Making Comics Gutter Talk Episode 103 – Stephen Bissette

We may have said this before and if so, we feel it is definitely worth repeating. Wow, it is so darn educational and amazing to speak with someone who has been in the comics industry for so darn long. This is why every Halloween, Adam looks forward to speaking with one of his favorite Making Comics Gutter Talk guests, Stephen Bissette. For the third year in a row, Stephen dispels humor, knowledge, and all around good times.

When Stephen talks about the history of comics, he’s not just talking about what has happened in the past. That side of the timeline has been well-documented and will forever be. In this episode Stephen does talk about the past but he also is sure to talk about the history of comics as both the present and the future. This also includes when he is teaching young, impressionable minds at the Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction, VT. And yet when his students challenge him on a topic, Stephen becomes the student in order to return to being a more effective teacher. In the example he gave, a student challenged him on Native American comics and culture. This caused Stephen to do his own homework, a great example that no matter who we speak with, we can never stop learning.

To open the Gutter Talk episode, just as we have done in previous Halloween episodes, we have a reading of an Edgar Allen Poe story. This year’s story was “The Cask of Amontillado” and was read by a horror master in his own right, Vincent Price. Boy, Poe sure does like burying things in his stories, huh?

Happy Halloween!

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Making Comics Gutter Talk Episode 102 – Bizhan Khodabandeh & James Moffitt

The world these days is far from easy to understand. Sometimes there’s an answer and sometimes there isn’t. And sometimes, it takes all we have to find a way to even try to comprehend everything. But perhaps that’s where art comes into play. Maybe, just maybe, our sight becomes a little clearer when we break it down into more of an expression than trying to fit a round understanding in a square hole. In the case of The Little Red Fish by Bizhan Khodabandeh and James Moffit, a simple, yet powerful story is told and it’s all inspired by the Iranian revolution in 1979. Nah, that’s not complicated to explain.

In this Making Comics Gutter Talk episode, Adam is joined by Bizhan and James to discuss how this story came about and what makes this story have such an impact. There’s also something to be said about the use of animals as the characters, a la Animal Farm by George Orwell, which is another side of the story Adam and his guests dive into. Following this discussion, Adam and Bizhan are left to their own devices as they discuss another project Bizhan was a part of. It involves violence between civilians and police, and soon the conversation turns to a more personal experience for both Adam and Bizhan. In the end, both host and guest ensure the audience they are far from experts on the subject and only drives home the point that there simply is no easy or right answer to the burning, violent questions we face as humans today. But at least there’s comics!

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MakingsComics.com Gutter Talk 101: Comic Fuel Episode 5

“This is the real secret of life — to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.”  – Alan Watts

As we walk out into the world we are entering a story. This story defines us and the way that we interact with our beliefs, actions, society, etc. As much as we are always entering into the story that others have defined for us, we are also given the gift of writing our own story in every action we take. This month I sat down with Rachel Beck, founder of Storyforge Productions, and we discussed the nuances of story telling. We looked at our society and how we are working to rectify our long history with marginalizing females – specifically in the comic industry. We also looked at the basic construction of worlds and characters and how those construction create compelling reasons that keep us reading.

Reflecting on the talk I am reminded that complications are what keep us interested in the world around us. As comic artists we create fiction where our character confront and battle those contradictions. Theoretically that gives us the inspiration to fight our own demons. That’s what the #ComicFuel show is all about right? For us to join together to turn away from just consuming art and to bring us into the battle – the battle to create art.

So get out your pens and papers. Sit down. Join us as Rachel and I provide the fuel you are going to need for the coming battle.

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Comic Road 2: Scripting Time!

I’m not going to lie. Scripting is my jam. I’m a writing kinda guy, so excuse me if I get a little resource happy here. But there’s so much stuff to learn about scripts that just giving you guys only a couple of resources might break my heart. So we’ll start at square one.

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Making Comics Gutter Talk Episode 100 – Cristian Roux

One of the great things about attending comic conventions of all sizes is meeting people from all over. Because of its sheer size and international draw, it’s actually pretty hard to not meet someone new from far off places while at San Diego Comic Con. At least far off from where you are. If you want to get all Inception on the topic, you are far off to those people you find far off. But we digress.

In this Making Comics Gutter Talk episode, Adam is joined by Australian artist and creator Cristian Roux, whom he met while peddling a book of poetry at easily one of the largest comic conventions in the world. Cristian was drawn to the table by the amazing work of Ted Washington and began conversations with both Ted and Adam, both of which were equally impressed with Cristian’s work. By the time Cristian left the table, Ted pretty much made up his mind that he was taking Puna Press to Australia for their comic and zine conventions and Adam made up his mind to ensure Cristian was added to the long list of stellar guests on the Gutter Talk podcast.

We also would be remiss in pointing out this episode is our 100th episode. From the bottom of our ink-filled hearts, we want to thank not only the talented guests we’ve had on the podcast and panels over the last two-plus years but we also want to thank you, the listener. Whether you’ve been with us since the beginning or this is your very first Gutter Talk episode, thank you for being a part of this creative endeavor. We do this for you. The website, the podcast, the Daily Challenge, all of it. A world without art and the knowledge it takes to create art is not a world any of the Making Comics Worldwide staff wants to be a part of. This is why educating the masses is so darn important to us. Thank you for being a part of our world.

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MakingsComics.com Gutter Talk 99: Comic Fuel Episode 4

“…it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.” 

Rocky Balboa’s inspirational speech to his son in the 2006 installment into the Rocky franchise is definitely the inspiration for this show. There’re a lot of projects I work on right. Art, design, and educational experiences I am currently slaving away over. I spend a lot of time, and incur a good deal of mental anguish, trying to figure out what the “right” thing to do is as a day job. When Rocky talks about taking hits, in my context that is all about my own personal demons regarding my design process. My own shadow/devil on my shoulder telling me I’m wasting my time.

Last month, I’ll be honest, I almost considered #ComicFuel a waste of my time. Three episodes in and I was ready to give up.

I almost didn’t finish episode 3. Even during the process of doing it, I didn’t want to finish it. I did finish, barely, and then I swore to myself that I wasn’t going to do another episode the same way again (if I did another episode). So I called Adam and asked him to record a quick episode where we powered through a ton of questions. It turned into a longer episode.

As I sat down with Adam Greenfield this week to record the fourth episode of #ComicFuel I was reminded why I do this. Sure, this episode is WAY too long ( cough-2hoursand14minutes-cough ), but who cares? I got to sit down with my friend and answer some student questions and talk about how to practice art. In my ideal retirement scenario I would spend every day doing this.

I was reminded that MakingComics.com is the purely “good” thing that I have in my life. For me this is the one sacred space in this whole universe where everything we do is just good. We aren’t always active, or on time with our products, and they aren’t always produced with the kind of quality I’d like – but at their core they are good. We’ve made decision after decision to not turn this into a project that will go anywhere (i.e we are staying here for good). It isn’t a startup business – it is a public service. That is what makes it “good”. It hasn’t been tainted by the threats of being economically unviable – because it isn’t.

I thought I was done after my 2 hour session with Adam. Then…

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Making Comics Gutter Talk Episode 98 – Gerhard Ka’aihue

Always remember: You are unique… just like everyone else. Ok, but seriously. There really is something to be said about originality, and Adam and his terrific guest, Gerhard Ka’aihue, have a lot to say about being original in this Making Comics Gutter Talk episode. Sure, fan art is great, and even better when its purpose is to help you, the artist, hone in on your skills and voice. Still, should that be marketed as your own? Is it your intellectual property to do what you wish with it? To Gerhard, it can be a very fine line to walk.

Yet when it comes to Gerhard’s work, it’s all original, all the time. From his recent comic “Stella Noir” to his graphic illustrations that are eye-popping and brilliantly composed, Gerhard walks his own line between stunning art and simply being productive for productive sake. And isn’t that what being an artist is about? The ABC of art? Yes, always be creating. Sure, he may have a day job and family responsibilities but Gerhard is quite satisfied with that arrangement. In fact, it’s what he wants. His job as a marketing director still taps into that creative part of the brain so the juices are constantly on flow.

And while you’re listening to this stellar Gutter Talk episode, feel free to take a break from your own work and head over to our Patreon page and support us. But not if you’re driving. Please, if you are behind the wheel at the moment, keep your eyes on the road. Heck, if you’re driving, why are you even reading this?!

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MakingComics.com Gutter Talk 97: Comic Fuel Episode 3

There is not a place we can turn where current events are not effecting our every day lives. I feel incredibly honored to unveil the first episode of comic fuel to feature Ulises Fariñas and Lucy Bellwood as cohosts. Ulises and I jump right into the questions and geek out on what is important to think about when inking – both digital and traditional. We then go into great depth discussing “style” and how it is actually an incidental occurrence in your art as opposed to a measured goal. Lucy hops in during question three to talk about how to think about drawing background art in your panels.

Ulises and I cap the entire episode off with a very important discussion regarding how race and equity is reflected in the comic industry. In fact, in writing the show notes for that segment, I was delighted to find several amazing articles that dealt specifically with how the comic industry is connecting to these important topics.

This episode also includes some amazing borrow audio clips from Jason Brubaker, Ven. Robina Courtin, and art educator John Spencer. Such an amazing third episode. Easily the hardest I’ve worked on yet. Hopefully I can keep it up!

Jump times to go to different parts of the podcast:

  • (00:00) Show Opener
  • (00:43) Introduction to Show
  • (10:10) #ComicFuel Break #1: Not A Delicious Chocolate Cake” by Ven. Robina Courtin
  • (12:40) Question 1: Inking
  • (24:40) #ComicFuel Break #2: “Growing A Tree” by Jason Brubaker
  • (28:17) Question 2 & 3 Style
  • (51:46) Patreon Ad
  • (52:12) Questions 4: Backgrounds
  • (54:58) #ComicFuel Break #3: “Can’t Live Without Art” by John Spencer
  • (1:00:00) Show Closing – Race & Equity in the Comics Industry
  • (01:23:00) How can you, yes you, contribute to the comic fuel cause?
  • (01:26:00) Show Outro

Questions answered in this episode

(jump-to specific question times listed below)

  • Josh: What are some good resources to improve your digital inking? I feel like I know the basics, so beginner books aren’t really teaching me anything new. I’m completely self taught, and would love to learn some subtly with my inks.
  • Maya: How do comic artists deal with improvements in their style while making a comic book? Should a comic artist keep a consistent style? If so, how much should one practice style before starting to make comics?
  • Michael, Poland: What are the elements of style of particular artists if I want to use their style in my own work? I usually think of such elements as: the coloring method used (with computer or water colors), shading, …. but what is it that distinguishes the one from the other? There are general groups of artists (e.g. European, Asian, …) who have similar style – how come they can be grouped – what is the key?
  • Jasmine: How often would you focus on comic backgrounds? Are details like that important?

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MakingComics.com Gutter Talk 96: Comic Fuel Episode 2

Holy MOLY, what a whirlwind of amazingness it has been in the time between the release of episode 1 of Comic Fuel and Episode 2! We have had a thousand people download and listen to the episode and I have enough questions that I have to wait for another four episodes before I can put out another call for questions. Wow.

In this episode, episode 2, we’ll discuss project management, the comic creation process, coloring comics, penciling comics, and hosting comics online. The questions came from places like Ireland, India, Brazil, California, and Indiana. For legit #comicfuel we’ll hear about why we do art from Stephen McCranie, transitioning into fame and what is at the core of what artistry is really about from “How I Met Your Mother” actor Josh Radnor, and we’ll also hear about the art of really listening by famed audio producer Chris Watson.

Questions answered in this episode (jump-to specific question times listed below)

  • How many pages should a comic issue be to be printed?
  • How long would it take to make a comic by yourself; scripting, storyboarding, art and lettering; and self publish it?
  • How do you keep up momentum on making comics?
  • How long does it take for a comic book artist to make a comic book?
  • What is the step-by-step process I should go through to choose colors that will look good?
  • What kind of colors can i use?
  • Am I just not being patient enough with myself, or am I trying to fit too much, too zoomed out, into one panel?
  • What websites are best for starting to post a webcomic?

Another big announcement is that I spent a lot of time this month creating the Comic Fuel Podcast Wiki (http://comicfuel.wikidot.com/) which will serve as a repository for all questions, notes, and links that are mentioned in the show. Check it out. It took me FOREVER to make, but I’m really proud of it.

The show notes for Episode 2 are at: http://comicfuel.wikidot.com/wiki:episode-2

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Gutter Talk 95 Presents: Comic Fuel Episode 1

I was staring angrily at my computer screen. My final in my advanced composition class was due, and I was hours later in the process than I thought I would be at the time. My phone rang. On the other end was the excited voice of my younger sister who had just graduated from high school and was making her way slowly through her freshman year. I was starting my second year as a graphic design major and was struggling to take care of myself.

“Patrick! You’ll never guess what I discovered today!” I was annoyed at the sound of her voice. Mostly I was agitated at being behind on my assignment and was only thinking about how quickly I could get off of the phone with her.

“Yeah, what exactly did you discover?” I grumbled into my bulky Nokia cell phone (it was 2004).

“I’m an artist! I just took an elective art class and I absolutely loved it! I’m an artist like you!” I choked at the sound of this. How could she think that she was an artist after taking just one class? I had been trying to become an artist since I was ten and here was my 19 year old sister claiming that she was an artist after only one day.

“Well, that’s great sis. You know though, you aren’t a real artist.”

“W-what…?”

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