Holm, Ryan Foust, Bethany Varni, Jey Soliva, Luca Bulgheroni, Esther P. Gil-Munilla, Emily Elmer, Sean Rinehart, and Dani Martins

No two people are the same, but everybody grieves. Grief follows ten very different people as they each struggle with the pain of loss and their own personal demons.

About Source Point Press:

Source Point Press is a Michigan-based independent comics publisher, specializing in the horror, sci-fi, pulp, true crime, occult, and supernatural genres. With a catalog of over 50 titles and an exceptional commitment to building reader-publisher relationships, SPP attends over 50 shows annually.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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 Jennifer de Guzman