Obsolete InkingLately I've been doing work for DC Direct--the wing of DC in charge of statues, toys, etc. It's been a nice break from PRJ. The money is good, and it hasn't been soulless like I imagined. Corporate gigs can go either way--sometimes they want you to do exactly what "they" want, other times they want you to do your thing unencumbered. Luckily this was the latter.
The rates for toy designs are broken down into three parts: you get paid for the sketches, the final pencils and the inks. For this gig, the inking rate was higher than my normal inking rate. It felt good, but then I realized that 25% of my fee was for inks. And it raised an unsettled concern that's been on my mind.
How long will inkers be needed?
In the old days they needed inkers because computers weren't yet being used in print. I forget the name of the machine that preceded the scanner (process cameras?), but it was low-tech enough that i
No More Unauthorized ArtworkRegarding the debate of whether comic artists should continue selling unauthorized prints/sketches of characters they don't own, I think Bissette and his legal advisor are 100% correct. So from now on, I won't be doing any sketches or commissions at shows of any character that I don't own. Am I rolling over in fear of Marvel? Maybe, but as it states below, they're in their legal right to come after me if there's ever a dispute. I love to complain about the Big Two, but I can't (in good conscience) get upset at them if I'm breaking the rules myself. Being DC exclusive, maybe I can get a waiver that allows me to sketch DC characters, so I'll keep you updated.No More Unauthorized Artwork3 years ago in Personal More Like This
From Steve Bissette's FB page:
ALERT, ALL COMICS CREATORS: With permission, I'm quoting key points my dear friend and own legal advisor/contract consultant (since 1992) Jean-Marc Lofficier raised on his posts to a Yahoo forum discussing Ty Templeton's cartoon concerning the Gary
5 Ways to Avoid Being DiminishedThere's a discussion brewing in comics about artists being more diminished as of late--that readers, reviewers, and publishers are focusing too much on writers rather than the artists who draw the book. I agree it's happening, but I'm not sure it's worth sounding an alarm over. I never felt diminished, but maybe I'm part of the exception. Maybe it's because I'm an artist and a writer.5 Ways to Avoid Being Diminished1 year ago in Personal More Like This
Either way, I do have a few thoughts on what artists can do to pull themselves out from under the rug.
1. DON'T DRAW LIKE A COG.
If you conform to a "house style", then you're at higher risk of being treated like an interchangeable cog in the comics machine. Yes, you're more likely to get consistent work, but you won't stand out as much. Therefor you'll be sought after less by big name writers, you're less likely to make a lasting impression on reviewers and readers, and you'll have a harder time getting raises (12 others draw like you and for less money).
I also suggests inking yourself if it helps. Penc
5 Reasons to WriteI wrote a blog once that urged comic artists to try writing their own books. I held back a bit on what I said--Punk Rock Jesus hadn't come out yet, so I didn't feel like I had the proper authority to really speak up.5 Reasons to Write2 years ago in Personal More Like This
Since then, there's been a lot more discussion about the etiquette of publishers toward their freelancers, the recent rise of creator owned books, and the effects of Hollywood moving into comics (or vice versa). And as friend of mine at Newsarama pointed out recently, I'm one of a few guys who's found a middle ground--not only because I'm writing and drawing my own book, but because my OGN is partially owned by DC Comics.
Certain events of the last year have created new concerns within our industry. Do you still need to work for big publishers if you want to "make it"? Do they deliver a better product than creator owned books? Are the Big Two treating creators as fairly as they've always been? Between the rise of digital comics and comic-based movies, are creators getting
5 LevelsI've spoken as guest speaker a number of times over the years (come visit me at SCAD Atlanta in January). While I'm not the best or most patient teacher, I think my strength is my pragmatic and blunt approach to the business side of comics. In order to help the students think of a "5 YEAR PLAN" (more on that in an upcoming post), I'll often break down the different page rate levels of comic book artists as a way to help analyze the playing field of our industry. If there's a ladder to success, what's wrong with defining each rung? I imagine such a breakdown helpful for moving up in most any industry, not just comics.5 Levels3 years ago in Personal More Like This
Here are the 5 LEVELS of comic artists as I see them--NOT based on talent but on page rates, popularity, and the prestige of the titles the artist works on. You might define them differently or have more than just 5, but I find that less-is-more when it comes to people being able to retain information.
5%If you're reading this now, it means you're roughly in the 5%. Most people who go online to read about comics will end up reading previews and "top 10" lists--subjects we all, or course, enjoy. But the articles/blogs that critically analyze our industry are usually only read by two types: people in the biz whom are affected by this stuff, and the few readers who are interested in reading more than word balloons when it comes to comics.5%3 years ago in Personal More Like This
And I'm not knocking people who don't care to read these articles. All readers are contributing to the industry with their buying power, and I'm thankful for them, even if they're not in the 5%. I admit, if I had a normal 9-5 job and a boss that was kicking my ass 5 days a week, I might not have the tolerance for these sorts of articles either.
That being said, I think we need more of these articles/blogs written from different points of view--more from creators especially. The 2010s will likely be r
5 Art Selling TipsWhile I used to see "art sales" simply as bonus money coming in on the side, over the past few years it's become enough of an asset that it justifies an art dealer, record keeping, insurance, and taxes at the end of each year. It's currently 25% of my total income, and that has a lot of impact over my work. And just like storytelling, design and page flow--abstract principles that keep my career afloat daily--art sales also deserve to be studied, theorized, and understood.5 Art Selling Tips2 years ago in Personal More Like This
These are guidelines, not rules. And while most of them usually work for me, they might not all work for you, so keep in mind that my market might be different than yours. Because not only do we not draw the same, we probably have different sorts of buyers.
1. Don't stay on a book for too long
I find that doing mini series of 4-12 issues is optimal for selling art. If you spend a year doing one-shots or 2-3 issue minis, you'll be hard for buyers to keep track of because it's too infrequent. And it's hard to make an i
Creators Rights at ConventionsConventions have become big business in the last few years. More shows keep popping up, attendance keeps rising, and there's more money than ever being passed around as comics continue to merge with pop culture/big media/corporate sponsorships into what I've been calling Supershows.Creators Rights at Conventions1 month ago in Personal More Like This
For the most part, I think this is a great thing for the creators and our industry. While a few might miff at the thought of comics being intruded upon by other industries, it means more chances for starving artists to make money, more money for commissions and prints, and chances to travel to exotic locations that were never previously on our agenda.
More and more frequently, creators are being lured to shows all over the world with travel costs (at least partially) comped. When they arrive, they'll be met by capable handlers, lines of cheering fans, and fancy parties while they're given the brief whiff of stardom that's usually reserved for Mick Jagger.
But not always.
While many of my pro friends are ete
5 Year Plan*Because I'll be teaching in about a week at SCAD, I've been thinking a lot about what to tell the students. And I wrote it out so that I could solidify it in my head. This stuff is for younger artists mostly, so feel free to skip.5 Year Plan3 years ago in Personal More Like This
When I spend time with another comic artist, sometimes I'll ask, "What's your 5 year plan?" In other words, what steps is he taking in order to gain control over his career in order to move up the ladder? Usually I don't get much of an answer.
The reason I think many comic artists aren't forward-thinking has to do with the way our industry is set up. Whether by conscious design or through the neglect of its participants, younger freelancers get into a habit of complacency while hoping for a chance to suckle from the teet of a major publisher. Waiting around for a career doesn't promote the idea of freelancers taking active control of their OWN careers.
If I had to sum up the 5 Year Plan
The Detrimental AweThanks for the ideas everyone! Here's the post many of you requested...The Detrimental Awe3 years ago in Personal More Like This
Here's a sample of responses I've heard from some editors over the years when I've raised practical business concerns regarding comic book publishing:
"No, we don't know exactly what books you'll be doing, but we're (insert name of big publisher) Comics, so sign exclusive with us and not (insert name of competing publisher who has titles ready for you)!"
"This is a (insert name of big writer) book! I know he's late, but just think of how many people would love to be in your shoes!"
"The page rate isn't good, but at least you'll be getting to work with (name of big superhero whom you're supposed to be a fan of)!"
"We won't fly you out or put you into a hotel, but you should come so you can sign at the booth for us! Who doesn't love signing autographs?"
What do these statements have in common? They're emotional arguments made to sidestep yo
Top 5 Mistakes (I've made over the years)To many people in comics, I only arrived a few years ago with Joe the Barbarian. Then came Hellblazer (completed in 2008 before I began working on Joe), American Vampire: SOTF, and finally Punk Rock Jesus. Once in a while someone will mention Off Road (an OGN I did with Oni back in 2004), but for the most part it seems like I've been published only these last few years when in fact I've been published professionally for a decade now.Top 5 Mistakes (I've made over the years)2 years ago in Personal More Like This
This isn't a plea to have everyone go back through my previous work--in fact, I'm glad that a lot of the books I've done over the years aren't on readers' radars. I'm proud of it all, but the books above are a nice, tight group of titles to be associated with. They're all in a similar brand, they're all recent, they all have good creators/publishers associated with them, and the artwork is mostly consistent. Go back further than that, and you'll see artwork that looks nothing like the stuff I'm doing these days. (Although Off Road still holds up to some de
Stop the perfectionismOn my Tumblr site someone asked me for some general advice for an aspiring comic creator. This is what was on my mind. Thought I'd share it here on Deviantart as well.Stop the perfectionism3 years ago in Personal More Like This
Right now all I can think of is something I've been thinking about lately. And that is the depression some of us artists get about our art. Like our expectations aren't just "My drawings need to be good!", they are "My art needs to be PERFECT."
So I would suggest always try to improve, gain confidence, but expect good/average output. Don't expect perfect art, ever. By doing this only causes you to be frustrated, which in turn causes mistakes, which pisses you off more, then you're stuck in a lame spiraling circle downward to the pathetic whiny artist. Which in turn kills your deadline. Giving yourself freedom from perfection makes drawing much easier and better art is produced and on time.
I'm currently working on this piece where it started out difficult, I had high expectations for it, I was in a bad mood, nothing was
GraysLast week when I said that I wouldn't be doing con sketches of copyrighted characters, I had no idea that the news would get the coverage that it did. But seeing as how I helped poke the hornet's nest--and having taken the time to read the opinions of readers and other artists--I feel like it would be helpful if I responded to help clarify what's been happening.Grays3 years ago in Personal More Like This
First off, I think that what happened regarding this issue highlighted the BEST of our industry. I'm thrilled with the results, although I don't find Marvel's statement reassuring (more on that later). When we learned that Marvel was pursuing the $17,000 from Friedrich, we came together as concerned professionals and fans and managed to affect the situation. Even though we disagreed, at least we weighed out the options. And we even came together to set up funding to help out Friedrich. With the use of Twitter, blogging, and proper action from the media outlets, w
5 Comic Book Truths (that I don't think are true)There are lots of tips, chestnuts, and other pieces of advice that I've heard over the years--tidbits of wisdom passed on from one generation to the next, from professional to professor to prospective student. Some of them are drawing tips, some of them are tricks to dealing with publishers, and some are general guidelines on how to survive in comics. Most of them are useful and true and will stand the test of time, but a few of them have become hackneyed platitudes and have gone unquestioned for too long. Here are 5 that I'm questioning...5 Comic Book Truths (that I don't think are true)1 year ago in Personal More Like This
1. READERS WILL ONLY LOOK AT A PANEL FOR 5 SECONDS, SO DON'T SWEAT IT TOO MUCH.
I understand the intention of this bit of wisdom, and I mostly agree with it: drawing great interiors is important, but at the same time, you don't want to get bogged down with small details that most readers won't even notice.
But here's my concern with this: if you treat every panel like it's disposable, then you're less likely to make an impact with reader
Why it's so important to unite as artists.We are with many though yet we are with few. We're all divided over little subgroups such as, fantasy illustrators, concept artists, comic book pencilers, photomanipers, techartists, anime drawers, realism sketchers etc. You might even find your place at multiple sections.Why it's so important to unite as artists.11 months ago in Personal More Like This
I found that the biggest united groups on Deviant Art are mostly evolved around fan art, such as Sonic, or My little pony.
Observations aside, I think the good thing about those groups is that they serve for companionship. Being an artist all by yourself with no one to share/talk about/discuss your work with can feel rather lonely. And that lonely feeling is not encouraging at all. Most of us keep a lot of things taboo as well, like techniques or rates. If we were more openly with these the changes of being underpaid or missing out on a job because someone else does it for hardly any money at all will grow slimmer. People should know what they are worth and not be afraid to ask for it.
When I joined Devia
GREY INKIf a printed comic book is like a movie, then "original art" is the behind-the-scenes feature on the DVD. I love great comic artsometimes I love it so much that I want to see the original art so I can better understand how the artist arrived at the final product! And because I'm trained in art and do this stuff for a living, I'm probably a better "archeologist" of original art than someone who's just a reader.GREY INK4 years ago in Personal More Like This
Usage of the word "archeologist" might seem a bit grandiose, so let me explain why I chose it.
Recently I saw a special on National Geographic about Egyptian tomb robbers. Nat Geo gathered a room full of different experts to inspect how tomb robbers stole treasure from one of the great pharaohs; included were an Egyptologist, a geologist, and a cop who was familiar with modern day heisting. The entire 60 minutes were spent using their expertise to figure out the likely number of tomb robbers, the tools they used, the resources the
Six Word Story Contest - 7 3Mo.Subs to be won!A type of Flash Fiction, six word stories are (very) short stories with an exact word count: six words. SixWordStories is the place where, alongside quality, quantity really does matter. Though these stories are so brief in length, they can be as profound, if not more, than the prose and poetry you see and read every day, partly because six word stories can tell us so much and yet contain so little.Six Word Story Contest - 7 3Mo.Subs to be won!3 years ago in Deviant Events More Like This
As a Group, we encourage writers to explore their boundaries with prompts, collaborations and more, but we accept anyone and everyone too! Whether you are a digital artist, photographer, or something else entirely, if you can string six words together into a story, this is the place to be!
So getting to the point of this article, we are kickstarting this year with a six word story contest! We have some awesome prizes and hopefully enough freedom for you to enjoy yourselves too! Please support the contest and the article so that more can join in on the fun!
The Three problems with how we learn art: pt.3I've been thinking about how and why we learn to draw for a few years now. I started self-analazing my own drawing and character design thought process when I began writing my first art instruction book, "Creating Characters with Personality". It was harder than I thought to verbalize how I've learned and how I process drawing. This has led me to start looking back at my artistic life and how I learned art. What made me learn the most? What drove me to draw and stick with it? What led to others I knew as a child to stop drawing? I think I'm ready to present some of those thoughts here on DA and hear what you think. This is part 2 of three in a series. I'm not sure where this is leading, but step one is my establishing an online art instruction school called Taught ByA PRO (http://www.taughtbyapro.com) that will (in phase one) concenThe Three problems with how we learn art: pt.31 year ago in Personal More Like This
NICKELODEON AND DREAMWORKS ARE LOOKING FOR TALENT!NICKELODEON ANIMATION launched an Animated Comedy Shorts Program. They are looking for writers/animators/artists to contribute.NICKELODEON AND DREAMWORKS ARE LOOKING FOR TALENT!1 year ago in Personal More Like This
APPLY TO NICKELODEON HERE:
DREAMWORKS ANIMATION LOOKING TO TRAIN STORY ARTISTS:
"The Story Initiative Program at DreamWorks Animation is a comprehensive immersion program for recent college graduates who wish to pursue artistic careers as story artists.
The objective of the program is to identify and train entry-level storytellers in the techniques and practices of storyboarding for feature-length animated films. Over the course of an initial three month curriculum, trainees are instructed by a DWA senior story artist in a training environment that replicates the production environment on actual projects. Trainees learn how to: evaluate and plan their storyboard sequences,
BREAKING INTO TV ANIMATION!!!" Are you an aspiring artist and/or student interested in pursuing a career in TV animation production? Curious to know some of the inner workings of some of your favorite animated TV shows? Then look no further than " Drawing The Line: Breaking into Tv Animation." This highly informative panel will feature discussions, tips and information on breaking into the industry as told by artists and directors from some of today's hottest animated TV shows. The panel features Emmy Award-winning Character Designer Phil Bourassa (' FlashPoint: Paradox/ Young Justice'), Storyboard Artist Chris Copeland ( 'Marvel's Avengers: Assemble' ), Director/storyboard artist Jay Oliva ( FlashPoint: Paradox/'Dark Knight Returns Pts1&2/ Man Of Steel') Creative Producer/Director LeSean Thomas ('Black Dynamite: The Animated Series/ The Boondocks') Director Alan Wan ( Nickelodeon's 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles'), Producer Tim Yoon (The Legend of Korra Books 1&2), moderated by Will Feng (Justice League: CBREAKING INTO TV ANIMATION!!!1 year ago in Personal More Like This
Animation Story #8- My first anim. scene at DisneyI haven't posted a Disney Animation Story for a long time. I've written career related "inspirational" posts every once in awhile, but not an Disney career story. Here's the last one, I believe: http://tombancroft.deviantart.com/journal/Animation-story-7-Breaking-into-Disney-pt-3-278516657Animation Story #8- My first anim. scene at Disney1 year ago in Personal More Like This
This story was brought on by a question someone asked on my Tumblr page which lead to me answering with a story. I thought I'd share it here with you all. -Tom B.
Hi! I'm an animation student at UT Dallas, and I've been looking for stories and advice from great artists. What was your first big project, and what did you do? What advice would you give an aspiring animator
TOM: This probably isn't the answer you are looking for but my first animation for Disney was of a foot kicking a pot. I was (the legendary animator) Mark Henn's clean up assistant for about 2-3 years before I moved into ani
More images, Aang's grandchildrenI've been looking for information and images and i found this images...More images, Aang's grandchildren4 years ago in Personal More Like This
OMG KORRA AS A KID!!!! (she could bend fire at the age of....... 6?) http://thegadgetfish.tumblr.com/post/8028837780/kid-korra
Tenzin's Childrenfrom Oldest to Youngest
Meelo http://images.wikia.com/avatar/images/4/4c/Meelo3.jpg (he's so cute!!! and look's like Aang!)
The 3 of them http://www.deviantart.com/#/d41r5yy
Tenzin http://avatar.wikia.com/index.php?title=Tenzin&image=Tenzin-jpg (Meelo biting his head, lol!)
Pema (Tenzin's wife whose pregnant!) She's a non bender... a reason why all her offspring are and will be Airbenders http://avatar.wikia.com/index.php?titleema&imageema-jpg
Tenzin and Pema's family http://images.wikia.com/avatar/images/c/c8/Tenzin_Family.jp
IS ART SCHOOL BAD?? 0_OBTW THIS IS LONG ASS POST , BUT ENCOURAGE YOU TO READ THIS IS IF YOU ARE A PERSON CONSIDERING ART FOR A CAREERIS ART SCHOOL BAD?? 0_O2 years ago in Personal More Like This
EDIT: I ADDED NUMBER 3 IN CAUSE THAT WAS KIND OF AN IMPORTANT LESSON TOO. HAHA
Usually I am pretty quiet when it comes to the community and its dealings with drama . But I feel like I have to write my two cents about this topic.
A lot of people have been throwing around this post around about how art schools are terrible and are not worth it ya. I am sure you can find the article somewhere if you just google it . Though everyone is entitled to their own opinion I feel that I should talk about both sides of the coin when it comes to art school.
Now I have went to art school , and have done well for myself , I have worked internationally and worked for some big companies , and currently at the moment I actually teach at an art school as well.
SO THE ULTIMATE QUESTION: IS ART SCHOOL A WASTE OF TIME?
WELL THERE IS NO BLACK AND WHITE ANSWER
What I believe is that art school i
Free Artwork is not something I doAnd you shouldn't either.Free Artwork is not something I do2 years ago in Personal More Like This
I only direct your attention here because I receive a LOT of requests of for free artwork, whether it be logos, character design and sometimes even graphic novels all intended to be for free.
I'm a working professional making a living with my art. So clearly I won't be doing art for free, when it's my job to do it. BUT, I also support the idea that even artists who work freelance or even just as a hobby shouldn't work for free.
Please check out this video by Stephen Silver who explains this way better than I ever could
Question from BeginnersThank you everyone for the kind words,questions ( especially the questions ) and encouragement. I get a lot of questions and even though I'm not able to get back to all of you I'd like to answer one that's asked often. I love teaching knowledge hungry artists because it pushes me to be better and shows me how little I know. I feel very fortunate as my instructors are the same way. Even to this day they pass on new insights they have, and this pushes me to be better.Question from Beginners1 week ago in Personal More Like This
I'd like to address the question about how to go about drawing as a beginner. Teaching students at College freshman, college seniors, pros etc. has given me much insight as to how to go about explaining things( working at simplifying more and more ) It's the training I went through and continue to go through. Seems everyone has gotten different advice, some good, some bad( but that's my opinion )
Foundation is crucial; there's no way around it. The difficult way is the e