So, you’ve decided you’re going to be in comic books, and you have the next iconic superhero. You have the design in your head and it’s awesome! The backstory is like none you’ve ever heard before and your creative juices are fueled by a fire that can never be extinguished while you exist within the mortal veil; now, if only you could draw…Or, perhaps you’re the next big thing in comics’ artists. Your art is bold and imaginative. Your pen moves quickly and with a flourish the likes of which have only been seen in the works of the greats. I don’t mean Michelangelo, or Monet, or Picasso. No, their works took too long; and, let’s face it, none of them had Photoshop, Autodesk Pro, or a Cintiq. No, I mean the real greats, Kirby, Ditko, Byrne, and Ross; guys who have achieved the pinnacle of artistic success in the comics’ biz and are now legends to the nerd in each of us. You will be the best. Now if only you could write.
Comics is a medium that, due to their very nature, almost demands collaboration to achieve any level of success, and yet there are starving artists and talented writers who never even get close to getting their projects off the ground. Kerbykid and I have talked at length about the challenges other would-be comics creators face that we, perhaps, have found a little less difficult than others, and I decided I would share a little insight with you all. You can be the best writer in the world, but no artist means no comics. You can go write novels and make money, but you can’t be in comics with no artist. Additionally, you could actually be the re-incarnation of Picasso on your Cintiq, but if you don’t have a story, that plus a dollar can buy you a cup of coffee… maybe.
I’m a pretty good artist, I believe. I’ve never had an art class, but I learn things easily and pick up new techniques by experimenting with old rules and applying things I get by watching other, more trained artists. I also have a rather strong, detail-oriented, creative mind that is constantly in “flights of fancy over-drive.” Kerbykid, my partner in Off-shoot Comics, is also something of a creative wiz with a good sense of both story and audience. And we’re dreamers, so for us, almost nothing is more important than the dream. It fuels us; it drives us. It showed how to make compromises…
“Wait, what?… Black Superman, did you really just say I have to compromise my art and my talent to make in the biz? “ No, I said you have to learn to compromise.
One of the hardest things I ever had to learn was no one does anything completely alone. Everyone needs aid from someone, sometime. Kerbykid can’t draw. I can. I’m also a good writer, so why do I need him? Because, I also have a wife and three children, and a good career outside of writing that demands a large portion of my time. I don’t have time to do the writing and the drawing, and honestly, with all the properties we are now developing, I barely have time to breathe. So, we work together, and our work complements each other. Because our working relationship is built on a strong friendship and a mutual under-standing of our ultimate goal, our partnership is bearing fruit.
Now, of course, not everyone is as fortunate as we are. We met in church, became friends, discovered we both had a passion for getting into the comics industry, and the rest is Off-shoot Comics. But what about you? You have to know the dream is out there and that it is bigger and stronger than pride or obstacles. And, you have to be willing to compromise. You might be the writer and creator of a character that transcends time, like the last son of a dying word who comes to Earth and gains extraordinary abilities, but you are also “nobody” in the industry. Perhaps, as much as you hate it, you can give half of the property to an artist who believes in it to draw it. I know it hurts, but it gets the ball rolling.
Maybe you’re the hot-shot artist who’s waiting to be discovered. You’re charging the industry minimum and you’re good. You’re really good. So, why aren’t you already at the top? No one knows you, that’s why. You’re broke and waiting on your chance. Here’s a thought. Draw a story for free. If you truly believe in your work, take your money on the back-end (or at least a portion of it) just so you can get your work out there. Off-shoot Comics’ newest artist, Izy, did that, and soon the Heretic, created by Black Superman and Kerbykid, and drawn and inked by Izy, will be debuting here and at cons in the CA area.
There is a lot more I want to share with you all; more pit-falls and triumphs. There are things to embrace and things to avoid. Off-shoot Comics and Buy Indie Comics wants to show you the way. Keep reading Solar Powered. Let’s make comics history together.