I’m no expert, but I am 15 pages deep into my first comic. As a professional graphic artist I have learned a few things about the art industry. What have I learned exactly? It’s hard! It is really hard to get a following and keep a following. I’ve watched videos and read articles. One You Tube video suggested looking at what other people are doing and do what they do. I have looked at other artists and so far it seems as if I am doing what they are doing. The hard part is putting in the time and effort. Work isn’t just in each panel of a comic book, but in each social media post, each blog post, and even each You Tube video. So far I have 2 out of 3. I guess my next step is You Tube videos, but I don’t know what people want to see. If I had to guess I would say they wanted to see the same things I want to see, but it seems conceited for me to think that everybody else likes what I like.
What I like in a You Tube video is either advice or a helpful tutorial. Some people are really obnoxious in their approach, I guess because they want views by being edgy, but cussing a lot doesn’t really appeal to me. I don’t mind people being funny, but a very professional and well produced video goes a long way beyond being edgy. From what I’ve seen people just really appreciate genuineness, nobody likes a faker and many of us are tempted to be something we aren’t in order to get followers or customers. That just isn’t me. I can’t be fake for anyone’s sake. I don’t always speak my mind because I don’t need to say everything that is on it all the time, but I won’t agree with anyone just to make them happy.
If you are an up and coming artist, or you feel like you might be, I suggest working as hard as you an to get to your goal. If you feel like you need to quit DON’T! Some of my favorite artists on You Tube almost quit being an artist to become something they didn’t want to be, just to make a living. Making a living is easy, doing what you love isn’t; that’s why it’s so much better when you pursue what you love doing. That applies to any profession. When I was younger, like 12 and under, I wanted nothing more than to be a comic book artist. After seeing other kids art in school I gave up on that idea and thought about being a singer in a band, because I liked singing, and I also thought about moving to California and taking up acting because I love movies. So far all three options take a lot of work. Being a singer and an actor means you have to be good looking. Well that’s something I can’t do because I love pizza and Mexican food. Becoming an artist seemed the easier route, but fear settles in and you just look for what’s easy.
I went to a community college when I got done with high school, but I had no idea what I wanted to do. After going for a year and not getting anywhere I decided to quit and deliver pizza because I wanted to make money. Pizza delivery is an awesome job; you make money and drive around. Delivering pizza isn’t my dream job, so I decided to keep looking. I worked at many restaurants and even call centers. I worked at Game Stop and Budweiser. Finally I had enough and I said “screw it I’m going back to school.” I wouldn’t recommend this option for everyone, because it is expensive. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money, but you are dedicated enough to pursue a career in the art, you can simply watch a lot of You Tube videos and get a subscription to Lynda or SVS Learn. All of these options are available for a fraction of the cost of college. You can learn all kinds of things on You Tube, but you have to be driven.
Being driven is the key difference between success and failure. For most people the idea of following your dreams is ridiculous. Most people think becoming an artist or a singer is foolish, but in reality working a job you hate for the rest of your life is stupid. Sure it can be helpful to just bite the bullet and get a god job you don’t like that pays well and has benefits, but if you aren’t happy how can you enjoy anything? If you take anything from this I hope it’s this: don’t give up on your dream job because chances are there are already a hundred other people that wanted that same job, but they gave up. If you give up it will just be easier for the next person to get that job.
Start by making connections in the industry you want to go into. Make friends or meet new people that are involved in those things. It can be scary, but it is so worth it. After you start meeting people you will start to see how they work in that industry and you can start moving towards doing what they are doing. It takes a long time to get where you want to be; it took me 7 years to get where I am employed as a graphic artist, but everyday I go to work I am happy. There is never a day where I’m like “Ugh I just don’t want to go to work today!” I even like my bosses. I wish this for everyone. I wish everyone could work at a job they love, to be honest this world would be a better place if everybody felt their worth at work.
With all that being said I hope you feel like you are on the right track. Making comics is hard, did I mention that? It takes a lot of time and effort. Since I started making my comic I have learned a few things. One thing I’ve learned is I don’t know how to write for comics, but that doesn’t mean I can’t learn. I began making my comic by creating a character. This is always the hardest for me; coming up with a name, an origin story, and what they look like. I learned a long time ago that the name of a character doesn’t make them cool, what they do makes them cool. So whatever you name your character, if you want them to be likable, make them do cool things, like save the world or destroy a meteor with their bare hands. It really doesn’t matter what their name is, who they are is what will determine people’s reaction towards them.
The next step is coming up with their call to action. What is going to pull this person out of their current situation and into the bigger picture? For my character it was more like a Superman or Goku type event. Superman and Goku both showed up with powers they had to refine. My character woke up with a powerful glove on his hand. How it got their has yet to be revealed, but the result is him getting out of his normal life and into a fantastic one.
After the call to action you need the struggle or the bad guy. For my character he must get ready for a giant slime monster that is growing in size and power with each building or person it consumes. I didn’t want a long drawn out training session so I worked it in like a short video game tutorial, literally. After that he has to face the giant and overcome his fears and find out what he’s really made of.
That is the direction I have chosen for my comic book, but yours can literally be anything you want. If you want to rip off Star Wars go ahead, George Lucas didn’t do anything original with Star Wars, he just told a timeless story his way. All you need to do is just that. There is literally nothing new under the sun, just watch an episode of Ancient Aliens and you will see that for yourself. There are so many stories to tell, but only one to tell your way. It doesn’t matter what you do just do it, as corny as that sounds, it’s the truth.
With all that being said it’s now up to you. Go watch some You Tube videos, read some articles, and get to work.
Check me out on Instagram: www.instagram.com/cnazario5/
Check me out on Twitter: twitter.com/CNazario_design
Check me out on Facebook: facebook.com/NazarioPro/
Here are some videos and channels to watch:
Will Terry: https://www.youtube.com/user/willterryart
Jake Parker: https://www.youtube.com/user/jakeparker44
Will Terrell: https://www.youtube.com/user/willterrell2001
Draw with Jazza: https://www.youtube.com/user/DrawWithJazza
Derek Laufman: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqlQv_lYCe_0aV6DMPvjjA
SVS Learn: https://svslearn.com/
Some tools I use:
Manga Studio (Great Photoshop alternative) http://www.amazon.com/Smith-Micro-Software-Inc-ALA31002327/dp/B00ANH074Y/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1464048445&sr=8-1&keywords=manga+studio
Wacom Tablet: http://www.amazon.com/Wacom-Intuos-Tablet-Certified-Refurbished/dp/B00MJKE0AU/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1464048479&sr=8-13&keywords=wacom
Wacom iPad Stylus: http://www.amazon.com/Wacom-Intuos-Creative-Stylus-iPad/dp/B00FC7DOCW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1464048510&sr=8-1&keywords=wacom+stylus
Lead Holder (Mechanical Pencil) http://www.amazon.com/Staedtler-Mars-Technical-Mechanical-Pencil/dp/B000YQEFGU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1464048539&sr=8-1&keywords=lead+holder
Refillable brush pen: http://www.amazon.com/Pentel-Pocket-Brush-Refills-GFKP3BPA/dp/B002LJRKN8/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1464048570&sr=8-2&keywords=brush+pen
Sketch Book: http://www.amazon.com/CANSON-XL-Mix-Media-Pad/dp/B0039UMRMW/ref=sr_1_17?ie=UTF8&qid=1464048599&sr=8-17&keywords=sketch+book
Comic book paper: http://www.amazon.com/Strathmore-Bristol-Board-Smooth-Finish/dp/B0027AAVIW/ref=sr_1_27?ie=UTF8&qid=1464048637&sr=8-27&keywords=comic+book+paper
Copic Markers Color: http://www.amazon.com/Copic-Markers-6-Piece-Sketch-Primaries/dp/B004XR7XZG/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1464048698&sr=8-5&keywords=copic+markers
Copic Markers Grayscale: http://www.amazon.com/Copic-Sketch-Set-Markers-Sketching/dp/B004XR97EQ/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1464048698&sr=8-6&keywords=copic+markers