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Posting Etiquette - Writer looking for artist

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 12:27 pm    Post subject: Posting Etiquette - Writer looking for artist Reply with quote

Ok, so since quite a lot of writers who are looking for artists post here on TWCL forums, and many of them omit certain imformation that would help them getting an artist, I figured that rather than evaluate every single one I might as well start a thread that gives pointers.

Admins, if you think this is useful, please sticky it so potential writers can see it before they post.

*cracks knuckles*

Right then, writer. You want an artist. You've come to TWCL forums to find one. Here's how you can increase your chances of getting one. So let's have a look through what you need to include.

Firstly, you might want to introduce yourself if you've never posted here before. You don't have to, but it might be nice. Just a sentence will do. "Hello, I'm John Smith."

Secondly, you want to tell us what your project is. What genre - sci-fi, workplace, horror? and what format - four-panel gag-a-day, ongoing indefinitely with short story arcs, longform with a definite finish, etc. Give us a brief overview of what it's about. To use a couple of examples that already exist and belong to forum members here, it could be a series of short arcs about a modern Canadian guy and his friends - a young woman and a llama - and his fat apartment manager, and the various hijinks they end up getting into, drawn in the four-panel strip layout in black and white lineart. (That's my good friend Jamie's 67th Avenue, go look) or it could be a story of magic in mystery set in an alternate London, in which all the characters are anthropomorphic animals, full pages drawn and coloured by hand in full beautiful colour (that's Darc's Code Name: Hunter, which is just incredible to look at and a good read.)

Anyway. You don't need to go into too much detail, if you want to protect your idea, but you need to include enough to intruige potential artists. A couple of descriptions of main characters, a brief idea of the plot, without giving away any twists, that sort of thing. You need to find a balance between capturing the imagination of the potential artist and keeping the storyline from others that'll read your post and may go on to read your comic.

Thirdly, hosting. The artist is going to be spending a lot of time and effort creating the pages. Depending on the project, the detail, the artist's style, they might be spending anything from two to twenty hours on each page. They don't want to have to deal with hosting too. Yes, I realise writing a script takes time as well, but not nearly as much (I produced five comic pages worth of very detailed script a few days ago, and it took me about two hours. The one page I've drawn from that script took me about 11 hours, and it only has one panel and no people, so a standerd mid-story page would probably take me closer to 15 hours to draw, ink and colour), and in any case by the time you're looking for an artist, you should have plenty of script for the artist to be getting on with. So it's up to you, the writer, to deal with hosting. By all means enlist the artist to help design the site, but hosting, coding the archive system and first/previous/next/last buttons are up to you. If you're no good at coding etc, find someone who is or ask for help from the forumites here or elsewhere.

Fourth, you want to show your writing is good and that you're worth the artist's time. So you want to give an example of your script, maybe the first page or two (comic-wise) of your script. To keep your post tidy, I recommend you either link to it or post it in a quote. It's the fourth button along at the top when you're writing a post, or you can type [ quote ] and [/ quote ] without the spaces. Like this:

I wrote:
This is a quote box.

In addition to that, you want to artist to see that there's nothing wrong with your spelling and grammar, so check your post before you click "submit" in case of typos or errors. If you generally have trouble with spelling and grammar, read "Eats, shoots and leaves" by Lynne Truss, and don't rely on Word Spellchecker, since it doesn't always pick up things like your and you're; their, there and they're; to, too and two; right, rite, wright and write. Among other things. If, in spite of finding difficulty with spelling and grammar, you still want to write, then good on you, but learn the rules and check your script or ask a friend to check it.

Fifth, you need to say what you can offer the artist. If you're skint and can't offer any money, fine, but don't expect a page a week at dead on five-thirty on Sunday. If you want pages produced that regularly, you're going to have to pay for their time. If you can't promise money, that's fine, most can't, but don't, please, say "It'll be so amazing awesome that we'll have a fanbase of fifty gazzillion before next Christmas and they'll all want to buy the book and various other merchandise and you can have 50% of the profits which will be 1million a year!!!" or something like that. Perhaps say, "Should the comic ever make any money, the artist will recieve 50% of all profits", but remember that qualifier, because chances are it's not going to make any money, not even on advertising, because you'll put what you gain through ads right back into the system to advertise your comic.

Having said that, if you have an existing comic with 8000 regular readers and you're going to mention the new comic on the existing comic's site, then say so. So maybe not all 8000 readers will come and look at your new comic, but there will be a few readers there initially. But don't make too big a thing of it. You should also link to that comic so people can see another example of your writing, if they want to.

Finally, you'll also need to say what you're looking for in an artist. Realistic style? Exagerrated style? Do you want colour or black and white? I'd suggest you say what you want but be flexible, for example, if I were looking for an artist for the comic I recent started scripting, I'd ask for a fairly realistic style, in colour. Since with that comic colour is quite an important theme in the story, that would be completely necessary, but I'd be pretty flexible with the style. I don't want it too comicy because the story is serious, but if there was a scale from 1 to 10, where 1 is very comicy and 10 is very realistic, almost photographic, anything from about 4 to 9 would be fine for it (as it is, I reckon I got it at 6 when I drew the first page).

Oh, and keep your post concise. That doesn't mean it should be too short, but include all the necessary information without repeating yourself or babbling. Treat it like a CV.

One final point: this forum consists of a variety of people who have had a lot of experience creating comics, writing comics or stories, drawing professionally or regularly as a hobby. Many threads seeking an artist will attract people who don't want to be an artist, but are interested in the project you're working on, who will read what you post and offer advice to help you get an artist if you're struggling to find one, even if you don't ask for advice. These people are posting with the best of intentions. Consider their advice, particularly if several posters suggest the same thing. Do not insult those offering advice. If you don't want advice, make that clear in your first post.

So there it is. Quite long, I realise, but I've seen a lot of "writer looking for artist" posts and these are the main things that should be included, in my opinion. I hope this helps writers out there. Good luck.

tl;dr: Introduce yourself, describe your project, give an example of your writing, tell the artist what you can offer, describe what artistic style you're looking for, and keep it clear and concise. Be polite. Don't be a dick.

Last edited by Chilari on Thu Oct 07, 2010 4:29 pm; edited 3 times in total
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2010 4:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I added an extra paragraph about advice, to warn people about the tendency for forumites to offer advice.

Also I just realised how old this thread is. I wrote it before I changed my name to Chilari, for a start. And before Emurdaugh changed his name. I mean, wow, a year and nine months ago.
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