The 2016 Comic Creator Connection All-Stars Panel!

 Panelists (L to R): Doug Neff, Michelle Pengson, Jasper Korneitchouk, Alberto Veloso, Dylan Davison, Renatus, Victor Torres, Michael Dorman, Jeff Rider, Corey Rothermel

Panelists (L to R): Doug Neff, Michelle Pengson, Jasper Korneitchouk, Alberto Veloso, Dylan Davison, Renatus, Victor Torres, Michael Dorman, Jeff Rider, Corey Rothermel

One of our favorite panels to host at Comic-Con is the Comic Creator Connection All-Stars panel. We're always thrilled to be a part of these awesome creative journeys. Check out the video of the panel below, and follow these links to check out their amazing work!

Jack the Hunted by writers Dylan Davison & Jasper Korneitchouk and artist Renatus
Virtues & Vices by writer Alberto Veloso and artist Michelle Pengson
Visions by writer Alberto Veloso and artist Victor Torres
Major Holmes & Captain Watson by writer Jeff Rider and cover artist Michael Dorman

Looking forward to more great teams on 2017's panel!

Go from Fan to Creator!

Nice, thorough article from Michele Brittany over at BleedingCool. Click the photo to go to the article. Thanks, Michele!

When you go to a comic book convention, do you feel the tug of your dream to become a creator ache down to your soul? Do you stifle a whimper of wishing you were set up at a booth with comic books and/or art you have created? Are you at a loss of where to start? Saturday morning Douglas Neff of Toucan Learning Systems said a big enthusiastic hello to a room full of creative types looking for direction by attending the From Fan to Creator: Goal Setting for Creative Types WonderCon panel.

Creative Jumpstart: Anne Rice

When I'm struggling to keep moving on a project or not finding my creative flow, I like to listen to creators that get my blood moving. This particular audiobook has been in my library for about fifteen years now, and it still never fails to get me going again. (And thanks to the magic of, it's never more than a couple taps away on my iPhone.) In this 90-minute interview, she talks with her longtime friend, literature professor Michael Riley, about her influences, her passions, her writing process... you've had conversations like this before, I'm sure, where the thread seems to have a mind of its own and wander all over, dragging the two of you with it. Whether I'm in the car or walking through the grocery store, or just doing the dishes, following this conversation in the background has a way of lighting up the magic neurons in my brain and getting me back to the writing chair.

My favorite part of the whole interview is where she talks about obsession, finding herself at 2am in the bathroom with old books and documents all around her, trying to figure something out. And THAT, if you've read Epic Win!is exactly what I mean by Bliss. It's the Universe's way of guiding you to your next creative project. And it's so important to develop your own trust for that creative instinct. Anne and Michael's conversation is both a reminder and a gentle nudge in that direction.

You don't have to be an Anne Rice fan to benefit, by the way. She's an author, plain and simple, and she's learned how to bring forth her own creative Bliss over and over and over again. That's wisdom that we can all use, whether we're into vampires or ponies or superheroes or plain old folk. Anne Rice gets some things about working creatively, and she gets them well enough to speak eloquently and simply about them. And those messages are universal.

At less than ten bucks on Audible, this is a no-brainer. Get yourself a copy and put it in your "in case of creative emergency" kit.

More importantly than this particular audiobook, though, is the idea of "Creative Jumpstarts," in the first place. I suspect we all have our go-to playlists and movies and books and other things we rely on whenever we get stuck. What are yours? Why do they work for you? I'd love to hear about them in the comments.

Four Success Stories... in One Panel! (Audio Included)

Wondering what it takes to bring a collaborative project to life? These new creators might have a few words of advice.

Corey and I started hosting the Comic Creator Connection a few years ago. We had wanted to do something to help new creators find a creative working partner, and it turned out that the nice folks at Comic-Con wanted the same thing. So we started hosting the CCC at WonderCon, Comic-Con, and APE. (Click here if you want to know more about how it works.)

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Interview from the Booth

The Toucan Learning booth at Comic-Con was located against the back wall of the exhibit hall this year, which meant that we enjoyed a TON of foot traffic as people made their way from one end of the building to the other.

Undaunted by the relentless waves of people, Henry and Angel, from the Geek Speak Show, stopped by the booth for a quick interview. Enjoy!


There's nothing like a finish line to help you appreciate the tiny details. As I write this, the living room is stacked with boxes ready to be driven to San Diego, each one of them representing a goal along the journey to Comic-Con.

The biggest lesson in this has been the power of finishing things. You learn so much in those last tiny details that you'd never encounter without driving through to the finish line.

As so often happens with deadlines, though, they don't play nicely. The goal for this website, for instance, was simple: publish the website before Comic-Con. And had that goal existed by itself, it would have been simple. Unfortunately, as Neil Gaiman has pointed out,

It's the whole thing of deadlines being cowards, and not spacing themselves out sensibly, but hiding behind things and leaping out at people all at once.

Deadlines have been leaping out at me, that's for sure. The last month has been a flurry of deadlines, one after the other, most requiring me to finish them completely before moving on to the next. But this particular deadline is about to breathe its last sweaty breath...

Here we go:

Welcome to the Toucan website and blog. I'll be using this space to publish tips and tricks, book reviews, and other resources for achieving your creative goals.

Thanks for reading, and keep in touch. Now go finish something!