Creator's Toolkit #1: Comic Writing Class

Monday was my last Comics Writing Workshop at The Cambridge Center for Adult Education. For the past six weeks, I've been attending the class, facilitated by Alexander Danner, as an opportunity to connect with some fellow comics creators and enthusiasts and to get feedback on my scripts. Taking a similar course 3 years ago at Georgetown's continuing education center was a major contributer to my getting back into creating comics. In fact, Super Seed was conceived (the puns don't stop) during that course. I decided that it was time to take another writing course to recharge my writing batteries.

You can check out the syllabus for the course I just took here.

I would strongly suggest that any aspiring comics writers, or even pros who find themselves in a rut, consider seeking out a similar class near them. Comics and graphic novel writing are hot courses at continuing education schools around the country. They're usually relatively inexpensive. Here are 5 reasons why taking such a course is a good idea:
  • Get your scripts and works-in-progress actually read. It's no secret that it's tough out there for aspiring writers. There are tons of places on the net where you can post artwork and get praise or critiques. But it's a lot harder to get strangers to take the time to sift through scripts and WIPs and actually give you valuable feedback. During this course, I had the opportunity to have six short scripts read by several different eyes, and each of those projects is going to be the better for it.
  • Make Connections. Let's face it, creating comics is not the most social activity in the world. You log long hours in front of a computer screen typing away or sitting at your drawing table slugging away at page after page. It's largely a solo endeavor. So getting out there and meeting fellow creators face to face is a good thing. Who knows you might even find someone to collaborate with on projects in the future.
  • You don't know everything. (And if you do, how's about sharing that knowledge?) There's a great wide world of comics out there. Taking this course exposed me to a whole bunch of webcomics I never would have found. It also caused me to pick up the incredible Making Comics by Scott McCloud. I highly recommend this book for its practical suggestions that'll help improve your craft. I also found that, low and behold, the past three years of slugging away at creating comics has given me a lot of valuable experience to other creators just starting out. From learning digital coloring to my experience with using on-demand publishers, it turns out I'm not quite a neophyte at this comics game anymore.
  • Promote yourself! If you are creating comics, chances are you're hoping someone or something will actually read them. When you're an aspiring creator, you really need to go grass roots to get people to follow your work, and that means trying to win over one fan at a time. A writing class is a good place to start. It just so happened that Super Seed was competing at Zuda the month the class began, so that was perfect timing for me.
  • You'll actually write. (AKA homework is good!) I can definitely say that I wrote a ton more these past six weeks than I would have had I not been meeting with my writer's class every Monday. There was one project in particular that I've been procrastinating on getting started, but this class forced me to put in the time and get it off to a good start. Sometimes we all need that bit of external motivation to keep at our craft, as there are plenty of other diversions out there in the world that keep us from creating comics. So a little enforced discipline is a good thing.

So, keep your eye out for a class near you. Definitely worth your time.

1 comment:

ALAN said...

I can attest that Tyler is by no means a neophyte at comics, and he's a great coloring instructor.