Last week, Comics Experience held its first TweetUp, using the hashtag #CMXEXP
, allowing Twitter users to speak directly with comics professionals about breaking in and making comics.
Former Marvel and IDW editor Andy Schmidt
, artist Robert Atkins
and colorist Chris Sotomayor
answered more than 70 questions on the comics craft, networking at conventions, preparing a great pitch and many other topics.
The Tweet Event participants all have Comics Experience courses beginning in January, including Introduction to Comic Book Writing
, Introduction to Comic Book Coloring
, and Advanced Comic Book Art
You can follow our instructors on Twitter right here:
@ComicExperience -- Andy Schmidt
@SotoColor -- Chris "Soto" Sotomayor
@RobertAtkinsArt -- Robert Atkins
Here are just a few of the questions and answers from the event. And tomorrow we'll hit some of the questions we weren't able to answer during the live session!
---- WRITING ----
When someone says "good idea, but you need to push it", what are some good strategies for doing that?
For "pushing it" what I do is take my concept and circle it in the middle of a sheet of paper. Then I draw lines out like spokes on an old wheel. At the end of each spoke, I come up with something unique that comes from the concept. How it affects young people, mothers, different races, politics, the weather, the economy, the environment, and so on. Pushing a concept means you may not be getting the full potential out of it yet.
What is the one thing I could do today to be a better writer?
Write something you're not good at or haven't done yet. Stretch genre and format. and do the research on those things.
Do you like when a script has camera angle suggestions often?
No, Unless it is specific to story or mood. I take them as suggestions. If I find a better composition I will use it
I don't like camera angle suggestions often. Most artists have better ideas on this than most writers (general rule) .
---- ART ----
Do you have any personal rules for when it's appropriate to break action out of a panel border or into the bleed?
Only when it leads to the next consecutive panel, never move the action backwards. It's RARELY necessary.
What should a penciler focus on first when he hasn't drawn in 8 years (i.e. me)
Panel layout, I think. I could always tell the guys who weren't into telling stories from their panel layouts. The guys who do want to tell stories, have nice, clean layouts. I wanted to know what the story was FIRST
Sketching in a sketchbook, figures, places, hands and faces. ALWAYS draw on your free time to get back into a groove.
---- COLORING ----
Any tips on when it's appropriate to add textures and how much?
As long as it doesn't distract the reader, you're okay. But I always recommend a subtle touch so as not to clutter. Also, more open line art can sometimes support the use of textures pretty well. But again, a subtle touch is best.
I'm already married. Will taking your coloring class cause me to leave my wife for it?
No, but it'll make your marriage better. You'll gain a better understanding of each other's needs.
IS THERE ANYTHING YOUR CLASS CAN'T DO? :)
My class is Supreme and all encompassing!
For those who didn't ALREADY know Chris Sotomayor’s Coloring class is better than marriage, read here: http://blog.comicsexperience.com/2011/09/soto-on-why-coloring-class-is-better.html
Any Time management tips for colorists?
Try to section your day & see how long it realistically takes to color a page. Set small goals & learn the quick keys.
---- CONVENTIONS AND NETWORKING----
What is the best way to approach a con? I have no experience in this and am a writer.
I think you want to approach a con as a place to meet people. It's not really a place to pitch your story ideas. Sad but true. But you can really start to get to know people that way and that's great. You can start seeing them as friends instead of intimidating people to talk to. And that's a very cool feeling (and a good sign).
If you’re a writer by yourself at a con, have plenty of product and a concise, descriptive salespitch. Also something to give away, postcards, free comic, stickers . Don’t let them leave empty handed. If you cant hit a con (expense or schedule) create a presence online (Facebook, Twitter, Deviantart, etc).
And product could mean more than your books. Dog tags with the logos, shot glasses, nic-nak stuff.
I have written lots of scripts, and published comics. How can I get editors to read them?
Sadly, I know of no way to force someone to read your comics. I think what you want to do is target where you're sending them. Try to get to know the people you want to read them and see how open to it they are. Additionally, the more coverage you can get on your comics, that always helps. But target the editors you think would like it. Personalize your correspondence with them. A lot of it is networking and that's harder work than a lot of people realize.
---- PITCHING ----
If I was to pitch art to an editor, what are they exactly looking for in a portfolio?
1. Clean storytelling. 2. Dynamic art. 3. unique execution (or voice). And in that order.
Clean storytelling, reproducible pages/style of art, competant figure work and environments. 3-6 pages story, 1 pinup.
Good tips for the portfolio, but good gosh - my mind's a blur. What's a pinup?
Cover image. You only want one, but make it your best. It isn’t even necessary and the editor will focus on your pages.
How can a pitch really stand out from crowd - for both an email pitch and in-person.
It's easier than you think. Clarity and follow through help. Most pitches have big problems. Just the basics put you at the top of the heap. But be concise and remember to TELL THE STORY. Make your pitch EXCITING to read.
Solid art, good story. Quality will always stand out. Editors get a lot of samples, not many are good
---- BREAKING IN ----
If you had one tip on breaking in, what would it be?
Be yourself and be confident (even if being confident is not being yourself) ;) It really does make a difference though.
Learn everything about your craft. And don't be a douche when interacting with people in this business. This is a small business. Word gets around if you act unprofessionally.
It'll help to define "douche" in this context...basically have a balance: looking out for yourself and helping others
@ComicExperience @RobertAtkinsArt @SotoColor what is a common mistake you see new creators make in artwork, writing, or coloring?
In coloring, too many FX that don't have any bearing on the storytelling. Nonsense.
Overconfidence when they are still amateurs...it's annoying. Poor presentation as well
Yes, if you're working your way in, don't say you're better than this guy or that. This is a small business, and it'll get around. Again, don't be a douche.
Writers write one type of character, pencilers have messy layouts, colorists rely on special effects. 3 common mistakes.
Could you explain what you mean by 'writers write one type of character'?
Usually it's the stoic tough guy. But some will write a bunch of stoic tough guys. I'd like to see a comedic character, children, women, older people, different races, political beliefs, and so on.
How old is "too old" to begin a comic career?
Never too old, it depends on how good you are, or if you're bringing something original/marketable
You're NEVER too old, if you've got will & imagination!
NEVER TOO OLD TO START SOMETHING YOU LOVE! I mean it. I really do. If you love it, DO IT. You can make a comic tomorrow
---- SELF-PUBLISHING, WEB-PUBLISHING AND MARKETING ----
Do you feel that putting out a web comic is worth the expense in order to get exposure?
I think you can only determine that on your own goals and finances. It's an option. But if you do that, how are you going to drive people to your site to see it? You need a plan to get folks there to read it!
What's the best way 2 get an artist collaborator if u can't pay a page rate early on?
Make sure they're not married or have any bills to pay ... I’m not joking. The artist HAS to be just as excited about it or a co-plotter to feel invested.
Troll Artist Alley at cons and be upfront about expectations. Also, there are other means of compensation besides money. Chances are that they'll be looking for exposure, as much as you.
Offer them partial page rate or offer them partnership in the enterprise.
Partial page rate is better than no page rate every time. fyi
Thanks to everyone who participated in the TweetUp Event. To learn more about Comics Experience, check out the classes
, or sign up
for our newsletter.
-- Posted by Paul Allor