Do you envy people who are more succesful than you? Then you’re like 99,9% of all creatives. But in this video I argue that you should wallow in your lack of success!
Your worst enemy as a creative… is yourself!
If you think you’re alone in feeling like a hack, a fraud and a talentless poser, think again. We all have an annoying voice in our head, telling us we suck! What to do?
Watch this video, that’s a start.
I have a friend who has the habit of taking things apart to see how they work. Anything from a radio to a vending machine. To me this is the ultimate approach to art.
Find something that works – a film, a novel, a painting – analyze it, break it down, take it apart and figure out why. This is how Raymond Chandler started writing short pulp fiction stories. He took a story from Black Mask, dissected it and identified the various element and then created a new story by replacing each piece with his own.
You can become a great artist by copying what you love about another artist. This will teach you a lot. Then after a while, you can bring in other influences and start adding your own voice, thereby creating something new. If you look at my early drawings, you’ll definitely see a Mike Mignola phase, a Frank Miller phase and a Sean Phillips phase (which you could argue is not over yet).
My first 48-page comic that was published in Denmark in 1999, was the result of sitting next to Peter Snejbjerg. Peter was a master of the quill (the kind of metal-tipped pen you dip in ink) and all the “real” comics artist all used it. So of course this young whipper-snapper had to try and copy the technique, with pretty disastrous results. I learned a lot of lessons by sticking it through for 48 pages – the most important being I shouldn’t be using a quill. I learned later, that I could use a soft-tipped marker to almost the same effect and that my hand liked working with that way better. Nowadays I listen more to my hand than I listen to my brain.
As an artist it’s important to stretch your muscles, draw the things you have a hard time drawing rather than sticking to the things you nail every time. Again, it’s a great strategy to just copy. Drawing from life or recreating works from other artists is a crucial way to get better at the craft.
This post is an excerpt from my book SOLO – Survival Guide for Creative Freelancers – Pre-order now on Amazon.
If you’re on the newsletter, you’ve no doubt heard about my upcoming English language book SOLO – Survival Guide for Creative Freelancers.
The book is an attempt to gather my 20 years of experience as an independant creator in several fields – writing, drawing, comics, YA, children’s books, podcasting, teaching.
It’s a well-known fact that more and more jobs will be outsourced to freelance contractors or be project-based. The so called “steady jobs” are a thing of the past. It is time to take control of your own destiny, ownership of your career and your future.
SOLO is written for people who believe in creative living on their own terms. It will focus on people who want a sustainable career, mixing freelance work with creating and selling their own art. My promise is that diving in to the tactics and strategies of this book will help you find a clearer vision to strike out your own path.
Here’s some of what the book covers:
- How to get started with freelancing
- How to create a network of people to help build your career
- How to handle clients and pricing your work
- How to handle the business side of things
- How to gain new clients and create several income streams
- What tools, tactics and templates you can use to sustain you over the long haul
The opportunities for running your own creative business have never been more optimal and the book gives concrete examples and ideas for what your next step could be, no matter where you are in your creative career.
Click the image below to download a free 20-page sample.
This blog is focused on comics creation as a whole, rather than seeing writer and artist as two separate things. But what do you do if you have a great story written but don’t feel you have the drawing skills to pull it off?
It’s a big commitment for an artist to draw a comic book that someone else wrote.
Getting an artist on board on your big project is not going to be easy, unless you have the cash to pay for their time. And even then, you’re competing with other commitments and paid work.
Being both a writer and an artist, I can see things from both sides. And I know there are more people out there who can write than there are people who can draw. Time is another important factor. You can write five 22-page issues of something in the same time it takes an artist to draw just one. So how do you lure someone into spending weeks and months hunched over the drawing table working on your book?
Here’s what I think will help:
- A script. I would never agree to draw something from a pitch or an idea. If a writer can’t show me any writing, all the alarm bells go off. And if I am expected to commit to a longer series, I need not only a script for the first ten pages, I need to know where it’s all going. I need to know the writer can write and has a plan.
- A track record. Again, showing that you can produce something helps convince others to get on board. If you have other finished projects on your resume, you may be able to hook an artist with just a detailed outline with a beginning, middle and end. A few pages of script is still necessary, to show that you can write.
- A smaller commitment. It’s much easier to agree to draw ten pages in black and white, than a six issue series or a fully painted graphic novel. As a writer, this also gives you a chance to see how the relationship works out. Just because an artist can show excellent work doesn’t mean they can produce it consistently, keep a schedule or be easy to work with. Doing a shorter story is mutually beneficial.
- Money. Sure, we are all for sale. The more money you can put up front, the harder it is for an artist to say no. But like mentioned above, artists can be flaky, so doing a shorter thing together is a good idea before you pay an artist a huge sum for a book they may never deliver.
- Ownership. If you offer to give the artist a creator credit, it helps sell the message that you are both in the same boat. If you do a pitch together (see this page for how to create a compelling pitch) to get a publisher, having split ownership of the property makes the artist invest more time and effort.
- Trust. The cornerstone to any working relationship is reliability and trust. To get an artist to commit time and energy to your project, you need to trust them to do their thing without you looking over their shoulder. You need to trust their decisions and listen to their input – or at least pretend. But you also need to deliver on your promises and not be late with a script, feedback or payment.
PS: Even if you never plan to draw anything, it might be a good idea to at least have an idea of the process. So sign up for my 100% free 7-day crash course here.
The rabbit is out of the hat! BOOM! Studios is releasing the first issue of creator-owned book Thomas Alsop in June 2014, an occult New York story, written by Chris Miskiewicz and drawn by yours truly. Bleeding Cool did a nice little write up here: http://www.bleedingcool.com/2014/03/12/are-you-missing-hellblazer-here-comes-thomas-alsop/. I’ve obviously known about this for a while, even recorded an interview with my friend and mentor Peter Snejbjerg (http://www.snejbjerg.com) on the topic of working on a monthly book. Listen for more details.
You can read a 12-page short featuring Thomas Alsop here: http://welcometotripcity.com/2013/05/thomas-alsop-the-case-of-dead-uncle/ and watch the live action promo at http://welcometotripcity.com/2013/05/thomas-alsop-the-hand-of-the-island-official-trailer/