Jul 23 2009

Some tips for comic book artists interested in portfolio reviews

Published by at 2:57 pm under Comic Book Art

Randy Stradley, one of Dark Horse’s editors, has some portfolio review tips here.

I’d like to add a few of my own.

1.  Include a good mix of regular people, cities, cars, and trees/plants/landscapes. Many artists focus on closeups of superheroes and, frankly, that’s only one part of the art that goes into a superhero comic book.

2.  Show that you have a well-rounded grasp of human anatomy. In particular, a lot of artists have trouble with legs and feet.  If an artist’s portfolio didn’t include any shots that showed at least a bit of human anatomy from the waist down, I’d assume that the artist wasn’t ready yet.  Backshots are also sometimes a problem.

3.  Use angles and elevations. Many beginning artists focus too much on straight-on shots.  That’s very rarely the most interesting way to show something happening.  Show it from the side or askew!  If the character’s supposed to look epic, slant your camera upwards so that he looks like he’s towering.  Etc.

4.  Show that you have a good grasp of panels. I’d be alarmed if every page were done in a grid of panels.  See this article for more ideas on how to mix up your paneling.

5. Unless you’re applying to a publisher that really pushes the envelope, please stay the hell away from risque art. In particular, pornography and fetish art are probable deal-breakers. Unless you’re comfortable showing it off to a random woman you’ve just seen for the first time, please leave it out.

6. I recommend against using angels and demons. Comic books with angels or demons are pretty rare. You’ll probably go farther if you focus on material that editors need a lot of.

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