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I get quite a few messages here on DA with various questions and requests. I don't have time due to work and family to answer all of them individually like I would like so I think a handy-dandy FAQ is in order. This way maybe I can answer a question before it's even asked and/or have a journal I can easily direct people to. So here we go!

Q: Can you give me any tips on how to draw/color,paint/whatever better?

A: The quick and easy answer is that there aren't any secrets to being able to draw well. I know it's not what people want to hear and everyone is looking for a magic trick that will instantly make them a better artist. The truth is that I have dedicated 1000s of hours to art in an effort to get better. I attended figure drawing classes, went to conventions and spent hours talking to other artists, and spent nearly every dime I had on books and art supplies. I lived it and breathed it. When you were out on a date or playing video games or seeing movies I was probably home drawing. It's about dedication and time spent drawing. Anyone that tells you any different is selling you snake oil.

Q: Could you do an interview for my site/blog/podcast?

A: yes and no. I like doing interviews and podcasts whenever possible but a lot of times the questions cover things I've answered in 100 other interviews and are easily found online. Add that to the fact that I don't really like talking about myself that much and would rather talk about comics or art or technique. Discussing things like how I started drawing or what my influences are are kinda stayed questions. If you want to have a discussion then by all means, please drop me a line but let's work on making it entertaining and/or a fresh exchange of ideas. It'll be more fun for you and your readers/listeners. Which brings us to our next question.....

Q: How did you get started drawing comics?(and) How did you break into Marvel?

A: I started drawing comics the same way you probably started. I started buying comics at around 11 yrs old and would copy the drawings in my notebooks. I did this for years and was talking normal drawing classes as well in painting, drawing, and sculpture. I just kept drawing until I didn't have to copy out of a comic anymore and could draw from my imagination(around 15yrs old). I still sucked but I was getting better slowly and steadily. I broke into Marvel by going to as many comic conventions as I could all over the country and talking to artists and editors. Anyone that was willing to look at my portfolio and give me some drawing advice. Eventually I got some very small press work with an indie publisher. I got a mere $10 a page but it gave me a published comic to show editors. I kept taking any job I could find and moved up to bigger and bigger companies until I got noticed by Erik Ko at UDON Entertainment. They were doing work for Marvel on their Deadpool comics. I joined UDON and Erik showed my work to Marvel who then offered me some small gigs with very tight deadlines. it was trial by fire and I guess I did okay because this year marks my 11th year with them. Bottomline- I had a fire in my belly and I was going to draw comics professionally or I was going to die. Simple as that.

Q: Can you look at my portfolio and give me a critique?

A: I used to do this online all the time but have stopped over the last couple of years. The reason for this is because I feel a critique is a give and take situation and I like to interact with the person I am critiquing. If I am simply typing a message or e-mail there's back and forth. The other reason is because I don't know how the review is going to be received. There have been more than a few times that I took a long time to type out a very detailed critique only to have the person reply back saying something like "You don't know what you're talking about" or "You just don't understand MY art". It makes the whole exercise feel like a waste of time. Not everyone is like this of course but all it takes is a few to ruin it for everyone. I do, however, do portfolio critiques at every convention i go to so, if you see me, feel free to ask and I'll give you 10-15 minutes to talk about your art. I don't, by any means, consider myself an expert but I can give you an honest opinion in hopes that it might help you a little bit.

Q: Would you draw my character?(this is usually a fan request and not a paying client)

A:  I'm really sorry but there just aren't enough hours in the day to be able to draw your character and still meet my deadlines and have family time. Add to the fact that, if I do find myself with a few hours to draw for myself, I'm going to probably draw something I want to draw for myself. But I encourage you to pick up a pencil and give it a whirl yourself. There's nothing quite a fulfilling as dreaming up a character and seeing it come to life by your own hand.

Q: Can we do an art exchange?

A: See previous question=-)

Q: Can you design my tattoo for me?

A: erp, wow, nope!-HAHA! I really don't feel comfortable designing something that's going to be on your body for the rest of your life. Maybe you'll love it forever but maybe you'll hate it as well and I don't want to be responsible for that. also charge for stuff like this so you're probably not going to want to pay for a very expensive tattoo AND pay for an illustrator to draw it in the first place. if you want to use an existing piece of work that I've already done for a tattoo then please feel free! You don't even have to ask permission, just send me a picture of it when it's done. I love seeing stuff like that!

Q: I run a website that makes t-shirts/tubes/skateboard decks/*insert merch here* and I would love to use some of your artwork on my merch! Can I?

A: Unfortunately no. Most if not all my artwork on DA was done for clients and is of copyrighted and/or trademarked characters that I don't own so I can't give permission to use it on unauthorized merchandise. Additionally, if I find artwork of mine being used for posters or t-shirts or anywhere where the user is profiting from it's use, I will have to send a notice to the original copyright holder. I know it makes me sound like an asshole and I'm sorry about that but my artwork is how I make a living and feed and cloth my child so I have to protect it. Hopefully most people understand.

Q:I wrote a comic, can you draw it? I can't pay you but I will give you credit and/or a percentage of sales if it's ever published!

A:Oh boy, here we go. The short answer is no but I want to expound on this a bit. I'm going to do my best not to sound like an asshole but I feel it's important to be honest on this topic. Fist off, I am contracted with Marvel so I'm not allowed to do any other comic work outside Marvel. That being said, I still most likely won't be doing your comic because I am a professional illustrator who counts of a client paying me to make a living. Spec work, especially something as huge and time consuming as drawing a full comic, just isn't a smart thing for me to do when it comes to supporting my family. Couple that with the fact that getting a comic published in this economic climate is extremely difficult. Even if you can manage to get it published through a publisher like Image or Boom, you'd have to sell around 7000 copies before you saw a dime of profit and selling 7000 copies of anything that doesn't have Spider-man in it is no easy feat. Even if you split the profits with me 50/50 it's still 50% of 0$. May I offer the suggestion of at least paying SOMETHING. Even upping your page rate from 0$ to 20$ is going to expand your talent pool immensely. No, I still can't do your book but you will get a much more skilled artists that you would at 0$. But remember, you get what you pay for. You're still going to get an ameteur or hobbyist and not a professional or seasoned veteran but at least they should be somewhat competent or at least hungry to get some work out there.
   But you say "I can't afford to pay $20 a page!", right? Well, I beg to differ. A normal comic is around 20 pages. at $20 a page that comes to $400. Even a person working flipping burgers can save up that much money within a certain amount of time. Take a year and sock away a few dollars whenever you can and you will eventually have the $400 to hire an artist. yes, you may have to sacrifice going to the movies a few times or not ordering that appetizer at dinner or buying that new pair of kicks but it can be done. And let's face it, if you don't want to make the sacrifices it takes to hire an artist that's capable, what does it say about the faith you have in your story? I certainly wouldn't want to work for a writer that doesn't have the faith is his own work to save up $400 and neither would most other artists. But hey, I ADORE indy books and think they are the bread and butter of our industry so I truly wish you luck and hope I see your book on the stands soon!

Q: I'm looking for an artist for a video game/comic book/website/*insert project here*. I'm a paying client!

A: Awesome, thanks for your interest! I'm always looking for fun opportunities to work for new clients. But 9 times out of 10 the people e-mailing me are shocked when I tell them my rate based on the description of the project so I find I don't reply to a lot of these messages based on a little research. Does the client have a professional website? Do I have artist friends that have worked for them before or at least heard of them? Do they have a list of clients or projects that I have at least heard of? It all ends up saving the client and myself a lot of headache. The best thing I can suggest is to click this link and read through the standards for paying illustrators. It's a quick reference giude and will save you a ton of trouble: <a href="whatafool.deviantart.com/art/P…" target="_blank" class="">whatafool.deviantart.com/art/P… Not only does it break down the rates by illustrator and experience, it breaks it down by the project type. I find these rates to be pretty on pare with national standards.

Q: Are you open for commissions?

A: I am but the wait time can be up to a year so you'd have to be patient. If you're interested and would like pricing you can e-mail markbrooksart@msn.com with your request and I will get back to you with price info.

Q: Do you sell your original art?

A: I do! If you see a piece you are interested in you can e-mail me at markbrooksart@msn.com for pricing and availablility.

Q: What tools/supplies do you use to create you work?

A: I use a combination of many things but the main supplies I use is a Cintiq 21UX to pencil and then I ink with Faber-Castell Pitt Pens and a Pentel refillable brush pen. I'll also use Signo Uniball white pens and prismacolors from time to time. For marker work I use Copic sketch refillable markers. I digitally paint everything in Photoshop CS6. I buy all my supplies from this website and I find they have the best prices overall: <a href="www.jetpens.com/?gclid=CNK62of…" target="_blank" class="">www.jetpens.com/?gclid=CNK62of…

Q: What pencil brushes are you using in photoshop?

A:These!-<a href="cedrichohnstadt.wordpress.com/…" target="_blank" class="">cedrichohnstadt.wordpress.com/… have fun!

Q: Did you write World War Z and the Zombie Survival Guide?

A: Nope, that's Max Brooks but don't feel bad, happens all the time.

Q: Did you work on Metalocalypse? 

A: Nope, different Mark Brooks. In fact, there are at least 2 other professional artists names Mark Brooks out in the world. One is a character designer and art director and the other is a fantasy illustrator from England. But if you're online and see a piece of comic artwork by Mark Brooks there's a %99.8 chance it's mine.

Well, that's all I can think of right now. If you have any other questions feel free to ask in the comment section and I will update this. Hopefully I can cover everything. Thanks for reading and as always, hope you dig!

best!
-Mark
  • Listening to: Improv for Humans
  • Reading: No time to read!
  • Watching: Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
  • Playing: Assassin's Creed: Black Flag
  • Eating: Almonds
  • Drinking: Miller High Life
Add a Comment:
 
:iconmerfi-toons:
Merfi-Toons Featured By Owner 1 hour ago
As for me, I told you before you've improved a lot, future look's bright, etc. But I really like that you give backstories to your charcters and I would love to see them more! For me they don't need to contain flattenings at all because your stuff is awesome even without TF's ;P
1.Nat
2.Vic
3.Cindy :D
Reply
:iconblurhead:
blurhead Featured By Owner Edited Sep 23, 2018  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Wow, fantastic resource for all artists, many great observations and answers to those requests we all get from time to time......
Reply
:iconorangejuiceporcelain:
OrangeJuicePorcelain Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2017
You're misinformed regarding dedication, 1000s of hours and such. There is this wonderful shake you can drink. No effort or discomfort required, perfect results in no time, no need to change anything about your life!

Hm, who'd have thought that health and art are so similar.

Anyway, loved the FAQ!
Reply
:iconstar-burns:
Star-Burns Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2017
Damn. Dethklok rules!
Reply
:icondustinshane:
DustinShane Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2015
I understand that there isn't an easy way or a shortcut to be great at drawing and illustration.  I just was looking for some guidance as to the best ways to practice.  It's more of a technique problem I feel than anything.  I've really dedicated myself to practicing hard but I feel like it's not very efficient to improvement.  Do you have any suggestions as how to work on technique more efficiently?  (Huge fan of your art by the way)


Thanks in advance, 


DustinShane
Reply
:iconnautshell:
nautShell Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you for taking the time to write this out! I hope to see you at a convention sometime but in the meantime wishing you all the best!
Reply
:iconpharynroller400:
pharynroller400 Featured By Owner May 28, 2014  Student Artist
i love f.a.q time
Reply
:iconphymns:
phymns Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2013
BUT HOW MUCH FOR THE SNAKE OIL YOU MENTIONED?  ;) Cheers!
Reply
:iconernesin149:
ernesin149 Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2013  Professional General Artist
Damn. Thanks for taking the time to write this, Sir! i loved some of the answers hahaha. you're a TRUE professional of the industry.
Reply
:iconjedidad:
JediDad Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2013
Thanks for the FAQ Mark and for including the pricing guide link.  Coming up with what to charge for commissions always gives me heartburn, and I usually end up second guessing myself. 

I'd also love to catch up with you at Heroes next year if you're going to be there and get your thoughts on where I could improve.  I've been doing sketch cards for a couple of years now and just the sheer volume has helped me improve greatly, but I want to move back to sequentials with the goal of doing my own indie book, so would really appreciate any coaching on things I can work on.  :) 
Reply
:iconkoenken:
Koenken Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2013  Professional General Artist
Nice faq. Thanks for taking the time to put it together.
Reply
:iconfgore:
Fgore Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2013  Professional General Artist
wow, great faq indeed man,  thanks for that ;)
Reply
:iconbedlamnac:
bedlamnac Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
great information. thanks for taking the time to do i.
Reply
:iconbedlamnac:
bedlamnac Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
email has been sent!
Reply
:iconjoeydes:
JOEYDES Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2013  Professional General Artist
Thanks for taking the time to write all that out! It's extremely helpful in a lot of areas. 
Reply
:icon93cobra:
93Cobra Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2013  Professional
Thanks for taking the time to do this!
Reply
:iconelvan-lady:
Elvan-Lady Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2013  Professional General Artist
:thumbsup: Lots of good stuff. Thanks for the link to that G.A.G pricing guide.
Lots of people don't realize art isn't free; just because someone can make marvelous pieces of work doesn't mean that they can afford to do it for the cheap, even if it is done "in their spare time" or what-have-you.
Reply
:iconninjaspidey:
NinjaSpidey Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2013

Way to provide a sincere answer to all these questions, as outrageous as they might be.


You ever get advice from non art people about how you can make money by doing tattoos/selling miniature paintings/ decorating cakes/ learning to do everything in Z Brush? lol

Reply
:iconxanathin:
Xanathin Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Here is a question not covered by your F.A.Q.:

Which do you perfer...

 Hanes, or Fruit of the Loom?


The people want to know.
Reply
:icondiablo2003:
diablo2003 Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Champion medium length athletic fit boxer briefs. To honest?:-)
Reply
:iconstephenbergstrom:
StephenBergstrom Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow! I have something in common with Mark Brooks!


Okay, so I wear a large, but I'm 6' 4".
Reply
:iconchargedgraphite:
ChargedGraphite Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2013  Professional General Artist
Overshare on both counts, fellas!...heh
Reply
:iconlowman-x:
lowman-x Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2013   General Artist
Thanks so much for the CS brushes link.   :-D
Reply
:iconchargedgraphite:
ChargedGraphite Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2013  Professional General Artist
Outstanding to see your insight of how people really need to put in the work and do the gigs that are at their level and build up to the top page rates before never being published and instantly asking for/expecting them.

It is cool of you to post this, as it is a solid guide to follow of how you made your progression and inspiring to those heading up the ranks in the game. 

Keep up the stuff you are knocking out at Marvel, man...it is great. ( However, I do miss the old gang at your forum back in the day ), it was cool stuff. Made great friends and contacts and shared/learned a lot when you were coming into your own at Udon and just moving into Marvel. 

Keep it coming, bud!


Reply
:icondiablo2003:
diablo2003 Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks man! I miss it to. In fact, just had a twitter discussion with all the old Ledheavy crew about doing a reunion. Hopefully someday!
Reply
:icondamphyr:
damphyr Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2013
Awesome links provided, thank you! Good to hear from you, can't wait 'till next Comic-Con. :D
Reply
:icondiablo2003:
diablo2003 Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Me either! I think it's going to be a SDCC for the ages. And sorry for not being as active as I should be here on DA for a while. Promise to change that over the next few weeks.
Reply
:icondamphyr:
damphyr Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2013
I hope so! :la:

And no worries, gotta do what you gotta do. I always enjoy seeing your updates, art and tutorials! :D
Reply
:iconsteele67:
Steele67 Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Check please !! Very well spoken!!
Reply
:icondiablo2003:
diablo2003 Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks! Typos and all;-)
Reply
:iconcrow821:
crow821 Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2013
One of the few journals I bother reading in my feed. Wonderful to find so many faqs answered at once! :D
Reply
:icondiablo2003:
diablo2003 Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks! Want to do more of these.
Reply
:icontracywong:
TracyWong Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Very helpful! Thank you! 

By the way, the pricing guide you linked blew my mind. I think I may have to raise some of my pricing points. 

Thanks again for all the great info. I learned a lot! 
Reply
:icondiablo2003:
diablo2003 Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
It's very handy. How can we as artists get paid what we're worth if we don't know what that worth is?
Reply
:icontracywong:
TracyWong Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
True. And I've seen some VASTLY different prices among different artists - even artists around the same level of skill and quality. So it always confuses me as to what I personally should be charging. 
Reply
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