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Seeking advice on seeking an artist...
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JohnK



Joined: 02 May 2006
Posts: 462
Location: Glendale, California

PostPosted: Sat Mar 09, 2013 12:02 am    Post subject: Seeking advice on seeking an artist... Reply with quote

I know there is a Sticky on this, but I need a conversation.

So I'm looking to get another webcomic going, but I don't have an artist. The current guy I'm working with on Hammerfist has been my artistic partner for almost ten years. I have no idea how to search for somebody new as I have no idea how much artists cost. Could anybody here help me out with a bit of education?

Would it be better to offer money per page or to package pages together?

What is a reasonable price when making offers?

Are there any good forums to seek out an artist?

This story is of the "dystopian future" style. Should I be looking for someone who is philosophically aligned with me? I wouldn't want somebody leaving the project halfway through because they don't agree with the content.

I guess I'm kind of nervous in looking for somebody new, especially with such a personal story. That's really my biggest hurdle. I really want to find somebody who is on board with the story.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Just the ins and outs of this.

Thanks.
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mcmasters



Joined: 28 Jun 2012
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 09, 2013 3:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a fertile place to make your pitch. "Digital Webbing."

http://www.digitalwebbing.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=14

I got a few submissions from there and a bunch of people at least looked at my proposal. I had a short pitch and then a link to a much more detailed proposal on my website. I suppose the more money you offer the less you will have to reveal of what the actual content is. If you can't offer much money (who of us can?) then seems you will have to draw interest based on the strength of your idea.

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Ka-Ching



Joined: 09 Feb 2013
Posts: 42

PostPosted: Sat Mar 09, 2013 4:33 am    Post subject: Re: Seeking advice on seeking an artist... Reply with quote

To help with the last part of this post, you definitely want to find someone who can get on board with your story and can feel like it's important to them. If you don't get that, it's going to be hard to find someone you'll like.

I would organize a pitch before going out and trying to get the artist of your dreams. What makes your comic different? Why is it a great opportunity for an artist to stretch his/her skills? Why is it going to be successful? You tell your prospective artist those things right off the bat and see if they dig it, and you'll be much more likely to find someone who you can work with another 10 years.
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Kail



Joined: 10 Feb 2007
Posts: 424

PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 7:02 am    Post subject: Re: Seeking advice on seeking an artist... Reply with quote

JohnK wrote:

Would it be better to offer money per page or to package pages together?


I'd say money per page would be best if you're planning on updating one page at a time. Packaging them together would be more for if you're looking for something like a book, where having ten pages out of twenty is not useful to you, and even then, I'd look at paying per page with a big completion bonus at the end of the project. At least, until you're established a relationship with the artist and he knows you're not going to skip out on him.

JohnK wrote:

What is a reasonable price when making offers?


Varies, IMO, but generally you get what you pay for. Sometimes you can find someone who will draw it for pennies, just for the author credit and experience, but they'll generally be looking for better opportunities so might not be reliable. A lot of amateurs charge pretty cheap rates, something like $30 to $60 per page, depending on stuff like how good they think they are and how much work it looks like. Pros are way more expensive, something like ten times that at the low end, but obviously generally better and more reliable.

These are all numbers based on my own experience, which isn't super comprehensive, so take it with a grain of salt.

JohnK wrote:

Are there any good forums to seek out an artist?


There are a bunch of general artistic communities that you might want to check out, I've heard DeviantArt tossed around a lot in that context.
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JohnK



Joined: 02 May 2006
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Location: Glendale, California

PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm thinking I'm going to start looking for passionate people first, then go the money route later. $30 to $60 is pretty far out of my budget as the comic is about 250 pages in length total. I'm definitely looking for a partnership here that will want to work to build the comic together. I've really had it too easy for too long as a writer.

Thanks for the different locations to seek people out. As I'm doing a third draft on it I'm going to start putting a proposal together and just see what happens over the next few months. I'd really like to get this thing going. If anybody has any other websites they are aware of for finding artists please let me know.

And of course, once I have a proposal and outline put together, I'll put it here.
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mcmasters



Joined: 28 Jun 2012
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2013 3:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you've got 250 pages written you can cough up, surely, 30 or 40 to a prospective artist and not get that squishy "I don't want to give away too much for nuthin'" feeling. The more material you dangle out there, if it's really catchy, the more likely somebody will catch your fever.
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AndToBeLoved



Joined: 17 Mar 2011
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2013 4:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As a freelance illustrator, the three places where I look for gigs the most are Digital Webbing, Deviant Art, and Craigslist (preferably in that order). I take it as a huge compliment when writers contact ME, rather than me having to reply to a post that hundreds of other illustrators have also replied to. So I'd suggest trying to contact people directly first, if you can. It shows that you're willing to do your fair share of work by seeking someone out, rather than expecting people to go to you (that's a generalization, but you get the point).

When I first started out, I was doing fully colored pages for $18 each. Looking back, that was way too low, which was why I didn't stay attached to the project very long (even though my art was terrible, lol). I now charge about $150 per fully colored page, but sometimes up to $200. And I still have a ways to go before I consider my art to actually be good. Honestly, I'd say it's more important to find someone who draws decently but is very reliable, rather than someone who draws amazingly but is unreliable.

And yeah, individual page rates are much easier to work with and keep track of, rather than batches. You can pay out multiple pages at a time at the end of the month or whatever, but work with individual page rates.

Also be very open to negotiation and make sure that when you draft up a contract that everyone's expectations are clearly stated. It's also good to be very upfront about what you're looking for right away. Page rates, deadlines, etc. Don't beat around the bush. But, you know, don't be a jerk about it. Just because you'll be paying them, doesn't mean you have power over them (I've worked with writers who think otherwise and things never go well when that happens).

Good luck! And kudos on seeking out advice ahead of time.

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JohnK



Joined: 02 May 2006
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Location: Glendale, California

PostPosted: Mon Mar 18, 2013 9:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good thing I want this comic to be black and white. hehe

I'll make sure and take your advice in also seeking artists out rather than just posting on message boards. That sounds like a great idea. Especially since I have a pretty specific look in my mind. It'd probably be better to find someone who is already doing it rather than trying to mold an artist. That's not very collaborative.

I have to make sure to spend some time at Deviant Art going through available artists. Thanks!
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Casual Notice
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 18, 2013 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you really want a good artist, you'll have to eschew internet, or "farm-raised" artists, and go out into the wilds for a free-range artist. You'll find them in the arts district of the nearets large-ish city (note: the arts district is not the same as the museum district--the museum district is where rich people go to look at art, and they don't want to be bothered by poverty-stricken artists harshing their Cristal buzz). Generally, you'll find a good artist spot in an old area with overpriced tenements and an abundance of unsanitary coffee shops and hilariously sinister bars.

Once you're there, you'll have to select your bait to catch the right artist for you. Most artists will respond to a simple shiner, or "blunt", which is efficient, but indiscriminate, and a thrashing Otaku can wreak havoc on even the most carefully maintained line. I would go with a custom rig composed of equal parts tuaca and Red Bull. Warning: you may have heard of the results people get with heroin or cocaine, but they are not as effective as advertised, and, anyway, most urban waters, especially those without strong zoning laws, have actors and musicians swimming the same pools as artists, and they will snap up the bait before the smaller, shyer artists will even approach it.

Artists can be trained, although you will need to devote some time and patience to the task. A rigorous schedule of positive and negative enforcement intermingled is all that is required, and not unlike training a dog, you'll find the simplest tasks the easiest to encourage/discourage (I should point out here that, unlike a dog, you should never smack your artist with a rolled-up newspaper--a number of artist breeds are genetically predisposed to see that as a reward and not a punishment, and, if you're not careful, your artist will be crapping on the floor and blowing deadlines just for the thrill of it).

That's really all there is to it. Although, as a courtesy to others, if you happen to catch an Otaku it is considered polite not to return it to the water unless you've reduced it to chum--they really have become an invasive species and can be found even in what used to be considered isolated waters.
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TonyDiGerolamo



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 4:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've found good artists on PencilJack Forums and digitalwebbing.com. Also here.
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AndToBeLoved



Joined: 17 Mar 2011
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 7:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Casual Notice wrote:
If you really want a good artist, you'll have to eschew internet, or "farm-raised" artists, and go out into the wilds for a free-range artist.


If you're saying that you're better off looking for an artist in person rather than utilizing the internet, I'd have to strongly disagree. Maybe I'm just getting confused by your metaphors ( such as comparing an artists life-long efforts to perfect there work to that of training a dog), but the absolute best way to find an artist is find one online somewhere, contact them directly, and await a reply. If there is no reply after a few days, keep looking.

The only exception to this would be to seek out an artist at a convention. Maybe. Depends on the person. Depends on the convention. Strongly depends on the project at hand.

Contact an artist on the internet directly. It's the best way to go.
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JohnK



Joined: 02 May 2006
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Location: Glendale, California

PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 9:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, so here is a rough of what I'm going to use to search for an artist. If anybody has any advice for me it would be much appreciated. Too much? Too little? Please let me know.

Thank you.



THE BLACK WALL

STORY: Twenty years have passed since the World Trade Center was attacked on 9/11 and America has become a much changed place. Hank Mitchum has spent his years outside of the military wandering from state to state, job to job, until his motherís death brings him back to Reno, NV where he grew up. It is here that his eyes open to the reality of a changing society far removed from the pre-terror world where the presence of the state was felt much less.

Hank becomes intertwined with this world when his old military friend Mark Stern offers him a job within the security-industrial complex. The chance at easy money from an easy job has Hank saying yes no matter what his qualms are. At the same time Hank meets a young prostitute that he saves from the brutality of a Federal security Agent, but also loses to the alienated, violent world that has come into being in the waning years of empire.

Though Hank has suspicions of the business his friend Mark is in, he must decide between exposing conspiracy or showing Sara the way to personal freedom.

PHILOSOPHY: This is not a story that lies within the confines of mainstream ideology, and it is certainly no friend to the authoritarian state as it exists right now. I donít believe this story has a right or left direction as it focuses in on the corporatists state, the police state, and the surveillance state, and how personal freedom and civil rights work within a world that accepts these dangerous conditions as normal. While my personal ideology falls somewhere within the anarcho-libertarian world view, I canít see a liberal who understands the importance civil liberties having problems with the presentation. I only mention philosophy because I donít believe a partnership on this project could survive without being up front about it. Any artist that signs on will probably have to be on board with the ideas presented. Unless youíre an extremely open person, I just donít think it could work.

ARTIST: Iím looking for somebody who is as serious about their art as I am about writing. Iím not looking for a beginner or a pro, but somebody who is where I am, ready to make things happen with a strong project. Iíll be up front, I canít pay a lot per page, but I definitely donít expect anybody to do this for free. Iíve personally had it very good for a long time with my other projects, but that dynamic isnít the norm. I donít take skill or time lightly. As a writer I understand the thousands of hours you have put into your work and I will put forth the best price I can.
Any earnings will be a 50/50 split after what has been paid up front has been earned.

ART STYLE: I may envision the finished look of this comic one way, but you may read the script and see something else entirely. This is actually the most exciting part for me personally. Hereís how I see the comic: Black and White, heavily influenced by noir style comics, with the gritty look of films of the 1970ís. After reading the script, you may try to convince me that this should be sparsely colored or full-colored and that we need a colorist. It may be the case that my idea of how this should look is very unoriginal and you have something much stronger to offer. I want to hear it! I canít wait to hear it.

Now the look of the world is very important and I donít think there is much compromise here. It is the near future, but America has never gotten out of its economic depression. Itís a future of two worlds. One where we are getting used to the facts of stagnating prosperity, but also where we still spend and vacation and try to live the dream of the consumer. Itís a world of Disneyland and depravity, the past and the future, smartphones, drones, pimps, and pushers. While most of the story takes place in poorer areas, we will see the slick future that we are always presented with in movies, but in far out of reach places for the average person.

MY WRITING STYLE: The style Iíve developed over the years is pretty straight-forward. I donít think there is an industry standard for comic writing, and if there is, Iím not sure where I fall. I used to write comics in a very episodic fashion, but I have completely dropped that with The Black Wall. This story is structured through acts and scenes of varying lengths. I donít write them in print comic length. I donít believe a story(especially one appearing on the internet) should be that confined or structured. I am very detail-oriented and describe the characterís mindset and atmosphere of the locations at the head of each scene. The pages of the scene are broken down panel by panel with description of the action and feeling that should be presented within the panel. I also like to use a lot of symbolism within the visuals.

I donít want to come across as a control freak. Iím very much into the artistic partnership aspect of comic books. I also understand that you are trying to interpret written words into a visual medium in a very limited space. Things will obviously change from script to fully drawn page. I try to conform one scripted page as much as possible to working on one piece of paper. I may get overzealous sometimes and you need to control that.

PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: I donít have professional experience, but I have been seriously working on my own writing for the last ten years. It is how most of my free time is spent, and I personally love spending it that way. It is sometimes obsessively spent that way and I have to force myself to step back from it. I have written screenplays, short stories, comics, and blogs. Right now I have three comics online. Two old, Coffee Time & Across the Way, and one current, Tales of Hammerfist.

The two older comics I consider a huge education for me. Itís where I really learned to do this and since I placed the dialogue bubbles in myself it is where I really learned that overwriting can ruin a page. I also learned a great deal about pacing. I used to feel that an online comic had to be more episodic, but crafted correctly I now know that they can work like any other story. Momentum in the online comic world is important.

The most important lesson I learned is to have a finished script. Both comics had a general direction but were largely improvised. My current project, Hammerfist, is completely mapped out and the script is about half-written. The Black Wall is 95% finished, with the remaining 5% being tweaks to details as of the writing of this synopsis. Iíve learned the importance of the artist knowing the extent of the commitment, and this project will be a multi-year one.

OTHER DETAILS: If you have made it this far, you might have a real interest. So lets get into some other details of The Black Wall. I would like to see two pages appearing online per week, but understand if you can only do one, or prefer to start at one to get used to the schedule. I think two would be ideal though.

With each Act I would like to see a release in print form, with a full book being released once the whole thing is online. The plan is to also have an e-book, and I would like to figure something out for mobile devices where you can flip through one panel at a time. This isnít a hobby. Profits are important.

I only expect art for the comic, but any help creating art for the books, website, internet advertising, flyers and such would be helpful. Iím pretty descent with Photoshop, so it isnít expected.

This comic will fall under the Coffee Time Comics banner.

If anything feels off-base within this synopsis, please let me know. I donít mind criticism and find feedback helpful. Thank you for taking interest in this project.
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Metruis
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 9:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like a bang-up pitch to me and I wish I did more noir work because you sound like the kind of person who'd be awesome to work with.

I'm a painter though and I've never really given black and white a go. Oh well!

Also I think ideally to capture the accuracy of the location, unless you yourself live there you'd want an artist from there. There's a comic out there, I forget its name offhand, it's a black and white comic about mental disorders. The creator is from Saskatoon, Saskachewan, and I didn't know this, but when I read the comic I knew it was a Canadian comic, and a few chapters in I stopped and went 'wait, I know that place' and sure enough. I had been there before.

And I feel like that's what you want. And need.

Should be pretty badass. Great pitch.
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Aglari



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JohnK: Looks like a good pitch to me, certainly piqued my interest.

How long page-wise do you expect the whole thing to be?
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JohnK



Joined: 02 May 2006
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Location: Glendale, California

PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 5:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the kind words. I've never had to do this so I was a bit nervous about selling myself and the project.

Quote:
Also I think ideally to capture the accuracy of the location, unless you yourself live there you'd want an artist from there.


I do live in Reno, so if I don't get an artist from here, I can take lots of pictures for them. I originally did want somebody from here, but i don't even know where to begin to look.

Quote:
How long page-wise do you expect the whole thing to be?


Now that's a detail I should have definitely put in there. I've got one more edit to go through to fill in missing details and what not, but I also want to have this device that happens outside of the Acts that helps to tie things together while also adding a bit of paranoia and mystery. That will probably add about 15 pages. I don't want it happening after each Act. I have to write it out and see what I think.

In the end the comic will be at least 275 pages. I want to have it done by the last week of May. That will be a good solid two years I've been working on it. Damn.
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