Feb 09 2010

How to Find an Artist for Your Comic Book

1.  Most artists won’t work with authors that write worse than they do. When you post your job listing on a website like DeviantArt or LinkedIn, you will be judged on the quality of your writing.  I’d recommend proofreading it. Avoid extraneous details that won’t matter to an artist.  Also, list your published works, if any.  (Experienced partners are usually less risky).


2.  The more specific, the better. “John has adventures” says much less about the art you want than “Haxley is a barbarian that has to mangle his way to the throne.”   If you have a two-sentence synopsis, use it.  For more advice on doing two-sentence synopses, please see this.


3.  What exactly do you need from the artist? If you’re doing a color comic with just one illustrator, you need pencils, inks, colors and letters.   How many pages do you need?  If you’re looking to put together a sample for publishers, you’ll probably want around 5 pages and possibly a cover.  Check the submissions guidelines for each publisher, of course.  If you’re self-publishing, you’ll need the entire issue, which will probably be 22+ pages per issue.


4.  Describe the sorts of characters and creatures you’ll need illustrated. Just regular humans?  A superhero whose power sets him on fire?  Supersoldiers in powersuits?  Fantasy creatures like griffins and dragons?  Werewolves and vampires?  Angels and demons?  Hydras and Zeus? Eldritch horrors?  Eldritch horrors tanning on the beach? Before you hire an artist, make sure he’s comfortable with every major character and the mood of the work.


5.  Will you need unusual props? For example, if you’re writing military sci-fi set in the 23th century, your artist will do a lot of exotic vehicles and weaponry.  If you’re writing a romantic comedy starring me, probably not so much.   Except for the Pimpmobile.

6.  Describe the visual style you’re going for. Are there any books that look like what you have in mind?


7.  Who’s your target audience? This ties into style–a comic for kids will probably be illustrated differently than one for adults.


8.  How mature is your comic?  I’d recommend mentioning if your comic will entail major gore, sexual content, on-panel drug use or notable strangeness.  Otherwise the artist might get skittish when you ask him/her to decapitate someone during LSD-fueled sex.


9. Payment information. Do you have a set amount of money you’d like to offer?  Or would you like artists to submit bids?  If you announce how much you’re paying, you limit your negotiating position and will probably end up paying more but you’ll probably attract more serious applicants.  How much are you willing to pay upfront?


10. What sort of commitment will you need from your artist? If your plan is to get the comic professionally published, make sure that your artist will be available for a suitably long period.  “If we get published, you’ll be available to do each issue, right?”  I’d recommend making sure that they’re available for at least one month per issue.

15 responses so far

15 Responses to “How to Find an Artist for Your Comic Book”

  1. A1Writeron 12 Feb 2010 at 6:00 pm


  2. A1Writeron 12 Feb 2010 at 6:00 pm

    And thank you! I saw the other post as well on this subject.

  3. Guardian7on 11 Sep 2010 at 4:38 pm

    Just curious.
    Do artists ever look for a writer?
    As in an artist knows what he wants. But his strengths are not really in the “Down and Dirty” aspect of writing. Course it doesn’t prevent them from being creative with a storyline. Just lacking skills someone else may have.

    Just curious.


  4. B. Macon 11 Sep 2010 at 5:55 pm

    I think the writer looks for an artist more often than vice versa. I mean, I guess an artist could post on a writing website or LinkedIn that he needed somebody to write something general like a (say) Cthuluhian-style horror or an upbeat superhero story. I don’t think you’d have much success with a more detailed outline like “I’m looking for a writer to write a romantic comedy about an alien that needs to save Earth from Swiss domination–you fill in the details.”

    For one thing, you’re looking for a relationship that’s a lot more collaborative than one where a writer does 95%+ of the plotting and scripting. I’d be wary about entering into that sort of close partnership with somebody that wasn’t personally known to me. (Ideally somebody I’ve worked with on the editing side of things or somebody that has worked with somebody I trust).

    Another problem would be money. In most cases, the artist gets paid upfront or is an on-spec collaborator that shares the rights. (I wouldn’t recommend doing art on spec, but that’s a story for another day). The writer works on spec and generally gets paid after a publisher picks up the project. I don’t think you’d be able to get many talented authors that would want to work on spec for somebody else’s story.

    One reason that I think it’s harder for an artist to pick up a writer than vice versa is manpower and submission requirements. The writer has to put in a LOT more time than the artist does before the work can be submitted to a publisher like Dark Horse or Image. You only need 5 inked (and preferably colored) pages and a cover from the artist(s). So I think the art team puts maybe 50 hours (inked) or 75 hours (colored) into the submission package. That’s few enough hours than the artist could conceivably be paid upfront for these five pages. In contrast, the writer has to write and repeatedly rewrite all ~24 pages of the script, the submission letter, any required synopsis and probably a brief description of any later issues planned. To do that all at a publishable grade, I think it’d take more than 200-300 hours. So paying an author upfront would take more money.

    I don’t think many authors would work on-spec for a project they didn’t feel VERY comfortable with.

  5. Guardian7on 11 Sep 2010 at 7:05 pm

    I’ll just keep plugging away then! *wink*

    Oh here is a illo I colored today.
    He is one of the characters I will feature in this online Comic I plan on doing.
    Who knows… maybe one day I will actually find a way to publish.

    Anyhow… here is a VERY old school character.


  6. B. Macon 11 Sep 2010 at 7:20 pm

    I like the shades. They look just like the ones Squirtle wears. 😉

  7. Guardian7on 11 Sep 2010 at 7:31 pm

    I don’t think they are shades. More like a welders helmet with a visor thing. Seeing as he appeared in June 1940.


  8. B. Macon 12 Sep 2010 at 10:52 am

    Ah, I guess a visor makes more sense. Here’s what I was visualizing.

    TNT Todd by Guardian7
    Squirtle with Sunglasses and Shades

  9. Ragged Boyon 12 Sep 2010 at 11:33 am

    Great art. Although, he does look a little like Moltar from Space Ghost.

  10. Anonymouson 12 Sep 2010 at 3:13 pm

    Nice job, but he reminds me of the big guy from the old team from Watchmen (the one that saved Silk Spectre I from the Comedian).

  11. Guardian7on 12 Sep 2010 at 9:43 pm

    Oh I see exactly what your saying. No need for the pic. LOL
    I was only being faithful to the character as he was drawn.

    Actually Ragged Boy… Moltar looks like him. He came out in June of 1940. *wink* (Yes I know… your only making reference to what you know. Nothing wrong with that. Would have been interesting if Alex Toth had actually been party to making or designing TNT Todd – seeing as he was the one who made/designed Moltar).

    Anonymous – well full hooded guys tend to look similar… til they put on shades! LOL

    Thank you for the compliments though.


  12. B. Macon 12 Sep 2010 at 10:07 pm

    “I was only being faithful to the character as he was drawn.” Yeah, I know. I was just pointing out why I thought that he was wearing shades. 😉

    Also, my comparison to Squirtle wasn’t meant as a criticism. I love those shades.

  13. Guardian7on 12 Sep 2010 at 10:33 pm

    Oh I absolutely saw no criticism there at all. S’all Good!


  14. Anonymouson 27 Dec 2013 at 12:25 am

    I need an artist

  15. B. McKenzieon 27 Dec 2013 at 8:25 am

    “I need an artist” What’s your budget like?

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