“Good comic book writers think in pictures as well as words.”
Anina Bennett (writer / producer of “Boilerplate robot hoax” and “Dark Horse Comics”)
A comic book is a powerful medium of expression that speaks a wide variety of ideas and emotions across all genres.
One of the greatest challenges of creating stories for this medium is to hone visual thinking , converting a plot into a pictorial language, ready for an illustrator to interpret and draw. Even if you’re working as the writer and illustrator, practising that visual language is essential.
As well as the art and script, the power of the medium comes from a delicate interplay of knowing how to use and arrange the elements of a comic book:-
- Word / thought balloons
- Sound effects
The business of arranging panels, for example can actually be quite complex, even though we know the basic knowledge of reading from left to right and down the page. Yes, even pros can get this wrong!
Drew Spence has just emerged from a huge comic book project where he is going to show you how to conquer the barriers that impair visual thinking so that you can:-
- Map a story structure onto a comic book layout
- Show, rather than tell a dynamic story
- Progress and express characters through their story arcs
- Create strong visual appeal
- Gain a comic book style that fits your story
- Comprehend comic book elements and use them to your advantage
- Compose comic book elements with confidence
- Master composition of characters in a shot (for a panel)
This course is for you if you are…
- Needing coaching on visual thinking in a group of like-minded comic book creators
- Wanting to add extra impact or emotion to your visual story,
- Needing a comprehensive understanding of comic book elements in all their varieties and how to use them effectively.
- Having challenges in using composition for comic book elements mentioned above.
This course includes a unique library of 2D assets ready for use in your own comic books as royalty free content.
- Standard members will receive a smaller asset library enough to aid with course assignments
- VIP members will receive the entire asset library
Advanced Comic Book Creation
Designing and Expressing Visual Stories
Week 1 : Constructing a narrative
- What is sequential art? What makes outstanding sequential art?
- How is story structure mapped onto a comic book layout?
- Explained : expression and exaggeration for character arcs
Week 2 : Visual Appeal and Comic Language
- How do we use expression effectively?
- The hidden hurdle : Translation from 3D to 2D
- About fast movement : upping the stakes
- Camera lens effects for additional visual appeal
- Using foreshortening
Week 3 : Comic Book Looks
- Get the looks : pick your prime postwork
- Photoshop Filters to fit your styling
- Photoshop Actions for faster workflow
- Software supporting line art, hand-drawn looks and other styles
Week 4 : Panels and Pages
- Layouts and Logic
- Composition within panels
- Thumbnails, scripting and scribbling
- Notes, ideas and pre-planning
- Drew’s top tips on panel layout and design
- Flow as we know it : Left-Right (western style)
- How are your hooks? Leading the reader.
- Gutters and bleed
Week 5 : Shooting your shots : essential Dos and don’ts for each
- Extreme close up
- Close up
- Over the shoulder
- Two, three shot
- POV shot
- Camera angles for shots
Week 6 : Word Balloon Crafting and Camera Effects
- Lettering and balloon placement
- Balloon shapes, borders and bad-ass styling
- Thinking about thought balloons
- Bam! Sound effects
- Camera effects : Effective DOF
- Camera effects : Light leaks
- Camera effects : Blur, speed and motion
Week 7 : Fights, Fury, Frenzy and Friends
- Relationships changing throughout the scene
- Character arcs : what not to do
- Relations vs Information
- SHOW but don’t tell
Week 8 : The Big Review – Covers and Conclusions
- Expert advice on covers : what works and what doesn’t
- Class review
- Back to the future : learning from your future selves
Drew uses DAZ Studio and Photoshop for comic book creation, as well as a variety of software applications for creating assets and styling.
Since composition, workflow and design principals are the key elements being taught in this course, DAZ Studio and PS are preferred but not essential.
We’ll get you practicing Visual Thinking from the outset where you’ll be putting together comic book pages every week.
Your Mentor : Drew Spence
Drew Spence is a graphic comic writer and illustrator from the United States. He creates under the title of The Dynamic Universe, which published the digital comics Force Six, The Annihilators and Killer Butterfly. He has combined his music and video into several works including Mark of the Griffin, which is both a graphic novel and web series. These comics are available in digital format on comiXology and in print from Indy Planet. He is part of the instrumental group Fallout Shelter which provides the soundtrack.
Drew is a graduate of Stony Brook University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Art and holds various certificates – from graphic arts to web design. He currently lives on Long Island, New York and produces his work from the aptly named Fallout Shelter Studios, where he crafts crafty and clever comics using CGI and photorealistic image manipulation.
During the course what will you experience?
- Weekly live training and coaching to learn comic book creation comprehensively.
- Clarity from a comic book creator expert : Drew Spence
- Shared active learning during sessions working on provided assignments
- Belong to a close-knit group of like-minded artists
- A private chat group and forum to keep the class connected every day
- Recognition of your progress and improvements
- Weekly challenges to help your strive and grow throughout the course
What other coaching group members are saying
“John Haverkemp’s ZBrush Forge course helped me go from an absolute ZBrush beginner to completing a full project in ZBrush and produce PBR textures and normal maps in Substance Painter. John is patient, yet proceeds at a good pace. There are a lot of ZBrush videos on the web, but they don’t come with a hands-on tutor! When ZBrush’s interface and brushes became overwhelming, I could still hear John say “Don’t be stuck!” He wanted us to always ask for help. John illustrated everything from the basics of designing and developing a concept, to blocking out basic shapes, to adding detail with specialized techniques, to exporting finished models and texturing in Substance Painter. The class size allowed for individual feedback. Although I was a beginner, classmates with more experience also received feedback appropriate to their level of expertise. Because of John’s constant addition of extra ‘skill modules,’ beginners and advanced could proceed at their own pace. I intend to participate in John’s next class.”
Ted Murphy on John Haverkamp’s ZBrush Forge
“Taking the Daz Studio Rigging Masterclass was one of the best decisions ever. Presented by Esha, who has a wealth of knowledge and not shy to share with her audience. Rigging is a complicated process and I jumped at the opportunity to learn from someone, that is well-known and respected in the Industry. The course is presented in a way that is easy to understand, follow and learn. The Slack group offers opportunities to interact with other members. In my opinion, this course presented me with a better understanding of workflow, techniques and exceeded my expectations. Paul is professional, entertaining and course materials are delivered on-time. He understands the issues that users face and offers affordable solutions to improve their knowledge in a friendly environment.
Once again, thank you for making this course available!”
Nelieta on the DAZ Studio Rigging coaching group
Here’s How it Works
A Carefully Selected Coaching Group
I review applications before artists are given an offer to join the group so you can rest assured that this will be a dedicated and creative set of people for you to grow with.
8 weeks of Support and Training
The group will run from mid September on Saturdays.
Each week we’ll have a Zoom webinar meeting (up to 1.5 hours) composed of training , coaching and follow up.
The topics of these training sessions will be based on the above, but we’ll pay special attention to coaching you through your sticking points.
We’ll provide you with class assignments and a content library to use in building the pages and panels.
In our live meetings everyone will share wins, goals, and challenges to get support, accountability, and feedback from the group and guidance from us.
Private online group area to interact between Zoom calls
Any time you need some input or encouragement, you can turn to the private forum on a daily basis to connect with other group members.
We’ve found that the private group forum area is a powerful connecting tool to keep the conversation going between the weekly meetings.
This extends the benefits of the coaching group beyond the mastermind and workshop calls.
If you would like additional resources, there’s a VIP add-on option that gives you the following in addition to everything above:-
- A one to one meeting with Drew to advance your comic book designs
- 6 months of unlimited email support and advice from Drew
- Huge comic book asset library for you to use for your personal or commercial work, royalty-free.