Live Encore: Drawing for Stories | Ira Marcks | Skillshare

Live Encore: Drawing for Stories

Ira Marcks, Cartoonist / Author

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7 Lessons (37m)
    • 1. Introduction

      1:30
    • 2. Developing Your Style

      5:07
    • 3. The Elements of Story

      5:48
    • 4. Each Panel’s Narrative Purpose

      4:48
    • 5. Q&A on Drawing Your Comic

      6:43
    • 6. Q&A on Ira’s Career & Process

      11:49
    • 7. Final Thoughts

      1:21
24 students are watching this class

About This Class

Draw comics that look great and tell a deeper story with the help of cartoonist Ira Marcks! 

Ira Marcks believes that the story behind an image is just as exciting as the image itself, and in this 35-minute class—recorded using Zoom and featuring participation from the Skillshare community—he shares the tools and tricks that help him develop comics that help readers connect with deeper narratives and themes. 

To start, you’ll get a deep dive into the foundational elements of good stories, and see how Ira incorporates them into the comics he draws. Then you’ll see the behind-the-scenes steps from the idea to the final art, including how each panel can be used to push the narrative forward, what ends up on the cutting room floor, and more. Feel free to draw along, or just learn some new storytelling skills to incorporate into your next project!

Along the way, you’ll get to hear from Ira about the artists who inspire him, his creative process, and some sneak peeks of his upcoming graphic novel, Shark Summer

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While we couldn't respond to every question during the session, we'd love to hear from you—please use the class Discussion board to share your questions and feedback.

Transcripts

1. Introduction: When I think about telling a story, I think about having a conversation with an audience. When I consider the theme I want to express in my story, I think about how does this begin a conversation with the reader. My name is Ira Marcks, I'm a cartoonist and illustrator. Today's session is called drawing for stories because to me, the story behind the image is just as exciting as the image itself. We're going to be creating a comic and talking about the process that led to the final art. We're going to make a four panel comic about animals and relationships. That's the two themes that we're putting together here. All you need is a pencil, a piece of paper, but you don't really need too many tools here. I hope this class gives students a little insight into all the work that happens behind the scenes when you're trying to come up with a story that's worth reading. It doesn't happen right in the drawing. There's notes and all kinds of ideas that you might not use in the final art that lead you to that final image. Hopefully this lesson will give you some inspiration and help you push through the struggle and the creative process to create exciting and engaging comics and stories. Thanks for watching my Skillshare live class, recorded with participation from the Skillshare community. Let's get started. 2. Developing Your Style: If you are just joining, my name is Tiffany Chow and I work on Skillshare's community team, and I'm going to be hosting today's session with Ira. Ira, super happy to have you here today. Thanks for making this work. My pleasure. Awesome. Will you tell us a little bit about who you are, what you do, why you are excited to join this live event today, and what we will be learning with you? My name's Ira Marcks. Hopefully we have some younger viewers here or people that are just getting into art, and what that means to them, and maybe pursuing a career in it. I'm going to talk a little bit about myself growing up. If you go to iramarcks.com right now, all the work that's up there is the books I've made, and you can read them all for free just because I've retained to the rights to most of my stuff, and I like the idea of being able to share a lot of this stuff. They're all science fiction, fantasy, magical, world-building. If you've taken any of my classes, you probably get the stuff I'm into. I just want to talk a bit about some of the artists that looking back now really influenced me when I was creating some of these projects. One of them is Jamie Hewlett. I'm about 38, almost my birthday's pretty soon. I was a mid '90s kid. Jamie Hewlett did this comic called Tinker, which was very punk rock, and had lots of cool little details. I was just obsessed with his drawing style and the energy of it. It was a really underground comic. It wasn't like a Marvel or DC, Superhero thing, it was just about what's the anarchy. Jamie Hewlett went on to do the Gorillaz. So he was a multi-media artists from the beginning. Now he does music videos, and other stuff like that. Another influence of mine is Mary Blair, who you probably recognize the characters and some of her work in the slide. She was a concept artist for Disney back in the heyday of the '60s. She worked on Peter Pan, and there's some Cinderella art. I loved her stuff not only for the aesthetic, she worked in Washington Watercolor, which I've done a lot with too, but the kind of world-building that she could fit in a single image was always really inspiring to me and rides a Disney World. It's a small world after all. That's all her aesthetic. I guess what I'm getting at, is the artists I love really started small, worked on pencil and paper, but their world-building and their imagination exploded into other forms. Tim Burton, another big influence of mine. He started drawing little weird doodles and writing poems like things I love to do. But then eventually turned into an animator at Disney, and then went on to have a movie career. Looking back now, I think what I loved about all these people is their drawings always told stories. They were never just a single contained image. It was always something bigger. You can see that in my work, there's a lot of cinematic energy. These are three panels from one of my comics called the Exploit. It's a science fiction adventure. Something I want to talk about today is, when you're looking at a series of images, like a comic, or like frames for an animation, or even like a series of photos, thinking about what your imagination is doing, and how you're engaging with those images. These are three images that are telling a story, but your brain has to fill in the gaps of how these images connect together. That's the big topic that we're getting into today. We're going to draw, but we're going to think about how our minds and imagination engage with the drawings, and what it means to put pictures in order to tell a story. That's why I'm calling the session, drawing for stories. We're going to hop into what the project is. I've got some slides that are going to have some notes on them and what not. You could do this two ways. You could just draw and work right along with me, or you could just take some notes while I'm talking, and then do the project yourself later. Because even a really simple comic can take a little more than the 20 minutes we have. Gathering all your ideas, getting them out of your brain onto the paper, that's always a giant first step. If you even accomplish that journey in our session, it's going to be great. Today's little project we're doing is we're going to make a four panel comic about animals and relationships. That's the two themes that we're putting together here. All you need is a pencil, piece of paper, you can grab a sharpie if you want to ink your line-work later, but you don't really need too many tools here to participate. I'm showing you right now the final comic that I made based on this project. We're going to work backwards. You can see some animals here, you can put these images together even though there's no text, and you could get a sense of the story, you could get a sense of what I mean by the theme of relationship as well. But like any thing I do and the things I respect from the creative individuals I love is, their style seems you can do it a lot of the time. Mary Blair works in really basic geometries, but there's a lot of effort that goes behind that, and the idea of taking out what you don't need. It's such advanced, elevated aspect of art that I just think a lot about as I grow up. 3. The Elements of Story: All right, if you were to think about storytelling and just break it down into its simple form so you have characters you have setting and then you have the theme of any project. We're going to talk about these elements and how they relate to my creative process with making a silly comic here. Characters, I've got the alligator and a bird, and I chose the animals because they come with preset personalities in way, especially for home studios like Disney, we grow up with these cartoons that set the tone for what a character is like. If I say vulture, you have a personality that's associated with that already. Maybe a bird feels, you know, light and feathery and hairy, and that becomes part of the personality traits of the design. An alligator and a bird. I pick these two characters because storytelling works best with contrast. If there is a clear difference between the characters, that really helps people engage right off the bat. If the characters are similar, you'd understand how they get along really well. But part of this story I'm telling is how do we figure out, how did these characters become friends or developed a positive relationship? Contrast can be a narrative thing, but it can also happen visually. Just in terms of the scale of these characters, the gator is so much bigger than the bird. You have totally different forms for them, different shapes along the body and again, these are just really simple character designs, they're just a series of ovals and triangles. It's not really about having advanced technique, it's just about knowing what you want to say. I'm speaking from the collective consciousness of what an alligator and bird represents. That's my character choices for this story. Now setting, I decided to put the alligator and the bird in a swamp, because the swamp just has a certain feel and also you can draw it in a certain way that influences how people respond to the narrative. If I set this in a jungle, the jungle is really busy and you think of a jungle as being more full of life. But I wanted this to feel like a lonely start for the alligator in panel 1. A swamp feels like that. It's just got a horizontal line, really tranquil, flat with a couple little gnarly branches sticking up out of the water. Trees that are past their prime, they don't have leaves on them anymore. The setting feels lonely and that influences how you respond to the character. I think like a director when I'm drawing, if you've ever seen a play or a film, obviously all of these things are imaginary settlements. There's all kinds of creative thoughts that goes behind what's happening in the background, as well as what's going on in the foreground. Characters setting and then theme is that extra level up step, that not everybody takes. That's where this becomes a story. A story is always about something, that's why we respond and relate. That's why we have movies or books that we love more than others because they speak to a theme that we believe in. I'm going with the idea of mutual benefit. If you know a little bit about animals, a relationship between an alligator and a bird can be mutually beneficial because alligators will open their mouths and birds will fly in and pick the food out from their teeth. That's a mutual benefit. The bird is getting a little snack and the alligator is getting his teeth brushed. That's like a little thing that popped into my mind when I was thinking of what are animals and the relationship that they can have, think about right off the bat when you see these two animals, you don't think how they could benefit each other because one is so small and one so big. I have these ideas for things because I'm really thinking of what's the point of view of the story. If you're just trying to watch something happen without engaging as a creative, you're not really finding the point of view in it, you're just sort of observing. I dig into the topic of my comics by trying to figure out what's the alligators point of view in the situation and what's the bird, how does that change from panel to panel? Point-of-view is a big part of how to make an engaging story with your drawings. Now that I've gone through all that process and you look back at my comic, you can see all of these points I hit on like whatever the million things I just said, could have forgotten now. But you can look at this work and see the choices I made panel 1, the alligator alone in the swamp, lots of empty space around it. Just a little bit of texts because if you don't need words, don't use them, let the reader pull this stuff out of your art as much as possible. You're noticing panel 2, I'm showing the bird. Their point of view in the swamp is, they're not lonely, like, they're terrified because there's this other mean pointy nose birds following it around. Then you get to panel 3. I'm creating a little bit of tension for the reveal. In panel 4, you have the bird landing on the unseen gator and I'm really focused in on the spikiness of the tail, which implies like its sense of danger that's keeping the evil birds away. By panel 3, you might not be thinking about it, but you're responding to the trouble the bird might be in and that helps you understand their point of view and engage with the difference in scale from the birds point of view. Then panel 4, it just all ties up. It's really fun when a story has a happy ending and it's a happy ending that makes sense. It's not just a happily ever after for the sake of it, it's like we're seeing that the alligator is happy to have a companion and the bird is happy to be safe from the evils of the swamp. That's a simple story and you could expand this. You could add panels between these. You could tell maybe the whole story in one or two panels. There's different ways to simplify or lengthen a story depending on what style of art you like to work in. Hopefully you've got some ideas of some characters in your head that you want to work with. You can work with up to four panels. I probably wouldn't go further than that because like I said, editing is good so cut out ideas that are unnecessary. This comic was actually like seven panels longer originally, but I shortened it and it works just as well. It's probably even better because you can just get right in and understand what's going on quickly. 4. Each Panel’s Narrative Purpose: Now I'm going to show you the behind the scenes process, behind making this comic. You can start on your panel 1, and I've just got a little description in there to remind you what I was thinking when I was creating my first panel. If you want to follow that, that's cool. We're introducing the character here, we're zoomed out, we've established a setting. We've hinted it an emotional state for the character. Hopefully you're invested in their journey. Then we cut to panel 2. Now we're changing the point of view with mine. I get a lot of narrative muscles built up, like I spent all of today working on a book. This has been in my brain all the time. Your story might be a single point of view and it could be simplified. That's fine. But for me, I'm jumping to the bird's point of view and we're seeing how that character feels in the moment and it's very different than the alligator. Again, creating contrast with your story. Maybe you're telling a story about you and your cat in your home being cooped up for the last three months, how's your relationship developing? This could be a panel where you introduce how the cat sees things. Then you can reconcile that in the next two panels. You're starting panel 2 or if you're taking notes about what your panel 2 might be like, this is where the things start to come together and now we have two panels to be like, ''Okay, how's this all going to relate?'' You're creating a conflict or a challenge for yourself to resolve over the course of your story. Every story is like a puzzle. You come up with these ideas that are really cool, but then you've got to sit down and figure out how it all fits together and creates a satisfying whole. Think of that with your panel 2. Why don't we move on to panel 3 and see how you take these two characters and develop the story further? Okay, at this point you should want to know what happens next with your story. If you've set it up right, then the appeal to read on is that you've created like this interesting mystery here or some tension. Now, at this point I'm jumping right to the part where I could show a panel where the bird sees the alligator then decides to land, but we already know who the alligator is, understand what an alligator looks like. I felt confident enough that I could like zoom right in on something, close up. That's something you've got to think about with comics and panels. The frame is, you as a director, you're telling the viewer where to look. Panel 1 we're zoomed way out. We're seeing the sense of things then panel 2, we zoom in a bit, panel 3 we're really close. This might be a panel where you focus in on a more closer version of maybe a character's face, what their hands are doing, introduce us to a new aspect that's maybe a little more intimate. Here we see not the whole alligator, because we already know what it looks like, but just the tail. I'm having you focusing on, the cute appeal of the birds funny little leg landing on the gator's little spike. It's cute, but it's also maybe a little dangerous, like if I drew this differently, it could feel really dangerous. I like that cartooning can do that. You can imply real-world danger with a simple and a silly drawing. That's the way you can talk to kids with your art about deep concepts. I'm doing that a bit with this panel hinting at danger and making you really want to know how the story is going to resolve. I'm doing it with more of a dramatic story. Maybe you're doing a gag comic. It could just be the setup to a joke that pays off in panel 4. You don't have to be as heavier as I'm being maybe. But that's how I like to work. These are the types of stories I like to tell. But if you want to tell the joke, that's just a simple joke, that's totally fine. But what you're doing in panel 3 is setting up for the reveal right now. As you saw, we have the nice resolution. I've just framed the characters so you can see how they're responding to each other. The gator has a little tear. He's happy, but he's at the end of the sadness. I think that extra little tear, that idea came to me later. I think it reminds you what the situation was before to have that. If I took the tear out it's almost just if the rest of the story didn't happen in a way because everything's perfect but it's better when there is a little bit of evidence of the journey. The characters have been on with the story like in Harry Potter. Harry Potter has a scar on his face that means a lot. To not have that scar the character's a lot less impactful like that's a reminder of who he is and how his journey and the struggle of it, right? Little details like this, adding in these just little visual elements. Think of how you can bring that into the end of your story here. Yeah, that's the four panel comic. Hopefully, all that inspired some comic with you or maybe ideas for a bigger project. 5. Q&A on Drawing Your Comic: Now we're going to open it up to some questions from the students. Sir, you've told us a little bit about the different artists who've inspired you as you were developing your own style. Where do you find the inspiration for the themes behind your stories? Especially since you said that one of the elements that really is the special source of stories is the theme. So where do you find the inspiration for those? I think that became really prominent for me as an aspect of stories telling was seven or eight years ago, I was trying to sale books to publishers. I was doing a lot of self-publishing and I wasn't making a lot of money with my art. So I was working in schools a lot because I still wanted to be in a creative artistic book related field. So I'm like, "Oh, well I can teach cartoon and comics in classrooms till I get my career going." I would talk to a lot of kids. In the past, I've met thousands of kids a year and talked to them about the books and things they love. They always talk about the themes or the things they really jumped to, whether they know it or not. They might talk about, "Oh, I love Harry Potter or I love Bone", which is a comic book by Jeff Smith that I loved growing up. You love the characters in them, but when you're reading them, it's the journey of the characters that you're really responding to. Talking to kids I started to really realize that it wasn't so much about the plot or whether I was telling a story set in space, or in the desert or whatever, but it was what was the journey of the characters? What was I representing with aspects of their lives, things that changed and conflicts they encountered and so theme just became the foundation. Which is just true of storytelling, it was just taking me a long time to maybe realize that. Because you get caught up in the fun of the details of drawing and coloring and software and all the cool things that make us want to draw. But without a strong theme, a way to relate to the characters, your story is just not really going to connect with people. One of the questions from the audience is that sometimes others don't understand the message that this person is trying to get across when they're illustrating. Have you learned some tips and tricks for getting better at communicating that clearly, especially in a really truncated amount of drawing like in a four panel comic? Yeah. Well, you know experience, just doing this all the time. Like I said even making this comic, I've been doing comics forever, I still edited out stuff that I didn't need because I'm always thinking, and I'm thinking this not because it's a fun challenge to think about how your work is communicating with somebody. So if you can put yourself in a place where you're like, my goal with this comic is to connect with people, to meet them on their end and not have them meet you because there's so much art in the world. You've got to really give people an opening that's appealing. If your story is so specific to you that you're the only one that's going to get it, that's just the truth of it, and you'll have to deal with that. If people aren't connecting, it's because you're just not letting them in in the right way. So make little changes, shorten your stories. Instead of having a long buildup if you're trying to do some fantasy world building, jump right into the character's point of view. What's their struggle? Don't set us up with like, "The dragons were born in the volcano and you need to know that five million years ago this happened." That's fun, but that's the frosting on the cake. So I think a lot of people, at least people like me, get caught up in world-building and appeal of aesthetic and what we want our stuff to look like, but we're not thinking of, how do people get into our world? So simplification on all levels, story, visuals, length, try refining these things and challenge yourself to connect in that way. You're just going to be happier because you're changing your point of view on your work and its purpose. I love that. In fact, you mentioned that this started out as seven panels, what we're the ones that you ended up cutting to make it a little bit more getting to the point. Oh, good question. I had a panel that zoomed right in on the alligator and showed him really sad right away. Then I had an extra panel where the bird and the alligator were having more time together. I cut out the alligator, zoomed in panel, I just had it saying sob because I think you get the point that he's sad even though I'm doing a lot in panel 1. It's like here's a character, here's a setting. He's really sad. Here we go. A lot of directors say this sort of thing. Don't talk down to your audience. People are smarter than you are giving them credit for. Especially when they're engaging with visuals because we're so savvy with how we read images. So just get right into it with people. Where I have to convince myself that they're going to get it. So just shorten it. So I had a lot of panels that were the ones I just reinforced an idea that was already hinted at and just became unnecessary. That's the approach I take with any project of any length. The editing process can be the hardest, I think. Yeah. So in this comic that you're showing us, it's obviously just black line work. When do you make a decision to color your comics and how much do you use color to play into the story-line? I wanted to do color with this one so bad I even started coloring it. But just for simplicity, I just left it with the line art. But to me, color is the emotionally of the story. So everything I do is in color. If you go back and look at my books, clearly color is doing a lot of the legwork, which I think is just true. Line art reveals the information which helps you understand what is going on. But if I were to color this, that's how I would push the emotions forward. I get that from watching old Disney movies things like Fantasia, which are not story-driven. They're all about shapes and forms and color, really. So yeah, color is super important to me. Like for example, panel 1, I would use dark subdued light grays and then that spot of green where the gator is just so you're drawn to it and everything around it is really dull. Panel 2 might be red because there's so much energy and danger. Red is a really anxious color. Then when we resolve it in the last panel, maybe I cool down the red and maybe I keep this nice pink color. Even when you watch my classes, all my slides are very colorful. That's my trick of how to get you to keep looking at the screen. So yeah, coloring is the magic hand that's guiding your emotions and your eyes to things. We could have done a coloring for stories lesson instead. But yeah, coloring is super important. I've got a class on color. You can watch it. 6. Q&A on Ira’s Career & Process: On the point of journeys, can you tell us a little bit more about your journey. You definitely given us some hints and to where you find your artistic inspiration. But what were the other steps for you to find your own personal style and the journey to getting there? I made comics, starting when I was a kid. I really loved to work with people. Like I sat in a room and draw by myself a lot, but I'm usually not doing that just for my own personal project. I like a collaboration, so comics was a thing I could draw with kids. Like maybe some of you would fold up some paper with your friends and made a little book and then started drawing characters and you draw panel and somebody else drew a panel or you like, add pages. Somebody does the cover I loved, just the artifact of a book and making them with friends was really important. I always lean towards that storytelling aspect of drawing even when I was really young, when I went to college, I ended up going into graphic arts because I felt like a commercial field at that time was like more safe as a career. I just didn't think my own art style was going to really get me anywhere, but I'm like if I learn graphic design and I can make logos for companies and brochures, for menus, for restaurants, At least I can always have a job. I learned a lot about the Adobe suite. I'm really good with Illustrator and Photoshop and in design so all that means at this point now is I can put my own books together. With all those skills were great but by the time I was a senior, I got back to drawing and I decided I'm going to try to get my art out there and I'll just take whatever job I can get, which I did for like a year then I'm like, wait a minute. My mom was a teacher, so I'm like I can teach, I can work after school programs. I was really lucky to have that catch on and then I started making classes online. Well, this time I was like self-publishing my own stuff and working on some short comics with smaller publishers like anthologies, which means that you just make a short comic for a book and maybe you get paid like a flat rate, but you're in a collection with a bunch of other artists. All that time I was like looking for an agent to represent me. Then a couple years ago, like skill share contacted me and they're like," your classes on here, cool, like You should make some more and we'll market them.'' So I did, and those really helped support me over the last couple of years while I was decided to like make a hard turn to finding like a big publisher. I found an agent and I was like, I don't want to work with a small publisher anymore, I'm going to like use skill shares an income-based and just really try to get one of my like a penguin or little brown or one of these like big publishers to recognize me. Then I feel that for life four or five years and I fail, I just mean I got like a lot of rejection letters that didn't discourage me. But now I have a book deal and a lot of that was because I was able to teach, because like the moral of that story is your skills even when you want to put them towards your own career they can benefit other people. There's so many ways you can do that now. You can work after school programs or you can write grants, I did that. So you can teach more. There's places like skill share. There's opportunities to spread your knowledge even if you're like not a professional at some high level. That's the two sides of it. Like I wouldn't give up either side. I like that it can be balanced. I guess that's my story, finding that balance of like, how can I engage with an audience and also like pursue my selfish goals and they both benefit each other. Our stories are stronger because I teach. Do you road test your designs or comics and if so, with whom? Who's the lucky person who gets to see him first? Right now I'm doing a book with Little Brown Publishing, which is a big publishers, so this was my first real big book deal. In the past, I had editors engaging with my work, but a lot of that content was for academic or school things, projects that were given out for free and there is a lot less editing and people just like my style and we went with it, because there wasn't a market that it needed to be sold to. For now, that's a little different, like the book I'm working on right now, It's called Shark Summer. It's about some kids on Martha's Vineyard. The Summer Jaws is being filmed and I sent my editor my character design, she loved the story, and I sent her the designs as I would draw them. Like if you go to my website and look at the exploit, that book is drawn really cartoony and an adventure time style, really bold, thick lines, simple shapes, characters are flat. For the type of story I'm doing with Sharks Summer my editors like, this style in this narrative don't quite compliment each other. The characters can't look really young. Which characters look young when you draw them simply because they have like maybe a little simple dot eyes. The more detail you put in the face often like ages up, a character design. I had a really challenged myself to find a design that was still in my style, but had a level of detail that made these characters look a little more mature and grounded in a reality. Because the stories is set in a real-time period, the '70s in Martha's Vineyard. That was a real challenge with reaching a bigger market with my work and really thinking about how my art and storytelling compliment each other. Which is something I hadn't really been pushed to do before and it's really hard, but it's fun because you can get sick of how you do things, if you do things your own way a lot in a fun challenge as if somebody would be like, I like your stuff but let's try to craft it a little differently for this project, I love working with editing teams because it just brings your work to a bigger audience, I think, visually with the art style and storytelling. There's the great follow-up question from the audience. What about the times when you don't like the style of your artwork or the direction it's heading, so lets say when an editor is chiming. How do you pivot or what is that process like for you? It's been a long time since I was like, unhappy with the drawing really in a negative way. I meet a lot of young people. I mean, art can be so expressive, especially when you're trying to tell a story with it. Like you're illustrating for a book or like you're making up your own characters. It's hard to show other people when you don't feel it's perfect. But again, you got to treat the audience with respect like you never know how somebody's going to engage with something, so there's always going to be a person that thinks how you draw is cool. Like you're always going to be able to be a role model for somebody out there, especially with social media, you can always find an audience no matter how much of a beginner you really are because it's the journey people are interested and impressed by, so I've just formed my brain around that because I can get really negative with my stuff. The other day I was trying to draw a pose, it was a character was like leaning on their hand, I wanted them to look tired but like emotionally tired, not like physically tired and it was so specific, I just couldn't do it, and I had to like, get up and go walk my dog. You just get mature and develop a bit of distance from your own work so you can walk away and come back and be like reignited to face it again, and if you're just too invested in your work it can harm you in work against you like art can be emotional, but just down. It can't be the end of something. Separating yourself from your work a little bit really helps you develop a better relationship with it, goes for people to. Yeah, absolutely. Thinking breaks is always good little breathers, actually on the point of getting into publishing and doing other things that you can also pursue that. There's a lot of questions coming in from the audience around that. When you approach the publisher, for Shark Summer, how much of the story would you say was already completed? I'll jump back to the agent thing because you often need, you're going to need an agent if you want to talk to somebody like Little Brown, of course, there's other publishers that you could reach out to on your own. But just like your odds are against you if you don't have an agent. Luckily, I found an agent through Kick-starter I did for one of my books that are on my website, they contacted me because I had proved that I could make a thing on my own and it was a successful kick starter. Not crazy, but like just good enough a couple thousand $. I have that representation, I was sending around all fiction and like the stories just weren't catching. Like I said, I had like so many rejection letters. My agent was ready to ditch me because we've failed so many times and I was like, I understand it's been like four years and I'm not getting you any money, so you got to move on, I should move on maybe. But I looked at all the rejection letters and I found times where people were like,'' Oh, really I love the [inaudible] would like to see more.'' But this project is like thumbs down, so like there was a hint of a light in there and I found this one editor who visit Little Brown now and she was like'' We'd love to see more.'' The story didn't really catch so I just started writing to her directly because my agent had got me through that first step, and then I was doing it on my own for a bit, like right at the brink where it was like this isn't ever going to happen. I sent her a bunch of things that were to developed, so that's something you go to think about. Don't over craft something because an editor wants to have a hand in it because the goal is not to create some amazing piece of art. They want to make a book that people want to read and engage with an even most shallow level ever. It's go to like function that way for a publisher, they have to make money on it. That's just the facts of it. I sent her all these things that were too far developed where she felt like she couldn't get in there in like revise them and then I was like, this is failing so much, like what about this idea? Like I had this funny thoughts, like What if kids were making a movie of the summer jobs was coming? She's like, that is like just a great one-sentence idea and then we went from there, so I've spent so many years doing sample pages and all these things, and that accrued me a connection with this person, proof that I could do something, but it's not the hook that got her. This is something I want to make it Skillshare class about it because I have had so much struggle and there's not really a lot of stuff out there on this journey for publishing graphic novels. But there's a fine line of how much you give them and what you allow them to say. After that little pitch, I wrote a synopsis and she was with me every step along the way we wrote the synopsis, created characters, I started scripting the story. We did sample pages and we built a pitch for her marketing team within four or five months of going back and forth, and now she's really engaged with it because she was there in the hallway. I didn't know that was like a way to do it, but I just share that simple idea with her. I'm not saying it's going to come that easy where you just need the elevator pitch. But if you're making connections with agents and editors, don't give them too much, just give them a taste and let them meet you. That's super fascinating to hear the whole process, sometimes we do see the finished product and it seems like it was easy as it sounds. Yeah,I know, because the finished product does not at all the truth of it, That's the magic trick you see, that's not the years of practicing the card trick and like all the people behind stage, like there's so much. Well, that's why I want to make a sculpture class about it, because I think it's really hard to reverse engineer that process by just looking at a book and even reaching out to an artist or an author on Twitter wherever how you connect with people like there's so much to the story that people, I think a lot of up and coming people like we'd like to know. Like I needed to know it. 7. Final Thoughts: I hope today's class helped you make a short little comic inspired by animals, and relationships, and ideas that might have been floating around in your head, just waiting to get out onto paper. If you don't follow me on Skillshare, I have 12 classes on there right now. These are all narrative-based classes. I got a couple that are more just about drawing. If you want to learn how to draw faces, and expressions, and poses for cartooning, there are some you'll see on the screen. Most of these really are about how do we do with that world-building? How do we get ourselves answering these questions? More specifically, coming up with the questions to ask ourselves, "Oh, I never even thought to think of the point of view of the secondary character." These are the things that make you a better storyteller, digging in and knowing the questions you post to yourself that you then answer through your art. That's what these classes are all about. Share projects. I try to do my best to comment. There's some amazing projects made for some of these classes that I'm like, "Oh my god, I can't believe you liked my class that much to make something like that." I really try to take the time, and give feedback, and positive support for people that are brave enough to put their work up on here. That takes guts, to the share work in a class. Cheers to those people. Thanks, everyone, for tuning in today. For more about Ira Marcks and his Skillshare classes, please check out Ira's Skillshare profile page. Bye.