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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Making Comics Gutter Talk Episode 94 – How to Make a Comic Pt. 1

If you haven’t figured it out already, we here at Making Comics Worldwide love spreading knowledge to comic artists of all ages and levels. We enjoy it so much that recently we teamed up with Coursera and High Tech High to create a free (yes, free!) Massive Open Online Course (aka MOOC) about how to make comics. It is designed by our CEO Patrick Yurick to be a six week course to guide you through everything from scripting to thumbnailing to penciling and inking. To really push it over the top, we had discussions with amazing minds and talents in the comics industry, such as Mark Waid, Eric Shanower, and Caleb Cleveland.

In this Gutter Talk episode, we are releasing the audio from the first three weeks of the How to Make a Comic Book MOOC. The course itself is video based so when you sign up to take the course, you’ll be able to visually take in the knowledge. However, we thought it would be a great idea to publish the audio for you, the podcast listener, so you can also benefit from the information found in the course. We definitely urge you to take the course online because a lot can be gained from video tutorials, as well. Plus, the amount of love put in to this course by Patrick and others is inspiring to see as well as hear.

However, before we play those audio clips, Adam and Patrick sit down to discuss the cool things they have going on in their lives, from audio projects to moving to working at MIT in Boston. This is followed up with some of our awesome Patreon pledgelings (totally made up word) calling in to answer questions and be in the spotlight. These are just some of the cool Patreon perks and rewards of helping us at Making Comics continue to spread the good word on comics. And fair warning, things get a little silly sometimes, as is wont to do whenever Adam and Patrick get together.

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Making Comics Gutter Talk Episode 93 – Wondercon ’16 / GNP

Once again, the Making Comics crew invades Wondercon and this year’s raid was pretty epic. Ok, maybe epic is overstating things and perhaps overused but it sure as heck felt that way. Why did it feel that way? Because this year we not only had our standard Gutter Talk panel but we partnered up with high school students from the Graphic Novel Project at High Tech High in Chula Vista, CA, too. To put the proverbial cherry on top, we even had a table in a prime location on the floor.

If you’re not familiar with the Graphic Novel Project, it’s an after school student volunteer program that is designed to teach students the ins and outs of making a comic, from conceptualization to production to even the business side of marketing and selling the product. What made it really special was that the students got to participate in this year’s Gutter Talk panel. Imagine being a 15 year old student sitting up on stage at one of the more major comic conventions in the country and talking about yourself and the work you put into the project. Those opportunities don’t come along all that often and as you’ll hear in this episode, the students understand this.

In this Gutter Talk episode, Adam narrates the way through the various topics. On the panel along with the students is the Making Comics CEO and head elf, Patrick Yurick, his wife and our education guru, Kay Flewelling, and the student mentor and Making Comics editor-in-chief Kevin Cullen. We cover a wide range of topics from an artist’s diet to the transformation from a single comic into a collection of comics to how and why the group shrank from thirteen students to five. And no, it wasn’t because they ate the weak ones.

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Making Comics Gutter Talk Episode 92 – Glen Weldon

In society, the word “expert” is bandied about way too much. Rarely do you find the person it is referencing is actually an expert, someone with a comprehensive understanding and knowledge of a particular subject or skill. And, if humility is in play, that person wouldn’t call themselves an expert, either. Then there are nerds, or those that are highly focused on a particular subject or skill, and boy, do they seem to be everywhere. Most nerds would think they are experts but any expert would say they’re not.

In today’s Making Comics Gutter Talk episode, Adam is joined by one of the leading experts- uh, nerds- no, great minds in the field of writing about and analyzing comics, Glen Weldon. He has written several books about comics already, including “Superman: The Unauthorized Biography,” so we’re pretty sure he knows a thing or two about a thing or two. It also helps that he’s a weekly contributor to NPR’s Monkey See about all things comics and pop-culture.

A majority of the ground covered by Adam and Glen in this Gutter Talk episode has to do with Glen’s book that was recently published by Simon and Schuster called “The Caped Crusade: Batman and the Rise of Nerd Culture.” Topics included whether or not there actually is a singular Batman or if everyone’s Batman is the right Batman, as well as how nerd-dom has simply become part of the current culture, sports included. Who knew Adam was into sports cosplay?

As a side note, if you happen to be at Wondercon the weekend this episode drops, please be sure to check out the Making Comics Graphic Novel Project table at DL-56. To top it off, we have a panel on Saturday at 11am in room 515A. Don’t miss it! But if you do, no worries. The panel will be released as a podcast in April.

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Making Comics Gutter Talk Episode 91 – Graham Annable

We here at Making Comics take pride in the type of things we present to you, the artist and comic creator, from the articles to the tutorials to even our amazing Underdog community. The same goes for the guests we are lucky enough to get on the Gutter Talk podcast. Every guest we’ve had on the podcast and also the panels we’ve had at conventions has been a treat and an honor to have on the show. We really consider ourselves extremely lucky to be able to gain insight and knowledge on how they perform and perfect their craft. This Gutter Talk episode continues that rich tradition in a major way.

In today’s episode, Adam is joined by Graham Annable, the co-director of the Academy Award nominated movie, The Boxtrolls, as well as the amazing animator and artist behind Grickle. One of the more gracious guests we’ve had on the Gutter Talk podcast, the conversations were open windows into Graham’s thought processes as not just the great artist he is but also what it takes to be a director, even if a co-director, on a major stop-motion picture.

The topics ranged from the difficulties and processes of what it’s like to be an effects artist on such an intricate movie (18 months to do a sub-two minute ballroom dance scene?!) to finding the time to create the Grickle shorts while still maintaining a happy, healthy family. It’s not easy but it appears Graham has found his groove. And yet he still manages to find ways to challenge himself within the craft of creating extraordinary art.

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Making Comics Gutter Talk Episode 90 – Patrick Yurick

The ultimate goal of Making Comics Worldwide and our website is to provide an extensive educational resource for those that want to, simply put, make comics. These individuals range not just in age, from pre-teens to adults, but also in experience, from those who are just starting out to those that are looking to learn something new to help push their artistic process and ventures to new levels. We even have the testimonials to prove how useful and effective the articles on our site have been to artists.

Still, we strive to do more for the artistic community than just post articles online. It’s why we have the Underdog community and these Gutter Talk podcasts. Now we have, in conjunction with Coursera and also the High Tech High Graduate School of Education, a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) that is video based in nature. You can find that course by clicking here.

In this Gutter Talk episode, Adam sits down with the Making Comics Worldwide enigmatic, benevolent, and oft-times well-dressed leader to discuss the How To Make a Comics MOOC more in depth. In this talk Adam and Patrick give you an idea of how the course came about, the struggles and joys of putting the course together, and what we at Making Comics Worldwide hope you get out of it. In other words, when you’re big and famous for your art, remember the little people.

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