Online Courses

Why you should try them

 

Although books can be a great guide on your artistic journey, nothing can beat having an actual teacher in flesh and bones, who can guide you step by step and answer on the spot further questions you might have. One of the best things of having a teacher is the fact that they will notice your mistakes early on and will help you fix them before these mistakes become a habit.

Another reason you should consider enrolling in an online course is because, in contrast to the tutorial books that can vary in all types of information and can be targeted at people of all levels, the online courses are always targeted towards specific people (whether beginners or experts) and the information presented within them is always in an orderly manner and moving one step at a time. Having a teacher who has studied this art, can put you on the right path and teach you the basic structure before you get into the details; the same way you can't have a human without a skeletal structure, it would be pointless to study how the skin wrinkles and how to draw the mouth before you learn the muscles on which said skin supports itself.

 

So, if the books can't satisfy your thirst for learning, or if you wish another helping hand to explain things a little better for you, here are some online courses I suggest for bettering the art of making comics.

Animation

Course Details - taken from LinkedIn.com:
The 12 principles of animation underlie everything animators do, from making movies to video games. These principles are the same regardless of the software you use - 2D or 3D, open source or advanced suite. In this course, award-winning animator David Andrade takes traditional student assignments (a bouncing ball and a lowly flour sack) and translates them into digital animations that illustrate each of these principles in detail. He uses Maya and Blender, but the focus in not on software mastery; it's about the techniques, not the tools. Follow along as he introduces the history of character animation and explores each of the 12 principles, from squash and stretch and anticipation to timing and follow-through. Take the challenge exercises to practice what you've learned along the way.


Animation has evolved tremendously in the last century, but some principles always stay the same. This foundation will serve you for a lifelong career.

Course Details - taken from LinkedIn.com:
Use your creativity and technical skills to bring characters and stories to life as a 2D digital animator. Learn how to go from concept to finished animation, using industry-standard tools and the latest techniques from prominent animators in the business.

Course Details - taken from LinkedIn.com:
Channel your creativity and technical savvy to breathe life into simple characters as a 3D character animator. Learn to apply the basic principles of animation and the processes used by professionals to model, rig, and animate characters in digital environments.

Comics

Course Details - taken from LinkedIn.com:
The heart of most narrative art lies in the characters in the story. This course will reveal the "secret sauce" that makes a character memorable, beloved, villainous, funny, or celebrated. Mary Jane Begin - illustrator, author, and Rhode Island School of Design professor - explores character design from all corners of the illustration universe, including cartoons, comics, feature animation, gaming, kid's books, and advertising.


Mary Jane explains how the components of good character design can be broken down into concrete elements. She shows how body shape, posture, anatomy, facial expression, costume, color, movement, and abstract aspects like archetypes and environment bring a character to life. The lessons are illustrated with examples from Mary Jane's books, as well as famous, heart-warming characters created by a group of extraordinary character designers.

Course Details - taken from LinkedIn.com:
Learn how to draw comic book characters with unique personalities in these simple drawing tutorials from comic creator Ben Bishop. The process starts with roughing out a sketch of your character and building a profile that defines the person behind the drawing: who they are, where they come from, and how they got their powers. Then Ben shows how to incorporate those qualities in the character's facial features: eyes, nose, mouth, and distinguishing marks such as wrinkles, scars, and tattoos. Ben goes back and forth between good characters and evil ones, so members get a feel for what kinds of details give a sinister impression vs. a trustworthy one. He also shows how to use clothing and props to further tell the character's story. The work is completed in Adobe Photoshop, but everything Ben teaches is as relevant on paper as it is on screen.

Course Details - taken from LinkedIn.com:
Layout begins with two pieces: an illustrated comic and a script. It ends with a dynamic design where both words and action leap off the page. This balance - between text and images - is essential for new artists to master. Here professional comic creator Ben Bishop shares his techniques for laying out narration, dialog, and sound effects in a comic book. He reviews the different terms (speech balloons, captions, panels, gutters, sound effects, etc.) and then shows examples of how to use these devices, with pages from some of his favorite artists' work. Then he goes through the different options available when adding text to a comic page, using the same script in different ways and exploring what different treatments do to the story. These exercises illustrate the most effective and impactful compositions and design options when laying out the text on the illustrated page.

Course Details - taken from LinkedIn.com:
When it comes to conveying a story visually to readers, comic book artists can learn a lot from examining how shots are filmed in movies and television. Although comic book panels aren't always a standard rectangular frame, you can still leverage the same storyboarding concepts, rules, and methods used in film to make your comics stronger and more digestible. In this course, join comic creator Ben Bishop as he explains how to use storyboard film techniques to understand shot composition, consistency, and movement within a frame, and apply those techniques as you build your comic book panels.


Before you can start drawing your comic, you need to know the basics of shot composition and camera angles, and why they're crucial to successfully telling your story on the page. Ben talks about the rule of thirds, wide shots, full shots, medium shots, close-ups, and more. He also demonstrates the importance of following the action in the same direction throughout any given scene. Storyboarding may not always be associated with comics, but the same rules apply. Knowing and understanding these concepts can strengthen your work.

Course Details - taken from LinkedIn.com:

Penciling is the most integral part of creating comic books, graphic novels, and manga. Get a look inside the penciling process of comic creator Ben Bishop, as he goes from script to fully illustrated page. Learn how to pull key actions into panels - and edit out what you don't need to tell the story. Once you've chosen your panels, Ben explains how to show those actions, diving into camera angles, poses, and why what works actually works. Last, the panels are placed on the page and examined as a whole. The artist's job is to keep in mind the direction and movement of the reader's eye and adjust elements so they read well instinctively.


The main ideas and concepts are dynamic composition, movement, and narrowing down a script to its core actions in a way that best tells the story, and the importance of trying different things, rather than just going with your first idea. Ben illustrates the concepts with examples from his own graphic novels, and includes tips for staying organized and focused as you draw.

Course Details - taken from LinkedIn.com:

Want to create your own comic books? Inking is a crucial part of the process. It's one of the final steps, where lines are traced more intentionally and artists focus on dynamic lighting and shadows. These days, pencil drawings aren't always necessarily "inked" but sometimes digitally scanned and refined, resulting in the finished inked look typical of most comics. In this course, comic creator Ben Bishop shows two methods for finishing comics in Photoshop, using examples from his graphic novel, The Aggregate. Method 1 is the traditional approach. After carefully selecting his brushes in Photoshop, Ben begins the digital inking process. He carefully retraces his lines, adding line weight, halos, highlights, and shadows and texture. He even adds blur effects that give his comics a cinematic quality while also using positive and negative space to set the mood of the scene and create a compositionally pleasing page.
Method 2 shows us how to turn finished pencil artwork into clean, seemingly inked artwork, ready for color and ready for print - without any additional drawing.

 

Computer Programs for Digital Drawing & Lettering

Course Details - taken from LinkedIn.com:
A great artist makes the most of his toolset. This course is designed to help those new to Photoshop make the most of its digital drawing and painting tools. Comic book illustrator and video game artist Daniel Lieske shares the tricks of the trade, tailored specifically to artists who want to transition their skills to a digital canvas. Including three complete practice examples and tips from a working creative professional, this course will help you simplify your workflow, organize your illustrations, and start creating art with Photoshop brushes, selections, masks, color pickers, and texture tools.

Course Details - taken from LinkedIn.com:
Learn how to use ArtRage 4 to create digital art in a traditional style. ArtRage utilizes 3D light rendering to enhance its traditional media-based tools and enrich how they interact with the canvas grain, to mimic true-to-life impasto effects and textures. Gaeton Laprade was an early adopter of the software, and has created ArtRage tutorials for Ambient Design. Now he shares his expertise with us.


Join Gaeton as he shows how to set up the workspace, create your first painting, and start working with ArtRage's expressive tools, which respond just like traditional oils, pastels, watercolors, and pencils. Then learn to maximize the full potential of the program with the image editing, tracing, and cloning features. Gaeton even shares a method for recording your process, so you can share your own "joy of painting" with others.

Course Details - taken from LinkedIn.com:
Things are rarely black and white when it comes to today's superheroes and super villains. Modern-day characters are complex. Comic book artists use color and atmospheric backdrops to make their personalities shine through. But it's hard to get black-and-white drawings to look like the comics that end up on store shelves. Learn the secrets to bringing your own comic book characters to life with engaging color and beautiful backgrounds, in this course from comic creator Ben Bishop.


Ben takes the characters he created in Drawing Good and Evil Comic Book Characters and adds color, subtle shading, and simple environments with Photoshop. He shows how to prep your illustration and perform color flatting - simple color fills that save professional artists a lot of time. Along the way, Ben explains how to choose and apply color that feels authentic to the characters and environments you are developing.

Course Details - taken from LinkedIn.com:
Manga Studio has become a key program for illustrators and comic book artists. What better way to learn it than by following along with artist/Manga Studio guru Doug Hills, as you create a comic page together. From sketching your initial concept to exporting and sharing your finished work with the world, this course goes through every step of the illustration process, explaining what tools will work best, and how to adapt them to your particular art style. Along the way, Doug shows how to import artwork, pencil in rough sketches, ink with the pen tools, add screen tones or color, and integrate word balloons and text. By the end of this course, you should not only feel comfortable with how Manga Studio works, but also have the beginnings of a comic page that you can continue on your own.

Course Details - taken from LinkedIn.com:

Creating the lettering for comic books is not just about capturing the tone in which the words are said (from the loudest scream to the softest whisper) or the sound of noises being made (like BANG or POW). It's also about understanding the structure of comics: a unique storytelling format that leads readers from panel to panel around each page and through the story.


This course deconstructs the lettering process for comics, in terms of how to think about lettering and how to execute your vision in Adobe Illustrator. Professional artist John Roshell begins with a brief history of comics and then jumps into the design of word balloons, type treatment, captions, and sound effects. At the end of the course, John goes overs some basic business know-how, so members understand how to successfully collaborate with other artists and publishers.

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