14 Oct 2011

THE SECRET TO ENTERING COMICS

They say that entering comics is the simplest thing. After twelve weeks of Corporate Caveman (and counting) I can honestly agree. To become a starter, all you need to do is draw a comic-book. To further penetrate the industry you must draw another comic-book. To become a recognised comic-book artist (not by awards but by readers and peers) you draw yet another comic-book. Then another. Then another and another and soon you are a comic-book veteran. That's it, that's the secret to getting into comics.
Every Child Is Born an Artist in Some
way.
In keeping with the subject, mental blocks are the hardest obstacles to overcome. Your mind is your greatest tool but it can also double up as your worst enemy. When I was much younger and not burdened by the desire or need to impress, I drew several comic-books. I was driven not by recognition but by the urge to entertain myself. I told stories that would make me happy then read them to myself and eventually the secret got out. I'm still very flattered that my classmates decided to steal my comic-books. Well I'm not encouraging theft by any means, all I'm saying is, I don't imaging someone would consistently steal something worthless unless out of spite but I chose to believe this was not the case. I gladly accept what happened because after all, they could steal my art but not my talent. It was a veiled complement that spurred me on.
Fast forward to my late high school years, the passion was there but slightly tainted. I was not telling stories anymore. I was selling ideas and concepts in an attempt to 'wow' others. The problem with this was that I couldn't complete a single comic book in a period of two years. This was interesting considering I used to complete three comic-books every week in primary school. What happened? The perpetual heaps of wasted paper in my dustbin may have had some answers...
The Competition
As you grow up you learn new things. This holds true through all aspects of life. You learn fresh concepts, different methods of doing things and acquire new motivations. Learning new things is not always a good thing if you're not prepared for them. As years go by, you find out that you can't draw Superman comics anymore because of tedious legal terminologies like patents and copyright law. You discover the colour wheel, shading and tonal variation. You learn new roles like writers, pencilers, inkers & letterers. "Didn't I do all this stuff on my own in primary school? Is this just a system to keep out new creatives like me?" Then you pick up a Marvel comic book with Dan Slott on the script, Humberto Ramos on pencils, Cuevas on inks and Edgar Delgado on colour and it hits you... This is what I'm up against? From then on, its never the same. A hobby turns into a whole other ballgame; suddenly its not just fun and games. Its a competition.
From my experience, if you think of everything as a whole, your mind will never get past the mental block already imposed on it. You will never begin the story because you have no clue who will colour/ink/pencil/letter so what's the point of writing the script? You will never find a publisher or self-publish because "how will I protect my work legally from a thief with deeper pockets?" So many things need to be done and your simple ballpoint art just doesn't cut it anymore against the "big boys" in the industry. You need new expensive inking pens and you must have a unique style that will impress all the "heavyweights," in a manner of speaking. This is not to say that comic-book creators are fat but I digress. You forget the days when it was just enough to tell a story and enjoy yourself doing it.
Glamour Isn't always Necessary
Art is a beautiful thing, all it needs is for you to be comfortable with your own methods.Once your mind has jumped that hurdle, the rest is literally downhill. It is always easier to sprint for the finish at the home-stretch rather than dashing from twelve laps behind. Once you get the ball rolling the rest will come together. You cannot seek sponsorship or help without a tangible expression of your intention to enter the industry. The same applies to writers, photographers, musicians and just about all the other creative arts. Since you don't need a degree to prove that you have talent, you must have a physical expression of your ability. Start something, draw a rugged ballpoint comic-book, do another and another and another; just have fun with it and complete your stories. The feeling of completion, no matter what the quality is, will spur you on to do more and you will be surprised what you take from the experience. As I write this post, I can say for a fact that I still draw using a ballpoint pen and Corporate Caveman is one of the many results.
Be smart, love what you do and the world will respond. The feedback will come one way or another but you will always know.