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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!

Comic Book Law for Creators Open for Enrollment! Class starts October 2, 2017!

Our Comic Book Law for Creators course is back! Taught by attorney and comic creator Joe Sergi, this course offers valuable instruction on a crucial – and crucially overlooked – aspect of the comics industry, and you won’t find it anywhere else.

The Comic Book Law course has been highly praised by alums for its clear-eyed approach to understanding contracts, rights issues, free speech considerations, and more. We make this course available on a very limited basis – we’ve offered it only twice since 2014 – but we’ve partnered with Joe to bring it to you again this year. Sign up now, before the course launches on October 2, 2017!

Class meets for four weekly sessions that take place live online. Registered students will also receive access to recordings of each live course session, as well as a private online course discussion forum.

Joe’s extensive experience in both the comics and legal communities ensure that the content is accessible, valuable, and – yes – even fun! Learn more at the links below, and stay tuned for more coverage on this course as the start date approaches.

To register for Comic Book Law for Creators now, visit our course page here! Class begins on Monday, October 2, 2017.

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

CE Staffer Molly Lazer’s First Novel OWL EYES Out Spring 2018!

Molly Lazer bio image

Molly Lazer, a former assistant and associate editor at Marvel who provides professional critiques in the Creators Workshop, will be releasing her debut novel in the spring of 2018! Owl Eyes, from Fire & Ice YA, twists and toys with the standard Cinderella story, asking questions about the role of “goodness,” Cinderella’s father, why she wasn’t recognized at the ball, and other lingering issues. She’s been developing her intriguing new fantasy world for over fourteen years!

“It morphed from a story that mostly just tried to answer these questions into a story that is more about identity, finding your family, and figuring out your place in the world and how to be the person you are separate from where you come from. And magic, of course,” Molly says.

While working for Marvel, Molly worked on editing titles like Spider-Girl, New Avengers, Captain America, Fantastic Four, and Thunderbolts. With Owl Eyes, she returns to her creative prose roots. She recounts some advice given to her by Marvel editor Tom Brevoort regarding the initial adjustment to comics.

“In prose, text is text. But in comics writing, text, specifically dialogue, equals space. Too much dialogue and no one will be able to see the artwork,” she says.

“I think that comics writing is most similar to flash fiction (fiction of 1000 words or fewer) in that you really have to think about pacing and economy of language. In comics, you also have to think about visual storytelling, which I guess was the biggest adjustment for me coming in as a prose writer.”

Spending so much time absorbed in the comics world helped enhance Molly’s approach to prose. As “a fan of compressed stories,” she believes pacing is one of the most significant lessons aspirant novelists can learn from comics.

“I’ve found that thinking of storytelling in terms of arcs or episodes that contribute to a larger whole can be helpful when doing my planning.”

She also touts the virtues of economic storytelling, and believes the strategies used while writing comics translate well to prose.

“In comics, you have only 22 pages in an issue, so determining what information your reader needs in order to understand the characters and the world of the story is essential, especially since you want to do it without it sounding like your characters are obviously spouting exposition,” Molly says.

“In prose writing, you have a bit more leeway, since you can have blocks of descriptive text. Even so, prose writing can easily get bogged down in description. Keeping the reader engaged and keeping the story moving while still providing the reader with the essential information is an important part of prose writing, too.”

Another crucial skill writers need? Listening. Molly attributes self-edits and a strong mentor as major figures in bringing Owl Eyes to readers.

She says, “It’s been a long, long road to both getting a final version that I feel is ready to put out there and to actually finding someone who wanted to publish it. I’ve written so many drafts that I can’t even count them, many of them wholesale rewrites, because I never felt like the book was truly finished.”

“I ‘finished’ it before I submitted it to my advisor at the beginning of the process for my MFA thesis, and she read it, turned around, and told me to write the whole thing again. I was really unhappy at first, but it turns out she was right, because the final rewrite was the best and truest version of the story.”

We’re looking forward to checking out Owl Eyes upon its publication!

Live Workshop Tuesday, September 12: Writing for a Particular Artist!

Our next Live Workshop session is coming soon!

Live Workshops are online, monthly events, and they’re available exclusively to Creators Workshop members.

Each Live Workshop discussion focuses on a unique topic geared toward helping comic creators achieve their personal best. Past sessions have covered subjects like maximizing income, reinventing characters, negotiating collaboration agreements, and many more!

Current Workshop members can find details by logging in here.

For more benefits of Creators Workshop membership, head over to our Top Ten Reasons Why the Creators Workshop Is Awesome post! For additional details or to join, please visit our Creators Workshop page here.

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

Tuesday, September 12, 2017 at 9:00 pm ET

Writing for a Particular Artist: Identifying and using an artist’s strengths
ANDY SCHMIDT: We’ve seen in interviews when a writer says s/he writers to an artist’s strengths. I’m not sure how true that always is, but it’s a useful skill and one that artists do tend to like. In this live workshop, Andy breaks down how to first identify an artist’s illustrative strengths and weaknesses artistically, and then how to craft a story to highlight the artist’s strengths and minimize the artist’s weaknesses. The result is a project that looks great and serves as an excellent portfolio piece for the artist.

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

Advanced Art: Live Studio Experience Now Open for Enrollment!

Our Advanced Art: Live Studio Experience course with artist-instructor Robert Atkins blends the accessibility and flexibility of an online course with the personalized instruction of working directly with a mentor!

Beginning Wednesday, October 25, 2017, Robert will lead a new session of the course. This intensive, eight-week class runs student through a rigorous and lively process of addressing individual needs, practicing new techniques, and nurturing personal artistic strengths.

This course is open to everyone who has completed our prerequisite Introduction to Comic Book Art course. Seats are limited in order to provide more focused assessment and instruction, so we encourage you to sign up early! Registration is available on our course page.

Robert’s credits include extensive work in comics, video games, and toy packaging design. A graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design’s M.F.A. program, Robert was also instrumental in developing the school’s mentorship program. His art courses are a long-standing staple of the Comics Experience curriculum.

To learn more and register, visit the Advanced Art: Live Studio Experience course page 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.

Posted by Meredith Nudo.

Workshop Member Todd Matthy’s Robots vs. Princesses Set to Debut!

The all-ages comic Robots vs. Princesses, penned by Creators Workshop member Todd Matthy, is about to debut! The project Kickstarter has met its goal to launch issue #1, with additional funds earmarked to support the release of future issues. The campaign remains open only through Thursday, August 24 — donate by then to reserve your copy.

This four-issue limited series includes art by Nicolas Chapuis, and lettering by Comics Experience alum Sean Rinehart. The plot centers on the unlikely friendship between Princess Zara and a robot named Wheeler, and their efforts to bring peace to the land they both inhabit.

Get a taste from the Kickstarter page, which also includes a free downloadable 8-page preview!

Robots vs. Princesses is the culmination of years of effort on the creators’ part. Todd initially offered the first script for critique on our Creators Workshop in 2014, and the series took shape from there.

In an interview with The Nerdy Girl Express, Todd talks through the history of the project, the process of creating it, how his love of comics intersects with his career as an elementary school teacher, and more!

Below, Todd talks with us more about Robots vs. Princesses, and the campaign to bring it to readers:

Variant cover by Sean von Gorman

What are your thoughts about how the project has changed since you first began workshopping it?

It’s stronger. When I first brought it to the Workshop is was just an idea with the characters that played with the tropes of Disney Princesses and Transformers. Through the Creators Workshop, I was able to create a strong foundation and crack open these characters and make them “real” people as opposed to archetypes and roles.

What are your plans for the title beyond this campaign?

Myself and Nic Chapuis (my artist) want to finish a four issue limited series. All funds raised beyond our initial goal will go towards putting out these issues in a fast and timely manner.

And how can folks follow this project or your other work after Thursday?

Sign up for my mailing list. You’ll get two free books and weekly updates with back matter and behind the scenes information as I chronicle my journey on the road to publication.

Thanks and congratulations to Todd, Nic, and Sean!

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

Introduction to Comic Book Art has a Few Slots Open!

Our Introduction to Comic Book Art course with Robert Atkins (Amazing Spider-Man, Ultimatum Fantastic Four: Requiem, G.I. Joe, Snake Eyes), scheduled to start September 6, has only a few slots left!

In this course, Robert leads a fun series of interactive sessions, culminating in a new set of skills that you can put into practice immediately. His accessible teaching style and insightful critiques have earned him rave reviews from former students! You can read more about how he conducts class here.

If you’re looking to take any advanced art course, remember that this is a prerequisite.

Introduction to Comic Book Art starts Wednesday, September 6, and runs for six weekly sessions. For further details and to enroll, visit the official page here!