Being creative is not, generally, a passive skill. It is a kind of muscle that must be challenged, worked out, and developed, else it becomes stagnant. One of the best ways to build your creative skills is to learn new things. Having new tools in your toolbox can really change how a project might develop.
One set of tools I found while searching the internet is free, open course materials provided by MIT. Just hear me out on this, I am serious. It is called MIT OpenCourseWare and it is a publically accessible collection of material for different classes that have been on offer at MIT going back at least a decade or two. They have all the big sort of stuff you’d expect from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but a surprising amount of other material. Material that might have value for webcomic creators.
Courses for Artists
There are a number of good art courses archived on the site, but my number one pick is “Art of Color.” It is described as a seminar that “introduces, through studio projects, the basic principles regarding the use of color in the visual arts. Students explore a range of topics, including the historical uses of color in the arts, the interactions between colors, and the psychology of color.” For anyone making and coloring webcomics, stronger color-usage is absolutely a way to up your quality. This course lays out a lot of useful stuff. It is dated 2005, but I doubt color theory has changed that much in 15 years.
There are courses on subjects like architecture as well, such as “The Architecture of Cairo” that covers the history of architecture in a specific nation, which should have plenty of great references to work from. There is even a course on digital typography. Not bad, huh?
Poke around the Fine Arts course listing and see if you find something useful. If you do, let us know!
Courses for Writers
It’s not all visuals on offer through MIT’s free, open courses. Creative writing is on offer as well, which should help you to become a better storyteller. One course I am particularly interested in (for obvious reasons) is “Writing Science Fiction.” The course is only about 4 years old but features a lot of great material including stories to read.
There is a whole array of courses themed around creative writing that you can dive into. Many of them may be workshop-based, but there is still reference material to be had.
What is particularly interesting is a few comedy-based classes. If you are doing a comedy comic, maybe some examples of comedic structure and beats might prove particularly useful. The “Comedy” class, dated to 2016, looks like it might prove to be a good start.
Courses for Marketing
There are a lot of business courses represented on the open course listing, and sure, they may not seem as immediately useful to creators, but they can be. Most webcomic creators wear multiple hats as creators, but also as marketers. Who else is going to sell your work to the public? These courses should have some solid fundamentals to help you better understand how to market your work.
One such course, “Entrepreneurial Marketing” seems like it would have some solid ideas worth checking out. Webcomics are a business, after all, as much as we would like them to not be.
Time to Learn
As you can see, there are a lot of courses on offer through MIT’s program. What courses do you see that might prove interesting or useful? Please take a look and share some with us.
Also, I just wanted to share this totally rad, 2002-style image again. The Comicadia Herald: We’re bringing Geocities back one article at a time.