Comic Art

Creating in a safe space

Long-time Comics Experience member and colorist Emily Elmer Walker discusses how the community has been a safe space to give and provide creative feedback.

Creator: Emily Elmer Walker

Comics: Grief (get it digital); Athena Voltaire (get it digital)

Art: Instagram

Walker says: “It’s a safe space, the best way I can put it. It’s a very relaxed place. You can say things and not worry about too much judgement. You can put out your criticisms and see each other from different perspectives.”

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Find your fit

A key aspect of the Path to Publication is finding the publishers you and your work connect with. Kenny Porter discusses how to find a home for your comic book, whether it’s subject matter is superheroes, slice of life or anything that stirs your creativity.

Creator: Kenny Porter

Comic: Barnstormers (pre-order it in print | get it digital)

Porter says: You have to ask yourself, where does it actually fit? Instead of trying to fit a round peg in a square hole. The story you want to tell: who is the audience who wants to read it? Just because someone wants to do comics doesn’t mean they want to do superhero comics, or slice of life, or vice versa. There’s way more options now. It’s a big thing to learn now that the market is more open.

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Discover a workshop of creators like you

Kenny Porter discusses what it’s like to find working pros and comic writers just like himself in the Creators Workshop community.

Creator: Kenny Porter

Comic: Barnstormers (pre-order it in print | get it digital)

Porter says: First thing I asked when I’d post it: were you excited to read it? People who reviewed it would tell me this is where it trailed off for me; this is where it doesn’t bring the same heat or energy; or it doesn’t tonally fit, or someone’s dialogue didn’t sound consistent. It’s great to have people as a sounding board who have experience in the same medium as you.

If you’re looking to join as a writer, you’ll get a community of people from all kinds of backgrounds, who’ll give you feedback you can take to the bank, as opposed to someone who may not be familiar with the art form. It was the only way I could get feedback that was useful and take to heart, as opposed to bringing it to a class somewhere at a college.

I did have a lot of interaction with the pros. I got great feedback from people like Kyle Higgins, gave me a lot of great script notes, helped me with plotting and structure. Afterwards he let me ask him a bunch of questions about pacing. Fred Van Lente helped me build scenes, characters and how to keep them consistent. Wouldn’t have had that without Comics Experience backing me up.

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Get started with Intro to Writing Comics

Up-and-coming writer Kenny Porter discusses how Barnstormers, his graphic novel being republished by Simon and Schuster in September 2020, started from the five page script he wrote for Intro to Writing Comics.

Creator: Kenny Porter

Comic: Barnstormers (pre-order it in print | get it digital)

Porter says: There might be writing groups in my city, but no one in them who wrote comics or anything close to that. Intro to Writing Comics was a great opportunity to talk to other people who were interested in what I was doing, familiar with the medium and wanted to get better. 

Intro to Writing Comics was a great structured experience. You were given a deadline and specific format and page length to tell a complete story, and on a timeline similar to what a publisher would give you.

I was able to extrapolate that into a bigger story that became a prologue that is now becoming an original graphic novel, Barnstormers, coming out from Simon and Schuster in September.

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Culture of learning

Rich Douek discusses the culture of mutual learning and sharing within the Comics Experience Creators Workshop community.

Creator: Rich Douek

Comic: Gutter Magic (get it in print | get it digital)

Douek says: Peer review is a big part of the workshop… in order to upload a script, I had to critique other people’s scripts. Every script I read, I learned something. Every person who read my script, I learned something from them. Nobody’s competitive, everyone who touched the script had an interest in making it the best script it could be.

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Start small and make it real

Rich Douek, creator of Gutter Magic, discusses the benefits of starting small, a lesson he learned taking the Introduction to Writing Comics course.

Creator: Rich Douek

Comic: Gutter Magic (get it in print | get it digital)

Douek says: “When I hit page five of the script and wrote “The End”, I went “WOW, It’s done.” It seems small, but it felt really big as my evolution as a writer because I had trouble finishing things. It was this five page story in my hands. It was real. I could print it out and hold it. The question then became how can I do more?”

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