SO YOU WANNA BE A COMIC ARTIST RIGHT?Okay so I get a bunch of these question all the time about being an Artist. Questions like "How do you draw like that?" "Will you draw my comic for Free?" "What do I need to do to get better?" "What are the tools you use?" Ect...
I'm going to provide all these Answer and more here, so listen up.
1.The most commonly asked question is "How did you learn how to draw"
I get asked this question a ton and my answer is pretty much the same every time. "PRACTICE!!!" I cannot stress this enough, but you have to practice. You will only get out of it what you put into it. How good do You want to be?
Truthfully thats up to you.
I've put in a good 15 years of drawing almost everyday. I've wanted to be a comic artist more than anything. I WANTED IT! And now I'm doing it. But I had to work at it. I didn't just wake up one day an
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
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
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
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
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
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
Advice on becoming a better artistI get asked by a lot of younger artists (and moms and grandmothers) for advice on getting better and becoming a professional comic artist. Hopefully this will help. Ask me more questions if I'm not clear enough and I'll try to post more about what I think makes a good artist and how to become a professional in the comic industry.Advice on becoming a better artist2 years ago in Personal More Like This
If you're not already aware, I'm a self-taught artist with little to no schooling on the subject. I thought I knew how to draw when I was a kid and I thought that drawing from shapes and building your characters out of forms was stupid. I don't know what the proper term for this is so I'm going to refer to it as construction drawing or under drawing throughout this post. My parents had purchased me some how to draw books, I also went to art class, and both of these tried to get me to use construction drawing techniques. Unfortunately I didn't understand the value of it and thus rejected it. I didn't need to build a tiger out of blocks, circles,
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
100 Sketches a week Work out ChallengeREAD! ➡Hey everyone! Okay so I've been getting asked a lot how do you get better.100 Sketches a week Work out Challenge1 year ago in Personal More Like This
Well it's kinda like working out. You have to have a plan and you have to stick with it in order to get fit. In this case "Art Fit".
This is my challenge to you to help you get better. ➡100 or more sketches a week. With set subjects for each day.
This will help you so much if you stick with it. Be sure you are studying your anatomy on both your male and females.
Draw from life.
The sketches don't have to be super clean. Just so long as there are 100 of them by the end of the week.
On Saturdays, I want you guys to take what you've practiced during the week and do a full drawing.
Make sure you Hash tag your sketches #100sketchesaweekchallenge so I can
Do I work for Marvel?Not yet....heheDo I work for Marvel?1 year ago in Personal More Like This
Some people have been asking me if I work for Marvel. Let me tell you I wish I did, but here's the other real truth. I am super thankful for the job God has blessed me with at QONQR.
It's not stressful. Am able to put my best foot forward and take my time on my pages to present quality work. Also it is a ton of fun to be working with such a fun creative team. Scott Davis Justin Peck Christie Judd
When I got my portfolio review from Marvel when I was at C2E2 last year, it went pretty well, but was kinda bummed that I never got contacted.
I know though that God's timing is always perfect, and I know the that He ultimately knows whats best for me.
If I had gotten a job at Marvel last year, I probably wouldn't have done a good job, or been able to keep up with the deadlines because of a lot of the stress and sad stuff that I had to go through last year.
God totally saved me from wha
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
An IMPORTANT NOTE to all artists!Please read this if you are someone who offers commissions, or someone who KNOWS anyone who offers commissions, cares about anyone who offers commissions, etc. etc. etc. This is both a warning against certain types of people who would take advantage of you, as well as a reminder about why it's important to be aware of your own worth as an artist and the services you are offering to others! I also hope it's helpful to those who do not make art, and like to buy commissions, as it may give you some insight about how to not be offensive to the artist who is doing work for you.An IMPORTANT NOTE to all artists!3 years ago in Personal More Like This
Without naming any names (but if any of this gets personal on the other side of it, this will become a PSA against taking commissions from specific folks, so let it be known that I tried to play nice out the gate), someone I know recently took a commission for what is, in my opinion, an INCREDIBLY low amount of money. What they were offering was worth way more, quality-wise as well as content-wise, than what w
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
Believe In YourselfJust some friendly artistic advice from someone who has been drawing for nearly four decades...Believe In Yourself2 years ago in Personal More Like This
Believe it yourself. When you sit down to draw, believe that the outcome will be successful. Failure at drawing comes from not trying hard enough, not working hard enough, and not believing that you can get the job done. Success comes from working hard, learning from past mistakes, and believing that you can and will rises to the occasion. If you are confident that you will do well each time you sit down to draw, you will do better work than the time before. You might not always get things right, or be satisfied with your outcomes, but you will be moving forward as an artist. Repetition. It's not the only way to improve, but it's the only GUARANTEED way to do it. The more you draw, the better you'll get at it. The more you ink, the better you get at it. The more you color, the better you get at it. Never fear your drawing table (Wacom, etc). You aren't going to be dismantling nuc
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 Freelancing1 year 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
I'm Not A Social Butterfly......well, anymore. But I'm not an introvert, either.I'm Not A Social Butterfly...1 year 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
Finding Freelance work: pricing and self doubt!Why don't I get enough freelance work? Are my prices too high? I see these types of questions on Deviant Art a lot. Whether you are just starting out or you have been freelancing for a while, there is a good chance that you can improve your workload and income by applying a little bit of self confidence and assertiveness.Finding Freelance work: pricing and self doubt!3 years ago in Personal More Like This
1) Don't wait for work to find you. Go find work. Read job ads. Find jobs that suit your skills. Also adapt your skills to match the jobs you find... That's very important. If you can provide a style or service that other artists can't match, that gives you an advantage. Make a list of freelancing sites and other sites with job advertisements. You can find some of them here: http://friendlyhand.deviantart.com/journal/#/d52v4i3 Keep track of which sites provide the BEST job leads for you and visit them regularly. Be prompt when applying for jobs. Some clients will take days to pick an artist but other clients will choose from the first few applicants.
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
5 ways to be more positiveDear, deviantart fellow artists5 ways to be more positive7 months ago in Deviant Events More Like This
How to reach the happiness, how to have and maintain the positivity in our creative lives?
It's not an easy thing to stay positive all time. Trust me, I know... so here are some of my thoughts about the topic and I hope that they might be helpful.
1. Get away from negative people
Stay away from those who don't believe in you, who only show up in your lifes when they need something. As mentioned in the latest journal by DamaiMikaz - some people are just pretending to be your friends in order to use you or your skills (don't let them). Be aware of those who are trustworthy and it's said that "person will become the average of their five closest friends".. so be cautious and surround yourself with like-minded people, ones who support an
Some thoughts on commissions from a commissioner.I commission art a lot. I've commissioned from many different artists all over the world. And after several years here are a few on my own personal thoughts on commissionsSome thoughts on commissions from a commissioner.3 years ago in Personal More Like This
1. List you prices.
- Whether its flat rates or by the hour, artists that commissions should list their rates. Most the time the old saying "If you have to ask, it probably costs to much." really comes into play here. I'm so much more likely to commission someone where I can gauge my budget. I myself am a single income family of five. That means I have a budget. A budget means I shop around. So that means when I am comparing artists if I know what I can spend with one and not the other, I'm more likely to go with the one I know I can budget.
2. List your customers.
- It is so much easier for a person to know where they stand when you have them listed.
2½. Update your customers.
- Most artists have an idea how long something is going to take. Now it's understandable that the idea isn't always acc
4 Kinds of StorytellingHere's an old journal from 2010 about storytelling. Because I have a lot more readers these days, I think I'm going to start reposting some of my earlier posts for my newer audience. So for you old timers, feel free to skip.4 Kinds of Storytelling2 years ago in Personal More Like This
In full disclosure, I slightly edited this journal to make it a little more balanced (while also fixing a ton of typos).
I feel like the word "storytelling" gets thrown around a lot in our industry. Yet when I look out there at some comics, I don't always see a lot of evidence for it.
It feels like people in comics pros--myself included--often use the word only because we feel like we're supposed to. Over the years enough professionals have been accused of being poor storytellers to the degree that everyone is now afraid of being a pinup artist as opposed to a bona fide storyteller. But it's not enough just to claim you're a storyteller.
Most people reading this probably h
A NEW art school- a few thoughtsHey everyone. I've been thinking a lot about art schools and how we learn as artists. So much so, that I'm at the point where I think I want to start an "online art school". Why the quotation marks? Because I'm still not sure if "School" is the right word for this new website I want to create. Without giving out much information because this is all a bit early, I want to talk about the motivations and goals we're trying to address with this future site. I said "we" on purpose. I have a business partner in this and his background is in creating online education (not artistic) schools from the I.T. side of things. Thank goodness also, because I know nothing about that side of things.A NEW art school- a few thoughts2 years ago in Personal More Like This
I guess you could say things started when I wrote my first book, "Creating Characters with Personality". While there are many, many drawings I would love to redraw for that book, I still like that book and get great responses from it because of one thing: the viewpoint I chose on that book was to
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