Monday, September 27, 2010

My Trade School -- The Truth

To tell the truth, I dunno if the Trade School would ever work; like it says, I can promise nothing afterwards.  All I can help people do is develop as authors and artists and put them on the right path.

As for teaching time -- it's really about making the students do all the work, and making them think.  Tweaking the sails, so to speak.  For those who want to be turned into clones, I'm of no help -- and for those who don't, I may not be necessary.

So nothing may come of it -- but I could promise a good return if someone wanted to take it on.

My REAL trade school goes like this:

Writing and drawing:  Don't copy -- go out and draw stuff and experience things! You have 10,000 bad drawings/pages in you.  Do 'em and burn 'em (or share 'em in Sketches at

Materials: ( when you want to do gallery work)

Programs:  Art:  GIMP  Layout:  OpenOffice  Files:  Irfanview (PC) Automator (Mac)


Internship:  spend a full weekend at San Diego Comicon, scamming interviews with working people in the entertainment and media industry (BUY THEM LUNCH).

Welp, that's it.  That's my whole trade school, the awful truth.  I just put myself out of work.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Donna Barr Trade School

Now I've had a couple of students serving internships with me from the MCAD, I've had a chance to think about what I can really offer and what I need out of it.

I am no longer going to offer internships; I don't need people to show up here to do scanning and scut work.  I need to be able to pass on years of experience in art, writing and publishing -- and be paid for it.  Instead, I am offering a trade school.

If you're short of time and money and just want to get to work in any end of this industry, consider that I can offer you the same training as a college, with fewer costs in time and money.

Online option:  only three students at a time.

Required programs: Skype, GIMP and OpenOffice required. ComicLife optional.

The details for a one-month course; you must be a legal adult:

1. Costs for either on-line or in-place option:  $4500.00 Paypal (with additional fees) or money order.

In-place option:

2.  If you opt for training with me directly, you will find your own place to live while training, and feed yourself.

3.  You organize and pay for your own travel.  If you are late because you didn't take into consideration the distances or bus routes, you may not change your schedule; you'll have a lot of travel to do in this business and you can't be late for anything.

4.  Courses will consist of five hours per day, with an additional lunch break, from Monday through Friday.  You will have weekends to yourself, but you will be expected to finish all assignments.

5.  The first two weeks will be drawing, writing and comics layout.  The second week will be more full training in open source programs, including the art manipulation program GIMP, the layout program OpenOffice. The final week will be networking, accounting, marketing, small press publishing, cooking and health hints for authors, etc.  

Be prepared for a LOT of work, and no pity if you don't get it done (you'll never get any from a editor).  Time at the beaches and in the forests of the Olympic Peninsula can be earned by finishing projects in time for weekends.  Since I seldom get out to see them myself, I will be willing to provide transportation so I can see them too. However, I am not a hang-out buddy, so don't expect it.   I'm also a working freelance reporter, so I may have to leave you to work on your own; you should have enough independence to work hard without supervision.  Please don't bring up personal or family problems, unless we're just gabbing on beach-runs -- then anything's fair.

At the end of this course, you should have the tools you need to go out and work in the comics industry with fewer expensive or scary surprises.  It will not gain you recognition in academia, unless you think associating with an historically-recognized comics author will do so.  It may not necessarily open any doors for you (although I have a huge list of contacts who will listen to my recommendations), but it will give you the tools for being prepared to do so yourself.

You will also have the right to contact me any time after the class with reasonable, well-thought-out questions about anything having to do with comics, as well as access to my extensive colleague and reader community.  Your performance will count. If you make a bad impression during the course, you can redeem yourself by future life performance; I do not burn bridges, and people can change. Points are given for honest effort.

First person who signs up and pays for this gets to take me out to to the Clallam Bay Inn for fish n' chips and beer and a walk on the beach; no holds barred on the evening's conversation or questions.