Comic Book Bootcamp: Back to Basics

No, I’m not talking about the marching and shouting, drill sergeant type of bootcamp. This is the Ty Templeton’s Comic Book Bootcamp, from the people who brought you Ty Templeton’s Writing for Comics and 4 perspectives on Inking, The Toronto Cartoonist Workshop.

I meant to write up my trials and missteps after the end of each class but between life and trying to find a job so I can continue life, I’ve fallen a little behind. Today I bring you class 1 (and hopefully by tomorrow class 2), for your enjoyment, and perhaps to my embarrassment.Some of these recaps were previously posted on

In one small paragraph, I have already broken rule #1 of what I like to call Ty Templeton’s laws of creating comics.

Do not be self deprecating.

If you start your idea pitch with “It’s not that good but…” or “I don’t really like it however…” Ty Templeton will call you out on it. Everyone is creative and everyone has good ideas. If you don’t believe in your own pitches, why should anyone else? Good question.

After a short introduction to the history of comics (and cave paintings), we were introduced to law #2.

There is no such thing as talent

What does this mean? PRACTICE! Everyone can learn the tools to be a good writer or a decent artist. Ty thinks artistic skills are like an alphabet–When you learn the basics, they can be put together to make pretty much anything.

But don’t take my word for it. Here’s a clip of a similar lecture from Ty.

For many of us, this is our first plunge into the world of creating comics, so Ty starts with the basics. We enter the WORLD OF THREES

The Unified Field Theory of Writing
1. What is Normal?
2. What Changes Normal?
3. What Results from Changing Normal?

3 Kinds of Drawings
1. Close-up
2. Action (medium shot)
3. Establishing shot (wide shot)

3 Reasons
1. Entertainment
2. Emotions
3. Information

3 Kinds of Stories
1. Plot
2. Tale
3. Character Study

We were introduced to the building blocks of all things artistic: the cube, the sphere, the rectangle, and the cone. This was only the beginning. In the next 2 hours we tried our one hand at traveling through space by jumping the gutter, reading panels left-right and top to bottom, and drawing cracker boxes in perspective. Walking out of class 1, there was no doubt you’d be getting your money’s worth. The class is so packed with information that I could probably write 3 or 4 more post on just this first class. Instead I hope you’ll all come back to read Part 2, in which we learn about joints, Ty and I argue about the political correctness of the word midget, and we find out how to carry a reader’s eye across multiple panels. Excelsior…and such.

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