An open letter to comic artists

I’m going through the now seemingly monthly ritual of bunging a load of comics I don’t want on eBay and my mind naturally wanders to the fantasy of bunging scripts to artists so that I might one day have a book in print that some other jaded fan might try to flog for four times the price.

Except I don’t have any artists to send them to. There have been several attempts over the past few years to approach decent illustrators I know or who were at least vaguely aware of my existence with a proposal to draw hundreds of pages of fantastical stories for free. Not surprisingly, it wasn’t incredibly fruitful.

So I changed tack: I’d still chip away at the story of the sci-fi epic I’ve been working on with a friend since college but spend more of my energy on creating smaller stories that would be quicker to execute and more likely to convince an artist to work for free. But still there’s a problem. On a no-budget film set it’s easy to find folks who’ll work for food because most folks can haul equipment and make tea (also, you can promise the glamour of the movie’s future success to naive young runners), but not everyone can so much as sketch competently and even fewer can render people in a way that really clicks with you.

The folks I’ve spoken to in the past have seemed hesitant, likely because I’m an unproven quality so they might be wasting their time if the product turns out to be garbage, and I get that, because comic art takes time. I’m not saying writing doesn’t, but it’s a hell of a lot easier to delete a dodgy paragraph than it is to correct a botched panel. I’m saying I want people to take a chance with me.

To cut a long story short, I’m looking for collaborators. No, I can’t pay – not yet, anyway – and there might be some trial and error at the start (how is that different to any other creative endeavour?), but they’ll be as short as we can make ’em, and we’ll be telling some kick-as stories together. That’s all the reason I need.

If you’re interested, give me a shout and we’ll put our heads together. I really envy cartoonists and writer-artists who can be totally autonomous, but the great thing about collaboration is that you’re always trying to make the other person’s work better.

That and you don’t have to talk to yourself as much.

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