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 Write3 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 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
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
Advice for Aspiring Artists Pt. 3And now for the dramatic conclusion to the epic trilogy. Heroes will rise, bad habits will fall, in this last chapter we'll discuss how to focus your efforts and learn the most and improve quickly with your studies. If you missed them, click these links for Part One and Part Two. And now for...Advice for Aspiring Artists Pt. 32 years ago in Personal More Like This
WISDOM NUMBER THREE!!! Work smart and leave your comfort zone. This part is my qualifier for art school, tutorials, and educational resources in general, because they can be good, but only if you make them good. Once you've gotten in to the habit of drawing consistently, it's important to start being mindful of what you're drawing, how you're drawing it, and why you're drawing it. A key ingredient of success is hard work, but if that work isn't purposeful it might not move you
Advice for Aspiring Artists Pt. 2Here's the continuation of yesterday's journal discussing the importance of hard work. If you missed it, click here!Advice for Aspiring Artists Pt. 22 years ago in Personal More Like This
In part two I'm gonna talk about one of the biggest roadblocks I hear from artists who are having difficulty getting in to good study habits, so without further ado...
WISDOM NUMBER TWO!! Don't wait for perfect weather and stop making excuses. So often I hear things like "I don't want to waste paper" or "I don't know what to draw" or "I haven't found a good tutorial" or "I don't want to study perspective" or any number of things along those lines. I'll be blunt and just put the answer out there now: get over it. If you want to be an artist, you have to do the work, end of story. And with all the time you've spent thinking, wondering, being uncertain, and searching for that magical art secret of power, you could have filled 10 pages in your sketchbook today and inc
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
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 Conventions2 months 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
Advice for Aspiring Artists Pt. 1So this has been on my mind a bit lately and I was just struck with the sudden urge to write about it. It's a bit long so I've broken it in to three parts, but if you're a beginning artist I would recommend reading through it, it might just get you aimed in the right direction.Advice for Aspiring Artists Pt. 12 years ago in Personal More Like This
This started a couple days ago when I was trolling facebook and someone had posted some artwork, and one of the comments was something along the lines of "Nice! What tutorial did you use for this?" which prompted an immediate and violent facedesk on my part. I hear things like this all the time and would like to help dispel some myths about learning art; so after 9 years of drawing and 3 years of hardcore education and study, here's what I've learned about how to get better at art:
WISDOM NUMBER ONE! Getting better demands consistent, hard work. That's it. That's the magical secret that great artists never seem to get to in their tutorials; it's that one pivotal thing that makes the difference between
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
The Sean Murphy ApprenticeshipI'm thinking about taking on some students for a two week "boot camp" course in comics--based off the classic master/apprentice style of education. But before I move forward with the idea (and begin Kickstarting), I wanted to get your feedback and see if anyone is interested in enrolling this winter. Please pass this along (Twitter/facebook) to anyone you think might be interested.The Sean Murphy Apprenticeship2 years ago in Personal More Like This
I bought a house in Portland, Maine this past weekend. It's a 5 bedroom, 4 bathroom Victorian house that's been newly renovated. The top floor is finished and will become the drawing studio for 5 students. The idea is to furnish the building with tables, chairs, couches, beds, a TV, a library, a photo studio (for taking reference images) and all the other amenities that would create the school.
After selecting the 5 students (I'll take submissions that will be juried later on), we'll all meet in Portland this winter for the two week apprenticeship. The students will live i
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
THIS is how you use the FLASH/ ANIMATION program.By being an exceptional artist/animator FIRST. Flash is just a very limited vector-based, digital graphics program. It's just a TOOL, just like pencil and paper. It's the artists using them that bring out its quality.THIS is how you use the FLASH/ ANIMATION program.2 years ago in Personal More Like This
Here's an example:
Good luck on your projects!!!
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
it's all about work!Every day i hear how talented I am - I think this is a incorrect. I think that talent is confused with work. I do believe there is talent in every artist, but it is only 5%- you see when we were younger we all drew the same. As we got older, many people stopped trying to draw due to comments, lack of interest or what ever other reason they put there. The others that continued, like all things learned that it is 95% work, frustration, tears, anger, determination, persistence, practice, practice, practice, & more practice that allows them to create the artwork you see. Many people just grade the artist on the end result, in reality they missed the struggle and battle that truly defines the piece created. I enjoy the 5% talent I see around me yet I respect the 95% dedication that these great artist put out that makes their works fantastic. I believe anyone can learn to draw- they just have to want it bad enough. and that means that they are willing to show us by putting the effort in to iit's all about work!3 years ago in Personal More Like This
Do Artists Matter?Do we matter?Do Artists Matter?2 years ago in Personal More Like This
I'm specifically talking about "us" as designers, artists, or creative people. Do artists matter?
I have two personal stories that have helped me gauge and answer that question for myself. I hope they help you too.
(SIDE NOTE: I believe in a God and I believe that God loves me and leads my path but that I have free will and can turn from his leading and do my "own thing". Both of these stories have a TON of "God flavoring" that would make them much longer, so know that they are there if you want to read between the lines and find them. In short, both stories are answers to prayer.)
After 9/11 I felt worthless. Making cartoons just wasn't important in the new post 9/11 world. Firemen, policemen, construction workers, teachers, healthcare workers, architects- really, anyone that contributes to rebuilding our world and its infrastructure, those people had important jobs to do. We
My favorite ART suppliesI get asked a lot what pens and pencils I use. So I thought I'd post an updated list of my favorites. I'm a big fan of trying new things, I'm always buying lots of different pens to try out and in my search for the best tools to use for creating comics Ive found these to work the best for my needs.My favorite ART supplies3 years ago in Personal More Like This
My number one question that others ask me is "What do you ink with?"
I use Kuretake brush pens. Here's a link to a sable hair brush pen that I love, it's the closest thing to a real brush I've used. It is pricey though. http://www.jetpens.com/Kuretake-No.-40-Fountain-Hair-Brush-Pen-Sable-Hair-Refill/pd/3958
The less expensive version is the synthetic hair, http://www.jetpens.com/Kuretake-No.-13-Fountain-Hair-Brush-Pen-Red-Body/pd/2661 this brush pen is similar to a Pentel brush pen. http://www.jetpens.com/Pentel-Pocket-Brush-Pen-for-Calligraphy/pd/1793
The cool thing about these Kuretake brush pens is the refill cartridges have nice ink in them that I use, but if you find you don't like the
TO ASPIRING ARTISTS AND STUDENTSbest of luck to you this year!TO ASPIRING ARTISTS AND STUDENTS1 year ago in Personal More Like This
Irrational Confidence and how it Helps the ArtistFolks,Irrational Confidence and how it Helps the Artist2 years ago in Personal More Like This
I was doing some studying of construction this morning and it got me to thinking on some stuff that might be helpful to you crazy kids that wanna break into comics as artists.
When I was coming up, I had an irrational confidence. I didn't know it was irrational at the time, but I can now see it upon reflection. I just KNEW that I was gonna be able to do this one day.
But when I go back and look at old drawings I did, I think, "What the hell was I thinking?" I mean, I was BAD. I definitely could draw, but I was a complete amateur in every way. A hobbyist. I was a guy that had a better jump shot than his friends and somehow I knew that meant I could play in the NBA.
This confidence could have been a hindrance, though, if it was the wrong type of confidence. My confidence wasn't that I was already good enough to draw professionally. My confidence was in that I would look at art and think, "I can figure out how to do that".
I've seen plenty of guys along the way that had the w
THOUGHTS ON COMICS CONVENTIONSSo I wrote a blog on Comics Conventions. How and why I try to navigate them professionally and creatively:THOUGHTS ON COMICS CONVENTIONS2 years ago in Personal More Like This
5 Career Killers“Whatever happened to that guy? The guy that drew that thing?5 Career Killers5 months ago in Personal More Like This
Comic careers are like any other career in entertainment: if you don't stay relevant and adapt to a trend, you'll eventually peak and then bottom out. But there are more things that can help end a career. Here's a list of 5 that I've been thinking about lately.
1. SOCIAL MEDIA TAKE-DOWN
The creator does something that somehow goes viral, turning his (or her) readers against him. Bad behavior at a convention, sexual harassment online, or a semi-racist Tweet made worse by bumbling attempts to correct it. Or maybe the creator gets blamed for something innocent: innocent comments taken out of context, or involvement in a controversial project that he had no say over. Whatever the case, “social media take-downs” can harm careers, leaving a permanent black mark on your career.
I imagine this one is the most common: no matter how hard you work—and no matter how much a
TO THE ASPIRING ARTISTS...."The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who'll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you're sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that's almost never the case." - Chuck CloseTO THE ASPIRING ARTISTS....2 years ago in Personal More Like This
Good luck on your projects this year!
BA22 COLOR BATTLE LESS THAN 24HRS GO!BA22 COLOR BATTLE LESS THAN 24HRS GO!2 years ago in Personal More Like This
BACB22 "ZOMBIE KILLA WEEK" STARTS NOW!!
I know some of you have been asking if this is the last color battle of the season, its actually not. Week23 is, which is next battle. So including this one 2 more battles to go before the season comes to an end. Lets end the season with a KABOOM! ZOMBIE KILLAAA!
Judges: :ICONwalkonwater77: :icondreno360: GUEST JUDGE tba
DUE DATE : jan 3rd
Art by :iconmatTeoscalera:
Flats by :iconTrinityMathews:
CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH !
"La magica" :iconIVANNAmatilla::iconbdstevens:
DO YOU KNOW THESE ARTISTS?It's been a while since i've shared some of my favorite deviants. Here's a list of talent that some of you may or may not be aware of that i've been drooling over lately. I love this place!DO YOU KNOW THESE ARTISTS?3 years ago in Personal More Like This
Check 'em out!:
:iconmonk-art: Fabian Schlaga. LEGEND. If you haven't heard of this guy, you're missing out!
:iconsaspy: Saspy's work is amazing. The female mega-talent from Italy shows no sign of slowing down with her bright and fun approaches to character design, expressions and energy.
:iconjoel27: Joel is currently my FAVORITE ARTIST on Deviantart. Just flip through his gallery and you might find yourself there all day.
:icontchokun: French Artist who worked on online games and flash shorts such as WAKFU is not to be missed. serious talent here
:iconrikkitikki: Rikkitikki's light hearted animation influence illustrations are something to fall in love with. He's got a detective concept he's been playing with that shows the main characters quite often and i usually fave when he draws th
Meaty MessageMeaty message-Meaty Message5 months ago in Personal More Like This
"Hey man, I thought perhaps you might be able to shed some light on something;
Where does one start with getting into your world? illustration? Animation? General fine art? I’m 28 and looking at rebooting my life by advancing my favourite lifelong hobby into (hopefully) a better job, but to risk 3 years of my life and upwards of £30k, I don’t want to go in the wrong direction right at the start.
I know you’re USA and I’m UK, but what course did you do? What’s your origin story, and your advice to someone who wants to follow a similar path?
Cheers bro, really appreciate the time you take to read this meaty message.”
First off, sorry for the late reply. I let messages build up and answer when I can. I wonder if you’ve already made some decisions about your direction toward comics and this response is way too late! But regardless, I’ll answer anyway! I’m up in the mid