Cards on the tableI sometimes feel like a bit of a moral coward, like a great many I know who are straight and white and male - the least persecuted combination on the planet! - but who are also very open-minded. I worry about saying what I truly think and believe - particularly online - for fear of getting into an argument with less tolerant, more puritanical people than I, or people that have faith in the unknowable (which is something I took a good stab at for a decade or so, but ultimately found misleading, hollow, insubstantial and unsubstantiated.) I hate conflict, and the internet often gives people bigger bollocks than they might have face to face. It gets pretty nasty, I've noticed, with very little tolerance and almost no give and take.
Sometimes, though, I feel a need to put my cards on the table. If I am to call myself an artist I should be clear about what defines me, who I am, and how I perceive everything around me. It is what drives me after all! So with that said...
What the hell
HOW TO GET PUBLISHEDThis is an old piece I wrote and posted a while ago, but just recently people have been asking what my experiences were with regard to publishing and getting published - so here it is again, with a few new notes added about dA and Madefire!HOW TO GET PUBLISHED2 years ago in Personal More Like This
This is a very honest view based on 27 years experience as a writer, artist and publisher. The point here is to try to HELP you go into the business enlightened and with open-eyes, knowing what to expect. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PUT YOU OFF! However, you should know that getting into comics is NOT easy - as too many people frequently imagine - and neither is it a glamorous 'rock-star' existence. It is hard work, as are all trades, and it should be treated as such. I see too many people despondent and badly hurt by their experience, and this can be avoided if you know what you are getting into right from the outset.
Getting into comics is something a lot of people want to know how to do, but there's a lot of questions you w
Shedding the Inner CriticWe have to treat ourselves better.Shedding the Inner Critic9 months ago in Personal More Like This
Will we ever find that ease we dream of - the one where we wake, every day,
a bright vessel brimful of inspiration? Anticipating the siren-call of the canvas, so
magnetic in a way. Brushes and paint are drawn to it. We don’t have to think.
This art makes itself. We are a conduit, a mother-father of pigment children.
Yes - I dream of such things.
There’s not a day when I don’t consider this. Art has weight, and it weighs on us.
Our arms grow heavy even as we contemplate the first line. Fear is a big part of it.
Fear that we’ll be found lacking – not by others, but by the inner bully-child.
Younger, bitter selves that stand at our shoulders muttering obscenities and abuse.
“That is utter shit,” he/she says. “You’re wasting everybody’s time. Who gives a
crap about you? What good is this? Why are you still doing this? The world burns,
and melts, and children are kill
Rip open your skull and publish into your brainLook, let's just get this out of the way once and for all...Rip open your skull and publish into your brain11 months ago in Personal More Like This
WE ALL LOVE PRINT!
I mean - we REALLY REALLY REALLY love print!
Nobody - NO-BO-DY! - wants to kill print. Not Madefire, not deviantART, not any other digital art, comic or literature provider. That isn't the point of digital at all! That conversation should be forced to stand in a corner with a dunce hat on, because it really is THAT dumb and isn't worth our time. Don't look at it. Don't talk to it. And definitely don't feel sorry for it! It's a trolling meme and doesn't have a worthy or generous thought in it's very small brainpan. It's an evil little turd with a mean spirit and no imagination.
And don't feed it either!
Let's rip open our skulls and publish directly into our brains shall we? Let's stream story-forms to our liminal cortex and mainline creativity! Let's unlearn everything we thought we knew about words, pictures, motion, sound, and the mediums we know so well, bec
Hard times, and how to survive themMy wife said to me "you've got to be kinder about England when you're around the kids. They loved Derby!"Hard times, and how to survive them1 year ago in Personal More Like This
I had no idea I was being so bitter - but when I thought about it I had to concede the point. And that made me start wondering why - Why did I feel so angry about the UK? What was my problem?
But here's the thing - Some 14 years ago I couldn't get any work. We had just had baby no.2, and I had done a run on 'Spawn: the Dark Ages', and had been suddenly replaced, along with the rest of the team on the book, because McFarlane wanted 'a change of direction'. And then there was literally no work. I went to NY to see DC and Marvel, but they had nothing. I pitched company after company, to no avail. I tried to get on illustration agency books, but was refused by all of them. I tried children's book publishers, Core Design, and other computer game companies. Nobody wanted me. Even Frank Frazetta criticized my art in his book 'Icon' - just to add insult to injury!
We ended up having to sel
Starting a Story From Fresh pt.1I promised, a while ago, that I would write a journal that addressed the writingStarting a Story From Fresh pt.19 months ago in Personal More Like This
and creative process as much as anything else - how I start, and even why.
What makes a memorable character?
What are the themes?
How much do you care about popularity - ie. is it a project you're doing for
yourself, or because you hope it will generate a huge, mainstream audience?
What age-range is it?
And as mentioned earlier - why is it important you do it?
But let's start with...
Where do you get you ideas?
Great ideas do not come fully-formed out of the ether. Even the ideas I've
had that were born of dreams, and dragged screaming from my subconscious
before I forgot them, were an accumulation of living experiences. In Metawhal
Alpha the setting is somewhere I lived as a boy. I know every inch of the
Clock Warehouse, the noises and smells of the place, as well as the referenced
folklore. The Pub in Death and the Myrmidon was indeed a local, and it does
have a well covered in glass that y
I got angry! Pt.2As I said - I got angry. Frustrated. And I see it a lot. How DO you get your work out there? How do you get seen?I got angry! Pt.21 year ago in Personal More Like This
Getting into comics is something a lot of people want to know how to do, but there's a lot of questions you want to ask yourself first. There is such a vast array of genre and sub-genre, technique, approach, and so on, that it's important to be clear where you want to go with your work at the outset – and you have to be REALLY honest and tough on yourself.
Do you want to draw:
If you're into the capes and tights and you want to go mainstream you're going to have to want it incredibly badly, as the competition is the most extreme I've ever known it right now. There seems to be more titles than ever - and with the digital revolution more people are capable of producing sleek, mainstream quality art - but right across the
I Got Angry Pt.5Something else to get a bit angry about...I Got Angry Pt.511 months ago in Personal More Like This
If you GET a distribution deal, you'll be in the long shadow cast by the big companies, buried in a dark corner of a vast monthly catalogue.
If you have no marketing budget, then your only option is to hit message boards, FaceBook, indie-driven comic sites, and by getting hold of a list of the internet comics news sites – they're easy enough to find, you just have to Google them.
If you have created your own book, and your dream is to see it printed, but you have literally no funds and nobody is willing to publish it, there are other great options, such as http://www.lulu.com/blog/tag/print-on-demand/. Here you can upload your entire book having placed it into one of the templates they provide, and you can then order a printed, bound copy direct from them for the price you set for it. Print on demand is an incredible innovation, and like Amazon, they will list your book for anybody to buy, they'll eve
I Will Not Sell OutI will not draw pokemon just because I want to milk favorites.I Will Not Sell Out3 years ago in Personal More Like This
I will not upload every fucking thing I do just because I want to milk pageviews.
I will not change my DeviantART name just to prove my worth to myself.
I will not leave DeviantART just to get watchers on another blog or site, and then come back claiming DA is forgiven.
If I ever leave, I will not do it because I'm ashamed of the DeviantART community, not including those who actually love art. I will do it because I want or need to leave.
I will not categorize my art into a separate category just to get on the front page.
I won't take trades just to make other people happy.
I will not open up commissions just so people can pay me way less than what my art is worth.
I will draw what I want, upload what I want, comment on what I want, and stay on DeviantART as long as I want. Because it is what I want to do, NOT what the community wants me to do.
The Creative mind, pop, and money.Following on from my recent musings around getting into publishing, and my own views on creating art and comics, here's a little more fairly random padding!The Creative mind, pop, and money.2 years ago in Personal More Like This
People might think that in comics skill alone will get you there, but it's a lot like the music industry. Talent might be one thing, but somebody in a position to publish your work has to actually LIKE what you do - and we all know taste is a VERY subjective thing! There are thousands (actually, millions) of people who like their entertainment in easy-to-swallow bite-size chunks. They don't want to stretch themselves when they get home from work or school or wherever. They don't want to think too hard in the cinema, or read stuff with words they have to look up in the dictionary. They want music to dance to, or as a background soundtrack to their lives. It is a pop culture we live in, on pretty much all levels. This makes it hard for more alternatively creative people to find an audience. Don't get me wrong, I'm not anti-pop, thoug
Five Fandom Rules to Live ByI don't rant often (at least not to the general public) but there are times I am moved to stand up and paint a big red X on my back.Five Fandom Rules to Live By2 years ago in Personal More Like This
1) Stop acting like characters are real.
The reasons we get into fandoms is for escapism. We have the freedom to cheer for villains and squee over heroes and temporarily participate in a different reality for a while. We love that. The 'real world' can be very harsh, it has a kaleidoscope of ugliness and evil, and sometimes we want a break from that. We want a safe place where the real world's rules are either bent or nonexistent.
We want to indulge in megalomania. We want to revel in a villain's pure evilness. We want the good guy to win. We want the bad guy to win. We want to be the weeping rescued princess. We want to be vain and sweet and crazy and loved and there be zero repercussions because this is all done inside a safe zone, a reality that only exists in imagination. This is an extremely healthy menta
What-up humanity?It's almost easy to see why people stop caring about anybody else and just start to look after número uno.What-up humanity?8 months ago in Personal More Like This
The world fosters it.
The media fosters it.
Consumerism fosters it.
And sometimes giving a shit just doesn't seem to pay dividends - it isn't the yin yang we hope for in our hippy days.
Good people can live miserable, forgotten lives.
Bastards can live and die like kings.
The universe doesn't care.
I remember hearing once that we are communists in our youth, socialists, then eventually conservatives in our selfish old age.
Nobody cares about the old, so speak your mind and take what you can get, that message suggests.
Your every thought of freedom was folly.
Every aspiration towards a better, more caring world was pointless.
Lock the doors.
Don't trust the strangers.
If you don't you're a damn fool.
Looking at groups like ISIS it's hard to argue an alternative point sometimes.
Where are we going so wrong?
'Bad' FanfictionI know a lot of us joke either publicly or amongst ourselves about 'bad fanfiction'. I freely admit I have complained about this very thing to my close friends, but I always feel guilty afterwards. You know why? 'Cause I think that's a pretty asshole'ish thing to laugh about.'Bad' Fanfiction2 years ago in Personal More Like This
I'd like to present to you the idea that, yes, there is fanfiction that is created by people with little writing experience. But hey, guess what? Each story that individual writes is more experience for them, and that is NOT something we should discourage!!
Lately I've seen a post going around on tumblr shaming 'bad' fanfiction, stating that their own dignity has been lowered because they resign themselves to reading badly written fanfiction just to get their fix of their (usually rare'ish) pairings.
I say, fuck that mentality. Let's replace that negativity with something positive!
Instead of complaining and moving on, why don't we contact that writer, leav
I Got Angry! Pt.3I'm not an angry guy. I'm very mild-mannered. But there's SO MUCH I wish I had known up front, before I got into comics. There are rudimentaries that I'm kind of angry nobody clearly pointed out before I got in too deep.I Got Angry! Pt.311 months ago in Personal More Like This
Nobody tells you that in the mainstream, as an artist, you'll almost certainly be drawing stuff you're NOT prepared for, and don't really have any desire to do or passion for.
Are you hearing this? It's REALLY a big one:
You'll almost certainly be drawing stuff you're NOT prepared for, and don't really have any desire to do or passion for.
What does that mean? What are you saying Sharpie? How can that be right?
Well - and this is from experience - you won't generally get to draw or write the book you're most suited to.
Classic example: I've been trying to get a Conan gig my whole career - a book I'm so clearly suited to it's unreal, and pretty much every artist I know has said as much! - and yet, even after all this time (27 years
More on HatersThis is a copy and paste from my facebook page, but I felt it was really important to say something, and equally valid here:More on Haters1 year ago in Personal More Like This
'I HATE that trashy Image style. Hiding bad drawing with flashy technique….'
Oh boy. I'm so tired of hearing this.
The internet nearly broke yesterday with a battle (on FaceBook) around good drawing, bad drawing, technique, bad manners, being able to take criticism or not, and whether a certain artist did or didn't deserve his success, and why we hate him, or not. It was epic.
I'm not going to go into the details. It got out of hand. My toes curled when I read all the comments. My heart sank. The entire original point of the thread was buried under a mound of vitriol which, justified or not, made me a little ashamed of my industry.
Comics are not all about good drawing. I've seen plenty of Jack Kirby anatomy that aligns to reality only in the most rudimentary sense, but we all know he was great.
The so-called Image style actually evolved at Marvel - and if
I Got Angry! Pt.4 (Furious Interlude!)I was wondering to myself if I was STILL angry about things, even after all these years - and honestly? I really am!I Got Angry! Pt.4 (Furious Interlude!)11 months ago in Personal More Like This
Actually - I'm f**king pissed-off!!!
You'll be hard-pressed to find an artist that isn't!
We're over a barrel. We're art monkeys. We're work-for-hire engines that spit out the creations of others as best we can, striving to gain enough prominence to sustain an ongoing living, dreaming of a legacy.
We face hatred, the bitter barbs of trolls, the cruel dismissal of subjectivity, unfair comparisons with our peers.
We have to navigate taste, culture, the need for relevance.
We have to beat our way past the legions of others after the same job.
We have to remain immune to the jealous mutterings of those that fall along the way.
It SUCKS being a part of the machine, the self-serving circle of an industry consuming itself because it doesn't know any better. It's stuck in an ancient cycle, a rotating dance that is literally going nowhere!
So yes. I'm f**k
The evolution of an artistI'm a right pain in the arse as far as fans go. I admit it. I chop and I change, and if you're looking for a book that is consistent then you'd better not invest any time in me!The evolution of an artist2 years ago in Personal More Like This
I'm only half joking. Case in point - 'Captain Stone is Missing...' (on dA here: www.deviantart.com/art/Captain…) may be, in my opinion, the best work of my career, but consistent it is not!!!
For me there are artists that are able to produce work that spans decades in a style that remains consistent, professional and inspired. I envy these guys enormously! Page one of 'Watchmen' drawn by my friend and personal hero Dave Gibbons looks to my eyes as if it was drawn the day before the last page of issue 12. It's an incredible achievement! But then there are artists like the equally brilliant Moebius who would change styles page to page, even panel to panel, depending on his mood, aspects of his life, or a suddenly fl
Money - what the hell is it?Did you ever really THINK about what money is? I mean, what it ACTUALLY is?Money - what the hell is it?1 year ago in Personal More Like This
I never did. It's probably part of the reason I'm not very money-oriented; not, in my heart, a capitalist. But still, as I look around at the news, at the growing divide between the rich and poor - they that truly care about the world and its well-being, and they that do not, and all that comes of globally powerful corporations, and how they absorb and smother all else that tries to grow in their shadow - and it seems increasingly like something I really HAVE to understand.
But where do you start?
There's a lot to know. And it's not cut and dried! There are many human transactions that happen without a like-for-like trade, and sometimes with no trade at all. You'll pass a hammer to somebody banging a nail in the wall to hand your photo. You'll help somebody weaker than you carry their bag across a road, up some stairs. You might furnish a beggars paper cup with a paper dollar. Not all of these are moral trade-o
I got a bit angry again...I just don’t understand. I really don’t.I got a bit angry again...8 months ago in Personal More Like This
There seems to be a growing tribalism in what, for now, we’re often labeling ‘Geekdom’ - or some other reclaimed formerly derogatory term.
A few examples:
There’s a healthy debate about sexism in comic, and the edges of what is an ingrained misogynistic streak that goes back decades.
There’s also a number of very buxom and proud of it cosplayers creating incredible, intentionally sexy costumes for comic conventions.
(Re. the points above: The debate gets hazy in the area that sexy and sexist butt-up against each other – no pun intended. What is cheesecake? What is pin-up? What is erotica? What is porn? What is artistic nude? You can’t simply say I know it when I see it. To some the statue of David is offensive! Either way, the debate rages while pin-up art vies with big-name superhero imagery as the easiest to sell. I can’t budge any pages that don’t feature either, or, or both of
Protect Ya Neck And ArtPlease take 6 minutes of your life to watch this ===> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWXYoD7wfOsProtect Ya Neck And Art2 years ago in Personal More Like This
Seriously, too often do I get emails and notes regarding to doing work for a stranger or having a stranger asking permission to use my art, and often their compensation will either be non existent, or potential exposure.
And I know I've made a journal entry about this last year but still it never hurts to remind ourselves of what's happening with our industry.
I can't stress enough of how frustrating it is trying to explain to those who are doing work for free because they're desperate, or those looking for artists to work with but have zero idea how this whole infrastructure operates.
If you are a person seeking an artist/craftsman's time and service, be prepared to offer compensation just as you will be needing to pay after eating at a restaurant, or having a plumber coming into your home to fix your clogged pipes. And if you're new to seeking out the aid of an artist for your project. Be
The Lost Generationhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sylS4VzNN-0&feature=youtu.be Please watch video first then read my thoughts and then voice your opinions.The Lost Generation2 years ago in Personal More Like This
Again I will not sugar-coat anything I'm about to say regarding to our graduate economic crisis.
I graduated with a BA in the Arts last April, and have been working full time since last June to the present day, while doing a lot of freelance gigs on the side, but there are a lot of things that plague my fellow graduate friends, and this could apply to people who graduated with higher education regardless of territory. The following are my opinions:
1: Our government and economy constantly acts like the corporations' lap bitch, and we all jump in on the globalization neo-liberalism business strategy to leak jobs and money out of our country.
2: A lot young people are not taught to develop a passion/hobby at a young age. Ontario has some of the highest high school dropout rates in North America, how is that even possible? You'd have to try extra hard to
CREATORS FIRSTI've been working towards this for six years.CREATORS FIRST10 months ago in Personal More Like This
After struggling to make print work at Mam Tor (great reviews, lots of love, but prohibitive costs, too few sales) my big questions were:
How can I publish the stories I want to tell in a direct way, online?
How can I build a platform that lets OTHER people tell their stories too - because this needed to be about much more than just me.
It needed to be a grass-roots revolution.
It needed to be something that creators wanted, that served them.
In short it had to be a need.
The questions after that are many:
If you're in a digital space, what are the possibilities?
Can you build a digital audience first that can determine the need/want for print versions, and then facilitate that?
Can the creators keep their copyright?
How do you rethink the marketplace - and actually, CAN you?
And now here we are, and the tool has been built.
Creators of all
I Got Angry Pt.6Something else that get's me angry...I Got Angry Pt.611 months ago in Personal More Like This
Why can't artist's be EXPECTED to experiment? To try new things? To be innovative?
Why is it that drawing in the same style forever is viewed as THE BEST approach?
How do we unlearn this?
How do we encourage creators to be daring, and our readers to be more open and daring too?
I admit it.
I chop and I change, and if you're looking for a book that is consistent then you'd better not invest any time in me! As a result I've lost many fans over the years. People at cons sometimes say 'where did you go after The Hulk? I thought you must have left the industry...'
They never knew I was always here, but always changing.
Case in point - 'Captain Stone is Missing...' (FREE on dA here: www.deviantart.com/art/Captain…) may be, in my opinion, the best work of my career, but consistent it is not!!!
For me there are artists tha
Just Fucking Do It!Here's another old post relevant to our current thread:Just Fucking Do It!11 months ago in Personal More Like This
When I was putting together my art book 'Dead Apes in the Snow', which is pretty much a retrospective and features a lot of my work that's up here on DA (and there's a free digital copy here: - www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/… ) I wanted to write something for aspiring artists that was honest, to the point, and not anodyne, with regard to how you get into the industry.
But the harder I tried the less true it seemed.
The reality is that there is no secret way in, you just - well - you just have to fucking do it!
This was the text that made it into the book. I know it sounds simple, and nothing is that easy (as the text says, it's a long, harsh and difficult road!) but there really is no easy answer, no fast-track into the trade. It's hard work, a bit of talent and a lot of luck.
Everything else anybody will
It looks like...Okay, so I've been on Deviantart for well over 7 years now, and please let me just put something out there when it comes to seeing comments on works.It looks like...3 years ago in Personal More Like This
I'm sure we all get comments such as: "Wow amazing! Reminds me of X or Y or potato!"
That awkward moment when you have no idea what that was, so you bust out google and search it up, only to find out that it looks NOTHING like what people said.
Now, please don't get me wrong. I have no problem with comments or feedback such as ones above. I truly appreciate how viewers are trying to relate your piece in their own ways.
What I CANNOT STAND (and I know there are many of you out there who feel the same), are comments like these:
When you make an image of something such as a practical robot or a futuristic (but not too futuristic) car that still uses wheels.
"Um, your image looks too much like Z, X, Y,...."
That moment when what they described, was the most generic design for a robot or any ordinary car done by another present day