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12 Free Comics Art Classes to Take This September

The International School of Comics Chicago is opening its doors for all ages, with offerings on comic book covers, independent publishing, and more.

Photo: The International School of Comics Chicago

The International School of Comics Chicago is calling its month-long session this September of free classes “Freetember.” The all-ages workshops, tutorials, classes, and free lectures are for aspiring comics artists, with a special focus on digital illustration techniques. All media and skill-levels are welcomed. Classes are held at the International School of Comics Chicago, 1651 West Hubbard Street. To register: schoolofcomics.us/freetember

Concept Art

Tuesday, September 2, 6–8 p.m.
Concept art is the beginning of any project—be it a movie, video game, comic, TV show, toy, ad infinitum. Every major project must visualize where it is going and what it will look like; concept artists bring a dream to an achievable reality. Learn how to bring your thoughts on your project together to make your own digital concept art with Kevin Kiung, a concept artist and digital painter. Tips, tricks, and encouragement will round out your experience to make sure you leave the class with the knowledge and know-how to bring your project to the fullest. For this workshop, please bring your laptop and tablet, though if you do not own either, please bring a sketchbook and pencil.

Watercolor Class

Wednesday, September 3, 6–8 p.m.
Want to “up” your skills in the mysterious art of mixing paint with water? Looking to make a specific painting but don’t quite know how to start? Emma Rand is the International School of Comics Student Services Director as well as a Chicago-based illustrator and cartoonist, utilizing watercolor techniques in many of her works. Learn how to start a painting and how to take it from the typical washed-out landscape to a colorful, energetic work of art. There are tips and tricks for beginners, as well as techniques and feedback for the more experienced. Bring your own favorite brand of watercolor or gouache, a few paintbrushes, and some sheets of watercolor paper.

Studio Movie Night

Friday, September 5, 8–10 p.m.
Want to work on your own project, but either don’t have your own studio or enough space at your home? Want to meet and be inspired by other artists working on amazing projects? Bring whatever you’re working on—whether it be your webcomic, that portrait of your dog, that illustration you promised your aunt three years ago, or just yourself and your sketchbook—and come have a productive hang out time! A movie will be played with popcorn provided. Come use our studio for your project!

Digital Coloring for Comics

Saturday, September 6, 3–4:30 p.m.
Learn the basics of digitally coloring your own comics—how color theory can relate to mood, lighting, and characterization! Ben Hunzeker, colorist for Sonic comics, G.I. Joe comics, and Cthulhu Tales, is here for only two short Saturdays to give us the rundown on how it’s done. Ben will show you the step-by-step process for taking your black-and-white art to the next level. For this workshop, participants are required to bring in their own laptops and tablets so that they can work alongside the instructor. Also on: Saturday, September 13, 3–4:30 p.m.

Executive Drawing Workshop

Sunday, September 7, 7–9 p.m.
Are you a working professional looking to improve your drawing skills, but not looking to change careers? We’ve set up a workshop just for you! Join artist and illustrator Douglas Klauba at our Executive Drawing Workshop every Monday after Labor Day this upcoming September! Brush up on skills you already have, or learn new ones with a live model and instruction dealing with line and shadow, shape, weight, and page layout. Ages 21+ BYOB. Also on: Sunday, September 14, 7–9 p.m.; Sunday, September 21, 7–9 p.m.; and Sunday, September 28, 7–9 p.m.

After Effects Crash Course

Tuesday, September 9, 6–8 p.m.
Adobe After Effects is a very powerful, sometimes intimidating tool for animators, filmmakers, and designers alike. This course, geared at beginners, will teach the fundamentals of After Effects so that you can get comfortable enough with the program to start building your own exciting visuals! Participants will learn techniques to create basic motion graphics and manipulate existing footage. A laptop will be required if you wish to follow along with the lessons. If you don’t already have After Effects, we can assist you in downloading the free trial version from Adobe. Also on: Tuesday, September 16, 6–8 p.m.

Independent Publishing

Wednesday, September 10, 6–8 p.m.
Isabella Rotman is an accomplished Chicago cartoonist and illustrator. She recently came out with her newest work, You’re So Sexy When You Aren’t Transmitting STDs, selling at Columbia, SAIC, and all around Chicago. She’ll be talking about being an independent comics artist and self-publishing. Have work and want to promote yourself? Wondering how to even get started? Come and talk to Isabella Rotman!

The Narrative Toolkit

Thursday, September 11, 7–9 p.m.
So you’ve got a story to tell. How do you turn that story into a propulsive, dramatic, and enthralling narrative? Vincent Warren is a practicing screenwriter with years of experience crafting narratives. In this workshop, he’ll take apart the fundamental building blocks of a story (character, theme, structure, and drama) and teach you how to use them effectively in your own stories, as well as dispelling some common storytelling myths and providing ground-level advice on the writing process. No matter your experience level or preferred genre, you will emerge from this workshop a better storyteller. Also on: Thursday, September 18, 7–9 p.m.; and Thursday, September 25, 7–9 p.m.

1Kn1ghts Productions: Such Creatures

Friday, September 12, 7–9 p.m.
The Chicago-based, independent film production company 1kn1ghts (One Thousand and One Knights) Productions is coming to our campus to give a talk on their latest work of art: a short film titled Such Creatures. The director, producers, screenwriters, and fans come together for one night of discussion on what it’s like to work on an independent movie in Chicago, in addition to the artistry that goes into the cinematography and direction. Such Creatures is one of the first of its kind—a film crowdfunded through Kickstarter. There will be a presentation, followed by a Q&A session, as well as the first announcements of future projects! Come join us to hear about how you can be involved with Such Creatures via several contests special through the Freetember event, as well as a raffle for free tickets to the opening screening.

Dynamic Covers

Wednesday, September 17, 6–8 p.m.
For all of those comic book artists and cartoonists looking for a leg up in the comic cover department, this class will discuss what makes a dynamic, interesting cover, and how to grab an audience right off the shelf. Emma Rand is the International School of Comics’s Student Services Director and a Chicago-based illustrator and cartoonist. She has several of her own comics selling around Chicago and has been a contributor to many anthologies. Her knowledge of making a dynamic cover comes from a lifetime of reading comics—both good and bad—and a formal education in the arts at SAIC. This is the class to take if you’re a participant in the 24-Hour Comics Challenge taking place this October!

Artist Talk: Methodology

Wednesday, September 24, 6–8 p.m.
Thomas Gianni, winner of the 2014 Robert E. Howard Award, discusses his methods and inspirations in his own artwork. He has made paintings for Magic the Gathering, cover paintings for the collected works of the creator of Conan the Barbarian, and he is currently working on illustrations for The Beasts of Tarzan by Homeworld Press. Come and hear what he has to say and get inspired yourself! The presentation will be followed by a short Q&A.

Digital Coloring for Illustration

Saturday, September 27, 4–5:30 p.m.
Jenny Frison is a Marvel cover artist, illustrator for IDW, Image, and Hasbro, as well as an all around amazing person! She’ll be here for you one time only this September to show you her methods in Photoshop coloring. Bring your laptop and something you would like to color and work alongside one of the greats.

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