hey man, i need advice. so i draw but ever since i was little kid there has always been a someone that was better than me. like they would prodigy level of drawing. my stuff has always looked some stupid doodle and just gets me so down and angry and i feel like i'll reach that level. i've given up so many times in the past. i just wish i had that drive but i don't. drawing feels like a chore. i want to do other creative stuff. i feel drawing is holding me back sometimes. i don't know. help?
I know the feeling. Growing up I always had people around me who I thought were doing much better work than I was capable of— my friends and my older brother. I don’t think I really liked most of what I drew until I was about 30. and by then I was onto the idea that it didn’t really matter.I’d figured out my own lane— I feel like the drawing has to be just something you do for you. It’s awesome to feel like you’re good at something but that’s all on the back end, it’s not why you should do it. Things get all messed up with the internet’s immediate gratification. When I was a kid I couldn’t show more than a couple people anything I did even if I wanted to.
and It’s totally ok to not draw and go after some other means of expression, everything is going to be hard—I think that ads some value to it but it doesn’t have to be a painful struggle.
I always say that my job isn’t really about drawing and writing as much as it’s about staying excited about drawing and writing. That’s the hard work.
I remember years ago, I had a job drawing porn comics and I had to get pages in to pay my rent. There’s that Tenacious D song that has the line “It doesn’t matter if it is good, It only matters if it rocks.” and as dumb as that is —it was like my mantra to enjoy the work and get over myself.
I dunno if that helps, it’s a struggle. Sometimes all I can do is rewatch the stuff that clicked with me most and spend all day looking over and redrawing panels from comics that got me excited about comics.
I have been wanting to assemble a huge post of some of the amazing women artists out there, because it seems like too often they get overlooked when it comes to being honored and recognized. This year, I was incredibly honored to be nominated for a Hugo award in the Best…
Nameless City looks cool. Hope to see some editions of it rolling out soon, so we can support it with our leafy greens!
Thank you! Sadly the first book in the Nameless City trilogy won’t be out until 2016. I KNOW so far from now! :( Buuut that’s how book publishers do it, lots of lead time. There are many reasons for this, and at one point First Second wrote a blog post about them, but I can’t seem to find it. Bah.
I drew Friends With Boys in 2010 and it was published in 2012. I’ll be drawing book 1 of The Nameless City over 2014, probably finishing toward the end of that year (I can’t start work on it until I finish Bigfoot Boy 3, which wraps up in January). So there’ll be about a year between the book being finished (late 2014) and it being published (early 2016). But hopefully you won’t have forgotten it by the time it comes out! (I’ll remind you. ;))
My apologies if you've mentioned this before, but your last post made me curious, what was your day job before you started doing comics full-time? Was that still when you were working in the animation industry, or...?
Oh, yeah, my career timeline is kind of weird. This is how it all happened:
1) I went to university for four years and drew comics for two of those years.
2) I graduated university and got into animation college because I really wanted to work in animation. I did Sheridan College’s 3 year classical animation program from 2001-2004. I was one of those teens who really really loved the ’90s Disney films and working in animation was my dream. I drew comics pretty much through most of my 3 years in animation school, although I had to stop when school got too crunchy. The nice thing about college is that you have a 4 month summer where you’re working some crappy menial job to pay for school, and that leaves a lot of time to draw comics. I worked at a golf course for most of my summers, from about 6am-1pm, so I had the whole afternoon to draw comics. I drew a lot during my college summers. :)
3) Then I graduated in 2004 and went in search of a career in animation. For many reasons, I did not succeed, and eventually failed out of animation in 2008. It’s something I still feel pretty bruised about, even though I have this awesome job in comics now. Working in animation was a big dream I had for many years, and coming to terms with my failure took a long time. And yeah, I drew comics all throughout my 4 years of animation.
I think the hardest thing about a career in the creative arts is finding your place. Finding a job where your skills are used in a way that is constructive, both for you as a creative individual, and for the company you work for. For some people that means working in a studio, for others it means being your own boss and building a self-publishing comic empire. For others it means working hand in hand with publishers. But the most important (and DIFFICULT!) thing I’ve found, is finding a way to turn your art skills into a career that is profitable, financially and creatively. And sometimes you don’t end up where you think you will. I failed out of an industry I thought was one of the more stable art industries (animation) and found a partnership with an industry notorious for paying very poorly (comics). It’s very strange, but I’m very grateful.
Hi Faith! I just found you through Bryan Konietzko tumblr and I love the comic about SDCC. And now that I have seen some other of your works I really like them too :) But the SDCC really moved me. I want to "draw for living" as you say, but I really don't kwon where to start. Im starting making comics right now and that comic is really inspiracional. Thanks a lot for sharing! Any advice for the noobs? Keep it up, your works are great! :D
I made a list of all the comic related advice I’ve blogged about in the past few years, and you can find it here. Hopefully it’s helpful.
Protip: you start making comics for a living by making comics. Make a lot, get good, and the right people will notice. I didn’t start making a living at comics until I’d drawn over 1,000 pages, and had been doing it regularly for nine years.
Sad Protip: you may never make a “living” at comics. :( Some years I barely live above the poverty line. My first year making comics full time? I made $4,000. For a year’s work. This year I made decent money (thanks mostly to doing a licensed comic, which pay well), and next year I will do well thanks to a large upcoming project, but the years after? Who knows. I have no dependents, no debt (just finished paying off my student loans a few years ago), and own no property. My cost of living is very low, and this is really what allows me to make a living in comics.
… okay, this is getting too ramble-y and possibly depressing. Apologies! But … it’s hard to make a living in comics. I am astonished I can do it, and that I’ve been doing it for so long (five years now). It’s not what I set out to do. But I’m so happy and so lucky and so fortunate to be able to do so.
I own the original art to a few Stewart's covers. Is there a reason he doesn't sign his covers? Be seeing you, Brian
Thanks for your support.
I put my name on every page that leaves the studio. That’s it in the upper right. I wrote it. That’s my name.
What I don’t do is sign the page in the visible, printable area. Some artists do this on every page they draw; some do it on covers and splashes; some on covers only. Some just discreetly write in all caps, some have positively baroque signatures with flourishes and frames.
While I appreciate the desire in the not-so-distant uncredited past to lay claim where able, in this era of screaming narcissism, I just think it’s pretentious and unnecessary and one more goddam thing to do.
"Attachment leads to suffering." - Buddha
"You don’t need to see his identification." - Obi-Wan Kenobi
This week Guillermo del Toro’s PACIFIC RIM came out on DVD/Blu-Ray, so now you can have kaiju alerts anytime you want! I had a great time getting to be part of Guillermo’s core concept team along with designing some of the film’s kaiju, Otachi and Slattern! Here’s a look at some of the early concept I did for Otachi and the evolution of the kaiju from sketch to screen.
All the kaiju designs I did started out with a blank piece of paper and few ideas for forms and character. Above (top), is the first quick sketch for a possible kaiju that would become “Otachi”, based loosely on a crawling bat with the twin blade horns inspired by the prehistoric skull of a Brontotherium. Guillermo liked the direction of that form and I worked it up to a cleaner design (center), fleshing out the details and character. With Guillermo’s input we worked up the bottom design, getting rid of her multiple side eyes and adding the glowing “eye spots” to the front of the horns and split chisel lower jaw. The hammer tail in the early drawings also became a snake like spear.
After that, the next pass at the designs tightened all those ideas into the final concept drawings above.
Guillermo also wanted the kaiju to have 2 silhouettes, standing and crawling so a rearing Otachi was also worked out (above). Along with a flying pose with her wings extended (below).
The final details of Otachi’s head were also tightened, but the tendons connecting her jaws were dropped in the final model.
Once all these concepts were finalized and Guillermo approved, the drawings were passed to concept artist Francisco Ruiz Velasco who did a final rendered painting of the design and fleshed out more details like the glowing spots along her neck. Otachi’s attacking tail was also added in Francisco’s pass at the character, taken from the unused kaiju “Meathead”, an earlier character that I designed with concept sculptor Simon Lee.
From there the designs and rendering were given to concept artist/ sculptor David Meng who created the final maquette that brought everything together into the final Otachi that would end up in the film! And I’ll admit it’s still a big thrill to see her come to life on the screen. You can check out more of the all the concept that went into making the film with the official art book “PACIFIC RIM: MAN, MACHINES and MONSTERS”. And be sure to check out all the featurettes and extras included in the new PACIFIC RIM DVD release!