Tag Archives: art

14Jun/22

How Do I Get Better At Making Comics?

How Do I Get Better At Making Comics?

Hi there Silverline Fam!

Last week we talked about what the craft of comics is (link). In the end, I teased about how you get better at the art of making comics. This week is going to be a bit more in-depth about how you get better at making comics. I’ll try to make this comprehensive but without going overboard. Don’t want to be dozing off or crossing your eyes halfway through. We’ll go over both free and paid routes to improve your craft.


Is There A School For Comics?

Almost surprisingly, the answer is yes! There are colleges and universities specifically for comic books are the different art forms used to make them. As far as attending an art university that specifically has degree programs or a course path for comics, some things need to be considered.

Art Schools and Speciality Schools are typically more expensive than a traditional universities.
They may also not have the same accreditation.
The degree they offer will be hyper-specific to comics or that art form.

That’s not to say that they don’t offer good information or that they won’t set you up for a career in comics. It just means you may need to be more conscious about managing your finances and student loans. You will also need to figure out how to leverage that knowledge for your day job. Starting full-time in comics happens to almost no one, so you will need to see how you can apply those skills to a different day job in the meantime. I know a lot of comic creators who work in marketing, copywriting, graphic design, education, or eSales because there is some carryover in the skill sets.

That all being said, you will probably receive the most focused education on comics available. It is likely that your instructors will have years of experience working in comics or may still be working in comics. If your educators are good, you will be receiving all the best wisdom and guidance their experience has taught them. They will also serve as professional connections that could get your work. Working comic creators and publishers are also aware of these schools and will sometimes recruit from them.


Can I Learn Comics At A State Or Community College?

If the cost of specialty is too prohibitive or there just isn’t any in your area, you can learn how to make comics through another school. If you’re pretty sure that college is the path for you, but not a specialty school, you can still take a major that sets you up for working in comics or even take electives that will improve your art or writing.

Degree programs in creative writing, English, or art are pretty common. A state or community college will likely offer one or all of these programs in your area. Some colleges do also offer Art for Comic Books as an elective the community college in my home city does.

While these programs may not be specifically tuned for making comics, the basic tenets of good writing and good art still apply. The adjustments you would need to make as a creator will either be to tune your dialogue for comics or to get used to creating sequential art.


Are There Online Courses For Comics?

Absolutely! There are plenty of online courses for those looking to pay for some sort of education but don’t want to begin a new college career. These courses can usually be completed in several weeks, and do in-depth on illustrating or writing for comic books. This means that the knowledge you pick up here will directly apply to comics without much adjusting. There are also courses for just writing or art if you are looking for a broader field of study that is still applicable. Some great courses exist out there and can be found at:

Lynda through LinkedIn
Masterclass.com (I recommend Neil Gaimen’s course)
Skillshare.com
udemy.com



How Do I Learn To Make Comics For Free?

If the money is something that is not feasible for you, or you just prefer self-study, there are free alternatives.

The first option is the most important method of improvement for anyone regardless of education. That is PRACTICE. You get better by doing. That’s a universal truth. You develop a taste by reading comics, and by creating comics you bring yourself more in line with your taste. You will never truly be as good as your taste, but you never get closer without practice. Of course, that also means you can’t get discouraged with your practice.

The second thing to look at is free resources online. Hey, that’s us (link). Free articles from professionals in the industry are a great way to ingest the knowledge they have to offer. These resources are typically more common among writers, but artists may have similar articles on their websites or deviant art page. Sometimes these are more general FAQs but they could also be a step-by-step “how do you do this?” type subject. Another type of free resource is Youtube videos. A lot of artists and letterers have free videos or series that go into the process of what they do or how to use a particular piece of software. If you are a visual learner and want to see how an artist does their type of illustration, this is a great path to go down.

 

Are There People To Help Me Make Comics?

In more ways than you probably think! A lot of comic artists or writers typically don’t take on mentees, but some do. You can also look to your peers. Once you start making comics, you can also lean on your editor and the rest of your team.

Sometimes comic pros will have a public email that they receive questions at. These are usually listed in their Instagram or Twitter bio, or on their website. They may not be looking to become your full-time mentor, but they may be more than willing to spend a couple of hours answering your questions on craft or practice. Just remember to be kind and respectful.

If you have peers in your area, or online that also write or create art, they can also be a resource. Practice is best paired with FEEDBACK. This could be a writing group, art collective, a constructive criticism messaging group or subreddit, etc. Make sure these are people you trust to help you elevate your work. Also, make sure you’re honest with yourself and know that you can take feedback without getting defensive. Be aware that sometimes you will receive bad feedback that you need to disregard. If you can do all that and can follow feedback earnestly, you will find your work might sometimes exceed your taste.

Lastly, is your editor. This relationship is something that will go into more depth later, as it is a more advanced subject. Once your craft is already at a point where you are getting comics work, you will likely be working with a project manager. If not in the title, at least someone that fills that role. This is the person who will help elevate your craft on this particular project. All the advice I gave earlier, applies doubly so to this particular dynamic.


I hope that all helps you find a path to help you get better at making comics. Whether through school, self-study or working with others, there are plenty of ways to learn how you can improve.


Who Are Silverline Comics

A bunch of nerds trying to give you some dope reads and take you on fun adventures through comics. If you want to catch up on what we have going on, follow our socials. If you want to hang out with us, check out our live shows on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Sunday.

Make Mine Silverline!

08Feb/22

Content Spotlight: Silverline’s Getting a Facelift

Hey there Silverline Fam!

It’s a new year, new me kind of vibe over at the Silverline Youtube. We’re breaking up wax, hitting the tanning salon, and getting lean for hot-nerd summer. Well, we may not all be going that extreme. But we are getting a major facelift to our podcast videos.

As you probably know by now, every single Tuesday, Wednesday, and Sunday, we livestream a podcast that gets saved as a VOD on our youtube. That way you can throw us up on your laptop at work, your smart tv after work, or annoy your spouse by watching us on your phone in bed. That last one may get you kicked out to the living room couch.

Under the direction of our CEO, BJ Mann, our videos have a new sense of confidence and a sleek new look for that summer bod. The content of each episode is now spending a bit more time in the training center before coming out and strutting its stuff. So that means each episode will have more hyperfocus, leaving some room for the same old fun asides. But that’ll give the host more time and space to really dig deep into the subject material and deliver to you some true nuggets of wisdom to chew on.

The second part of this facelift is the facelift. Each episode now has a beautiful thumbnail that is sure to appease the almighty algorithm. Or at least, give you the viewer a better idea of what’s going on, as well as build a stronger and more cohesive identity for Silverline. That way if you’re bored and staring at your recommended page, we’ll be easier to identify. Just look for the chiseled chin of Dean.

You can already see it in action!

Check out last week’s and this week’s episodes and get some of that sweet sweet beach-bod VOD taste for yourself.

01Feb/22

Craft : Jose Fuentes

Hey Silverline Fam,

Every Week I have the pleasure to hang out with Jose Fuentes on A Silverline Show on Tuesday. I figured it was about time I got down in the dirt with him and asked him about his craft as an inker. Jose is an all-around talented artist and comics professional, but he takes pride in his inks and has some of the best grit I’ve seen in a person. In this week’s issue of craft, we talk about his use of alternate inking techniques and the work ethic he brings to the page. I hope you all can find some bits of inspiration from the answers Jose gave. I certainly did!

TK: In some of our previous conversations you had talked about applying ink in not just traditional drawn lines, but by flicking or smearing some of the ink. Getting a sort of special effect on the panel. How often do you attempt to do that sort of application or do you have to balance more towards digital inking now?

JF: There are several techniques you can use to give the impression of texture in a flat/2d drawing. Smearing and flicking are just a couple options. I try to use different inking techniques to give that effect on every piece or page if it calls for it. You don’t want to “overwork” a page. You have to be mindful to not overwork the penciler’s work with ink. There is definitely a balance that you have to keep in mind. I try and do the same with any digital inks that I am working on. There are a lot of different digital brushes you can buy/download to help give you the same effects that I try and use traditionally

TK: As a follow-up, how much do you prefer working physically or digitally? What are some of the pros and cons of either?

JF: I prefer to ink traditionally. I like the feel of the crow quill on the paper and trying new techniques. I didn’t use to. I hated to have ink or pencil graphite on my hands, but I have learned to appreciate the process. I don’t get the same feeling from digital, but I have embraced the challenge of trying to achieve the same techniques digitally.

TK: You have also said that you haven’t worked that day if your hands don’t have ink on them. Obviously, that may not be the case if you’re working digitally that day, but do you think that same work ethic, that sense of “really getting into your work” applies?

JF: So the phrase was said to me by Jan Duursema. Then she taught us to [use] various techniques that I still used today. I took everything she taught me to heart and adapted the phrase as more of a motto for my life. Taking this motto into my digital work gives it a bit of a twist. No, I’m not physically getting dirty, but I used it to motivate me to try my best [and use] many digital tricks to make my digital inks look like physical inks

TK: Would you think that mindset is ingrained in you and you apply that to your craft or is that something that came out of specifically your comic craft?

JF: I feel that this developed through the course of my education. I was more laid back in my own personal training, mostly because I was working to take care of my family so I put my art on the warmer. Schooling was a huge eye-opener for me. I learned that I can actually work in comics. I knew I could draw but I never really had much confidence in my career as an artist. My wife is super supportive and has pushed me to reach for my dream job. And now I work on comics full time!

TK: One last thing, what are you currently working on and where can people follow you or see some of your work?

JF: I am currently working on digital inks for Silverline Comics Obsoletes book. Digital colors for a six-page story for Peter Clinton that will be in the Voyage: Melting Pot, and I have a digital coloring job for a book that has been put on the backburner. I’m also lined up to do traditional inks on a book for Jay Cornwell, a local artist in my area.