As promised, the basic cource curriculum for the San Gabriel Valley Comic Book Art Academy. I’ve been working on developing a proper course schedule for the school’s comic book art lessions and trying to figure out the best way to teach the fine art of comic book illustration to students. After months of research, below is the basic catalog list for the first year’s curriculum. If you’ve ever wondered about how to draw comic books, then the SGV Comic Book Art Academy is going to be the answer to your prayers.
We’re looking to start our first classes in late 2009/early 2010, but if you’d like more information then send me an email address with your name and email to: matnastos (at) gmail (dot) com.
Here is the curriculum!
Basic Drawing I: Unlike any other form of visual art, a comic book artist is required to draw anything and everything – from present day reality, to the distant past and far-flung future. Basic drawing ability is the foundation for which all other techniques are built from. In this class students will learn perspective, placing figures in a two-dimensional space, how to work with light and shadow, and more. Basic Drawing I is where great artists begin to develop the skills necessary to excel in the world of comic book illustration.
Life Drawing and Anatomy I: A core requirement for every comic book artist, figure drawing and extensive knowledge of human anatomy is the focus of this course. Students will be exposed to an in-depth study of constructive anatomy, and how to properly build a figure from basic shapes. In addition to anatomy, students will learn to understand how a figure moves in space. Students will draw from both nude and clothed models.
Visual Storytelling I: Students will be introduced to comic book storytelling. Over the course of the class, students will learn how to work from a comic book plot/script, how to tell a short story, how to break down a full-length comic, how to tell a story without the use of words. Classes will also focus on pacing, page design, as well as the rules of comic book storytelling and when/how/why to break them. By the end of the class, students will have a complete short comic book story for their portfolio.
Materials & Techniques I: The Materials & Techniques class focuses on the use of pen, brush and ink, as used by comic book illustrators to finish their work for publication. Student will learn the tools of the trade, ranging from crow quills, brushes, markers, pens and even the computer, and will learn techniques like ink wash, stipple, zip-a-tone, duoshade, cross-hatching and more. Students will work over professionally drawn comic book artwork, on their own penciled comic book pages (and those of their fellow students) and on pen and ink draws created specifically for the class.
Lettering (Hand and Computer)/ Digital Pre-press for Comics (two half courses):
Lettering: In this class, students will learn about one of the “hidden” arts of comic books: lettering. A good letterer can control the pacing, emotion and reader’s eyepath, all without ever being noticed by a comic book audience. Students will learn proper balloon placement, lettering and sound effects styles and how to make their words work in the service of the story they are telling, as well as how design and color can affect a reader. Emphasis is placed on skill-building and practical application. The course begins with hand lettering techniques and then moves on to modern, computer-based lettering methods.
Digital Pre-Press for Comics: In this class, students acquire a thorough and practical knowledge of all aspects of digital pre-press for comic book publication. Demonstrations of Adobe Illustrator, Pagemaker/InDesign, Photoshop and Acrobat are provided. In addition, students learn file preparation standards for production, including file formats, color palettes, and image resolution.
Color Theory/Basic Painting: This class teaches how to organize and link colors on a palette, the concepts of complimentary colors, and the properties of hue, saturation, contrast and. The manipulation of spatial effect and color issues of compositional design are explored while reinforcing drawing skills necessary to build effective representational images. The methods and mechanics of acrylic painting are covered in depth, as are gauche, watercolors, markers and pastels.
Writing for Comics I: In this class students will explore the other side of comic books: writing and story development. Students will take their own concepts and narrative ideas and develop them into full comic book scripts. They will learn proper storytelling structure, what a “three act play” is, proper script and plot formatting, how to think visually and design a story with their artist in mind, how to write captions, dialogues and more. They will also focus on the relationship of image and text in comic book storytelling.
Humor/Caricature Art I: This course examines and explores the art of humorous cartooning. Students will create and develop their own single- and multi-panel comic strips, as well as editorial and political cartoons. Throughout this class, students will be exposed to using comedy to tell a story and to control the emotional reaction of their audience. Students will also learn caricature and its uses in humor cartooning.
Layout & Design I: In this course, students will take on basic layout projects to help develop their layout and design skills. They will learn the foundations of page design, explore the creative use of lines, shapes and colors in layout, and learn how to create an underlying structure to each page. The skills developed in this class are fundamental in every other form of visual and graphic art, from illustration, web design, animation, desktop publish and, yes, comic book illustration.
Digital Coloring for Comics I: This class offers students hands on training in modern day computer coloring for comic books. During this 16 week course, students will learn all aspects of digital coloring: from scanning artwork, preparing files for color, to designing a page, using color as a storytelling tool, “flatting” a page, color separation and how to digitally “paint” a comic book page on the computer. Basic familiarity with Adobe Photoshop and/or Painter is strongly recommended.
That’s it for today! Until next time, it’s back to the drawing board for me!