I'm thinking about taking on some students for a two week "boot camp" course in comics--based off the classic master/apprentice style of education. But before I move forward with the idea (and begin Kickstarting), I wanted to get your feedback and see if anyone is interested in enrolling this winter. Please pass this along (Twitter/facebook) to anyone you think might be interested.
I bought a house in Portland, Maine this past weekend. It's a 5 bedroom, 4 bathroom Victorian house that's been newly renovated. The top floor is finished and will become the drawing studio for 5 students. The idea is to furnish the building with tables, chairs, couches, beds, a TV, a library, a photo studio (for taking reference images) and all the other amenities that would create the school.
After selecting the 5 students (I'll take submissions that will be juried later on), we'll all meet in Portland this winter for the two week apprenticeship. The students will live in the house with my wife and me, have their own rooms, their own desk, and will work on the project for 14 days.
I'm going to write an anthology that the students and I will publish after the apprenticeship is over. For the two weeks, I'll be walking the students through the entire comic book process: character designs, storytelling, layouts, perspective, how to draw tech, penciling, inking, etc. We'll be helping each other with critique sessions, group brainstorming, and taking photo references. Not only will we be drawing together, we'll also have discussion about the business side of comics: contracts, negotiating, branding, and other tricks on how to successfully manage a career.
Not only will the published anthology be used to fulfill Kickstarter incentives, the students will also be able to sell the anthology themselves at future conventions to help recoup some of the cost of the course!
I'll be contributing 10 pages of finished art, while each student will be expected to create 5 by the end of the course. Each student will have his/her own story for the 5 pages, as well as a short bio that will help them stand out to publishers.
I don't know exactly what the cost would be, but I'm thinking about charging $2000 per student, with perhaps offering a one time discount for the first session. Travel costs to Maine would NOT be covered, nor would food costs. However, I could see us as all chipping in a few bucks and cooking meals together as well. The students would be responsible for bringing their own materials.
IS IT WORTH $2000
While I'm not yet accredited to give college credit, this is something we are currently researching to see if there's a way to get the program approved with certain schools. While I can't at this time guarantee college credit, what I can guarantee is a two week crash session that will not only be informative, but also a hell of a lot of fun. As we all know, who you know is just as important as what you know. Not only will the lessons be filled with information, but the relationships you will build with our guest speakers, other interns and myself will be invaluable.
While 2k is a lot of money, you will be getting a lot for it. We will provide you a room in beautiful downtown Portland (it's an amazing city), lessons about every aspect of being a professional in this industry, constructive critiques, at least one guest speaker (likely two) and at the end you'll be published in an anthology with me (that you can sell). Also, I'll give each student character equity in whatever they create (this means you'll own a piece of what you've created, in case a movie should ever come out of it).
People are bugging me ALL THE TIME for a sketchbook and I've never done one. If I put out an anthology with sketches, it'll sell. And anyone buying it to see my art will be seeing your art as well. Editors and publishers included.
It'll be a lot of work, but a lot of fun. The house is a ten minute walk to Historical Portland--a cool fishing town with great seafood and pubs. I have a car and will be happy to take the students to the beach, the arcade or the grocery store if they need. Also, I'll be hooking up my old NES and Atari so we can all talk shop after hours and hang out at night.
WHOM IS THIS FOR?
I'm guessing I'll get mostly college students: either ones on break or ones that have recently graduated. But this course might also be helpful for the artist who's been published once or twice and is having a hard time getting to the next step. I'm happy to take international people as well--keep in mind that travel costs are on you. And I'm looking for people at least 21 years old.
So that's the plan! Let me know what you think, but also let me know if it's something you'd be interested in attending. If I get enough buzz with this, I'll begin taking submissions!