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5 Week Online Course | Thursdays, August 3 – August 31, 2017 | Instructors: Robert Atkins, Andy Schmidt

Comic Book Art Icon

World Building: The Art of Collaboration & World Design

In this five-week, intensive class, you’ll learn from Andy Schmidt (Marvel, IDW writer) and Robert Atkins (Marvel, DC, Dark Horse artist) and watch behind-the-scenes as they build a unique story-world from scratch. But that’s just the back-drop of this course designed to teach from both a writer and artist perspective how to go about working together to create something better than either of you could do on your own.

The most under-discussed aspect of comic book creation is the art of the collaboration, and this course goes heavy into how to not just work together, but how to improve upon each other’s work to get the best that you both can offer. More than getting along, it’s true collaboration at its best. No comic creator today (save for someone who writes and illustrates his or her own work) can survive in the comics industry without these skills.

The best part of it all is how much fun it is. And Andy and Robert, your co-instructors, hope to show you the joy of collaboration as they make fun of each other teach this informative and essential course for any comic creator.

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  • Details
  • Instructors
  • FAQs
  • Requirements

  • Class meets on Thursday evenings between 8:30 PM ET and 10:30 PM ET, for five weeks
  • You’ll learn from both writer Andy Schmidt and artist Robert Atkins
  • You’ll learn how to write a story bible and design characters with the story
  • You’ll learn the essential components of visual design for immersive entertainment
  • You’ll learn the art of collaboration, a vital aspect to not just comics but the entertainment industry as a whole
  • You’ll have behind the scenes access to exclusive videos of Robert and Andy discussing the development of a unique story world created specifically for this course
  • You get exclusive access to a dedicated class member-only online forum
  • You’ll have access to recordings of any class in the series for the duration of the course and a few weeks after its conclusion—so you never have to miss a class!
  • You’ll get Robert and Andy’s wealth of experience and training
Robert Atkins

Robert Atkins has established himself in the comic book industry, known for his penciling work on military action in books such as G.I. JoeSnake Eyes, as well as superhero titles such as Amazing Spider-Man, Venom and Heroes for Hire. After earning his M.F.A. in Sequential Art from the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2005, Robert immediately started working in comics.

Along with Robert’s comic work, he’s built up a portfolio and clientele of commercial art and product lines including package art for Hasbro: NERF, Star Wars: Black Series action figures, Marvel Legends, and many other toy lines! Robert is also working on video game concept illustration and environments for Playful Games. Anyone that has taken any of Robert’s classes can attest to his sheer passion for artwork and teaching!

Like all of Comics Experience’s instructors, Robert is not just a top professional in his field; he’s also an accomplished teacher as well. After graduating and then teaching at the Savannah College of Art and Design, Robert has also developed an official mentorship program for the school that has placed a number of students in the art industries’ workforce. And now Comics Experience is pleased to be able to pass that working knowledge on to you!


Andy Schmidt

Andy Schmidt, former Senior Editor at IDW Publishing, former Editor at Marvel Comics, and writer of such comics as 5 Days to Die, X-Men: Divided We Stand, and G.I. Joe: Future Noir launched Comics Experience for people who want to make comics or work in the comics industry.

During his nearly six years at Marvel Comics, Andy edited such popular comic books as X-Men, X-Factor, Alias, Secret War, Captain America: The Chosen, Iron Man / Captain America: Casualties of War, Avengers Classic, and the Annihilation saga. As an assistant and associate editor, Andy worked on nearly every major character in the Marvel canon—from Spider-Man to the Avengers and Fantastic Four.

In 2007, Andy founded Comics Experience to pass his knowledge on to students. In 2008, Andy wrote an authoritative, Eagle Award-winning book about making comics: The Insider’s Guide to Creating Comics and Graphic Novels, published by Impact Books. In 2010, he created the Creators Workshop as part of Comics Experience, where students can learn and grow together as creators. In 2013, Andy left corporate life and began consulting and writing in the Entertainment Industry on properties such as Spider-ManThe AvengersGuardians of the GalaxyStar Wars, and Transformers as we all as consulting with film and television studios.

In January 2016, Comics Experience launched a digital-only comics line from Creators Workshop members available exclusively through ComiXology.

Andy is the co-host of the Comics Experience Make Comics Podcast and you can follow him on Twitter at @ComicExperience.

What’s the focus of the course?

The course itself has several focuses. The first is on designing character and story for a longer format series or an immersive experience. The second is on the language of visual design for world and character building. The third focus is on how to work with other creative people to get the best work out of both of you.

How did Andy and Robert create the course?

Robert and Andy met online for months to prepare for this course. In that process, designing the curriculum, they discovered that a great tool for the course would be not just to talk about their respective roles to play in building a world, but to SHOW the class how they would do it. So they decided to create a story-world just for this course and they recorded their discussions along the way.

The result is a well-researched course by two creators with extensive experience in comics and the wider entertainment industry along with behind-the-scenes exclusive access to how they work together on a project.

Do I need to know a whole lot about comics?

Absolutely not. All of our courses are designed for total beginners and those seeking to improve their craft. The class has a quick pace, so if you’re very new, be prepared to work, but one thing we pride ourselves on at Comics Experience is our ability to teach to an individual’s skill level.

These courses aren’t about the instructor, and that’s why we keep them small. We have an excellent track record with our students, and it’s our top aim to keep it that way. So, new to comics? Come on in, we’d love to show you around! Old pro? Let’s sharpen those skills and learn a few new tricks! Everyone’s welcome, and the group learning will help everyone improve!

Do I need to be a computer wiz for the class?

Nope. Not one bit. You need to have high-speed Internet access. We recommend that you have headphones with a microphone to plug into your computer, but that’s by no means necessary. Ultimately, you don’t have to speak if you don’t want to, though we like hearing your voice!

It’s simple once you’re in your first class, we’re sure you’ll get comfortable very quickly.

What computer programs do I need for this course?

None! Just the Internet access and you’re good to go! Of course, a word processing program like MS Word would probably be good and if you’re an artist, we’d welcome the opportunity to look at your art on our forums and give feedback.

What if I miss a class?

All of our classes are recorded and available to view via streaming link for the duration of the course. And on top of that, you’ll have exclusive access to the Comics Experience forum set up just for the class. You’ll be able to interact with the rest of your class all week long at any time!

If I don’t live in the United States, can I still take the course?

You bet. We’ve had students jump in from Europe, Asia, Australia, South America and Africa. Not Antarctica yet, but give us time! Some of these students have not been able to attend live, but they’ve viewed the recordings and interacted with their classmates online!

Learning about World Building is great, but do we get any practical industry advice?

We will simultaneously be developing a world and we’ll be talking about how this process roles into your pitch packet.

How do I sign up?

Click on the PayPal button and you’ll get an email confirmation and instructions with two business days giving you everything you need to get started with the course.

There is no better course about World Building or collaboration between artists available online. This is the best—period. Go ahead and reserve your spot today! Space is limited.

To participate in our live online sessions you will need:

  • A computer or mobile device that meets Go To Meeting’s minimum requirements
  • High-speed Internet access
  • Headphones/ear buds with microphone (optional, but strongly suggested)
  • A mind like a sponge!