Sunday, September 9, 2007
Getting Started in Comics
I guess I've been at this long enough now that prospective artists now contact me wondering, "How do you get started in comics?" Some guy recently on my comic board jumped in with a recommendation that you make a graphic novel because that's where the money is.
Telling someone who is considering doing comics to write and draw a 96-page epic graphic novel is akin to telling a kid who's showing up at the town pool for the first time how to try out for the Olympic free style 200m race. Or telling someone at a mini golf course how to navigate the 9th tee on the pro world circuit. Or convincing someone who's showing up to a school board meeting how to run for congress.
Here's how you get started in comics.
Here's the big secret.
Pick up a pencil and start drawing on a piece of paper.
If all you've got is a few sweet looking pinups, all that other stuff is way out of reach yet, and all it's going to do is flood you with a bunch of confusing info that you WILL NEVER NEED unless you pick up your pencil and draw on some paper. Worry about printers, publishers, copyrighting, ancilliary rights and everything else later, because it doesn't matter at all right now, and will matter very little even in the future compared to your artwork.
(FYI- I recommend finding the right graphite or lead pencil which will usually NOT be the #2 pencil everyone uses to write with. I use a 2F for lighter lines, and an HB or 6B for the heavier lines, when I'm just pencilling, but get a bunch of pencils (most art or craft stores sell a full range of pencils as a cheap set). Experiment with a non-repro blueline pencil along the way too when you're ready to start playing with ink. As for paper, I use Bristol paper and prefer vellum finish, which has a texture and doesn't smear as easily, but you might like smooth better, just as you'll need to find what size you're most comfortable with. Oh, very important, use a white Magic Rub eraser or a kneaded eraser, not those stupid pink ones that will smear your lines and destroy your paper.)
And that's how you get started in comics.
Graphic novel... oy vey.