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!
h 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…
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.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…
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Q: What pencil brushes are you using in photoshop?
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!