Becoming a comic book Artist
Becoming a comic book artist takes lots of training and specialized skill. Here we’ll look at some of the tasks ahead.
Comic book artists have been around for almost 100 years. Cartooning much longer. Originally comic books were nothing more than a collection of comic strips in book form. The same techniques to do that are the same techniques to do the book versions we have on the stands today.
Some comic books are simply drawn with minimal line work while others have excruciating detail. The genres vary from romance to science fiction. Today’s comic book artist has simple tools much like those decades ago. Pencils, pens, t squares, erasers. The trick is knowing how to tell a story and do so in the format of the pages. Comic book pages are generally 10×15 inches. They’re reduced in size for printing. These pages are often done in what are referred to as panels. A comic book artist may draw in one genre like westerns or might do superheroes exclusively. It all depends on the market demands and skill of the artist.
There are a few schools that cater to comic book instruction. There isn’t a massive amount of comic book illustrators which is why there aren’t tons of schools. At any given time only perhaps under 50 people are full time professional comic book artists for the big companies. Nowadays most comic book artists work on their own projects from home and publish on the web. There they go to websites and study from professionals who share their knowledge.
Overall, comic book illustration is self taught. You either have it or you don’t or you learn it or you don’t. All the formal training in the world will not guarantee you’ll excel at it but you can learn much from the training.
The best thing for a person wanting to draw comics for a living is to practice lots of drawing and fine art. There is lots of competition out there but only a few handfuls actually make it. In Japan on the other hand, learning how to draw comics or manga as it’s called is done on a large basis because the cartooning and comics industry there is so huge. Becoming a manga or anime artist carries much prestige there but the US has nothing compared to what Japan has.
That being said, one needs to look around and study and ask questions, go to conventions, talk with the pros. The reaction of fans will be the final test. Either people will like your work or they won’t. It sounds brutal but that is the truth.
To enhance your chances, you’ll need to be the best you can be and know the business inside and out. Don’t waste time talking too much but spend your time studying anatomy to perfection, draftsmanship to perfection and design. On top of all that you’ll need to study the overall comic book storytelling format.
So in a nutshell, becoming a comic book artist calls for lots of study and communicating with others in the industry.