Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Comic 3 schedule

Comic 3 schedule

Whether you’re starting a comic from scratch or incorporating old material into a new story, establishing your page layouts early on will help you avoid any page count pitfalls.  It is strongly advised that you limit your new page count to 16 pages and keep reworks of previous pages to a minimum.  All additional, pre-existing material must also be kept within 8 page increments.  As stated in the syllabus, this comic must conclude on the last page.  It can be part of a series in which future comics follow, but there should be a clear ending to this chapter of your story.

Proposal packet
Write a one page proposal outlining your story and provide character bibles (consisting of character sketches and bios) for at least 2 of your main characters.  Working with characters or pages from Comics 2 is acceptable, but they must be collected neatly in a binder along with your proposal and submitted at the same time.

Comic Proposal Presentation
Take the all of the materials you’ve compiled for your proposal packet, and put together a 5 minute PowerPoint presentation for the class.  Make sure to include an “elevator pitch” that consists of 1 or 2 concise, but descriptive sentences.

Proposal packets and Comic Proposal Presentation are due 9/3

Now, create a schedule for your completing your comic.  It is required that you pencil all of your pages first to insure consistent quality.

*Schedules are due 9/3

Penciled pages are due 10/12

B&W comics
Inks are due 11/19
Lettering due 11/16

Grayscale or color comics
Inks are due 11/2
Tones or colors are due 11/16
Lettering due 11/16

Storyboard your comic with 2 to 6 small-scale page layouts per printed 8.5 x 11 page.  It must be indicated which pages are pre-existing and which pages are new.  This will map out your 16 new pages and help you prioritize what pre-existing material to include, rework or exclude.  Assemble these into a packet and make multiple copies.  Give one copy to me, one copy to each of your classmates, and keep one copy in your binder.

Storyboards are due for evaluation on 9/10

Other Dates
InDesign demo and test booklet scans are due on 10/10
Working critique for Comic on 10/17

Test booklet layout due on 10/22

Working critique 10/31

Working critique on 11/5

Working critique on 11/7

Working critique on 11/12

Working critique on 11/14

Working critique on 11/26

Pages uploaded by 12/5 (last class)

Comics artist presentation on 12/5

IL410 Illustrated Story 3: Production and Publication

IL410 Illustrated Story 3: Production and Publication

Course Objectives
Students develop a single long-form story while learning professional comics production techniques, including lettering, inking, coloring, and layout.  The class culminates in the production and publication of the story in pamphlet format.

Course Outcomes

The successful student will achieve the following course outcomes:

• Students will produce a single comic that is 16 pages in length.

• Students will successfully introduce characters, and conclude a story within the set page limit.
• Students will master their individual approach to visual storytelling in a single long-form story.
• Students will demonstrate ability to prepare files for digital and print publication.

Program Outcomes

The successful student will achieve the following course outcomes:

• Students will learn to create engaging stories.

• Students will produce narratives in various formats, including short-form, long-form, and serialized.
• Students will demonstrate knowledge of the formal aspects of comics as a medium.
• Students will be able to competently craft representational images.
• Students will demonstrate capability with media and techniques.
• Students will produce evidence of an understanding of the methods of comics production.

QEP Outcomes
The successful student will achieve the following course outcomes:
• Students will demonstrate the ability to write a resume.

• Students will demonstrate the ability to write a professional cover letter.

• Students will demonstrate the ability to write an artist statement.

• Students will demonstrate the ability to exhibit their work beyond the classroom.

• Students will demonstrate computer/software literacy applicable to their field.

Students will demonstrate the ability to research graduate education and job opportunities in their field.

Students will demonstrate the ability to give a public presentation about their work.
• Students will demonstrate the ability to research to stay current in their field.
Students will demonstrate knowledge of communication etiquette in their field.


The Comic (50%)

Create, prep, and print a comic book. The comic should include an original story created for this class that is either 16 pages long (it can also include pre-existing material, as long as you keep the page count to a multiple of 8). The interior of the book may be black and white or color, but a front and back cover should be designed in full color. The story may fit within a larger narrative, but must be a complete story arc in itself—no cliffhangers or “To be continued…” endings.  See the Comic Schedule handout for due dates.

This course involves both in-class and out-of-class assignments.  The Comic Project will be graded on visual storytelling (the clarity of communication), composition (the picture plane of the individual comic panels), page design (the layout of the panels and overall design of the page), and lastly, presentation (the chosen format and neatness of presentation).

  • Incomplete work is work that is not completed according to project specifications and not completed for critique.  Incomplete work is lowered by 15 points, but can be raised 10 points upon completion.

  • Late work is any work not presented at all at the scheduled time for review or critique.  Late work receives zero points, but can be turned in before the next class with an irreversible 10 point penalty.  The project is lowered an additional 10 points for each week it is late.  It is the student’s responsibility to present late work.  The instructor will not ask for it.
  • Projects are deducted 10 points when they do not adhere to assignment guidelines.  This is eligible for, but not guaranteed a 10 point increase upon rework.

  • Additional points may be deducted for imagery that is unclear, compositional oversights, misspellings, or an unprofessional presentation.

  • Every student is expected to participate in critique and to offer both positive and negative feedback for a balanced and constructive critique.

Project grades

  • A = Exemplary work that meets or exceeds expectations with little or no flaws.
A             93 – 100
A-            90 – 92

  • B = Good work that meets assignment expectation with some flaws.
    B+          87 – 89
    B             83 – 86
    B-            80 – 82

  • C = Average work that meets assignment expectations with several flaws.
    C+          77 – 79
    C             73 – 76
    C-            70 – 72

  • D = Poor work that does not successfully meet assignment expectations and has too many flaws.
    D             60 – 69

  • F = Unacceptable work with many flaws that does not successfully meet assignment expectations.
    F             0 – 59

Final Project Grades and Averaging
All out-of-class comic projects are averaged together at the end of the course, and comprise 50% of the grade for the semester.

A = 4.0
A- = 3.75
                B+ = 3.5
                B = 3.25
                B- = 3.0
                C+ = 2.75
                C = 2.5
                C- = 2.25
                D = 1
                F = 0

Test Book (25%)

Familiarize yourself with the process and potential pitfalls of print-on-demand comics by preparing a short test booklet.  Scan pre-existing comics pages, either from earlier classes or from extracurricular efforts.  If necessary, adjust the files sizes in Photoshop so that the pages will fit a standard print-on-demand book size. Lay the book out in InDesign, output it as a high quality .pdf, and upload it for print. Order a single copy of the book so that you can see the final results.  Make any necessary adjustments if the book is not satisfactory and print an additional, revised copy for my records.

Scanned pages due: 10/10
Book layout due: 10/22
Printed book due: 11/5

Interview Presentation (25%)
Select a comics creator as your subject. Contact the creator and see if they are available for an interview. Your subject should most likely be a single creator who writes and draws their own material, but if you choose a creative team, be sure to interview all collaborators. Read at least two books by your subject and write a report on each of them. Examine the storytelling techniques as well as the artistic and production techniques used in the books. Search online for interviews with your subject. Prepare a list of at least twelve solid questions for your subject.

Subject Selected and availability confirmed: 9/12
Book Report 1 (1000 words) due: 9/28.
Book Report 2 (1000 words) due: 10/12.
12 Interview Questions due: 10/17.

Only then should you interview your subject. In addition to any personal curiosity about this person, inquire after their creative, artistic, and technical processes. Ask about influences for both story and art. See if you can get photos of their workspace. From this interview and your earlier research, prepare a10 minute PowerPoint presentation on your subject.

Presentation due: 12/5.


  • There is no penalty for 3 or 4 absences.
  • The fifth absence reduces the final grade by 10 points (this can be a tardy-absence)
  • The student is automatically failed after 6 absences.
  • Absences during critique irreversibly lower the project grade 5 points unless it is turned in before 9am on the morning of critique.

  • Arriving late to class or leaving early can be marked as a tardy.
  • Three tardies equal one absence.
  • Being tardy for critique irreversibly lowers the project grade by 10 points
  • When possible and as soon as possible, notify your instructor of impending tardies or absences.   

Classroom Etiquette

Cell phones:
Make sure that your cell phones are turned off during class.  You may set your phone to vibrate if you have an ongoing emergency (meaning birth, death, or catastrophic illness).  DO NOT answer your phone in class.  It’s rude.  In the event of an emergency call you may exit class and then answer or return the call. 

Headphones are permitted, but ONLY during in-class work when I am not instructing and ONLY if low enough that you can still hear me if I address you.  Do not play music through the speakers.

I don’t care if you occasionally check your email or watch someone’s bulldog skateboard on YouTube, but it MUST NOT interfere with your work and it should never be through the speakers.

The best way to contact me is at smcdermott@mca.edu.  Please give your email a clear, descriptive subject line because I’m old and easily confused.  In turn, be sure to check your MCA email account regularly because I will contact you if there are any last minute changes to an assignment.

Class Blog
Additionally, there is a class blog at mcaillsto3.blogspot.com.  There you will find digital copies of this syllabus, the class schedule, class assignments and announcements concerning changes to assignments.  Instructions will also be posted here in the event of a class cancellation.

Suggested Texts
Making Comics Scott McCloud
Drawing Words and Writing Pictures Jessica Abel, Matt Madden

Class materials
1.)     T-Square
2.)     Ames Lettering Guide
3.)     Metal, cork-backed ruler (at least 12”, but 18” or 24” would be rule) – get it?
4.)     Drafting Triangles (30/60/90° and 45/45/90°)
5.)     Mechanical pencil
6.)     Non-repro-blue pencil
7.)     Waterproof black ink
8.)     Lots of ink-drawing implements (nibs, brushes, technical pens, felt-tips, Q-tips, sticks, etc.
9.)     Bristol board
10.)  Sketchbook

Materials Binder
Maintain a notebook or binder in which you will keep any handouts presented in class (including this syllabus), in-class exercises, and visual research from each project.  Bring this binder to each critique and plan on maintaining it through subsequent classes.

Health and Safety

All students must comply with health and safety regulations.  Of particular relevance to this class will be disposal of art materials.  The classroom is provided with a sink, but only water should be poured down the sink’s drain.  All other materials should be collected for appropriate processing.  You will be required to have an MSDS (material safety data sheet) with any and all materials you bring to class.  MSDS sheets can be found online at DickBlick.com.  Keep the sheets with your materials when you bring them to class.  Some materials require latex gloves, goggles, or even masks.  When using such materials you will be required to take the necessary safety measures in class.  If you have turned in MSDS for materials used in a previous semester then you need only update existing supplies and record any new materials you use in class this semester.