i've been writing comics for about two years and im still relatively new, but someone recently asked me how i find artists to draw my stories. i decided id write a blog about it to help anyone else out. im no expert, but since ive started writing ive learned a few things about how to approach artists and make sure youre both getting the most of out the creative experience.
i know a couple artists personally (i go to VCU, its a big art school) and most of them are REALLY talented. but i found surprisingly thats not necessarily the hard quality to find. whats hard to find is artists who are talented AND motivated, as in they actually get work done. i met hillmon (artist for space radio) right here on comicvine actually. i saw his stuff on the artist show off forums and starting shooting him messages. i told him i had some ideas for comics and i was a writer and asked if hed be interested. after a few weeks of talking we started creating space radio. i already had the first issue done, but after i started seeing his art, it influenced my writing in different directions for the other issues. hes really talented, and hes definitely motivated. he got to work fast and honestly hes amazingly lucky find.
i also have spent hours going through deviantart and other random sites to try and find great artists. theres a lot of them out there, but this can be a grueling process with little to no payoff, but eventually if you find someone interested, the benefits far outweigh the time spent clicking through different art sites and blogs. theres something extremely exciting and satisfying about someone bringing your words to life visually. anyways, when i find an artists i think would really work well with one of my stories, i send them a friendly email telling them who i am and what i like about their art. i try to have a couple stories ready for them to at least hear about and ask if theyre interested at all in drawing them.
also, i try to write short stories (3-9pgs) and have a few always ready for an artist to take on. this is for multiple reasons. one, its good to learn how to cut out everything extra and make a story really count in only a few pages. im still trying to work on doing that better. secondly, people online can read them and read them quickly to get an idea of what your work is like. and lastly, maybe one of the bigger reasons, artists are usually a lot less intimidated by the thought of drawing 5 or 6 pages instead of 5 or 6 issues made up of 24pgs each. thats a lot of work to commit to someone whos not promising anything and not paying anything. and youll learn a lot about your own scripts when you see them drawn out by someone else, even if the art looks terrible. and this can help your writing grow a lot.
also, i make sure i have things DONE ALREADY. its cool to talk about making comics, but it just seems far fetched when a writer with no credibility starts talking to an artist he doesnt know about a story thats not even done yet. you dont have to have the whole thing done, but i try to have enough so that i dont feel comfortable writing anymore until i see what the art is going to look like. this usually means a broad outline of the entire story and the first issue scripted out completely. this lets the artist know your serious about your story and you will write the story if they want to do the art.
and i try to be as fair and honest and polite as possible. i really do appreciate people drawing my stories, especially for free, and i let them know. i politely tell them i cant afford to pay up front or "hire" artists to draw my stories, but any and all money made off of anything we create together will be split right down the middle. the artist and the writer both create the story, even if its all "your" ideas. the art is what breathes life into the story, and without it a comic is not a comic. so the artist deserves as much credit as you and as much money, if not more.
lastly, make a website. even if it looks awful or its just a blogspot/wordpress, i think its really helpful for artists to have a resource where they can see the comics youve already made, maybe samples of scripts you write, and what types of comics you enjoy writing. and this is a great place to post shout outs for the artists who are working with you too. they deserve it. also, editors and publishers are known to scan the internet looking for talent and having a good website can help you get noticed, or at least let them know youre out there.
and also keep in mind copy rights and things like that. i havent been in a sticky situation yet (hopefully i wont) but dont email your whole story to someone if you feel like theyre not going to draw it or they arent interested. its just smart to make sure your work is protected. ive heard some nasty stories about people stealing other writers work. its no good. theres some websites about writer protection and things like that, but im a long way from an expert about it.
oh and something else to keep in mind. when youre talented and passionate about something, its easy to get busy. so if an artist tells you they LOVE your story and starting drawing it and send the first page, but nothing after that, dont get disappointed. this happens a lot. projects and comics can seem great, but dont be naive. comics take a lot of work and a lot of time. and its much easier for a writer to be lazy than an artist in my opinion. so if you get a few sketches and nothing else for months, dont sweat it. just keep plugging and hope someone else will pick it up. and quick tip, dont refer to artists as "your artist." i once said in an email "MY artist on xyz" and somebody got really offended. i dont know if this is a big thing or not, but it goes under the staying polite category.
no, theres not really a comicvine wiki app. but there should be right?! i just got a smart phone recently and i thought about how cool it would be to have a comicvine app, especially one for the wiki on here. what do you guys think? heres some images i made of what maybe it could look like:
space radio #3 is now for sale online, along with #1 and #2. get em right HERE. only $2.50 for 28 pages of glorious black and white storytelling that’ll leave you wanting more, or wondering why you bought it. either way, check it out.
also here’s the cover for issue #5. it’s more focused on dora, but it’s going to be a big issue and the beginning of the big finale that will be concluded in #6, which is going to be absolutely CRAZY. hillmon and i are really excited about it. look out for it soon.
i was reading astonishing spider-man & wolverine #3 (and yes, therell be a few spoilers here), when i thought about something. heres the spoiler, btw. when wolverine dies, he freaks out and does everything he can to get him to come back to life. with the cosmic cube, he literally could have wished for anything in the world, anything he wanted. and yet he wishes wolverine back because he feels so bad for.... for what? for wolverine hitting him, stealing the pheonix gun, shooting doom and killing himself. huh. odd train of thought. now dont get me wrong, i think jason aaron is writing spider-man completely right. thats how peter acts all the time. but im starting to feel like peters getting a little ridiculous.
for someone who totally believes in things like, "fate has given me power so i have to use it responisbly," he never seems to accept death as fate. we see this example with uncle ben, gwen stacy, and even aunt may. who by the way has been like 65 years old since 1963. seriously pete, she was probably like 100 when she got shot, give it up. why doesnt he ever accept death as a normal part of life? he always freaks out and does everything he can to "fix it," even through supernatural means. and even when it puts a lot at risk.
and let me make it clear that spider-man is my favorite. ive been loving the recent ASM, and i think the stories are great. and im not hating on the writers, because they write peter correctly. but as for his actual character, will he ever grow up and understand that death is a real part of life? i dont know.
wow! just read siege #4 and honestly, i feel like i just finished watching a really, really long movie. overall, i liked it but there are somethings that... well i dont know. wasnt what i wanted it to be.
first off, olivier coipel? hes amazing. holy cow. the art in siege was so perfect and nice. his expressions are so on point its crazy. especially thor. captured everything perfectly. so well done, oliver. keep it up.
my big question from siege: WHY ISN'T NORMAN OSBORN DEAD? i mean seriously! if theres ever a villian in the marvel universe that needs to be killed off (and actually KILLED for good) it's norman osborn. i thought siege was going to have a really epic spiderman/greengoblin throwdown in it, but we didnt get it. we actually didnt get much of spiderman at all, which seemed a little off considering norman is the main baddie here. long story short, norman should have died. for real.
speaking of dying, thor threw sentry into the sun. jeez. all i gotta say is, sentry better not come back. c'mon, thrown into the sun? theres no coming back from that. please, marvel, don't make up some stupid garbage for why he can return and make a comeback. just leave it be, he had a good run.
lastly, all the new avengers titles coming out. well, i personally dont like it when similar teams have a bunch of books (*cough* x-men *cough*). it makes it a little annoying because i dont want to buy all of them, usually the good stories are only in one or two books, and yet sometimes you get lost if you're not reading all of them. i was hoping they would just put out AVENGERS and that would be it. one avengers book like way back when. guess not. guess marvel actually is a company, which means business, which means finding ways to make money. eh.
overall, this whole darkreign/darkavengers/siege/darkxmen/darkanythingelse (i was kinda hoping for dark squirrel girl) stuff was pretty good. it was cool to see the superheros be on the other side of the law, i especially enjoyed the spiderman stories like American Son. siege was a little fast paced, and maybe it should have been a longer series but it was cool. on a lot of levels, i cant wait to see what happens next.
[this is a letter i sent in to the ASM office through email:]
Okay, so I have two things I'd like to say.
One, I write you guys somewhat frequently. I'd say every 3 or 4 issues since I started buying ASM consistently. And I never, EVER get printed! Seriously, I'm kinda bummed. Everytime I pick up a new issue, I get my Spidey fix by reading it start to finish and then I check the letter page to read it and see if maybe, MAYBE I got printed. I feel like I'm playing the lottery. And everytime it's like, "Okay maybe this time aaannndddd.... no." Ug. But I digress. I guess it'll be humorous if this is the letter that, in fact, gets printed. But I'll just have to wait and see.
Second, I'm sick of some of these letters being sent to you guys. On one hand you have people complaining because OMD was too "out of character" for Peter. And it took away from the book because it's not something they could actually see him doing, it ruined everything, blah blah blah. And don't get me started on all the other letters about Peter's recent love life and drinking thing back in 601. Then on the other hand, you have people mad because they say the book is repetative and overuses the same themes over and over again. Jeez! Sometimes it seems like you WebHeads don't ever catch a break! But here's my opinion (if you want it, i guess if you don't you can stop reading here!). For me, I feel like I understand. You can't keep telling the exact same stories over and over again. I mean, we've got over 600 issues (almost 50 years worth!) of Spidey stories in ASM alone, not to mention all the other titles that have had Spider-Man's name on them. So even if it seems a little off or makes you freak out at first site, I say overall it's okay to mix things up with stuff like unmasking Spidey in Civil War and OMD. I understand. Let's have something different, you know? And this comes from a reader who's not a fan of OMD.
Then, opposite of that, I am reading ASM. I expect ASM stories. I DO want to see him low on money, struggling between his friends and foes, and cracking stupid jokes all the time. I wouldn't buy it if I wasn't expecting classic Spider-Man stories! These type of themes and plot devices are what create Spider-Man, and create everything that we think of when we think Spider-Man. You can't disown that. So I guess there's a balance. Mix it up enough to make it interesting, even if it heats some readers up, but keep it classic at times, too. Sure, it may seem familiar, but I love Spider-Man and I want some classic mixed in there.
So don't let the bad letters bog you down. No, I don't absolutely love every single issue of ASM. But I understand you guys are working hard to make the best stories you can and I appreciate that. Plus, I buy 'em so I can get my Spidey fix, too ;)
i dont know. i really enjoyed dark reign because i thought it was such an interesting concept, although i feel it was strechted a little too long. but it definitely opened a ton of doors for awesome stories.
going for a "brighter" tone sounds like the natural thing to do next. the first thing i think, though, is how are we gonna have fun stories to read if everything goes great all the time? its not that interesting if spidey catches the bad guy right away all the time and gets the girl everytime. i mean, that doesnt sound like a fun read.
but obviously marvel and dc both have more in store for us. just because its a brighter time doesnt mean its going to be perfect all the time. maybe there will be more struggles between the heroes themselves instead of classic good guy vs bad guy. or maybe some bad guys will failingly try to become good. who knows.
either way, it seems like the natural direction to go, and im sure marvel and dc have some great stories planned out (and prob a few bad ones too...). i dont think superman and spidey are going to be "farting rainbows" the whole time.
cmon. we all know they arent avengers for real. i mean, theyre both very much "i work on my own" type guys. i thought it was silly that they agreed to join. maybe just to sell more books or something, idk
i dont who should be on the next avengers team, but it would be tight if it was maybe just cap thor and iron man. like a smaller team. that could be really funy
dont get me wrong, blackest night is good. i really love the idea of bringing a lot of the dead people back as villians. but im not a green latern fan because im not a big sci-fi dude. so most green latern based crossovers (or green latern stuff period) doesnt usually click for me.
i really like dark reign and the concept behind the villians being the ones behind the "law." i also think its been really cool how its related to modern politics as well.