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.
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
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 Tips3 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
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)2 years 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
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
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
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%4 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 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 Diminished2 years 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
Why are we slower?About a month ago I finally got to meet an art hero of mine, Klaus Janson, a well known pro who's been in the industry for over 30 years. A mutual friend introduced us, and we hit it off right away. The group of us went through the Village hitting pub after pub, and soon I was drunk enough to ask Klaus something that had been bugging me.Why are we slower?3 years ago in Personal More Like This
I asked him if modern comic artists are, on average, slower than we used to be. He said yes, and I agreed.
From the Golden Age until the 80s, pencillers were generally expected to turn in at least two pages a day, while an inker was expected to turn in around 3-4. There were a handful of exceptions, I'm sure, but most of the artists could pump out pages like human printing presses. In the current comic industry, it's completely reversed: while a handful of artists can still hit this speed, the vast majority can't. Pencillers today struggle to produce a page-per-day, while inkers (those who still ink with ink) are hitting around 2.
So what happened? I'v
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 Artwork4 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
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.1 year 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 Deviant Art
Exposure, Getting Better, Having the ChopsEXPOSURE & GETTING BETTER AT WHAT YOU DOExposure, Getting Better, Having the Chops3 years ago in Personal More Like This
I'm only going off of my own personal experiences talking about these few things. (And I'm not specifically talking about ONLY dA here.) So take it with as many grains of salt as you can.
I've recently been asked questions like "How do I get people to see my work?", "Why am I not receiving commission inquiries?", "Why isn't anyone following my work?", "What can I do to get better?". Often, and I answered it before, the answer is as simple as this:
Create, as in, DRAW. PAINT. RENDER. SCULPT. You have to do develop a tolerance (or the obvious definition: LOVE) for creating if you want exposure and to get better. You have to LOVE the drawing or illustration that you HATE how it came out in the end. You have to ask yourself after every piece, what could I have done to do that differently. And you have to do this frequently.
Some folks come on the scene, post once or twice a week, and expect an audience to flock yo
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 Conventions7 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
The Secret Drawing IngredientIf you're an artist of any kind it's extremely important to hone your craft and technical abilities. After all, the better you draw and the better you are at mastering the drawing tools you use - the easier it is to convey your unique message for public consumption.The Secret Drawing Ingredient1 year ago in Personal More Like This
But how important is technical ability, really? Obviously, it's very important. Understanding anatomy, light and shadow and perspective are key to solid drawing. It's important to always be improving in those departments. It's also very important to master the tools you use to draw with. Learning to render or color professionally can only increase your appeal to both fans and other professionals.
But what about developing artistic appeal on a much deeper level?
It's not just about finding a pleasing style. Anyone can do that with enough practice. You can always choose a popular artist and emulate his or her style. The blueprint is right there. But why d
MotivationMotivation to achieve your goals in life comes in many forms. I decided to take a look at some of mine throughout my life. Keep reading if you care to learn my deep dark secrets [ ultimately you can use them against me later in life when I'm weak and defenseless. ]Motivation2 years ago in Personal More Like This
When I was a kid I wanted to be just like my father. He passed away when I was 28 but man he left a mark! By the time I was a teenager I was a lot to handle - so we hardly ever saw eye to eye. He was a tough and talented man. To me he was like a super hero. He had a very black and white philosophy about life. He defined right and wrong very distinctly - there was no grey in his world. As a kid, a philosophy like that makes complete sense even if it isn't very realistic. He was a former pro boxer turned commercial artist. Eventually he ran his own ad agency. He could play guitar and piano by ear and played baseball as often as he could. He also loved comi
Give me a break (into comics...)Pro comic writer :iconzubby: Jim Zub has a blog where he's written a few entries on how to break into the comics industry. Well worth a read IMO!Give me a break (into comics...)3 years ago in Personal More Like This
The links -->
Part 1 - How do I break in? --> http://www.jimzub.com/?p=1725
Part 2 - Find an artist --> http://www.jimzub.com/?p=1767
Part 3 - Comic Writing --> http://www.jimzub.com/?p=1068
Part 4 - The Pitch --> http://www.jimzub.com/?p=1511
Part 5 - Pitch Critique --> http://www.jimzub.com/?p=1882
Part 6 - Comic Q&A --> http://www.jimzub.com/?p=1813
Part 7 - The Realities of Creator-owned Comics --> http://www.jimzub.com/?p=1953
In addition he links to Charles Soule's blog articles about Freelance work and Contracts called "Agree to Agree"
Here's the links -->
Part 1 --> http://charlessoule.wordpress.com/2010/09/30/agree-to-agree-part-one/
Part 2 --> http://charlessoule.wordpress.com/2010/10/06/agree-to-agree-part-2/
Part 3 --> http://charlessoule.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/agree-to-agree-part-three/
Part 4 --> http://charlessoule.word
Tools of the TradeHey guys. I figured I'd go ahead and do a FAQ journal entry. Just a basic list of the tools I'm currently using for my marker work. I have a new tutorial for my markers that I'll post when I'm able to share the art I used for the progress shots. Feel free to fire away with any questions and hopefully, this can be a go to guide for basic info on my tools. I'm not going to talk about oil painting materials as I'm still figuring all that out and I doubt an answer I give today will hold up in the future.Tools of the Trade3 years ago in Personal More Like This
Ok Here goes...
Markers: Prismacolor Cool and French grey markers. I think "Copic" has become another word for "marker" these days, so it's assumed that I'm using Copics for all of my work, but I actually use Prismacolor for all of my figures and detail work and only use Copic markers for backgrounds. I use to use "Warm" greys but I like the sepia look of French more now. I also occasionally use Copic color markers when I'm doing a full color marker piece. Why do I like Prismacolor markers
Some more tips to FreelancingJust over a year ago, I compiled a small list of things you need to get started as a Freelance artist.Some more tips to Freelancing2 years ago in Personal More Like This
Let's accelerate a little bit, and assume that now you're in the business and have a pretty good groove going. While the core principles are still paramount to anything else, here are some quick one-shot tidbits of information that will assuredly save your bacon.
Back up everything, including the backups.
When working digitally, it's so easy to accidentally delete something off your hard drive and be unable to get it back. I've done this a few times myself. Even had entire hard drives fail on me. But it has been a very, very long time since the last time I had to redo an image from the start. Sure, I've had crashes that put me back an hour, I've merged layers together in a manner that ruins my work flow and makes the file unusable. But fixing these issues isn't nearly as painful
ART PHILOSOPHY - TRUTH, and INTEGRITYWith this online art community, we have a unique opportunity to connect with our kindred. We must avail ourselves of this experience, for, once it's gone, it may never come again.ART PHILOSOPHY - TRUTH, and INTEGRITY2 years ago in Personal More Like This
OBSERVATION #201 - Some thoughts I posted elsewhere which I wanted to also share with any interested parties here...
• ART PHILOSOPHY - TRUTH, and INTEGRITY - *as inspired by the insightful words of Rob Liefeld.
The Truth is that the artist, amateur and potential professional alike, may be taught according to the ideal. But no matter how hard you study, or how long you train... No matter all the knowledge you amass, the talent you possess, and the skills you hone, the subjective taste of the public presides over all commercial endeavor. The public, the layman, the viewer, the fan may kno
how to work with publishers (advice)i urge all of you to read thishow to work with publishers (advice)2 years ago in Personal More Like This
"working in comics advice"
click above there^^^
since i get these types of questions all the time, i figure, you owe it to yourself to read them, and also because i hate repeating myself.
it also has a peek at an unleashed page i havent posted
I'm Not A Social Butterfly......well, anymore. But I'm not an introvert, either.I'm Not A Social Butterfly...2 years ago in Personal More Like This
Most of my IRL close acquaintances and friends always ask me "Rob, why you work so much? Why don't you go out with us like you used to?" "Man, we used to hoop all the time dude, when are we getting back to the court?"
My response usually consists of "I... just got things to do." And I do. I'm practically at the computer almost 18 hours a day, hacking away at the game. When my wife gets home, I spend a couple hours with her until she goes to sleep, and then I finish up whatever work until I hit the sack.
Then they'd be the ones to go on how much they hate their job. Actually, its pretty funny: One of my closest dudes has an artistic background in music. He could be killing it in the indie scene even; he's a very talented dude. But man, he's dealing with chick-o-drama, always spending his free time (now on GTA5) playing games or going to the bar, and then have the audacity to go on how much he hate his jo
PROCRASTINATIONProcrastination... Being a sloth... it's a disease.PROCRASTINATION3 years ago in Personal More Like This
All of us struggle with it. On certain days you just don't feel like doing nothing at all. Other days you feel that you worked hard on something and that you're owed time-off for it. And there's that period where you KNOW you should've been working on something; after a lot of time have passed you eventually find yourself wondering WHY you even went along doing nothing for so long.
We're not perfect creatures, it HAPPENS.
But being a procrastinator compared to being a hard-worker is a measure of how serious you take yourself.
If you have a regular 9-5, come home whether it's a long commute or short one, and then taking care of family matters (wife, kids, or parents), it can be pretty hard to keep yourself focused. That's a valid reason for struggling trying to stay focused on a creative project. Life is hard in that aspect. You're definitely a hard-worker in that regard. If you do all that and then work your
The SenshiStock USB Drive Is Available!The SenshiStock USB drives are in and available for purchase!The SenshiStock USB Drive Is Available!3 years ago in Personal More Like This
Here's what you need to know:
This is a USB drive with lots of images on it! Everything from the start of the account until Shoot 26 (the bright blue sheet)
The drives say "SenshiStock" on one side and "A Stock Revolution" on the other side; they come with a lanyard.
Payment can be made online via PayPal or through regular mail by Money Order.
The drives are $20 ea. This does not include shipping. Shipping & tracking for the USA will be $5; First Class International shipping is $7 but does not include insurance or tracking. (Note: USPS increased their rates in Jan 2014)
The stats on the drive currently are:
3.83 GB of stock (but this is an 8GB drive so you will have some additional space!)
About 2,900 stock photos
Includes everything in the gallery from shoots 21-26 (shoot 26 is the one with the brigh
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
Interactive #1: Both Sides of the EquationInteractive #1: Both Sides of the Equation3 years ago in Writing More Like This
Here we go. Welcome to a new idea of mine called an "interactive." Recently, I've been spending a lot of time learning about literature. I've learned a bunch of new things, but I found that I was learning the most when I had other people to talk with and exchange ideas. Now I already spend a lot of time talking with my lovely commenters, but my tutorials are focused on advice, what to do and what not to do. I wanted to know: How could I integrate discussion into a writing aid?
As I stroked my magnificent, imaginary beard, an idea occurred to me. What if I wrote a writing aid whose main purpose was to have big, group discussion with one another rather than just read what I have to say? That's what this is. What I'm going to do is bring up a topic and a general exercise or question for writers to think about. At the end, I'm going to get specific and have mini-assi
One Artist's OPINIONWith this online art community, we have a unique opportunity to connect with our kindred. We must avail ourselves of this experience, for, once it's gone, it may never come again.One Artist's OPINION2 years ago in Personal More Like This
I have often been asked about my artistic influences, and for my thoughts regarding instructional books for the aspiring comic book artist. After providing an answer that also contained some advice and opinions, the question was raised narrowing the focus to my disdain for the anatomy books of Burne Hogarth. Now, my purpose is not to personally attack the man whose past professional work I have respected. I offer my OPINION based on my own learning experiences (which did include Hogarth's books), and what I consider to be a strictly honest evaluation as it applies to the question. I apologize if it comes off