The medium of Comic Books / Graphic Novels is one of the most elastic, wide-ranging and expressive forms of art and entertainment, potent in addressing any aspect of human experience. This eight week course joins lecture, demonstration and critiques to explore the unique characteristics of the medium and help students use them to best advantage in their own work. Topics emphasize principles of visual storytelling (Layout), including drawing styles and their effect on subject matter and meaning; the co-dependence of word and picture and how comic books are produced, including penciling, inking, lettering, and coloring.
Comics are an application of Art, not defined by a single “style” or set of art materials. As a story-telling medium, it is an artform almost exclusively for publication, either in print or online. You are therefore not required to adhere to any set of materials, and may do all your work on a computer, or part of it–any arrangement which suits the form of it’s eventual presentation/publication.
For this class, however, work must be large enough to be seen at a distance of several feet for class critiques, so that we may all learn from one another’s work. If you work on “traditional materials”, the scale is below, and we’ll talk about that in class. If you work digitally, you can either print out your work or send in by email to me before the day of class, and I can download it and present it on the video monitor in class, or you can bring it on a thumb drive to class, and I can download it to my laptop.
Traditional materials, however, are still used by comics artists today; below is The Classic List:
• SKETCH PAPER: one pad of bond or other light drawing or tracing paper.
• BRISTOL BOARD A 14″x 17″ pad of good, 2-ply Bristol is the most convenient form.
• PENCILS: those in the middle range of hardness/softness, like HB or a “No. 2” are preferred because they leave a clear mark but can still be erased before or after inking. “Non-photo blue” pencil is also often used.
• ERASERS: I personally prefer plastic, or generally soft ones, for leaving the paper undamaged and not leaving an ink-resistant trace behind.
• INK: one bottle of Higgins India Ink (“Black Magic” is the favorite). Permanent ink is preferred, so that WHITE-OUT (an opaque white paint, in gouache or acrylic, may be used for corrections.
• BRUSHES: the standard have long been Windsor & Newton Series 7 Sable Hair, commonly #2, #3, #1, or smaller.
• PENS: The classic pen nibs: the Hunt 102 (a stable, stiff pen) and Crow Quill (more flexible). Technical pens, Pigma pens, brush-tipped pens, are all used as well by some, and exclusively by others.
• DRAWING BOARD, tape, T-square, ruler, triangles, ellipse & circle guides, compass, and, if you’re really a purist, a lettering guide. In class, a portable board is necessary, unless all your work is digital. A lightweight, yet strong board, onto which you can tape down a sheet of bristol and rest against the edge of a table for a better drawing angle, or rotate it (usefull for inking techniques) as desired, as well as employ a T-square effectively upon.
My primary creative motive has always been emotional and thematic communication, in all forms of art. I fell in love with comic books/graphic novels as a boy, and this love and admiration for the deep poetic capacity of the medium has only increased throughout my life. While at CSU Northridge, I experimented in abstraction, but developed an abiding passion for classical and 19th-Century art—although, like comics, the latter was still largely denigrated at the time. After graduating, I studied with Glen Vilppu, while free-lancing in illustration and graphic design. My first published work in comics was for the enormously influential Neal Adams at Continuity Comics, followed by work for Dark Horse, Marvel U.K., and DC Comics, including several Batman “Specials” and a Bram Stoker Award-nominated Special of “The Dreaming”.
Registration and Payment Plans
Students must be paid in full prior to the first day of class when enrolled in an Extension Course or Workshop, except those with a payment plan agreement. Please visit the Main Office at least 30 minutes prior to the start of the class, to complete any pending registration issues.
Payment Plans: A 3% Payment Plan Fee will be assessed, with a maximum charge of $35. The Payment Plan Fee, $20 Registration Fee, plus 50% of the total tuition owing must be paid on or before the first day of class. The remaining 50% of the tuition can be paid with a post-dated check (dated 1 month later) or with a signed Credit Card Authorization Form.
There is a $35.00 fee for all checks returned as N.S.F. (Non-Sufficient Funds).
Course Changes or Cancellations
LAAFA reserves the right to cancel any class, limit class size, change class times or substitute instructors for those listed in the schedule.
If a class is cancelled, students will be issued a full refund or may transfer with no fee to another class.
If an instructor must leave after a term has begun, and no suitable substitute is available, the student will be refunded a pro-rated amount.
Refunds and Transfers
All classes, uninstructed workshops, Visiting Artist Workshops and artist demonstrations are non-refundable. You may request to drop for credit (see next paragraph) or transfer into another class.
You have two weeks to evaluate each class and decide whether you want to drop for credit (a dollar amount calculated based on the receipt of request) or transfer into a new class. Requests must be submitted before the start of the third session, via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. A $25 Drop/Transfer Fee is assessed. Credit will be valid for a full year and is non-refundable. It can be applied toward any Extension Course, Workshop or Visiting Artist Event at LAAFA.
All Visiting Artist Workshops and artist demonstrations are non-refundable and non-transferable.
Absences and Make-Ups
One free make-up session is allowed per quarter, per class. Please email us at email@example.com, at least 3 days in advance, with the course and date you wish to attend as a make-up. Make-up sessions aren’t transferable to future quarters.
- If you arrive late, please enter quietly. If you have equipment to set up, please wait for a break to set up so that you do not disrupt the class.
- The front row of benches is reserved for sitting individuals.
- Economize your workspace to accommodate fellow artists.
- Please refrain from talking to the models while they are posing. Photography is not allowed without the express permission of the model. The model may require a photography fee.
- Please refrain from personal discussions while class is in session. Be sure to switch cell phone ringers OFF.
- Don’t comment on others’ work unless it is solicited.
- Animals are not permitted, with the exception of assistance dogs for the disabled.
- Please clean up your work area and properly dispose of your waste after class. Use the Brush Cleaning Closet, not the bathroom sinks, to clean your hands, paintbrushes and other art tools.
- No Turpentine or smelly solvents and mediums are allowed. Odorless Mineral Spirits is preferred.
Uninstructed Workshop Policy
- There will only be 16 spots allowed in the workshops. Entry in the workshop is on a first come, first served basis. Students paying on a per-day basis will be admitted at the start time of the workshop if space is available.
- Please note that all students must pay prior to the start of each workshop or class when paying on a per-day basis, and prior to entering the workshop to set up.
- A monitor appointed by LAAFA will set up all uninstructed workshops. Once the pose is set, there will be no changes.
- Any suggestions or comments, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LAAFA Payment Plan
For those students needing extra time during the quarter to pay for their classes, LAAFA offers a payment plan. Pay for half of your tuition cost prior to your class start date and then half-way through pay your remaining balance. Only for a 3% fee!
Student will be unable to continue in the program if all of the payment requirements are not met.
PayPal – Bill Me Later
Students have the option to purchase classes by PayPal. One of the features of PayPal is a “Bill Me Later” promotion that includes: No Payment + No Interest if paid for within 6 months! Subject to credit approval.
Receive 15% off the total price of $1500 or more for on-campus instructed classes. Promo Code: multi15
New Student Discount
Students who are new to LAAFA receive up to a $50 off toward each instructed class purchased that quarter. Please call (818) 708-9232 to receive your coupon for the class in order to take advantage of this offer. (Workshops are excluded.)
For those 65 years and older, receive up to $50 off toward each instructed class per quarter. Please call (818) 708-9232 to receive your coupon for the class in order to take advantage of this offer. (Workshops are excluded.)
Refer a new student and once they have completed an instructed class at LAAFA, you are entitled to receive $50 off toward one instructed class in the following quarter, of equal or greater value. Please call (818) 708-9232 to receive your coupon for the class in order to take advantage of this offer. (Workshops are excluded.)
CSATTF Tuition Reimbursement Program
Through this program, members of Art Directors Guild (Local 800), Animation Guild (Local 839), Costume Designers Guild (Local 892), Motion Picture Costumers (Local 705), Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild (Local 706) are able to apply for:
Reimbursement of two-thirds the tuition cost for CSATTF approved classes and workshops.
PLEASE NOTE: Your reimbursement is based on the approved amount from CSATTF. If tuition is lower, you will be reimbursed only up to two-thirds of the actual amount paid. If tuition is higher, you will be responsible to pay the difference and only be reimbursed up to two-thirds of the approved amount from CSATTF.
Discounts cannot be combined. Certain classes may be excluded. Other restrictions may apply.
16926 Saticoy Street
Van Nuys, CA 91406
Phone Hours: Mon-Fri, 9:30 AM-5:30 PM
Main Office: Mon-Fri, 9:30 AM-5:30 PM