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 Scott McCloud's MCAD Class
The Winter List
by March 1
bind polka dot throw
windowseat pillows
Breath(e) print
Butterfly print



Welcome to my, Brandy Agerbeck's, Art/Work blog. About my art and craft endeavors. Here's the archives. Contact me with questions and suggestions. Here's the past archives.

I took Scott McCloud's "Comics: Theory and Practice" class at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design July 22-26, 2002.

I took the class because I thought Understanding Comics was just a fan-fuckin'-tastic book. So smart. And when my friend Dan told me about the class, I was sold simply on the merits of the one book. Besides, Dan told me to go, so he could live vocariously through him.

I read the odd comic book, and feel that there's a comic book somewhere in my future, but by no mean a true comic book afficianado. Considering the common thread in my work is visual communication, often combining words and images and the element of time, a comics class makes perfect sense (despite the initial scoffing of many folks upon hearing I was going out to Minnesota for a week to take a class about comic books).

Those two MCAD
classes were McCloud's first formal teaching experience, but you'd never know it. Scott McCloud was a fantastic instructor. The class was well-structured and designed. The morning lectures were fanastic. McCloud's critiques in the afternoons were insightful, constructive, entertaining and eloquent. He was great at giving criticism according to the person's level of skill, and was good at administering praise and pointing out problems fairly. And between "crit" and the lectures, you can tell Scott McCloud has massive amounts of information in his brain.

Besides, he and his family (Ivy, Sky and Winter) are just good people.

If you have a chance to talk this class, go! Whether you're a comic book zealot (whether you draw like a pro or not), a visual semiotican or designer-type that digs smart images and design, go!

All in all, it was a great experience. Good brain food. Met some snazzy folks. Made some comics and here are a few:

First assignment
Scott said, "Draw a picture of a man wearing a hat. The wind blows his hat off. He picks up the hat and puts it back on his head." Here's mine.


Panel to Panel Transitions
McCloud may have a different name for these, but I lent my copy of Understanding Comics to a friend. There's 6 of them. Here's my take on them, plus my journal notes. Go buy the book to learn more.

Moment to Moment
Action to Action
Subject to Subject
Scene to Scene
Aspect to Aspect


Scott McCloud will appreciate what an info designer I was in my note taking. He usually prefaced my critiques or with "You can tell a designer/info designer did this comic..." He's spot on.


Autobiography in 16 Panels
An exercise in editing and selection. Here's mine:
(click image to open
in new window)


Facial Expression and Body Language


  My Favorite Panel of the Week
The crab with a black eye[stem} cracked my shit up more than anything else I did all week.

First assignment, Part II
Even though my portfolio had next to nothing to do with comics (although it had loads to do with words and text), I asked Scott to take a look at it on the last day.

Before the class, I had it in my mind, that if I were going to draw comics, I was going to draw comics. I had this built up in my head as a herculean task - thus no comics. Must [hand]draw comics. Must be epics. Then on day one, Scott mentioned microcomics (picture a single 8 1/2" x 11" piece of paper, cut in half, folded in half and stapled) . And I thought, "yeah...microcomics." So, I formatted my last assignment as a microcomic. But I was still stuck in the print paradigm, when it came to comics for myself.

Scott was very enthused about a page in my portfolio that was an electronically drawn "Everyman" character. He said, "This has to be a webcomic." Which made a lot of sense in itself, and a lot more sense to me. I think I could make some kick ass hand-drawn microcomics, but they would be much more laborious and less enjoyable, than making computer-drawn web comics that I'd have a lot more fun with and feel like less of a chore. Besides, I could get the ideas out much more clearly and quickly.

So, on my train ride back to Chicago, I started working on that Everyman webcomic idea. First things first, I redid the first assignment in that style:

Go to Scott McCloud's site.
Buy Understanding Comics.
Read Tim Mallos's MCAD Journal of the first week's class. Lots more detail.

See classmate Ciaran's site, UberCybercats.
See classmate Pen's site, Beuna the Bear.
See classmate Casey's site, LaternLight Studio .
See classmate Patric's site, Marvelous Patric.

And stay tuned for my webcomics, working title, Iconophilia.

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