Nervous Cartoonist

Artist attending his first ComicCon

It was a bright and sun shiny day in beautiful San Diego California. With printed copies in hand of my slickest looking art, I went to the Con to speak to my favorite comic book studios. I remember being in awe of how big it was and how many people were in attendance. So many geeks like me in one place. This was simply unbelievable.

What to Bring

It is important that you have a well thought out plan before you arrive. When getting your article reviewed you should have several options for the reviewer. The most common are photocopies of your work. Another good idea would be to have a professionally printed copy of your work. Services like Lulu and Kodak will print inexpensive photo books that can be used at the show to display high-quality images. In addition, you could have DVD’s and CD’s of your work. Please note that on all your work, you should have your contact info displayed and available on every page, image, and handout. Why? Well, for the most part unless you are the next Jim Lee, they will be taking your work back to their office along with several other submissions to review again later. So, your submission may get mixed and jumbled together with several others and you will want to ensure that you are still easy to contact if they show interest. Also, only show your best work. Don’t fill your portfolio with work that you are going to feel obligated to make excuses for. Last, show work that only displays what you wish to do. So, if you wish to be a penciler, only show your pencils even if you have the ability to ink and color. You may want to have separate books for each. The reviewer may tell you that they aren’t looking for pencilers right now but need an inker or colorist and that is when you can show that work.

What to expect when you arrive

When you arrive, you’ll first be overcome by the sheer numbers of people and booths. Make sure to set aside time to get your portfolio reviewed. The review booths are usually in the back and there are quite a few people back there waiting to do what you are doing so be prepared to wait.

Presenting your work

First it is important to humble yourself and forget what your mother and friends have been telling you for encouragement throughout your life. Those individuals love you and believe in you. At the Con, these folks do not know you and are doing you a favor. Be respectful of their time and it doesn’t hurt to know a little bit about the person who is looking at your work.

This should go without saying, but if you are interested in doing super hero work, don’t visit an editor or art director who publishes horror books. Choose publishers that put out books that are similar to what you want to do. If you have a lot of interest in particular publishers, you may want to visit them first. Any publisher that you have done research on or have a deeper than surface-level interest in should be approached. Just know that even if you find that a lot of people are not as interested in your work as you had hoped, it is a great opportunity to get some constructive feedback to help you improve.

Keep in mind that reviewers see hundreds of potential artist’s work a day and may not seem very interested in your work. So even if the urge comes to get personal with the reviewer, don’t! They are the interviewer and you should let your work speak for you. Let them control how the conversation progresses. If not, you will walk away regretting something you said.Dealing with Constructive Criticism and Rejection

When I received my first review from my dream publisher Image Comics, I received a few small tips and suggestions, but for the most part, Scott seemed annoyed and I took it personally. I think he may have felt that I was wasting his time because I clearly wasn’t ready to work as a penciler. If that was what he felt, he was right. I’ve learned a lot since then and I really needed to improve. Needless to say, he ripped me up and I didn’t feel like going to any other reviewers. I felt destroyed and didn’t know what to do next. Looking back, I realized that I had a lot of growing up to do and maturing in my skills. After that I took some art classes like Life Drawing, Water Coloring, Basic Drawing and animation. Along the way, I kept drawing and started to learn subjects like inking, Photoshop, and 3D Animation. I spoke to other artists in similar situations. I found that we all have to go through this and I shouldn’t be ashamed. Scott and others were just trying to help me get better and they require a quality of work that makes their publications great. Now that I think about it, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Would I think my work then was cool if published and would I have wanted to by it? I don’t think so. It is important to have a balanced perspective and never give up.

What to do after the Con

The Internet is great and has grown so much since my first Comic Con. There are communities all over the web where artists can communicate and discuss issues that are happening in their field and personal artistic challenges that they are trying to overcome. There are sites where you can post your art and others can comment on it and help you to improve and encourage you as you progress. The most important thing is to use the information you received from the Con as an incentive to keep drawing and stay motivated to improve in the quality of your work.


Source by Frank Freeman