Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login

Hey all!

 

I should have written something sooner regarding the Murphy Apprenticeship (where I took 5 students into my house in Maine and taught them comics for 2 weeks). Mostly I think I wanted to let the experience settle in before saying much about it. And now that I've had a few weeks back to my real life in NYC, I think I'm ready to post.

 

For photos and a student's perspective on the Murphy Apprenticeship, check out Tana Ford's page:

duckacomic.blogspot.com/2014/0…


Here are the names of the students for the 2014 winter session (along with their Twitter):

 

Tana Ford duckacomic.blogspot.com/

Corin Howell rinpin.tumblr.com/

Jorge Coelho brandnewnostalgia.com/Jorge_Co…

Clay McCormack digboston.com/tag/dead-meat-cl…

Stephen Green stephengreencomics.tumblr.com/

 

I caught a lucky break for this first session: 5 talented students who were already at publishing levels. Clay and Stephen I'd met before, and knew they'd be considerate house guests who were motivated to complete the work I gave them. Corin I'd met briefly at NYCC--I respected that she sought me out via my autograph line to say hello. Jorge was already a working pro for Boom! Studios, so that was a no-brainer. And lastly there was Tana, who's enthusiasm was obvious even over Skype.

But the biggest part of the Apprenticeship was my wife, Colleen Katana. Not only did she cook for us and run errands while I taught, she also gave up her husband for two weeks while I focused on giving everything to the students.  

We spent a lot of time together. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, trips to Walmart, pub crawling, watching movies, learning from our guests (Klaus Janson, Fiona Staples, Becky Cloonan and Scott Snyder), and not to mention drawing Cafe Racer pages for 14 hours a day, 6 days a week. I kept waiting for a blowout to happen, but it never did.

 

Well, there were a few heated discussions about GMOs, religion and women's rights, but we settled like adults. :)

It was exhausting, but completely fulfilling. I'd start each day with a lesson, stuff ranging from perspective tips to how to manage taxes. At one point I was able to help a student negotiate a higher page rate on a gig they were offered--the extra money they'll make MORE than pays for the cost of the Apprenticeship.

I'm not a very patient person, and to be frank, I never had any desire to teach professionally. But I do have the gene in me, otherwise I'd never write those long journals where I get teaching off my chest. I'll do it a handful of times per year as an invited guest, and I've had vague offers to teach at a few different colleges, but it never take time away from comics. The most I ever learned about art was from apprentice type relationships, not from overpriced colleges. So I always knew that if I DID ever teach, it would have to be on my own terms with a selected group of hand-selected students who would absorb the information fully (rather than teaching 30 college students, 80% of whom don't have the chops). And that's what the house in Maine allowed me.

 

As much as the students got out of it, I got more from them. My wife and I can't have children, so doing this was a chance to fill that need to give back and imprint on other human beings, even if most of them were my age. Having 5 people live with you in an intensive environment with lack of sleep is a great way to start a cult, so I was careful to separate fact from opinion. I was happy to have students challenge me, which they did. I also tried to be clear that my path wasn't the only path--each student would have a unique career, and part of that would mean ignoring some of my advice. Which was fine.

 

Watching them leave was hard. Each time one left, another drawing table was cleared off in the studio, which made me sad. And when it was over, I realized the chances of us all ever being in the same room together again was zero.

The final artwork of Cafe Racer is all turned in, and we're working on getting the book out very soon (as soon as I'm done my set of 10 pages). As far as the Kickstarter deadline and getting copies of Cafe Racer, we're going to be a little late because of my Wake schedule--which is completely on ME and not on any of the students. It'll be out when summer begins, and rest assured I'll post another journal when copies are available for purchase.

Sean



Add a Comment:
 
:iconjeebsdesigns:
JeebsDesigns Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2015
Is there an age limit?
Is it a requirment to have art college experience?
Reply
:iconmegamanx95:
Megamanx95 Featured By Owner May 20, 2014
I hope I can get in Next Yeaarrrrrrrr daaaaammmmmmm
Reply
:iconempayacomics:
EMPAYAcomics Featured By Owner May 19, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Even just reading about this is so amazing :) Looking forward to the final book and new journals, inspired by this experience. Thank you for giving back to community.
Reply
:icondreamerwstcoast:
Dreamerwstcoast Featured By Owner May 11, 2014   Traditional Artist
SMG: The First Class
Reply
:iconartistjerrybennett:
artistjerrybennett Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2014  Professional General Artist
That seemed like a very cool experience, and was glad to hear it went well for all of you. Congratulations.
Reply
:iconmoray-eel:
moray-eel Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2014
I commend you - it's a very admirable thing you have done and I wish that there were more artists willing to  give back to the next generation (or this current generation) of comic book artists.
Reply
:icondevmalya:
DEVMALYA Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
That sounds like such a great experience. Ill definitely be applying again next time.. I have been following the progress of the apprenticeship all through, but this is the first time I have seen your perspective on it. Thanks for creating such an amazing oppurtunity for artists to learn and grow in such a short time. Absolutely agree with you on the selected students who absorb most of what you teach them,  rather than filled classrooms where most dont know how to make it. Do keep us fans updated on the next apprenticeship, cause if I was sold on it before, im even solder now :P
Reply
:iconoagarciacruz:
oagarciacruz Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2014  Hobbyist
Amazing, thanks for sharing.
Reply
:iconjohnchalos:
johnchalos Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2014  Professional General Artist
Awesome. Hey, that stuff about taxes would make an informative blog post, eh?
Reply
:iconstephen-green:
Stephen-Green Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2014
READERS: you should DEFINITELY apply. Sean has a real gift for teaching, and he's a really great dude. I learned so much stuff from him, I didn't even mind that he cheats at Street Fighter. I'm so grateful I got to be a part of this beautiful book. One of the best times I ever had. 
Reply
:iconseangordonmurphy:
seangordonmurphy Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2014
Dude, I didn't know Petevaldez was you?!
Reply
:iconrinpin:
RINPIN Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2014  Student Digital Artist
You should pay attention to the man behind the curtain :P lol
Reply
:iconstephen-green:
Stephen-Green Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2014
Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain...
Reply
:icongangsterart:
gangsterart Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2014
I could just look at the photos.google translate does not work well.continue to live!
Reply
:iconolgaulanova:
OlgaUlanova Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2014
I am tickled pink, Sean! So glad to hear it went amazingly well, and was a rewarding experience for everyone involved. I sure hope this becomes a yearly thing, and catches on with the other creators as well. There's not much I miss about the middle ages, but the apprenticeship system is definitely something that could (should?) be re-integrated into our times. 

Congrats to all of you!! 
Reply
:iconseangordonmurphy:
seangordonmurphy Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2014
Thanks Olga! Long time no see.
Reply
:iconolgaulanova:
OlgaUlanova Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2014
Yeah dude! I've been busy leveling up in animation, learning me some storytelling basics. And being inspired from afar by everything you're doing. Cause yer doing it right. :D
If you're ever on the west coast again (and somewhere less crazy than SDCC), I'd really love to meet up and buy you a drink. 
Reply
:iconseangordonmurphy:
seangordonmurphy Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2014
Glad to hear you're doing well and staying busy. Thanks for the kind words! I'll be out there for a friend's wedding in January.
Reply
:iconolgaulanova:
OlgaUlanova Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2014
Sa-weeet. If you're up for (even more) socialization after a wedding, please let me know! :D 
Reply
:iconvoirdire99:
voirdire99 Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2014  Professional General Artist
I'll definitely be re-applying next year. Sounds like this was as awesome an experience as anyone could have hoped for! Really glad to hear your 'experiment' worked out so well and achieved everyone's goals!

Will you be trying it with more students next time? Anything major you plan to do differently?

Congrats again to everyone and really looking forward to seeing everyone's hard work on Cafe Racer!
Reply
:iconseangordonmurphy:
seangordonmurphy Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2014
Thanks! We only have room for 5 at my house, so I'm gonna stay with that number. I'd make a few tweaks (less time for doing layouts and more time actually DRAWING next time). But mostly, it'll be the same but with a different title on the book.
Reply
:iconvoirdire99:
voirdire99 Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2014  Professional General Artist
Guess I'm used to the Army thing, where they shove as many Soldiers into a room as possible and then then blame it on them if it doesn't work out!

Sounds like your plan was strong enough going in that you don't have to change much for the next rotation -- and that is damn good planning, if I do say so myself. Looking forward to submitting again next year!
Reply
:iconblackmeout:
blackmeout Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2014
I love how your wife is named after a sword
Reply
:iconplaidklaus:
plaidklaus Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2014
Wow! I love your perspective on teaching, education and hard work.  Watching your twitter feed during the apprenticeship was really fun, and it gave me that buzz one feels from wanting to learn!

I just wanted to let you know, I really respect how you're being selective and small scale, the model in which you're using is perfect.

I'll be keeping an eye out for your next possible apprenticeship.  I'm a working illustrator, self-taught, learned the ropes by any means necessary, but have so much to learn specifically about the comic book world.

In any case, keep this up, you're doing a great thing, and best luck with future programs! (congrats on Cafe Racer!)
Reply
:iconseangordonmurphy:
seangordonmurphy Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2014
Thanks! I'll announced when we're taking submissions again in 2015. :)
Reply
:iconplaidklaus:
plaidklaus Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2014
Great! I'll keep my eye on it.
Reply
:iconjt-ford:
jt-ford Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
*sniffle* ... *sob* ... I miss you guys SO MUCH! But I am very glad I was able to impart the value of the Bota Box brand of fine, fiiiine boxed wine. 
Reply
:iconseangordonmurphy:
seangordonmurphy Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2014
YOU'RE jt ford? I had no idea I'd seen you here all these years.
Reply
:iconjt-ford:
jt-ford Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Here I AM! 
Reply
:iconseangordonmurphy:
seangordonmurphy Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2014
Great complexion!
Reply
:iconjcoelho:
JCoelho Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2014  Professional
I'm following this great complexion person!
Reply
:iconcaptaindeathbat:
CaptainDeathbat Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2014  Student General Artist
awesoooooooooooooooooome!!!!!
Can't wait to see how Cafe Racer turns out!
Reply
:iconginmau:
ginmau Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2014  Professional Interface Designer
Good on you Sean. I followed the internship through Jorge and other than being a little jealous of course, I thought it was really a great idea and hopefully more artists will try some crazy alternatives to traditional education methods/internships!

Let me know if you ever have an itch for a colorist internship ;) hehe
Reply
:icongeorgeliquor:
GeorgeLiquor Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
I'm really glad it worked out, you picked some really talented folks, looking forward to the book and whatever they all may do next.
Reply
:iconrodavlasalvador:
rodavlasalvador Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2014  Professional General Artist
I hope to be a part of your apprenticeship in the future, I admire your work inmensely. Best.
Reply
:iconultraxsoul:
UltraxSoul Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
This is just such a cool idea. Id love to work and learn alongside such professional in-industry artists!
Reply
:iconrichardpace:
RichardPace Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2014  Professional General Artist
I'm very happy to hear this went well and it's continuing.  

Looking forward to seeing all the results of this session and what goes forward.

~R
Reply
:iconfilthyrich:
filthyrich Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2014
What an ambitious undertaking. I remember reading about this in one of you old journal entries and wanting to be apart of it but I was stuck in a fulltime marketing position with no possibility of taking two weeks off. After being at that job for 6+ years I ended up quitting due to pnuemonia and now I'm in the process of trying to do art full time. If you ever due a thing in new york please let me know.
Keep up the great work!
Reply
:iconsaltodemata:
Saltodemata Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Great! Can't wait for the next chance! :)
Reply
:iconroman-stevens:
Roman-Stevens Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2014  Student General Artist
Sounds like a great experience!
Reply
:icondfridolfs:
dfridolfs Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2014
Hokey sounding, but I'm proud of ya man. You're giving back. Making a better industry with the rising talent, which we'll all benefit from in the coming years. Really looking forward to the completed book!
Reply
:iconseangordonmurphy:
seangordonmurphy Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2014
Thanks! Not hokey at all. :)
Reply
:iconninjakitsune:
ninjakitsune Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2014
Fantastic write up. I'm applying for the next one :batman:
Reply
:iconpaulreinwand:
PaulReinwand Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Super cool Sean, super-darned cool.
Reply
:iconmrblackcap:
MrBlackCap Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2014  Professional General Artist
Loved reading this, man. Sounds like some intense, wonderful memories. 
Reply
:iconwalter-ostlie:
Walter-Ostlie Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You're a champ for sure!
Reply
:iconteshawndwyer:
teshawndwyer Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2014
That's wicked. Sounds like a amazing experience. If you do end up doing it again i'm definitely applying again. 
Reply
:iconseangordonmurphy:
seangordonmurphy Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2014
Good news! I'll be doing it again in 2015. And it'll be better because I'd have ironed out the kinks.
Reply
:iconteshawndwyer:
teshawndwyer Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2014
Sweet i'll be sharpening my skills until then. Haha. 
Reply
:iconkylesams86:
KyleSams86 Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2014
Thanks for sharing, Sean. If you choose to this again, there is no way I'm missing it (unless of course, you thought I was dick) I've been fortunate enough to be an apprentice already (under Nat Jones) and having done the over priced college thing, I definitely agree with the apprenticeship being more beneficial. I compare it to laying your sword down in front of a master Samurai and humbly asking for their teachings. 

It's incredibly rare, so thanks for putting it out there for eager artists looking to get educated. 

Good Luck
Reply
Add a Comment:
 
×

:iconseangordonmurphy: More from seangordonmurphy


Featured in Collections

journals n notes n debates by ADE-doodles

Process, Tutorials, Stock and Journals by RobWake


More from DeviantArt



Details

Submitted on
April 10, 2014
Link
Thumb

Stats

Views
18,944 (5 today)
Favourites
17 (who?)
Comments
58
×