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Scholarship created for webcomics at CCS

Sohmer and Lars, creators of the webcomic Least I Could Do have announce the creation of a new scholarship for a career-oriented webcomicker to attend The Center for Cartoon Studies in Vermont.

Sohmer writes:

I have always been vocal about my beliefs regarding a career in webcomics. It takes a great deal of work and dedication, a greater deal of luck and a myriad of other ingredients to make it work, but it CAN work. A career in this field is a viable option. Like anything else however, an education would provide a huge leg up.

Because of that, and our desire to help others break through, we have decided to create The Rayne Summers Webcomic Scholarship, at The Center for Cartoon Studies in Vermont.

Beginning in the fall of ’10, we will be covering the full tuition for the selected applicant. The applicant who, I might add, is working towards a career in webcomics. Over the course of the next 5 years, we plan on adding 1 student per year, thus by 2015, the Scholarship will be putting 5 students through the program per year.

WARNING: THE COMMENTS BELOW ARE NO LONGER MODERATED. THEY DO NOT REPRESENT MY PERSONAL VIEWS OR ANY OFFICIAL VIEWS OF THIS BLOG.

Community Comments

#1 Tony Piro
November/17/2009
@ 12:20 pm

Wow, this is too awesome! Thanks for posting this Alan.

#2 Les Taylor
November/17/2009
@ 12:32 pm

That is seriously awesome. What a great idea!

#3 Jesse Cline
November/17/2009
@ 12:38 pm

Wow. This is an amazing idea, and is really generous.

#4 Scott Metzger
November/17/2009
@ 1:01 pm

Yeah, it’s very generous – I just checked and tuition is $16,000/year.

I’m kind of curious what the exams are like at the Center for Cartoon Studies.

#5 Garey Mckee
November/17/2009
@ 9:29 pm

Scott, I think it’s an exhaustively long essay question concerning print v. web! LOL

#6 Vince LoGreco
November/18/2009
@ 9:37 am

This is a fantastic idea!

#7 Scott Metzger
November/18/2009
@ 11:55 am

Garey: that is a scary thought.

#8 Ted Rall
November/18/2009
@ 2:12 pm

This is very generous, but this doesn’t include room and/or board. Which means poor would-be cartoonists still won’t be able to attend CCS.

The whole idea of CCS makes my skin crawl, and I’m not alone.

First, they took people’s tuition money for years without being an accredited educational institution…how is that not a rip-off? I think I read somewhere that that’s no longer the case, but still.

Second, the great thing about cartooning is that anyone can learn to do it. Look at me! I can’t even draw, but I still make a living. The idea of professionalizing such a populist artform just sucks and is anti-democratic.

Third, the specific focus at CCS is on art comix. If you are going to open such a school–and no one ever should have–the least you could do is offer a wide curriculum.

But ultimately, it’s the message that only wealthy kids need apply. Gross.

#9 Scott Metzger
November/18/2009
@ 3:07 pm

Iâ??d like to see gag cartooning as part of curriculum.

Gag Cartooning 101: Final Exam

1. Which word is the funniest?

A. Poop
B. Keister
C. Kumquat
D. Kucinich

#10 Lucas Turnbloom
November/18/2009
@ 4:25 pm

Okay Scott Kurtz, what say you?

#11 Scott Kurtz
November/18/2009
@ 4:32 pm

I agree with Ted. On the surface this seems generous but this does not include food, gas, or condoms. Which means only virgins who can afford to feed themselves need apply. Gross.

Plus, let’s not forget that every graduate of the CCS must only make art comix because if they do anything mainstream, their degree disintegrates into black dust leaving behind nothing but disappointment, loss and the lingering odor of brimstone.

The great thing about comics is that anyone can do it. Anyone. I crap on paper every day and get paid for it without a fancy degree. Today at least. Ask me again tomorrow.

the idea of professionalizing this artform is so anti democratic that I’m considering acting for at least one year as the head of a professional organization that represents professional cartoonists (maybe the AAEC) just so I can get on the inside and start dismantling s–t. Ya know, for the sake of democracy and the artform. That’s how altruistic I am.

I’m also considering working for a syndicate or something, maybe as a scout for new talent and then hire on a bunch of people who’s work will never really go anywhere, again, just to stop this professionalizing nonsense that threatens to destroy our noble artform.

That’s what I’M willing to do for these kids, Ryan Sohmer. You b—–d. You sick son of a b—h. How dare you? How DARE YOU, SIR!?

#12 Jesse Cline
November/18/2009
@ 4:45 pm

oh my…that…that was funny as hell.

#13 Ted Rall
November/18/2009
@ 5:03 pm

You don’t have to be from a rich family to become a professional editorial cartoonist or, for that matter, a syndicated cartoonist. But you do have to be from a rich family to attend CCS.

You might think that’s funny. I think it’s disgusting. But hey, one man’s poo is another man’s webcomic.

#14 Scott Kurtz
November/18/2009
@ 5:09 pm

You have to be from a rich family to do a lot of things, Ted. Which is why Ryan is offering to pay for a kids tuition.

That’s why what he’s doing is NICE, not GROSS or UNDEMOCRATIC

Are you just bored? Do you need something to fill your time with? What if I gave you like, weekly assignments to fill your time up so you could feel more productive? Would that help?

Here’s your first assignment. Come up with 10 clever ways to discuss how Obama isn’t getting anything done. Then think of 5 ways to monetize that content.

#15 Matthew Caponi
November/18/2009
@ 5:16 pm

Not everyone is either more than wealthy enough to attend school and pay all of their expenses out of pocket or too poor to go if every single expense is covered. There are surely a large number of possible applicants who maybe could not justify the 16K a year for tuition but could justify the living expenses if they knew they would be getting a free, quality education in a field they love.

#16 Linzi Pelc
November/18/2009
@ 5:17 pm

Ted, how does this affect you in any way? I fail to see what is so disgusting about giving someone a chance to better themselves.

Sure, you don’t NEED to study to be a cartoonist or a writer. You don’t need to, but guess what? Some people actually WANT to improve at doing what they love. What’s wrong with that?

If I was given an opportunity like this I would jump at it.

So do tell, HOW exactly is it disgusting?

#17 Alan Gardner
November/18/2009
@ 5:20 pm

oh myâ?¦thatâ?¦that was funny as hell.

For the record, Scotts “funny as hell” comment was removed because of his use of profanity. I specifically ask people to use their full names and refrain from profanity.

If it can’t be said on network television, please don’t use post it here.

Scott – I have your comment in queue. I can send it to you if you’d like edit some portions.

UPDATE: Scott’s comment have been reposted.

#18 Jason Nellis
November/18/2009
@ 5:21 pm

I work in television. You can say that on television, just so we’re clear.

#19 K. Patrick Glover
November/18/2009
@ 5:22 pm

Not to mention that you could, say, get a job to pay for room and board. Like people who go off to school have been doing since, well, since people have been going off to school.

#20 Jesse Levin
November/18/2009
@ 5:26 pm

“I canâ??t even draw”

You got that right Ted.

#21 Jack Cayless
November/18/2009
@ 5:27 pm

Hopefully I’m not the only one feeling tremendous amounts of envy at the guys that get selected for this program. It’s a great idea!

#22 Scott Kurtz
November/18/2009
@ 5:30 pm

remove the curse words with and then put it back up. Forgot about the profanity thing. Sorry.

#23 David McGuire
November/18/2009
@ 5:32 pm

J—- Chr—, how expensive IS rent and food in Vermont? When I went to college, most of my friends had jobs. I worked in a museum.

#24 Tony Bowman
November/18/2009
@ 5:33 pm

Mr. Rall,

How many scholarships have you sponsored for aspiring cartoonists, or heck, aspiring anything?

Also, how is giving a helping hand, and a rather generous one at that, for education in some prospective student’s chosen field anything but democractic?

Thanks

Tony

#25 Ryan Karl
November/18/2009
@ 5:35 pm

Actually, Ted, the fact that this ISN’T and accredited school is a good thing.
i spend $22,000 that i DIDN’T have to go to one and a half years of the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, a nationally accredited school, just to flunk out because they hired the worst possible general education teachers.

the teachers of the actual art classes, as well as the Media Law professor (an actual copyright lawyer) were phenomenal. but when it came time to take classes like Sociology and Psychology, and most other sciences they were atrocious. My Sociology teacher couldn’t start and finish a sentence in the same language, so EVERYONE was lost.

Further more, from day one at AiFL they said the degree means nothing, the whole point of the program was to put together your Demo Reel/Portfolio. And honestly, that applies here also. if the school was accredited, then it would just be filled with a series of Gen Ed teachers who only half-care about who they’re teaching to. Besides, as with AI, the only thing that matters is the actual work.

#26 Isaiah McAllister
November/18/2009
@ 5:37 pm

I don’t think Ted is really disgusted with Ryan offering the scholarship, I think his problem is with the CCS.

And this may be the only time I say this, I kind of agree with him.

Are you more likely to earn a living if you have a degree from the The CCS. It kind of sounds like attending clown college or hamburger university.

There is just such a wealth of information available about cartooning, and writing that is available at libraries and on the internet, that I just can’t see the need to pay for something like this.
You can be taught how to write and how to set up the perfect punchline. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to be funny.

#27 K. Patrick Glover
November/18/2009
@ 5:37 pm

and for that matter, how is it a rippoff to teach people the various things they might need to know to ply their trade?

I am assuming that a school that teaches how to do a web comic would include classes on various software programs, financial and legal aspects of the business as well as promotion. I may be wrong, but they seem like logical parts of such a program and certainly things that someone might not easily pick up on their own.

#28 Amuh Lumas
November/18/2009
@ 5:40 pm

Really? Complaining that it doesn’t cover housing? Why not tack on books and supplies while you’re making a list? Seriously I wouldn’t expect the scholarship to cover that. You know why? Because it’s already covering FULL TUITION!

Seriously, I had scholarships for AiCh and I still had to work to pay for my apartment, food, vehicle, books, and the never-ending demand for art supplies.

Full Tuition is AMAZING, and I envy the lucky person that gets it.

#29 Bryan Young
November/18/2009
@ 5:41 pm

@Ted Rall Hey have you ever heard of a Florida based lawyer named Jack Thompson? Look into his history. You sound just like him.
You know. Just sayin.

#30 Benjamin "Tovias" McCormick
November/18/2009
@ 5:43 pm

Mr. Rall, I come from a very poor family. When I was growing up there were several times that we all went to bed without eating as we had no money. If not for the food that we grew on our small farm we would have had many more of those days.

When I graduated high school I was able to go to college for two reasons, an academic scholarship and getting a part time job. The scholarship paid for tuition and books, and the part time job paid for living expenses.

I’m sure I’m not alone or special in having to work my way through college with the help of a scholarship. Plenty of us poor folks do it everyday.

I find your statements more offensive than usual, sir. Are you bitter? Do you find yourself troubled watching the world change around you? Do you feel the only way to boost your ego is to start fights on the internet and crap on anything remotely connected to webcomics? Does the future scare you that much?

I have wanted to be a cartoonist all of my life. And, honestly, at one time I looked to you and people like you as examples. I truly hope there is a way for political and editorial cartoons to survive without newspapers. But just being plain mean just to be mean? That, sir, is “gross”.

#31 Anthony Sharpe
November/18/2009
@ 5:51 pm

Excuse me? Mr. Rall?

Is your obvious vitriol towards this initiative because the program is being run by The Center for Cartoon Studies, or is it because it is being funded by someone who has made a living from webcomics and wants to show others how to do so?

As someone who is not a cartoonist, web or syndicated, but rather a consumer of said content, I believe that what Mr. Sohmer and Mr. De Souza are doing is better for BOTH sides of the industry. And it is an industry. You make a living from it, as do others, therefore you are industrious.

Having people who are trained in comicking, be it in a syndicated fashion or on the web who know the business of comics can only help comics as a whole improve and, dare I say, thrive.

In this current social, economic and political climate, it shouldn’t matter the media one chooses to display their talent, merely that they do. It is better to encourage those whose talents and aptitude lie in certain directions to better themselves in that area than it is to “pooh-pooh” something out of hand as “anti-democratic”.

Many that frequent this forum and others besides can see that you appear to have an axe to grind regarding webcomics. While you are fully entitled to your own opinion, such closed minded remarks serve only to paint you in a bad light and make you look foolish in front of peers.

You are an articulate man who has made a living in cartooning, shouldn’t you feel glad that this and other scholarship programs are promoting and bringing more young, talented cartoonists into the open?

Or would you rather yell at the kids to get off if your dang e-lawn?

#32 Michael Koes
November/18/2009
@ 5:53 pm

@ #26 Not to be combative, or to drag this off on a tangent, but I would argue that clown colleges are a bad example of a spurious education.

Sure they’re a punchline here, but in Europe and especially France, clowning schools teach highly technical acrobatic techniques. Not everyone grows up as Dick Grayson and has natural acrobatic ability. You have to learn that stuff somewhere.

In some ways that’s like cartooning or any creative degree. The skills have to be learned somewhere, and for some people that means school. The actual point isn’t the degree and the point isn’t even being taught the craft in most cases. It’s about being in an environment for four years where people take the craft seriously. I think every artist here can agree that their work is enriched by being around other artists.

You might not be able to have success handed to you because you have a bachelor’s in cartooning, but if you really expect that should be the case then there probably isn’t much hope for you anyhow.

#33 Layne Myhre
November/18/2009
@ 5:57 pm

While I’m inclined to agree with Ted that art schools like CCS aren’t particularly necessary or even useful to launching a career in comics, it’s still really classy and really cool of Sohmer to put this bursary out there, and I hope that his intention is not to belittle that gesture. There are WAY fewer options for scholarships in the Arts as compared to the Sciences and Engineering, and it’s always nice to see someone supporting students of the Arts.

What Sohmer is doing with this scholarship is both generous and inspiring, no matter what your opinion of the school in question may be.

#34 Box Brown
November/18/2009
@ 6:00 pm

What’s the difference between CCS and say I don’t know studying fine arts at Cooper Union? Or anywhere for that matter?

#35 Scott Kurtz
November/18/2009
@ 6:01 pm

Yeah, if the debate is whether or not art schools are worth a kid’s time, I can stomach that argument. And I think that a lot of art schools are better than others.

I think everyone familiar with me understands my love for SCAD.

But I went to a University to get an advertising art degree with a bunch of kids that went to get computer science and business degrees. Very few of us finished and those that did are not working in the field they studied.

School is what you get out of it. And we can argue the merits of a University system and whether or not a degree helps you or not these days in certain fields (especially the art field)

But I’m not sure how you can argue that Ryan offering to pay a kid’s tuition is a bad thing. When I was in college, if someone had paid for a semester of learning cartooning stuff I would have jumped at the chance.

#36 Box Brown
November/18/2009
@ 6:03 pm

PS: Plenty of “poor” people go to art school.

#37 Tom Isaacs
November/18/2009
@ 6:04 pm

Dear Ted Rall,
If cartooning school is anything like art school you really don’t need to go. The qualifications don’t mean much, you can learn the skills yourself and you can make a living in art without the education.
That said, art school was a heck of a lot of fun. I received professional guidance from people working in the field in an environment where I was encouraged to experiment and hone my craft.
If someone offered to pay for me to go to Art School (or cartooning school) I would let them.

#38 Alan Gardner
November/18/2009
@ 6:05 pm

Don’t know about you all, but I’m tired of the endless debate. So, I’m suspending all normal rules for the blog. I don’t plan on moderating the thread (or even look at it after posting this).

Please note that the comments left here do not reflect my personal view of webcomics, the scholarship, or comics in general, nor are they official views of the blog. My official position is that I support comics in all its varieties that includes webcomics.

#39 Kevin Zaworski
November/18/2009
@ 6:09 pm

God forbid somebody learns how to draw comics, we all know Ted Rall wants to keep his job.

#40 Jamie Smith
November/18/2009
@ 6:17 pm

Actually some of the most rewarding experiences Iâ??ve ever had in my career as a cartoonist have been at CCS and SCAD. Meeting other professionals and aspiring talents is something you just canâ??t put a price tag on – but the news that attendees were from rich families is funnier than anything Iâ??ve heard in any class on gag cartooning. In fact a lot of what I learned there and from the resources offered on the related National Association of Comic Art Educators website I use in my own cartoon & Comics studio class thatâ??s been taught at our local university now for six years. Some folks benefit from a formal, structured classroom environment, apparently others seem to need to fly to conventions to just get drunk with other cartoonists to learn anything. The criticism Iâ??m reading here might be from simple jealousy or ignorance, but it sounds *exactly* like what Iâ??ve heard all my life from â??very serious grownupsâ? about cartooning in general: and itâ??s worth the sameâ?¦ nothing. Ignore it and do your thing however you can with whatever youâ??ve got. Thereâ??s no shortage of ways and means to learn to be a successful cartoonist, and it all deserves support and encouragement, whether itâ??s from a website, book, class or one-on-one with another artist.

#41 Ray Radlein
November/18/2009
@ 6:20 pm

When Ryan and Lars cure cancer, I can’t WAIT to hear Ted Rall yell at them for putting oncologists out of work.

#42 David Gallaher
November/18/2009
@ 6:21 pm

You know — when I heard this news this morning, I was touched. I wish there was something like that for me when I was going to college — majoring in comics up in Vermont. And, now that I’ve made it — the idea of giving back to the ‘comics community’ is something that I often think about. I think this is a tremendous idea — way to go Sohmer and Lars! This is an inspiration.

#43 Greg Smith
November/18/2009
@ 6:22 pm

Considering that each scholarship is $16K/year and they plan to sponsor up to 5 students (a whopping $80K/year) it means that they have to be bringing in enough income to support both a writer, artist and $80 000 in scholarships.

Which is impossible because they’re a webcomic and everyone knows webcomics (and it’s related businesses, Ryan does run Blind Ferret after all) don’t make money.

#44 Isaiah McAllister
November/18/2009
@ 6:24 pm

Hey, if Ryan wants to give someone a 16,000 dollar scholarship to attend CCS, more power to him.

I guess I’m just more interested in what the curriculum consists of at CCS?

For me personally, I’d rather just have the 16,000 dollars to upgrade my computer, software, supplies, etc. and use it in other ways to promote and grow my webcomic :)

#45 Anthony Sharpe
November/18/2009
@ 6:25 pm

@Alan Gardener: allow me to thank you for saying that you wish to discuss ALL comics. You sir, are both brave and wise, and I hope that all other comments respect your decision.

@Ted Rall: In an effort to better understand your point of view, I began to read the article about you on wikipedia. While it is not the purest of sources, it does have the advantage of being easily fact checked.

You are quoted in this article as saying: “Not only am I grouped with many people whom I admire for their achievements and patriotism, I’m being demonized by McCarthyite thugs I despise.” when nominated to a group of people.

While the quote may have been for 100 people screwing up America, I would like to point out one thing:

You said “I’m being demonized by McCarthyite thugs I despise.”

Wouldn’t you say that your knee-jerk reaction was very “McCarthyite”?

This comes across as double standards, I would have thought that a journalist such as yourself who has travelled the world and been in some real hot spots would be a bit more open minded and with a bit more integrity.

To finish, sir, while I rightly applaud you for going to Afghanistan and the near east, in times of crisis and trouble no less, the fact that you seem to take a childish view about drawings by talented people put online by themselves to make money, puts you across as a curmudgeon and by association, other Editorial and Political and syndicated cartoonists.

PS. I see you host your own comics on tedrall.com. Are you thinking of applying to Messers Sohmer & de Souza? Because the definition of “webcomic” is quite clear. Comics, hosted on a website. I will leave you with that thought, for the next time you kick out at those doing good deeds.

#46 Michael Fry
November/18/2009
@ 6:50 pm

Alan,

I don’t have anything to say one way or the other about the scholarship debate, but I’ve always found it strange your unease with these debates themselves.

They’re always entertaining — especially when they get nasty.

There’s nothing wrong or harmful with a passionate debate.

I’d say just stop moderating.

#47 Chris Eliopoulos
November/18/2009
@ 7:46 pm

I went to an accredited college and learned a lot. Having the skills I learned at that college got me a job at Marvel. I learned how to letter comics on that job. I then taught others to letter and they got careers lettering. I am not an accredited school, but what I taught those people got them jobs. Who was better off–me or the people I taught?

Any learning that someone receives can help them–if they are willing to do their best with it. And anyone that is willing to use that opportunity that Ryan and Lar provide them, I’m sure, will find the where-with-all to pay room and board. My parents barely made enough to get me into a state school and I worked weekends to pay for books, food and transportation, but I made it work. I applaud Ryan and Lar for trying to give back to the next generation and can’t see why someone would rail on them for doing it.

Yelling about someone doing something heartfelt is like complaining about rainbows–“They’re pretty, sure, but you know, it really just means it just rained! Bah!”

And, I know we’ve gone round-and-round with the webcomic debate, but here’s my take:

A webcomic is like the small deli you have around your town. They got some money, rented a sight. Bought all the plates and food and grills and whatever. On day one, they are in the hole for what they put out, but a few people trickle in to try the roast beef special. They like it and tell some friends and the deli starts to make money. Sure, in the first year, they have barely made enough to cover their bills, but word is spreading and the owner is starting to make a few bucks. He keeps a job on the side, but keeps going. In the long run, he grows his deli to the point where he hires a couple employees and quits his other job. He goes on to make an okay living and is happy to keep plugging along. The guy a block over hits it big with his Italian Special sandwich and gets really big, but he’s rare. Then there’s the guy two blocks over who doesn’t offer a very good product and is out of business within the year.

Not all delis and not all webcomics are good but some are. Some earn the owner money and a rare few make it big. But, to scream at people trying to have a career opening a deli would sound insane. I think the same about webcomics. I’m trying to build a business from the ground up. And I’m glad some people out there are trying to help another “deli owner” get a leg up.

#48 Michael Koes
November/18/2009
@ 7:59 pm

Damn it, now I just want a sandwich.

#49 Kris Straub
November/18/2009
@ 8:13 pm

The whole thing’s a moot point anyway, since Sohmer is a webcartoonist and doesn’t make enough money to buy ramen let alone fund a scholarship.

Or if he does, it’s… for some other reason that… proves my point somehow.

Look guys, I’m right, just accept it.

#50 Chris Johnson
November/18/2009
@ 8:41 pm

Hell, I live in Vermont. I sure didn’t go to cartoon school (no doubt I’d be much better if I had, for I’d have started drawing a lot earlier) but I’m a daily (M-F) cartoonist too. I do a comic that’s not for newspapers or the fainthearted and I’m happy with that. If you don’t know it you probably don’t need to.

I may not be Ryan and Lars, but I’m more local to the CCS than they are. If they pay for the tuition of students, I will join with them and help to pay for the food of students out of my own pocket.

I don’t earn money or even advertise on my comic, but my day job is a home business writing audio software, and I am confident I can keep up with the needs of this plan as Ryan and Lars expand it yearly. I don’t know if anybody else proposes to join me in this and don’t care. COUNT ME IN, this is happening in my home state.

It’s possible that knowing how to run small business on a shoestring is even more valuable to a webcomic student than supply of food. I can’t speak for Ted Rall’s newspaper employers, but I’m damned well not going out of business. I don’t believe I’ve ever said an unkind word about Ted Rall, but: let’s compare notes in five years and see who was unrealistic, okay?

I need to get back to comicking- I’m on the road to a con, and don’t draw well enough to be any good at doing it fast, and have only 2 1/2 hours until I run out of Wednesday. I just felt compelled to get involved here as it’s happening in Vermont where I live. Dead serious. If there’s a need I’ll find a way to make it happen. This is a GOOD thing they are proposing.

-Chris ‘jinxtigr’ Johnson, normally in Bellows Falls, Vermont.

#51 Steve Horton
November/18/2009
@ 9:11 pm

Wow, that’s incredibly generous to throw your hat in the ring, Chris.

#52 Ray Radlein
November/18/2009
@ 9:18 pm

Thank you, Chris, for making sure that something good has come out of Iteration #24449 of the Permanent Floating Webcomics-Print Flame War.

#53 Chris Johnson
November/18/2009
@ 9:47 pm

Not a problem. We’ll see if the LICD guys are down with it (though I’m not sure how they could really STOP me if I want to buy their student food- it’s not illegal to buy a student lunch, yet) and even if I’m not really a proper cartoonist per se, I run my own business like a working webcartoonist does, I’m at least as frugal and cashflow-savvy as Dave Kellett, so I KNOW what I would be able to commit.

Hell, at a certain level of committment I would be able to start right now- I know what my cashflow looks like months in advance. But nobody’s asking me to cough up hundreds of dollars by Tuesday…

I’d call it incredibly generous if I was proposing to impoverish myself and risk foundering just to make a point. I am not. I’m familiar enough with my cash-flow to know what kind of additional committment I would definitely be able to take on, and react quickly and decisively to situations.

If you can’t do that, you have no business talking about running a webcomic business anyhow.

Ted Rall would laugh himself sick at my yearly earnings, but he would be stunned at how low my expenses are. I’m not buying any new cars, but I can afford little luxuries. To me, getting involved and helping support a cartooning student is one such luxury. I donate food to my town’s local food shelf, too, but I will never get to know the recipients of that food. I might get to know more cartoonists through supporting a student cartoonist- and they are certainly learning new things about me that wouldn’t have come to light otherwise.

’nuff said!

#54 Matthew Caponi
November/18/2009
@ 10:18 pm

@Chris Johnson Good on you, sir.

At this point, anyone still addressing Ted is wasting their time, he clearly has no plans to respond any time soon. I think he realized taking an Anti-Charity stance is not the best idea.

#55 Jim Thomas
November/18/2009
@ 10:33 pm

When I went to university I earned a small scholarship from a local organization that just barely covered the cost of my books of just the first quarter. I didn’t realize it at the time, but boy did I get screwed. I wish Ted would have told me earlier to tell them to go to hell with their generosity. Every little bit helps, my ass. I think I even sent them a thank you letter, boy I was a sucker.

From what I have seen, no one has been a harsher critic of webcartoonists being professional than Sohmer. Hell he even made web comics commenting on the community and issues he had with it. But clearly, he is also one of the industry’s strongest supporters. 32,000 dollars may not be the total financial burden a student will face when they go to this school, but it is a hefty amount being donated by someone who doesn’t make any money in webcomics (I mean how could he? NO ONE does…right?)

As far as the merits of the school, or art education in general I agree with previous posts. The benefits of one’s education is in direct correlation with how much time and effort he puts into it. That being said, being in an environment with other students and professors all working in one space with one common goal of being better at their particular discipline is invaluable. A student learns as much from the students in their classes as they do from the curriculum. I went to art school for graphic design, in a program that offered no illustration classes. I like being a designer, I went to school to be it. I didn’t go into design because it was close to cartooning, design is its own complicated practice that offers its own challenges. That said, I have been drawing comics as a hobby since for as long as I can remember. In school and in practice, my design and my cartooning exist in their own worlds and because of that I never had the chance to study with other aspiring cartoonists or with professional cartoonists. I can’t help but wonder where I would be if I had a little professional guidance.

#56 Jim Thomas
November/18/2009
@ 10:40 pm

Oh, and since Ted makes so much money (cause syndication=land of milk and honey) and webcomics make fictional money that only unicorns can see, when can we expect the Ted Rall scholarship for editorial cartoonists?

#57 Michael Steele
November/18/2009
@ 10:45 pm

The fact that Sohmer and Lar did this is phenomenal.
A case of Red Bull to each of them for their generosity and nobility!

@Kris Straub
“The whole thingâ??s a moot point anyway, since Sohmer is a webcartoonist and doesnâ??t make enough money to buy ramen let alone fund a scholarship.
Or if he does, itâ??sâ?¦ for some other reason thatâ?¦ proves my point somehow.
Look guys, Iâ??m right, just accept it.”

What, exactly, IS your point?
What difference does it make whether Sohmer and Lar make their money off the sales of the paperback editions of their webcomic, or from merchandise sales of the character(s) within their webcomic or from the ad-space revenue generated on their web-page that people visit to READ their webcomic?
Money is money is money… and a nice chunk of it is being donated to a worthy cause… with more being planned for the future – so evidently whatever source their income is derived from is apparently not drying up for them anytime soon – their loyal fans.
In fact, if they were to start a donation drive on their webpage for contributions to this noble cause, I’m willing to bet dollars for donuts they’d get that much and more solely from their fanbase.
But they aren’t.
This is out of their own pocket.
More power to them, I say.
Are you a graduate of the Ted Rall School of Constructive Criticism?

#58 Tony Piro
November/18/2009
@ 10:51 pm

The art of sarcasm died with the invention of emoticons.

#59 John Eddy
November/18/2009
@ 11:35 pm

@Tony Piro

No… the art of people’s ability to recognize sarcasm died with the invention of emoticons.

#60 Maritza Campos
November/18/2009
@ 11:39 pm

Only evil people pay for other people’s education. What do you need education for? Foo! In my days we learned to cartoon using coals and the back of a shovel.

No, but seriously, this is supposed to be a GOOD thing, right?

Because if it’s not, then we should start beating up those college kids to discourage all that pernicious education.

#61 Tony Piro
November/18/2009
@ 11:55 pm

D’oh! Thanks for correcting me John.

By the way, John, that’s a great website you have. Unfortunately now I’m hungry!… :(

(Did you notice my subtle use of the sad face?)

#62 Mike Wytrykus
November/18/2009
@ 11:57 pm

I’ve always maintained that someone needs to create a tag for HTML just so that there is no confusion.

#63 Mike Wytrykus
November/18/2009
@ 11:59 pm

My previous post should have said a “sarcasm” tag for HTML.

#64 James Ryan
November/19/2009
@ 12:19 am

I thought you guys would appreciate this recent chainsawsuit comic:

http://www.chainsawsuit.com/20091110.shtml

#65 Tony Piro
November/19/2009
@ 1:06 am

Not to mention

http://www.chainsawsuit.com/20091119.shtml

I can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard.

#66 Stephen Beals
November/19/2009
@ 1:20 am

Why does everyone feed Ted the Troll here?

Join a debate club, Ted. Your m.o. is obvious.

#67 Ted Rall
November/19/2009
@ 7:09 am

I said it up there, and I’ll say it again:

Giving scholarship = good

CCS = bad

Please stop conflating the two.

Am I bitter about institutions that give a leg up to the richest members of society? You bet I am.

I grew up poor, worked hard, got a full scholarship to college. Then Reagan trashed financial aid for me and a million other kids, and I watched many of my friends drop out of school because they could no longer afford it. Like a fool, I worked 60-hour weeks to try to make my tuition. But you can’t really work those hours, attend class, and study. So my grades slipped and I got expelled. Like many other people at that time.

I remember what it’s like to be poor, to have opportunities curtailed through no fault of your own. I also remember the advantages that my rich classmates had, such as the ability to work unpaid internships where they were well situated for future careers.

If CCS’ mission succeeds, their graduates will succeed at a higher rate than other cartoonists who couldn’t afford to attend their for-profit institution. This would be bad for cartooning, effectively cutting out people from poorer (and probably more interesting) backgrounds from a highly competitive field.

Fortunately, I don’t think their mission will succeed.

P.S. I’m not quibbling with the scholarship. As Isaiah wrote above, I’m taking issue with the school itself…which is a boil on the butt of American cartooning.

#68 Ted Rall
November/19/2009
@ 7:21 am

@Box Brown: Not only does Cooper Union not make a profit, it is free.

#69 Greg Smith
November/19/2009
@ 7:39 am

Sure it’s free if you don’t count the $14 000+/year they say you should budget for if you’re planning to attend because while their tuition is free, their room and board is not.

#70 Ted Rall
November/19/2009
@ 7:47 am

I was answering Box’s question, which was “Whatâ??s the difference between CCS and say I donâ??t know studying fine arts at Cooper Union?”

CCS does not offer free tuition. Cooper Union does. That is the difference.

#71 Greg Smith
November/19/2009
@ 7:54 am

So then I assume your beef with CCS has more to do with the fact that you believe all education should be free?

#72 Ted Rall
November/19/2009
@ 8:22 am

Education should be free, but no. My beef with CCS is that, even with the paradigm of for-profit education, it is attempting to destroy one of the best things about cartooning, which is that you don’t need a professional degree to become successful at it.

#73 Greg Smith
November/19/2009
@ 8:34 am

If you don’ t need a professional degree to be a successful cartoonist (and I agree with that by the way) then how can CCS “destroy” that? It’s not like I read Sheldon just because I know Dave Kellett has a masters degree.

#74 Maritza Campos
November/19/2009
@ 8:35 am

You don’t need it, but… how does it *hurt* it???

I never went to cartooning school either… but I wish I had. At least I wish I had gone to design school.

#75 Ted Rall
November/19/2009
@ 9:58 am

Look at what happened to journalism. Once big papers started requiring young hires to have J-school degrees, only rich kids became reporters at top papers. And it shows–papers became bland and unchallenging of authority.

If publishers and editors start looking for cartoonists to have degrees, you can guess what will happen. You can already see it in the bland stuff published by CCS grads and their teachers: real purty, nothing to say.

#76 Greg Smith
November/19/2009
@ 10:34 am

“If publishers and editors start looking for cartoonists to have degrees, you can guess what will happen.”

That’s a very big ‘if’. Your beef with CCS is over an event that has not happened yet, and looking at the plight of print cartooning at the moment, never will.

#77 Greg Smith
November/19/2009
@ 10:36 am

Also what evidence do you have that ‘rich kids’ occupy all the senior reporting positions in journalism? Do you have access to every journalists parents income tax returns for the last forty years?

#78 Scott Kurtz
November/19/2009
@ 11:17 am

Don’t worry, Ted.

Those of us in webcomics have learned to levitate by constantly pulling up our own bootstraps. That’s how we earn enough money to start million dollar charities and decide to pay for other kid’s college tuition just because we’re feeling really awesome on a tuesday.

We’ll make sure that cartooning remains safely accessible to the proletariat.

You just rest your little head about that and start working on your next “shot across the bow of other male graphic artists who wallow in self-pity and alienation.”

#79 Linzi Pelc
November/19/2009
@ 11:19 am

Ted…no one is saying that you HAVE to go to CCS to be a comic artist.
Really, now you’re just making stuff up, stop grasping for reasons to complaing about this.

Again, what’s wrong with someone wanting to get better at what they do?

#80 Chad Welch
November/19/2009
@ 11:21 am

I don’t think that the point of these programs is the degree received upon completion of the program. I think its the practical work experience learned therein.

Take AnimationMentor.com. 18k for a year and a half program, where you learn to be a better animator from real working professionals in the industry. And it has nothing but glowing praise from its alumni. I’m considering hitting it up myself.

Again, its not the degree. Its the practical application of the craft you’re learning in an environment where its ok to fail, learn from your mistake, and keep trying. I think THATS what you’re paying for in these programs.

I also attended the Art Institutes schools, unfortunately. The one good teacher I had there was an animator named Yahn Smith. He said, “The only thing a degree gets you in this industry is respect; acknowledgment that you went through Hell and came out ok with a reel to show. Sometimes, you don’t even get that.” :/ How right he was.

#81 John Eddy
November/19/2009
@ 11:31 am

@Ted Rall

Your supposition that only rich kids go to college is an insult to anyone who *isn’t* rich and yet, somehow apparently manages to go to college.

#82 Jason Nocera
November/19/2009
@ 11:33 am

Ted – Your argument doesn’t make any sense.

You’re worried about a school destroying an artform where schooling isn’t needed to become successful. So how can that happen?

Are you saying that an editorial cartoonist with a degree will have a leg up on an editorial cartoonist who doesn’t? That’s strange, I thought the quality of work matters.

Are you saying a comic strip artist with a degree would have a better chance of being syndicated? That’s strange, I thought the quality of work matters.

Are you saying a web cartoonist with a degree would get more traffic and sell more merchandise than a web cartoonist without a degree? That’s strange, I thought the quality of work matters.

Are you saying that a cartoonist who attends this school will have better quality work? That’s strange, I thought that was a good thing. Don’t we all strive to improve the quality of our work?

What exactly is your point? Give me a scenario where a cartoonist who went to school for cartooning will destroy the industry.

#83 Ted Rall
November/19/2009
@ 12:23 pm

My point, Jason, is that CCS is either a rip-off because it doesn’t give you a leg up, or bad for the industry because only rich kids can afford to buy that leg up. Either way, it sucks.

If people really want to support cartoonists, they should provide grants for up-and-coming cartoonists so they can spend more time working on their art and buying supplies.

#84 Linzi Pelc
November/19/2009
@ 12:45 pm

‘CCS is either a rip-off because it doesnâ??t give you a leg up, or bad for the industry because only rich kids can afford to buy that leg up’

WHICH IS WHY A SCHOLARSHIP IS A GOOD THING.

Really scraping the bottom of the barrel now. What are you angry about, really?

#85 Ted Rall
November/19/2009
@ 1:01 pm

@Linzi: What’s weird is that you *aren’t* angry.

#86 Greg Smith
November/19/2009
@ 1:09 pm

Still doesn’t explain how CCS is going to “destroy one of the best things about cartoonings”.

Also you’re acting like CCS and for profit schools are the only place to get an art education and are therefore totally out of the reach of people who can’t shell out $16K/year when that’s not the case. There’s state schools (which give hefty discounts to people in state). Can’t afford the $40 000 to go to Columbia? Then maybe consider CUNY which is $4 600.

#87 John Eddy
November/19/2009
@ 1:16 pm

@Ted Rall

“If people really want to support cartoonists, they should provide grants for up-and-coming cartoonists so they can spend more time working on their art and buying supplies”

So, one can assume that

a) You don’t want to support cartoonists?
or
b) You are going to be setting up a grant for up-and-coming cartoonists?

#88 Linzi Pelc
November/19/2009
@ 1:23 pm

@Ted Rall And WHY should I be angry.

FYI you should think about a career in politics, I’ve yet to see you answer a question directly:

‘Why don’t you like blue?’
‘The question is WHY isn’t it green!’

#89 Scott Kurtz
November/19/2009
@ 1:23 pm

Guys, Ted’s point is crystal clear. Why can’t you guys see that.

1) The CCS is a total rip-off and luring kids into a false hope of getting a leg up when in fact they can offer them NOTHING. It’s a scam. They can teach you nothing.

2) The CSS is unfairly offering only rich kids a leg up, thereby stacking the industry in the favor of the rich and causing the art form to become unchallenging and bland.

3) Cartooning can be done by anyone, even Ted, who’s claims his artworks sucks for the purposes of supporting this point.

4) Cartooning is a very difficult thing that can only be done by professionals who should be respected and revered. Slapping a banner ad over your shit art and proclaiming you’re a cartoonist does not make you a professional. For the purposes of THAT argument.

5) Any money you make by NOT selling a cartoon doesn’t count.

6) Any money you make at all counts. If you make money by begging, that’s your primary income and it counts.

#90 Scott Kurtz
November/19/2009
@ 1:26 pm

7) No money under 100,000 doesn’t count.

8) No webcomic makes over 100,000.

9) No webcomic could afford to pay a kids tuition, therefore proving this scholarship is a lie.

10) liars are jerks.

11) Ted is not a liar.

12) Ted is always right.

#91 Zach Weiner
November/19/2009
@ 1:37 pm

Scott–

There has long been a part of me that wishes you became a political cartoonist.

#92 Zach Weiner
November/19/2009
@ 1:37 pm

That is, I often think you’re dead wrong (though not in this case), but enjoy your voice quite a bit.

#93 Jayson French
November/19/2009
@ 1:55 pm

Ted, have you never heard of a Financial Aid Office? My father was a self employed electrician and my mother unemployed for most of my childhood. Somehow I managed to get through 4 years of a private college with scholarships and loans. Your accusation that higher learning is accesible only to the rich is insulting to those of us are/were capable of earning our way through, whether through the simple hard work of earning the money or the mental work of earning scholarships and searching such out. Do not assume whatever mental block kept you from doing the same applies to everyone.

#94 Jesse Levin
November/19/2009
@ 2:04 pm

I’m starting to not comprehend Ted Rall’s politics at all. His current slate of strips basically targets Obama’s lefty ineffectuality. His blog rails against Bush, and now he hates Reagan for taking away his friend’s financial aid. Things may not be black and white, but where on Earth do ya stand as a political cartoonist?

Unless you’re just an independent spraying hateful buckshot at all authority figures, I think Ted’s logic centers are failing on several levels.

#95 Ted Rall
November/19/2009
@ 3:23 pm

I wonder, Scott, whether you are capable of addressing the point at hand. Whenever you post, you inevitably resort to either ad hominem attacks or deflection.

#96 Linzi Pelc
November/19/2009
@ 3:35 pm

The question is, Ted, are you? Once again you have yet to answer a single question adressed to you directly. And don’t ask me what questions have been asked of you, since you can read just as well as the next person. At least one would assume.

#97 Rosscott N
November/19/2009
@ 3:56 pm

A couple points:

1. Many (I dare say most) scholarships do not cover food and housing. This is generally (and I’m not saying in this case) due to the fact that these are not costs of the institution, and are the case no matter where the person is living and what they’re eating.

2. The question of whether CCS is a worth while institution is up for debate. Sure, it hasn’t been around long and as others have chimed in, is slowly gaining in accreditation. That aside, most institutions that teach something are generally something you can learn on your own. Not law and medicine, but things like film editing and graphic design. The trick is that money is an investment in resources and in setting aside the time and energy to work on that issue. It’s putting yourself around other people trying to learn the same thing. It’s making yourself keep to goals and deadlines.

That said, I’ve seen CCS work and been generally impressed. Whether it is all “art comics” that come out of it is hard to say, because you have to define art comics and that isn’t worth the time.

3. Why are we arguing around the fact that people who are doing well with a comic are giving back? How about a more important argument, why aren’t there more scholarships like this for comics? The only one I can think of is the Xeric grant. PLEASE TELL ME: Can you think of others? Organizations build around this issue? Non profits offering to help?

#98 patric lewandowski
November/19/2009
@ 5:08 pm

Back in the day, I had to go to college. I mean, my parents wanted me to and I had a lot to learn.
I live in Minnesota. The Minneapolis College of Art and Design offers a BFA with majors in Comic Illustration.

Gee…. go to school to learn skills from professionals (my comic teachers included Peter Gross, Richard Starkings, and Brian Haberlain) or go to another school and get an “art” degree.

No one there had any illusions that getting their BFA made them an official comic star. Or a living. What the students there (and at similar institutions such as SCAD and CSS) DO get is the benefit of learning valuable skills about how to communicate visually, improve their drawing, learn about the technical aspects of the tools, and pretty much anything else that goes with making not just comics, but ART as well.

As with any college or education, you get out what you put into it. Yes, it was expensive. Yes, I am lucky to have gone there. And no, I was not the best student, but far from it. But, allow me to just name drop three names of people I was in class with that seem to be doing okay: Brent Schoonover, Tim Sievert, and Nikki Cook.

The bigger shame in all of this is that people can’t study comics like they could film or literature in more institutions or even public schools.

#99 Scott Kurtz
November/19/2009
@ 5:29 pm

Ted, first let me say that you’re a poop-head. Just wanted to get that out of the way. Now on to your points at hand.

“The idea of professionalizing such a populist artform just sucks and is anti-democratic.”

I disagree that offering educational courses in the art of making comics and graphic novels implies the college’s intent is to professionalize the art form, nor that they are capable of doing so. Making your point here moot. And stupid.

“the specific focus at CCS is on art comix. ”

I see no evidence of that except that you’re inferring such a focus due to the fact that so many members of their advisory board come from that world. Looking at a listing of their courses I see not one mention of art comix. On the contrary, their curriculum seems pretty broad and focuses on the importance of storytelling, writing, character development and layout. Where are you getting this information? What proof do you have? None again? Not surprising.

This is like claiming that the focus of the Joe Kubert School is on Tarzan and WW2 comics.

“you do have to be from a rich family to attend CCS”

I disagree and would like to see any data you have to back up your claim.

I know art students and most of them do not come from rich families. They come from families of many different economic levels who all pretty much the same thing to afford college: work, takeout loans, or apply for grants and scholarships. I’m pretty sure the same applies to the CCS.

“[The CCS] is attempting to destroy one of the best things about cartooning, which is that you donâ??t need a professional degree to become successful at it.”

Please let us know what evidence you have to back up this ridiculous claim. Or how you propose the CCS would even be able to pull such a thing off if they were secretly attempting to make this happen. Or how that would benefit them? Or how many other institutions would have to be involved in order for this to happen. Or how such a cabal of publishers, universities and newspapers bent on making cartooning require a professional degree would stop independent cartoonists from making a living outside of their system.

“If CCSâ?? mission succeeds, their graduates will succeed at a higher rate than other cartoonists who couldnâ??t afford to attend their for-profit institution.”

First of all, your claim that their mission is to professionalize comics is unprovable and ludicrous. Second, I doubt you have even researched the number of students that the CCS moves through their program every year. How many graduates have they produced? How many of those graduates went on to careers in comics, syndication or graphic design? And what data do you have that supports that the CCS is producing some large army of graduates who are stealing jobs from the poor and disenfranchised cartoonists who could not afford an education?

For that matter which is it? Either you believe the CCS is scamming students and incapable of giving them any kind of advantage in this career, or you believe they are an institution capable of giving students an advantage but holding it for ransom behind a high tuition cost. You can’t believe both to suit your argument.

Let me close by reiterating that I find you to be a washed up poop-head.

#100 Mike Wytrykus
November/19/2009
@ 5:51 pm

Allow to me present my newest theory:

Ted Rall and Ben Gordon are, in fact, the same person.

Notice how you never see them in the same place at the same time.

#101 Ted Rall
November/19/2009
@ 7:14 pm

More ad hominem attacks. As usual.

I’ll give you this, Scott, you know how to use a lot of words to not say anything.

Demanding hard data to back up my opinions is a classic straw man argument. I didn’t say I had hard data to support my feelings. I said they were my feelings. Interestingly, you claim hard facts–for instance, about the income-earning potential of your chosen field–but when asked to provide hard data to support those supposed facts, you babbled and fled the field.

Even your anecdotes are irrelevant. So you know art school students who weren’t from rich families. Me too. But we’re not talking about all art schools, are we? We’re specifically talking about CCS. The fact that it took/takes full tuition despite not being accredited leads me to believe that they are a for-profit venture looking to take advantage of naive young cartoonists. You don’t have anything to say about my point.

I disagree that offering educational courses in the art of making comics and graphic novels implies the collegeâ??s intent is to professionalize the art form, nor that they are capable of doing so. Making your point here moot. And stupid.

So you disagree. Where’s your argument? To the contrary, I think that offering courses and certificates in a field is the precise definition of attempting to professionalize it. I don’t know if you’re stupid–I don’t have any hard data–but you do play a stupid person on the Internet.

I have comics to draw. Good night, everyone.

#102 John Sanford
November/19/2009
@ 7:56 pm

Let me throw in my 2 cents regarding this whole “professionalism” thing.
I attended the CalArts Character Animation school for 3 years. I have no degree, I simply left school when I felt ready. I have been employed for 16 years, and earned top dollar. Animation schools have existed for about 45 years or so, and yet NOT ONE studio has made a degree a requirment for hiring. They judge potential employees by one thing and one thing only, their portfolios. That’s right, all that matters is the work.
Additionally, people get hired all the time without ever setting foot inside an animation school. These people are self taught. They studied books, bought camera’s etc. and made their own films in their garage.
I think my point is self evident: Ted, your opinions on Cartooning schools and the effect they might have on the industry are wrong. Period.

#103 Scott Kurtz
November/19/2009
@ 8:08 pm

Who do you have to draw cartoons for, Ted? Didn’t you just lose your job to an online contest? Isn’t your alt-weekly clientele dwindling away? You got nothing but time brother. Stay and argue.

How are your “feelings” relevant but my anecdotes are irrelevant?

You came in here and claimed that the CCS has a mission to destroy comics by making it so that rich people get an unfair advantage over poor people in the field of cartooning.

Period. you typed that into a public forum.

Now, we’re not sure if you’re spouting out facts or “feelings” so next time, please specify. We’d love to better understand your blathering.

My opinion is that I’m not sure what good an art degree does these days. But I also know that when I was growing up I was desperate to learn the ropes about cartooning, comics, layout, storytelling, and the business side of this industry.

There was no SCAD there was no CCS. There was just cobbling info together and stumbling around in the dark. Which I did and thank god it’s worked out for me.

But when I visited SCAD and I saw a room of cintiq’s and kids learning the ropes I teared up. I would have killed for that when I was forced to take stupid advertising art classes back in 1989-1992 before I dropped out of college.

One day we should sit down and hash this out over dinner face to face. Maybe I’ll meet you at T.G.I-Scared of the future and we can chat over fried cheese sticks.

#104 AJ Young
November/19/2009
@ 8:21 pm

I would vote against an accredited school.
I went to an accredited art school for animation and spent the majority of my time there writing essays and memorizing facts about slides of art rather than spending it learning to animate. Think I had 4 classes at the most for creating reel-worthy animation. While at the school I decided I’d rather make webcomics.

#105 Trevor Kent
November/19/2009
@ 9:08 pm

I have an art degree, and while I’m still discovering my CARTOONING style, I learned fundamentals of art, which I always look back on. If I look at a still life, I can draw it. Give me 30 minutes and I can render a figure on paper perfectly with a model in front of me. That’s something that you have to keep telling cartoonists, to go look at the object they are trying to draw. I have trouble with a lot of things still, somewhat because I started late (never was interested in art until 10th grade), but also because I’m still young. But that art degree not only gave me an understanding of art that I wouldn’t have been exposed to before, but also the language to discuss art, an introduction to the tools of making art (whether it’s pastels or photoshop), and also a knowledge of the history of my chosen field. That’s why I believe an art degree is worth it, and it’s why I’m glad other cartoonists can see the importance of a good education. I hope that CCS teaches the fundamentals as much as they teach cartooning, if not more.

#106 Stephen Beals
November/19/2009
@ 9:53 pm

John’s point is dead on.

I worked in the Accounting office at CalArts, saw who paid what, got a degree from there and don’t work in animation. The rich kids whose parents wrote a check to cover everything didn’t exactly go on to a chosen spot at Disney. I know of one kid who literally begged to get into the Disney internship but his portfolio just wasn’t ready. He was one of the rich kids.

All that mattered was your talent level and the kids who worked their butts off found work. Some pretty big names in the industry now were big at CalArts then because of their hard work, not because they were simply there. I got work without even bringing up CalArts in a couple of cases.

Ugh. I think Ted Rall is purposely opposing every viewpoint in order to collect comments for some graphic novel about flamewars. That’s the only thing that makes sense.

#107 Layne Myhre
November/19/2009
@ 9:53 pm

Wow. Scott, those last couple posts were very well articulated and despite Ted’s off-hand whimpering about “ad-hominem” (which he’s using improperly) and “straw men” (which he also uses improperly), you pretty much summarized the argument in black and white.

Ted: YOU made the bold statements to begin with. The onus falls on YOU to back them up. By saying “I don’t have any data, these are just my opinions, my feelings, you can’t expect me to actually back up anything I say” you are essentially just telling us “Don’t listen to anything I say, because I’m just full of BS and spouting off half-cocked and utterly uninformed as usual”.

And if that’s the case, I promise that I will definitely comply.

#108 Brookes Eggleston
November/19/2009
@ 10:04 pm

The area around CCS is the only place where food and fuel cost money, therefore human beings existing within our economy living elsewhere will now be subjected to such horrors as living expenses. Am I the only one who smells conspiracy?

#109 Tom Wood
November/19/2009
@ 10:07 pm

I watched the ‘Is an animation/art degree worth it?’ discussion over at the LightWave 3D forums. The consensus there was that the degree itself was valuable only if you wanted to move up the management ladder at a larger animation studio. Otherwise, the time and money would be better spent on making a reel, assuming you had the personal discipline to get it done on your own.

#110 Don Moore
November/19/2009
@ 10:51 pm

“The best thing about going to college is that you learn it doesn’t make you happy.”
~Dan Millman

#111 Chris LeBeouf
November/19/2009
@ 11:22 pm

I’m not a cartoonist so I don’t know how interesting this obscenely long comment will be to those who come to read insider talk. I’m a 22 year old, middle class, 5’7″, college art student majoring in printmaking (basically, obsolete technology). I’m told I’m smart, but my grades are average probably because of a lack of real ambition on my part. Pretty standard issue American kid, from what I can tell.

And I read comics.

I’m not counting on art school helping me to get a job, but it has instilled in me a real appreciation for and a developing intellectual prowess when it comes to art, comics, cartoons, and culture and I’ve considered it worthwhile. Maybe I’ll make art, maybe I’ll try cartooning, maybe I’ll go to grad school. Maybe I’ll flip burgers. I guess the jury’s still out on how college will pay off for me, but I will say this:

I’d never heard of Ted Rall before reading Daily Cartoonist.

So I did what any perfectly average, modern kid would do. I googled him. I found a site that required me to click through to an entirely different site to see his comics. The site set off my popup blocker. But I found myself reading a few comics and even laughing at some of the jokes. Then the site told me I wasn’t smart enough to read a 2 week old comic. Well ok, what it meant to say was that I wasn’t a premium user who pays the site and they have cute little name for those users: “Geniuses.” I’m not really tempted to go back, much less become a “Genius.”

But I read PvP daily. Now, for full disclosure, I’ll say that I’ve never bought anything from PvP and I’m not a convention goer, but I also don’t use AdBlock and I recommend the comic to my as many of my friends, as often as possible. I’m not growing out of this. Mr. Kurtz has me as a reader for as long as keeps posting. Not trying to make him feel old, but I’ve literally grown up with his characters. Brent Sienna and Skull are to me what Calvin and Hobbes and Garfield were to Scott.

To any creators still skeptical of the internet, neither me or any of my friends buy newspapers. None of us have any real reason to start and our nostalgia points are all allotted to saturday morning cartoons and video games, not Beatle Bailey. We’ve grown up seeing one old, monolithic industry after another collapse because they’ve refused to adapt. Its not that we’re apathetic, but we do have different values than you. And you know what, the people who will be cartooning 20-30 years from now, will be those who have learned to reach out to people like us. So the question you have to ask yourselves is this:

Where does YOUR newspaper see itself in 10 years?

#112 Greg Smith
November/20/2009
@ 1:05 am

Ted I asked this in a previous thread and I’ll ask it agin here because I (predictably) did not get an answer, but if at at first you don’t succeed…..

Why do you continue to deny that webcartoonists can make a living when you have first hand knowledge from working with R Steven on Diesel Sweeties? Surely you must have some idea what his financial situation was like before you signed him up? And R has stated as a fact in an interview[1] that the financial rewards from syndication were not anywhere close to his webcomics earnings and that frankly it wasn’t worth the effort to toil for years getting his strip into papers when he could earn more money (he claimed he earned more money before he went into syndication in that interview) from the web. I assume he discussed this with you considering you were his ‘boss’ (for want of a better word).

So either you know that R is making a living from webcomics or you believe he left syndication for reasons other than it wasn’t worth it to him financially. Which is it?

[1] http://www.wired.com/underwire/2008/07/r-stevens-steer/

#113 Greg Smith
November/20/2009
@ 1:47 am

You know It’s absolutely hilarious that the person claiming that CCS is going to ‘destroy’ cartooning by professionalising it is the immediate past president of the AAEC, a professional organisation for cartoonists. Tell me Ted, have we always been at war with Eurasia?

#114 Ray Radlein
November/20/2009
@ 5:15 am

I didn’t think it was possible, but this is now officially the stupidest webcomics argument EVER.

And it was achieved without the help of Wiley. I am in awe.

#115 Jamie Burgoyne
November/20/2009
@ 7:30 am

Am I the only one who is literally in awe at the amount of money Sohmer is actually planning to spend on this?
I mean seriously, wow. And with his plans for expansion that is going to grow exponentially, it’s a lot of money.
Hell, it’s more money than some cartoonists ever actually make ever, let alone have spare to give to others.

To add a little to the argument:
There are different ways in which Sohmers exculation program works. Quoted:
“Over the course of the next 5 years, we plan on adding 1 student per year, thus by 2015, the Scholarship will be putting 5 students through the program per year.”

2010/11: one student: year one. (Overall students: 1.) (($16 000))
2011/12: two student: year one, one student: year two. (Overall students: 3.) (($48 000))
2012/13: three students: year one, two student: year two (Overall students: 5.) (($80 000))
2013/14: four students: year one, three students: year two (Overall students: 7.) (($112 000))
2014/15: five students: year one, four student: year two (Overall students: 9.) (($144 000))
2015/16: five students: year one, five students: year two (Overall students: 10.) (($160 000))

Overall students up to 2016: 20
Cost up to 2015/16: $560 000
Continuing cost: $160 000 a year.

Amount of new students. past 2015, per year: 5
Overall amount of students, past 2015, studying at any point: 10

Or possibly

2010/11: one student: year one. (Overall students: 1.)
2011/12: one student: year one, one student: year two. (Overall students: 2.) (($32 000))
2012/13: two students: year one, one student: year two (Overall students: 3.) (($48 000))
2013/14: three students: year one, two students: year two (Overall students: 5.) (($80 000))
2014/15: four students: year one, three student: year two (Overall students: 7.) (($112 000))
2015/16: five students: year one, four students: year two (Overall students: 9.) (($144 000))
2016/17: five students: year one, five students: year two (Overall students: 10.) (($160 000))
(This way costs a little less but takes longer)

Overall students up to 2016: 16
(at 2016/2017: 21)
Overall cost to 2015/16: $400 000
(at 2016/17: $560 000)
Continuing cost: $160 000 a year.

Amount of new students. past 2015, per year: 5
Overall amount of students, past 2015, studying at any point: 10

OR possibly:

2010/11: one students: year one (Overall students: 1.) (($16 000))
2011/12: one student: year two, one student: year two (Overall students: 2.) (($32 000))
2012/13: one student: year one, one student: year two (Overall students: 2.) (($32 000))
2013/14: one student: year one, one student: year two (Overall students: 2.) (($32 000))
2014/15: one student: year one, one student: year two (Overall students: 2.) (($32 000))
2015/16: one student: year one, one student: year two (Overall students: 2.) (($32 000))

Overall students up to 2015: 5 (6 in 2016)
Cost up to 2015/16: $176 000
Continuing cost: $32 000 a year.

Amount of new students. past 2015, per year: 1
Overall amount of students, past 2015, studying at any point: 2

or possibly:
(Most likely)

2010/11: one student: year one. (Overall students: 1.) (($16 000))
2011/12: one student: year one, one student: year two. (Overall students: 2.) (($32 000))
2012/13: two students: year one, one student: year two (Overall students: 3.) (($48 000))
2013/14: two students: year one, two students: year two (Overall students: 4.) (($64 000))
2014/15: three students: year one, two students: year two (Overall students: 5.) (($80 000))
(Then either extending to six students, or alternating between adding two and three students to year one.)

Overall students up to 2015: 9
Cost up to 2015/16: $240 000
Continuing cost: $80 000 a year.

Amount of new students. past 2015, per year: 3 or 2
Overall amount of students, past 2015, studying at any point: 5 (three in year one, two in year two – two in year one, three in year two.)

NOW. JUST TO SAY HERE:
How can you say Webcomics don’t make money, when Sohmer is literally GIVING AWAY at least $32,000 a year. (Most likely $80,000 a year and possibly $160,000 a year)

A-hmmmm?
(I know, maths overload)

#116 Ted Rall
November/20/2009
@ 8:46 am

@Jamie: I wondered the same thing. Those numbers are breathtaking.

Of course, anyone can promise anything. I used to work at a college financial aid office, so I know there are many individuals who promise scholarships they can’t actually pay for, leaving the students high and dry.

The only way to know whether we should be impressed or dismayed will be to check back in 2015 and see if promises were delivered upon.

@Greg: It’ll be a cold day in Dick Cheney’s secret location before I talk about anything personal related to Richard or any other of my friends or colleagues. What he wants to say is his business.

@Scott: It’s a date. I’ll pay with that wacky old-fashioned printed cash. You gonna be at NY Comicon?

#117 Chris Williams
November/20/2009
@ 9:14 am

Oh Scott,

You can’t afford dinner with Ted. I know this is true because I’ve never seen your W-9 forms.

#118 John LoPresti
November/20/2009
@ 10:17 am

I wanted to comment on the debate ragging on this board as an educator and fan who watches Ustreams and twitters with some of you because I am awed by what you ladies and gentleman can do.

Is anyone here, debating on the merits of higher education actually an educator? Has anyone considered yet what higher education is really for and who actually does benefit from it? The debate is not weather what Ryan Sohmer and Lar deSouza (please get it right by now) are doing is amazingly kind or generous. Hell they are giving away money they donâ??t need to because they care about the field they are in. That is altruistic and I guarantee whoever they find will deserve it because they will not let their money be pissed away or their scholarship pissed on. The debates is weather higher education, in cartooning, no scratch that, in anything, is necessary, is useful and is only reserved for the rich.

First of all education, like life, is what you make of it. If you donâ??t try, if you donâ??t work hard and stop blaming others for your failures, if you decide that the world was designed for you to do whatever it is you want then you will fail. People need to realize they are but a speck in this world and that for anyone to take you seriously you need to push and push. There are thousands of people trying to become successful in the same field you are working in and you need to be able to best all of them.

What education does, what it was designed to do, is prepare you for the world to kick you in the ass over and over again because if you canâ??t take rejection in a controlled environment you are screwed in the real world.

It is also designed to give you a leg up on others. Whatâ??s wrong with that? If you have people that know even just a little more than you do helping you, giving you guidance you get that little extra push you might need. Thatâ??s where the idea of education started from, apprenticeships which became internships so that you can learn from elders who might not be experts but at least have been around long enough to know a thing or two.

Will you always get the best professors, the best people to guide you, or the best advice? Of course not because the best people are not always there to help you since they would rather complain on message boards about people taking their jobs or do their own thing because it makes them more money. Some however will use their influence to help others because they realize with great power…no not going to do it.

Teaching is not for everyone, going into work every day to try to teach a 16 year old math is not always something I want to wake up to. However it is something that I love. When even one kid shows they care, works hard and tells you thank you it’s amazing. I wouldnâ??t trade it and to make remarks about how a teacher sucks, sure there are bad teachers out there but there are also bad bosses, bad jobs and bad coworkers. Maybe itâ??s just you making excuses to why you canâ??t do better.

Now some people can do it all on their own. They can spend the long hours perfecting their craft, working on ideas, combing through pages and pages of conflicting information to find the stuff that maters to them all alone with no one to help. However some people need a guide, some people need a mentor. For those that just want the piece of paper saying â??Congratulations you spent a 100,000 dollars, got drunk every night and squeaked byâ? itâ??s not worth it. For those that work hard it will be benefital because you have friends to help that you made in school, you have teachers to help that will support you in school. You arenâ??t only paying for tools, for information, but you are paying for a network that if you use it, especially in a field that relies heavily on people, will benefit you every day. Regardless if something is accredited or not it doesnâ??t really matter if they have the tools readily available for you to get you on your way.

Iâ??m not going to go into the debate of Web comics vs traditional comics. Whatever way you want to share your art form is fine with me. Yes the internet has enabled people to put crap up that you have to wade through to get to the good stuff but so do newspapers. Plus thatâ??s what links on comics you like are for. To point you in the direction of other great material you might enjoy. For me Penny-arcade begot PVP which begot LICD, LFG, chainsawsuit, Anders loves Maria, The Abominable Charles Christopher and all of those begot even more. So I guess a lot of you can thank Scott and Mike and Jerry at least for my traffic and clicks and merchandise purchases. Also um, Kidâ??s Play. Thatâ??s all I have to and should have to say about how amazing the webcomics community can be.

Finally, the end of this long winded, poorly worded and rambling post that I hope has a point. Education is not only for the rich or can only benefit the rich. I went to one of the most expensive universities in the US, NYU and so did my brother. My family is middle class all the way and had to scrimp and save to afford our tuitions. No scholarships whatsoever since we are white and again, middle class. We went because we wanted to learn from the best. I became a teacher after going to business school because I learned that I was better at teaching our youth then sitting in front of an excel spreadsheet for 100 hours a week. Education is what you make of it, if you do it on your own or with help, if you want it bad enough youâ??ll find a way. The piece of paper means nothing if there is absolutely no substance to back it up. A lesson I try to get across to my kids every single day.
Itâ??s hard but worth it when even one kid gets it. Also vacations are great. This reminds me, I have a vacation break to start enjoying. Happy early Thanksgiving everyone, keep doing what you are doing (most of you anyone) because us fans all marvel at how you do it.

#119 John LoPresti
November/20/2009
@ 11:02 am

Knew I messed up. MUST PROOF READ when writing things on a message board as my kids take a test. CHILD’S PLAY! I am an idiot. For many reasons but for right now, that one in particular. Sorry gentleman for putting down the wrong word and misnaming your wonderful philanthropic effort.

#120 Jeremy Keene
November/20/2009
@ 1:09 pm

@TED RALL – You need to get your terms straight.

“Ad Hominem

From the latin for “to the person”, an ad hominem is an attack against the arguer rather than the argument. This doesn’t mean that you simply call the person a jerk; rather, it means that you use some weakness or characteristic of the arguer to imply a weakness of the argument.”

and

“Straw Man

This is where you state your position, and your opponent replies not to what you said, but to an exaggerated and distorted caricature of what you said that’s obviously harder to defend.”

I’d like direct examples of how anything Scott has said fits into those. Personally, I only saw the ‘call the person a jerk’ attacks.

Just my $.02 that I thought you needed.

Oh, and for source purists, the two quotes are from Skeptoid – Where you’ll find other great examples of fallacies in arguments.

http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4073

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