Pitching your comic to an Artist
Evil Emperor Nick at 10:14AM, Oct. 31, 2007
Tips for writers seeking artists
Everyday dozens of hopeless threads go up with aspiring writers begging for artists to give their scripts life. 99% of the time these pleas go on deaf ears, but there are a few things you can do to help you stand out from the pack and improve your odds.
1. Do not pitch your idea unless you are ready to start immediately.
This is the most common mistake I see. A lot of times writers report they have “A vague idea”, “something I would like to do” or “an idea I'm working on”. These sort of pitches almost never work. If you don't know any exacts then how can you show your comic is worth their attention. It is impossible for an artist to decide if they will like a series or not if you don't have it finished.
2. Do as much work as you can ahead of time.
I'm not saying write out all 4000 pages of your epic tale, however there is a lot of work you should have done before you ask around with artists. Have a clear idea of the series tone, the style you want, the characters, the draw, etc. etc. If you want to be writer then write. Have details, write samples of the script, be ready to expand further on the series. As a writer you will always be doing your work in advance of the artist so get used to it.
3. Be clear on how you see a partnership working.
Be honest on how you see the partnership working. If you are flexible and easy going let the artist know that. Usually it is something artist look for. Artists are creative people and they will want to know if they can do things like change dialog slightly to fix text bubbles.
4. Give some detail and be ready to give a lot more.
When you post up your idea. Give a healthy amount of details but don't post up the whole epic. A good rule of thumb is pretend you are doing a grade school book report. Outline your idea and give a high view of your vision. You want to communicate as much as you can without overwhelming the artist. If an artist is interested but unsure be ready to give them more details and specifics.
5. Be pro-active.
The sad truth is most good artists don't go to looking in forums for series to draw. If they go there at all it is usually for community projects they can just have fun with. Series that seem relaxed and fun to draw tend to do much better there. So what can you do? The majority of my series I got artist for through networking, making contacts and asking when the time is right. The more people you know and friends you make the more likely it is you'll make connections. I always prefer working with someone I know somewhat to a total stranger who needless to say is a crap shot gamble. Write fan fictions, comment, read authors notes, get involved in community projects etc. etc. Networking is by far the best way to attract people to your project. However don't be a total merc. Remember your main goal should be getting to know more people not trying to exploiting people for your own gain. Friends look out for friends and will sometimes pass a name a long or something like that. People take a lot less kindly to you trying to guilt them into free labor because you happened to write a fan fic for them. Networking can work against you if you make a bad reputation for yourself. Networking should be about win-win situations, making friends and getting your name out there.
6. Don't be afraid to do it yourself.
If you have truely good writing that will come through even with terrible art. It show you are serious about your project and give artists a very clear idea of what you have in mind. If your idea can shine through your art skills you make catch someone's attention. Even if it doesn't I highly recomend any comic author do this before attempting to write a comic series for someone else. You will learn a lot and that will help you communicate with artist in future. Additionally if you can get good enough to storyboard your own ideas that may help win over artists by decreasing their work load. Who knows you might even get good enough to draw yourself.
7. Summer Time is your Friend.
There are a heck of lot more people who have time do comics durring the summer then most other times of the year. In fact there are many people who only have the time to do comics during the summer time. Keep that in mind and use that to your advantage. Pitching your series around later April or May is probably the ideal time to get peoples attention. That said be ready for your summer time help to leave in the fall. If you have a really good thing going together it might not, but often summer time comic slow down or die come the fall. Write smart and be ready for that. Doing a summer 30 page comics isn't a bad way to start off.
8. Artists are more open to new ideas.
It is much harder to get an artist on an established series then to get one for a new ideas. Established series come with a lot of baggage thus at least some limits on an artist freedom to be creative. Worse, it means they are always going to be compaired to the people before them. For these reasons it is generally easier to find an artist for a new series then an one that has been running for a while. Artist maybe more receptive to doing a spin off or a restart then keeping an established comic going.
9. Be fun to work with.
Most of us are not going to be paying our artists. As such their only motivation is the joy of creating comics. No matter how good a writer you are if you are not fun to work with it won't matter. It is awful hard to get an artist to work on your ideas instead of their own no matter how awful. As such do as much as you can to make sure your artists are going to have fun on your project. Artist will stop working with you or trail off with the updates if they don't enjoy doing it anymore. Worse if you are a major jerk to work it with will get around, people will hear about it and remember.
10. Don't get married to one idea.
Not every idea is going to be a good idea. Before you try to get an artist have your friends read over your ideas and script and get their opinion. If you post up a lame idea most people will read it, realize it is lame and never give you the time of day again. First impressions are strong so make them good. If you are just starting out your script might not be the best, but make sure it is your best. If an idea fails to take off don't get mad, put the idea in the file drawer and start on a new idea. You can always come back to an idea later if it is missing something. If your hero is lame, no amount of explaining on your part is going to change that fact. People are going to judge you on your comic, not your ability to explain or defend your comics. Going hand in hand with this: Be ready to accept critism, coming off as defensive never helps and sometimes even harsh crits have a good point you might learn from.