Wednesday, October 31, 2007

11/20 Workshop Preparation V

In addition to making templates, I've also been working on the lesson plan for the 2 hour workshop. I'm going to start with the basics: how to read the comic, panel order, not cramming too many words into dialogue bubbles, etc.

Another point I like to make is connecting words to images. While it seems obvious that words and images would go hand-in-hand with children, many kids don't bridge the two by default. This is often because they focus so intently on what to write, they forget the broader context.

One way to remind them is to go through an example of exactly how what they write can affect the whole mood of a scene. I find when it's made clear, the students will pay more attention to both halves of comic composition.

For example, here one template I'll be using. It's from Jellaby by Kean Soo.

First, I ask the students what's happening. It's also best to have students describe it rather than telling them, because sometimes they can interpret scenes in a way you never thought of. But if they're told by the instructor, they'll take that word as gospel and that shuts off any further inquiry on their part. This is part of the power of the Socratic method, in my mind.

After I get a description of what's being shown in the image, I then ask them to try and explain it. You have a girl reading something, followed by her classmates glaring, and then she gets nervous. What was she reading? And how would that affect why her classmates are glaring at her? I then give each student a comic of their own to experiment with.

That's a sample of some of the material I teach the students. The key components to my teaching style: let them provide the answers and follow up with hands on practice of the concept.

Gallery Update

A small update: I added the flier I used to advertise the first Comic Making Tournament to the Misc. Gallery. The two workshops in Pittsburgh won't need advertising, so there won't be new fliers from them. However, the second CMT will have some new fliers. I'll add them when they're done.

Monday, October 29, 2007

11/20 Workshop Preparation IV

In one month, the CCP will be celebrating its 1st year anniversary. I can't say there'll be anything special to commemorate it (beyond maybe a few announcements to some webcomic blogs), but I've generally thought of the 11/20 workshop as the anniversary celebration.

I've managed to go through the following archives:

Lovarian Adventures
No Pink Ponies
Piled Higher and Deeper
Seasons of Constancy

I also did a second run through on Applegeeks. I still need to go through Nothing Nice to Say, Coffee Achievers, and Stubble.

Since my last post, here are the comics I've put together templates for:

No Pink Ponies
Penny & Aggie
Piled Higher and Deeper
Seasons of Constancy

I've also made additional templates for Copper, Strange Candy, Tsunami Channel, and Tracy and Tristan. I'm working on Lovarian and Flipside, and I need to do a second pass to increase the number of templates for several of the comics I've already done.

This means the master list of comics with templates ready to use now looks like:

And Shine Heaven Now
Awkward Zombie
Chugworth Academy
Daisy is Dead
Dinosaur Comics
Faking Life
Girl Genius
Hate Song
Lil' Formers
Little Dee
Mac Hall/Three Panel Soul
No Pink Ponies
No Rest for the Wicked
Okashina Okashi
Penny & Aggie
Penny Arcade
Piled Higher and Deeper
Questionable Content
Return of Stickman
Rob and Elliot
Seasons of Constancy
Shortpacked/It's Walky
Sluggy Freelance
Something Like Life
Tea Club
Tracy and Tristan
Tsunami Channel

Phew. Needless to say, I don't expect to use every template in the first workshop. But I do imagine a large chunk of them will have been used after the second tournament.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

New Templates Posted

15 new comic templates have been added to the Templates page. If you're interested in doing a CCP of your own, feel free to use them (just be sure to give credit to both the source and here). I also tweaked the About page a little.

In other news, The Webcomic List now ranks the CCP at #107. Not sure how the CCP jumped 800+ spots in less than a day. My guess is a technical glitch. But it's a nice number to look at, nonetheless.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Site Updates - New Banners!

At long last, I've finally gotten around to creating a new banner for the website. This one is a better reflection of all the different comics used in the CCP. I gave special emphasis to the titles that I used extensively in the first round of regular sessions: OO, ASHN, QC, Krakow, Mac Hall, Chugworth, Shortpacked, and Dr. McNinja.

The Links page also has several new banners you can use to link to the CCP. These new banners are more standardly sized than the previous ones: 468x60 and 200x40. There are two animated banners, as well.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

11/20 Workshop Preparation III

With the workshop one month away, I'm on track to have things done on time. Since the last update I've only managed to go through the archives of one new comic, No Pink Ponies. However, I've managed to create a fair number of templates with comics whose archives I've gone through.

My aim with the 11/20 and 12/20 workshops is to get as wide a variety of comics as possible in the activity. So I've been creating templates in 10-20 count blocks, making a set of templates from one comic and then moving on to another rather than spending all my time on one.

If the workshop were held tomorrow, here's what I would have:

And Shine Heaven Now - 64
Awkward Zombie - 15
Chugworth Academy - 26
Copper - 5 (in progress)
Daisy is Dead - 28
Dinosaur Comics - 1 (of course)
Faking Life - 3
Fans! - 10
Girl Genius - 30
Hate Song - 20
Jellaby - 53
Krakow - 10
Lil' Formers - 10
Little Dee - 25
Mac Hall/Three Panel Soul - 20
No Rest for the Wicked - 32
Okashina Okashi - 24
Penny Arcade - 10
Questionable Content - 67
Return of Stickman - 1
Rob and Elliot - 23
Shortpacked/It's Walky - 46
Sluggy Freelance - 5 (in progress)
Something Like Life - 5
Tea Club - 30
Tracy and Tristan - 1
Tsunami Channel - 1

While that looks like a long list, I still have many more comics to go, such as Saturnalia, Dicebox, and Penny & Aggie. Also, many of the above numbers will increase later on.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Site Updates

I've updated several pages:

The About page now has a link to the ASHN guest comics.

The FAQ now includes a new section on Taiwan, containing previous questions and some new material. I added information to what was left in Misc., such as some of the books and papers I've consulted in developing the CCP.

The Links page has been modified to try and reduce scrolling a little bit. I've also added a link to the Kid's Book Project, an excellent community service project involving webcomic artists. Kudos to Mike Rouse-Deane for organizing it!

Edit: The Fanart page also has some additional submissions.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

ASHN Guest Comics

Welcome to everyone coming here from ASHN. Feel free to look around; I hope you decide to read regularly. Comics update M-F, and sometimes on Saturday.

For those not aware, a series of CCP guest comics have been posted to And Shine Heaven Now's comic site. These comics haven't been posted here before and won't be for a while, since they were made towards the end of the New Haven sessions. So go read them for some additional CCP goodness!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Site Update

I've updated the About page. It now includes quotes from the various emails I've received about the CCP. I thought it might be nice to share some of the good things other comic creators have had to say.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

11/20 Workshop Preparation II

I've gone through several more archives, further increasing the amount of material I have to work with. I've been giving priority to comics whose creators expressed an interest in seeing the results of the CCP.

Additional omics whose archives I've gone through:

Rip & Teri
Templar, Arizona

I'm currently working on the archives of Seasons of Constancy, Flipside, and Lovarian Adventures.

I've also begun creating the blank templates I need as teaching material. Creating templates is relatively straight forward:

1. I crop the image to eliminate any excess white space. This allows the comic to print at maximum size, giving students more room to full in the bubbles.

2. I delete the text from all dialogue and thought bubbles and captions. This is where my tablet comes in handy, since it makes it easier to erase when the text is close to the bubble lines.

3. I erase any embedded dialogue. I generally choose comics that don't have much of this, but sometimes a comic will be so good I'm willing to deal with a little bit. I leave in sound effects.

4. I erase copyright and title info. This is to prevent the kids from trying to track down the originals, some of which aren't appropriate for the age group I teach.

Generally, I try to keep comics together by arc (something I didn't do very well when I first made templates). Since these workshops are only 2 hours each, I won't be using any long arcs, just short 2-3 comic mini-arcs.

Comics I've finished making templates of:

Chugworth Academy
Daisy is Dead
Faking Life
Okashina Okashi
Tracy and Tristan

I'm currently working on Questionable Content, Shine, and Mac Hall. Saturnalia sent me hi-res comics, so I'll also be using those. I'm still waiting on hi-res comics from Goats, which Rosenberg promised.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Optimize Prime

I recently learned how to do macros (actions) in Photoshop. This allowed me to simplify several of the common command sets I've been using to make CCP comics.

One of the first things I did with the newfound efficiency: convert all the PNG's in the archives to indexed colors. This has cut the file sizes by more than half. So at long last, the site can finally be declared modem friendly, though some comics are still over 200 kB.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Blog to the Front

A redesign to the main page. Since the CCP Blog has many site updates, as well as some of the week-to-week going-ons of the project, I think it's worth spotlighting on the main page to make sure people notice it.

If you're seeing the blog for the first time, be sure to go through the archives. I've posted a lot about the New Haven sessions, workshops, and tournament, as well as about the work to get the CCP started in Pittsburgh.