Comic-Con International has gifted at-home attendees with a plethora of panels dealing with the craft of comics. If you’ve ever dreamed of getting career advice from the pros, Comic-Con@Home is the perfect opportunity to really dig into certain panels and customize that experience for yourself. From the basics of writing, coloring, drawing, and creating comics to finances to honing your creativity, these Comic-Con@Home comics craft panel highlights have something for every comics creator.
If you’re totally lost, check out our Comic-Con@Home Schedule FAQs article right here. If you’re ready to dig further into the panels on offer this year, keep reading to see some of the panels we’re most excited about!
Spirit Skies: How to publish an International youth comic in the Age of Covid-19 • 6:00pm – 7:00pm
YouTube Link: https://youtu.be/PIh22lpvYJc
Are you a high school student with dreams of becoming a graphic novelist? Are you a high school teacher with dreams of creating a graphic novel with your class? Spirit Skies is a graphic novel written and illustrated exclusively by high school students! Not only did we dream it, we DID it! The panel will discuss the impact of Covid-19 on cross cultural artistic exchange, how technology has made this project easier and more dynamic! The student panel of writers and illustrators – including a Guna native from Panama who wrote the sequel from the tropical point of view- will be on the panel, featuring never-before-seen art, and a sneak peek at the next volume in the Spirit Skies story! The panel will take you on an exploratory journey – through the eyes of a Hummingbird! Spirit Skies is not just an adventure written by high school students – it is a lesson in environmental stewardship. With the lesson that we are all interconnected, all you have to do is go outside and you will be interacting with wildlife. It could be a hummingbird coming from Panama or Alaska!
Small press publishers: What makes the difference between an item that will get news coverage, previews, and interviews and what doesn’t? A lot of publishers have no idea what to submit to the press, how to submit it, or why they are being overlooked for coverage. Comics journalist Rik Offenberger (First Comics News, Archie Comics) moderates this panel on just what it takes to get coverage, with the comic journalists themselves telling you what they are looking for in your submission. Panelists include (in alphabetical order): Martin Boruta (The Hey Kids Comics Radio Show, First Comics News), Peter Breau (Second Sight Publishing), Ed Catto (Captain Action, Agendae), Holly Golightly (Broadsword Comics), Michael Kingston (Headlocked Comics), Rob Salkowitz (Forbes, ICv2), and JC Vaughn (Gemstone Publishing, The Scoop). Find out what it takes to self-promote and make a significant impact on your ability to sell your comic.
Comics During Clampdown: Creativity In The Time of Covid • 12:00pm – 1:00pm
YouTube Link: https://youtu.be/LjATnuiNR5k
How do cartoonists deal with writer’s block in the face of a global pandemic? How do you balance homeschooling with publishing deadlines? Panelists Brian Fies (A Fire Story), Keith Knight (The K Chronicles), MariNaomi (Life on Earth trilogy), Ajuan Mance (1001 Black Men), Thien Pham (Sumo), Jason Shiga (Demon), Gene Luen Yang (Dragon Hoops), and moderator Andrew Farago (Cartoon Art Museum) discuss work-life balance, sanity, and survival in the midst of our brave new world.
There’s no shortage of fodder for political and social satire these days, yet some say political cartooning is a dying art! Join five very different cartoonists, Ben Passmore (BTTM FDRS, Sports is Hell), Ezra Claytan Daniels (BTTM FDRS, Upgrade Soul), Mr. Fish (Nobody Left), Ann Telnaes (Trump’s ABC), and R. Sikoryak (Constitution Illustrated) as they discuss their approaches to making relevant, critical comics in the age of. . . whatever it is that’s going on right now! Moderated by Jacob Brogan (assistant opinions editor at The Washington Post).
Growing up, many of us had to contend with the Smurfette principle: stories where there was only one girl in the whole gang–the token, the love interest, and the character who had to stand in for all girls everywhere. But times have changed, and many creators are writing their dream girl gangs, squads, and inclusive ensembles. So how do you build your modern squad from the ground up? How do you decide what kinds of characters will best complement, conflict, and have chemistry with each other? And why is writing and/or drawing a girl gang just so gosh darn fun? Join creators Cecil Castellucci (The Plain Janes), Sarah Kuhn (Heroine Complex), Sam Maggs (The Unstoppable Wasp: Built on Hope), Afua Richardson (Black Panther: World of Wakanda), Steenz (Heart of the City), and Rebekah Weatherspoon (A Cowboy to Remember) as they discuss the challenges and joys of squad goals and building the modern girl gang.
Dark Horse Comics invites you to join Gabriel Bá (The Umbrella Academy), Naomi Franquiz (Tales From Harrow County: Death’s Choir), Tyler Cook (Colonel Weird: Cosmagog), and Mike Deodato (Berserker Unbound) as they discuss breaking into comics, visual storytelling, and the process of illustrating comics. They even draw each others iconic Dark Horse characters!
Greg Spalenka (professional artist in publishing, film and higher education, Sandman, The Golden Compass, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader), moderates a panel discussion on art career sustainability. Learn strategies on how to create income from your talent on your own terms. Panelists include Ciruelo (quintessential dragon artist, patrons include George Lucas, Christopher Paolini, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Steve Vai, MTG, Tor, Ballantine), Daniel & Dawna Davis (artist/designers of Steam Crow, publisher of monster themed items, books, prints, clothing and the Monster Rangers), Shiflett Brothers (award-winning sculptors of comic and original designs, Marvel, Oddworld: Abe’s Odysee, Verotik comics, Moore Creations), and Jacquelin de Leon (Illustrator, comic artist, DC Comics, artist entrepreneur, and influencer through Instagram and her Youtube channel).
Graphic Novel or Illustrated Book: You Make the Call • 4:00pm – 5:00pm
YouTube Link: https://youtu.be/unL_JYQWhGI
The debate has raged for years, and now the last few year’s liveliest panel debate returns for another round: Is a 200-page comic story a graphic novel? Or is it a long comic book? Is a novel that is 100% filled with illustrations a graphic novel? Or is it an elaborate picture book? A new wave of profusely illustrated books has entered the fray, including Super Catchy by Rick Veitch, Timeless by Armand Baltazar, and Doctor Cthulittle by Mark Wheatley and G. D. Falksen, among others. Join the discussion as our all-star panel explores the exciting new developments and the history of this field!
Comics Experience founder Andy Schmidt (Marvel, IDW), Comics Experience creators workshop director Bon Alimagno (Marvel), and artist Sanford Greene (Bitter Root) present an invaluable guide to breaking into the industry! You’re willing to do the work, but the world of comics is tough to crack into; join these pros as they break down the walls and offer practical advice that will jumpstart your career!
Legendary indie comics creator Brian Pulido (creator/writer of Lady Death, Evil Ernie) has over 28 years in the game and has raised over four million dollars for comics via Crowdfunding in the last five years. Want to know how it is done? Pulido details his eight rules on how to thrive in the ever-changing landscape of indie comics. Get all the inside info on how to get ahead of the pack!
The Most Dangerous Women at Comic-Con: Building a Better Heroine • 6:00pm – 7:00pm
YouTube Link: https://youtu.be/Gidmz5GZcmc
More heroines are being represented in the media, but are they well-rounded characters or bland beings going from point A to point B without any distinct traits or personalities? Why might writers shy away from writing women as fully-developed people? Here to discuss everyone’s favorite female/nonbinary characters of the past decade, and what we can learn from them, are women dangerous in their own right: Charlie Jane Anders (author of Victories Greater Than Death, co-host of Our Opinions Are Correct podcast), Tamara Brooks (writer for DC Universe, host of Tales from the Tapes podcast), Dani Fernandez (host of Nerdificent podcast, writer for Girls on the Bus), Hanh Nguyen (Salon’s Senior Culture Editor, Television Critics Association board member), Diya Mishra (writer for Masters of the Universe: Revelation), and moderator Katrina Hill (author of Action Movie Freak, 100 Greatest Graphic Novels).
Austin Osueke (publisher of eigoMANGA) will moderate a series of Q&A sessions with comic book writers Jeff Loew (The Frog Princess), Brandon Chen (Somnia), Mohammad Umair Ali (Somnia), MinoMiyabi (5D), and Natashia McGough Clarke (Danity Kane). They will discuss the fundamentals of comic book outlines, scripting, writing, and overall storytelling.
Authors behind graphic adaptations of cultural pasttimes, historical figures, social justice movements, and autobiographies discuss their process. How does one adapt “real life” into a comic format? How is it different from fiction? In what way must art stick to (or differ from) “authenticity”? Featuring Fred Van Lente (The Comic Book Story of Basketball), Tom Scioli (Jack Kirby), David F. Walker (The Life of Frederick Douglass), Mikki Kendall (Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists), and Malaka Gharib (I Was Their American Dream), moderated by Ten Speed Press associate editorial director Kaitlin Ketchum.
Wei Xu, Ph.D. (artist, mathematician, computer scientist, author) will talk about how to construct shapes by controlling angles instead of distances. This observational drawing process takes advantage of geometry principles and computer graphics techniques to dramatically reduce drawing complexity. A demo is provided.
Wanna learn how to make a comic? Where to start? How panels work? What does one letter with? Does it need to be in color? And much, much more! Acclaimed industry pro Brian Haberlin (Spawn, Witchblade, Sonata, The Marked) will take you through the process using his Image Comics creations as examples and will touch on the whole process from soup to nuts! Join for a LIVE Q&A session after the panel. Details at https://www.instagram.com/brianhaberlinofficial/
The Coronavirus outbreak has affected so many individuals and businesses financially in the creative industry. This panel will be discussing some of the financial, tax, and credit issues that creatives are experiencing, including resources of where to turn to for help and support. Panel guests include Sean Nisil (certified financial planner), Neil Narvaez (owner, Professional Tax Services, LLC), Eric Atilano (loan officer, C2 Financial), industry professionals Chris Neuhahn (5-time Emmy-award winning producer & animator), and Alonso Nunez (founder and art director, Little Fish Comic Book Studio). Moderated by Karen Martin (The Princess Project).
Do you have a story to tell? Would you like to see more characters and stories that relate to you? Maybe it’s time to write your own! Led by Barbra Dillon (editor-in-chief, Fanbase Press), join Lisa K. Weber (artist, Hex11), Kelly Sue Milano (writer, Hex11), and Lynly Forrest (editor/producer, Hex11), along with indie creators Alston Novak (artist, Glitch), Travis Rivas (writer, Super-Abled Comics), and David F. Walker (writer, Bitter Root) for a discussion about creating comics outside the mainstream and tips on exactly how to do it.
Whether biography or memoir, the comics medium has proven to be one of the most compelling formats for personal stories of triumph and tragedy, with numerous books having shown up on the most prestigious of bestseller lists. However, personal triumphs don’t only have to find their way to the page through true life stories, and Oni Press hosts a conversation with creators whose work has both represented and been inspired by the lives behind them. Join Oni Press creators Maia Kobabe (Gender Queer: A Memoir), Joel Christian Gill (Fights: One Boy’s Triumph Over Violence), and Katie Green (Lighter Than My Shadow) for an empowering discussion on therapeutic nature of the creative process. Moderated by Shawna Gore (Oni Press, editor).
Creative Renaissance: How to Thrive When Its Hard to Survive • 1:00pm – 2:00pm
YouTube Link: https://youtu.be/0Cj1cO0Z39k
The continued need for social distancing has brought about a creative renaissance in the digital space. Join the conversation with Joe Barrette (Creators, Assemble!), Phil Jimenez (Creators4Comics), Alonso Nunez (Little Fish Comic Book Studio), and Kit Steinaway (Book Industry Charitable Fund) to hear how nonprofit organizations are working with comics creators to support each other and their communities during these challenging times. You will hear about new learning opportunities, collaborations, how to forge new creative friendships in a time of global disconnect, and what it means to find your tribe through fandom and shared passion. Moderated by Dan Wood (comics librarian, Escondido Public Library).
The all-stars in storytelling from Image Comics–Ed Brubaker (Pulp, Cruel Summer), Chuck Brown (On The Stump), Alex de Campi (Dracula, Motherf**ker), Matt Fraction (Adventureman), and Emma Kubert (Inkblot)–reveal their secrets behind creating some of the best stories in comics. Moderated by Marla Eizik, executive assistant at Image Comics.
Did you know that comic book colors used to be hand-separated by an army of women in Connecticut? That “benday dots” are named after a real person? Or that there’s a technical reason African-American skin tones look wrong in old comics? Geek out on the hidden corners of comics history, from the Golden Age up to today’s digital era, and learn about the craft of coloring with color artist Marissa Louise (Amethyst), comics creator Mildred Louis (Astrea’s Nexus Studio), researcher and essayist Zoë D. Smith (University of Chicago), and master letterer/former DC production artist Todd Klein (Sandman). Moderated by author Anina Bennett (Boilerplate).
Do you know how comic books are colored? Learn about the creative art of comic book coloring as Hi-Fi’s Brian Miller (The Flash) and Kristy Miller (Femme Magnifique) demonstrate the step-by-step transformation of a comic book page from black and white to full color. Learn professional techniques for flatting, rendering, color holds, and special effects, along with top digital coloring tips.
Image Comics creators Kieron Gillen (Ludocrats, Die), Stephanie Hans (Die), W. Maxwell Prince (Ice Cream Man), Mirka Andolfo (Mercy), and Sanford Greene (Bitter Root) enjoy a free-wheeling conversation on immersive, authentic worldbuilding technique in comics. Moderated by Marla Eizik, executive assistant at Image Comics.
Creating and Drawing the Action Comic Character With Monte Moore • 2:00pm – 3:00pm
YouTube Link: https://youtu.be/7u9VzywWAg8
Panel discussion and drawing demonstration with veteran comics industry artist Monte M. Moore on how to create unique comics characters of your own as well as drawing suggestions for creating dynamic comics action-oriented illustrations. Monte will cover basic concepts and fundamentals as well as integrating character illustration into a cover layout for a published comic book cover. See Moore at https://linktr.ee/studioscarab
What do you think about our chosen Comic-Con@Home comics craft panel highlights? Tell us about any panels we might have missed and what your must-see panels are in the comments!