Learn discipline from Steve Rolston’s comic class.

In my first post about Steve Rolston’s Introduction to Comic Book Production at VanArts, I discussed how I learned to slow down and be more precise with my art.

Dawn Line_Original Pages

It was careless of me to rush such a pivotal feature as the placement of the Dawn Line in the first panel of this story, especially since it took hours to get it to look half decent in Photoshop (c.f. Learn precision from Steve Rolston).

Yet, slowing down does not mean being slow. It just means taking your time with every step of the process. It’s this discipline that I want to discuss here in the second of these “How to make comics the Steve Rolston way” posts.

I have always had an issue getting from planning to doing. I tend to obsess over an idea for months and then spend a fraction of that time getting the idea onto paper. It is a completely unbalanced approach to making comics.

That’s where Steve’s class really helped me out.

Introduction to Comic Book Production is designed to walk students through the process of getting a story together. Students spend a couple weeks working on character designs, a couple on scripting and thumbnailing, and by the end of the 12-week class they have 4 pages of a finished comic ready to showoff. Yet, how do they get to this point?

It takes discipline.

By providing a manageable schedule for students to stick to, Steve’s class encourages students to make comic-creation into a habit. The driving reason behind my sketch-a-day challenge was to get comfortable with drawing on the spot, but being able to commit to this task as long as I have really came from habits learned in the class.

Ellington QuoteDeadlines also help students understand the pressures placed on professional artists to get pages in on time. Say what you will about the quality of monthly comic titles, but you have to admire comic book teams that can hit their deadlines, appease their editors, and keep readers coming back.

Without the structure of a class like this, I don’t know that I could have ever found the motivation to stick with a long-term project like The Dawn Line.

Dawn Line Example

This is the first panel of the four pages that I did in Steve’s class. I think it really illustrates how my pages improved over those 12 weeks.

Getting to this point with my pages was a slow and steady process, but it was definitely something that I needed to experience to better understand self-discipline.

So, if you have an idea for a graphic novel that you can’t seem to get started, are trying to break into monthly comics but don’t know what to expect, or just wish you had more time to make comics, you could really learn something from Steve Rolston’s comic class.

Still on the fence about taking Steve’s Introduction to Comic Book Production at VanArts? Well, you should really check out his graphic novel One Bad Day or one of the mini-comics on his Etsy account. In them, you will see that Steve is as much of a storyteller as he is an artist. My next post “Learn clear storytelling from Steve Rolston’s comic class” will talk more about this, so be sure to keep your eyes on The Drawn Line.

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2 Responses to Learn discipline from Steve Rolston’s comic class.

  1. Pingback: Why you should take Steve Rolston’s comic-making class. | Michael A. Weber

  2. Pingback: Learn precision from Steve Rolston. | Michael A. Weber

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