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  • Any tips on what I should do?

    I recently sent my work of to an editor, the black widow pages some of you saw actually. The editor thought I was submitting a writing shamble and gave me a ton of advice on writing. But one of his last pieces of advice was that I should hire a far better artist. The artist I was using was amateur at best and was bringing down the quality of the writing
    After recovering from that I didn't know what to do. I don't know any editors or professionals to get advice from that will contact me, and Im kinda burning out cause I feel like I'm just wandering aimlessly now. Outside of just focusing on anatomy and backgrounds I'm not sure what to do.

    Here is my site www.mikejc.com (it also has the newly finished Black widow story) any advice on what I should keep focusing on or what should I do carrer wise... The only thing I won't do is any more backend deal stuff to "get my name out there" cause blue water completely screwed me over and so have many others
    Mike J.C.

    Check out my blog www.MikeJC.com

    Pummel stats : wins: 13 Losses:10 K.O.:6

  • #2
    Mike what company did you submit to?

    Basically you need to be honest with yourself, do you match up with the company pros that you are submitting for.

    If no, then you need to start small, and work yourself up to that level.


    You should be glad the guy was truthful about his feelings even under false pretenses. Now you know you need to work more on your art.

    That kind of honesty is refreshing because most people just want to be nice. Nothing to be depressed about imo

    Study artists that are doing it for a living, and compare that to your stuff. See what they are doing that make them pros.

    While you are working on making your art better you should be building a fanbase. Get involved, do fanzines, enter contests, improve your web presence, take commissions etc etc

    Some people never make it, doesn't meen you cant be an artist. Nobody can take that away.


    I hate giving critiques, and honestly this critique would be based on if you were trying to submit strictly for DC or Marvel.

    I would say it just looks undeveloped, almost sloppy. Everything seems to have the same textures, and there almost no spot blacks.

    Allot of it is just learning good clean up skills, and the best way to do that is to study pro inkers.

    There some good energy there, but I really think it comes down to studying the pros to see what works in everything from storytelling, to drawing to cleaning up ( inking).

    The best comic book artist are very clear in everything they do.

    Look at Sprouse, this is what you should be shooting for as for as a professional look.

    Last edited by 50%grey; 05-05-2012, 05:25 AM.
    “Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” ― Andy Warhol

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    • #3
      I can't offer you any advice because I'm still an amateur, but after taking a quick look at your art when I clicked on your link, I think you art at the cusp of turning pro, and any improvements you need to make to refine your technique will probably be minor. What I'm saying is if you follow the advice of 50% grey, it shouldn't take too long before you reach the level that editor requires of his artists. In other words, you're almost there.
      The biggest mistake people make in life is not trying to make a living at doing what they most enjoy.

      ---Malcolm Forbes

      My website

      Never .jpeg a .jpeg

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      • #4
        Your Widow pieces were not your best. I have no idea why you'd choose to submit those.

        Who did you submit them to, Marvel?

        Or did you submit a Marvel character page to another company?
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        • #5
          Are you inking these pages or just darkening the pencils? Either way they're far too scratchy. A little polish would improve them greatly. I would lay off the excessive lines you do. That's the number one that will make your stuff look amateurish. Concentrate more on line weights and spotting blacks. Take into account that more than likely the company will want the pages colored unless you're applying to a place that prints a lot of stuff in black and white. So unless you're set on having your style be super scratchy, the cleaner the better.

          While doing three pages in 26 hours is good practice for you, sample pages typically should show the very best you're capable of regardless of time. Unless you're applying for a job where you'd be writing as well, you would be better off using a pro script to work from. Something that can tell a clear story without word balloons or captions.

          Do this:
          - 5 pages that tell a complete story.
          - Keep it in gridded panels (closer to your previous pages). Nice and simple.
          - Display characters interacting with each other through facial expressions and body language for some quiet moments.
          - Have some action to show what you're capable of for that.
          - Draw backgrounds on every page. And as part of that: Establishing shots. (Your first BW page has a nice one but where are they fighting Doom? Be aware of the surroundings.)
          - Have a complete uncropped (preferably standing) figure on every page. That will also force you to draw backgrounds.
          - Unless you're doing small action to action panels (like the Santa one) always draw each character's head at different sizes in every panel they appear in per page.
          Last edited by D.C.; 05-05-2012, 12:58 PM.
          artSTATION | deviantART | instagram | penciljack blog

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          • #6
            As an artist, you will get that sort of rejection at least once in your life, it'll burn you up a little inside, but you'll have to use it as motivation to push yourself to the next level. You can't give up because of what one guy says, or what one small-time scumbag publisher does towards you. Use your past experience and just learn to avoid putting yourself in those situations where people can take advantage of you, and move on.

            But it's also time to be real with yourself, because I'd have to say the editor was mostly right. When you submit anything to a larger company as an artist, you need to be organized. If an editor doesn't know what you're submitting for, that's a huge red flag right there. Having a good portfolio and body of work, but also being well prepared and organized is key. If you're submitting something as an artist, only show art; don't letter it, color it, or even ink it really (unless they ask or you feel you can ink and pencil your own work.) Also, your samples should be your absolute best work at that point, stuff you put a lot of thought into. You put thought into maybe as a piece to show to your friends here, but as a submission piece it doesn't show too much story telling strength, finish, and clarity, the things a lot of editors look for.

            It's easy to use rejection like this to kind of go "man this one company rejected me I'm never going to do it," but you know the other thing editors look for? Commitment to do the work, I've seen guys who simply put, really deserved to be in Marvel, get rejected or get a luke-warm response their first panel review too. They kept submitting samples and posting everywhere until they got in. Show that you can improve, drop them another pack of well thought-out samples again in maybe 5-6 months, put yourself out there and make your work known. Turtling up and putting yourself in constant doubt isn't going to do anything but depress you.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by mjcurry7294 View Post
              Outside of just focusing on anatomy and backgrounds I'm not sure what to do.
              Remove the word "outside" and you'll understand what you need to do. You aren't done with focusing on anatomy and backgrounds, so your next step is to keep plugging away at it. I don't really see the reason for confusion.

              In addition, when submitting pencils, submit pencils only. Your hand lettering is not professional quality and will only hinder your artwork...your digital lettering isn't much better, so don't even think about it. Something to remember: POOR LETTERING CAN KILL A PAGE. Submitting pencils only will also lift the confusion as to what you are submitting for.

              Lastly, learn to be objective and critical of your work as well as be willing to be honest with yourself. Otherwise, you may as well find a nine to fiver and get on with your life.
              Check out Film Grouch!

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              • #8
                This is not the first time you've been told your work is amateur looking. No amount of tips you get here is going to change that by next week or even next month. Only hard work and lots of hours of practice

                You need to get more reference points outside of comics. I would suggest for the next six months you concentrate on your anatomy and take life drawing classes. Go to museums and draw the stautes.

                You inking is definitely hurting your pencil work and don't put lettering on your samples. You've been told that before also.

                Your storytelling and perspective is decent, but not really well developed.

                I would suggest you get these books or read them from your public library. Comics have adopted a lot of the visual language of film.

                Perspective Drawing Handbook by Joseph D'Amelio

                The Five C's of Cinematography by Joseph V. Mascelli

                Film Directing Shot by Shot: Visualizing from Concept to Screen by Steven D. Katz

                Film Directing: Cinematic Motion, Second Edition by Steven D. Katz

                Comics and Sequential Art by Will Eisner

                Making Comics: Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga and Graphic Novels by Scott McCloud

                Successful Drawing by Andrew Loomis

                And now the shameless self-promotion. Check out my guide to putting your portfolio together and my blog where I'm really breaking down everything from tools to theory; from thinking to execution.

                Now to end on a positive note. The editor liked your writing, that's great! Use that to get into the industry. Len Wein and Marv Wolfman both started as artists trying to break in and finally gave up and used writing to get into the industry. If you haven't heard of them, Len created Wolverine and Marv Wolfman created Blade and both are working in animation right now writing. I don't think they're crying about not breaking in as artists.

                So I suggest using that bit of interest to show more writing to this editor.

                I hope this helps.
                Last edited by Symson; 05-05-2012, 07:30 PM.
                Jack Kirby Centennial Tribute Book is free to download.

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                • #9
                  You need to improve your submissions skills.

                  We're all friends here, all just trying to help, nothing personal. Have a smilie , heck have another ! That said, what the BLOODY SMURF were you thinking to so abuse and insult an editor. The rule is: Best work only, no apologies; yet you submitted... "This comic was done completely start to finish in 26+ hours, no sleep, just drawing and work." Editors have work to do, their time is money and should be treated with respect, not with your very least. This is showing up in court buck naked but for a filthy T-shirt that reads "screw the judge."

                  Marvel once had Big John Buscema give a talk to the young punks and turks. Kids came from all over the tri-state area. John stood and said, "First, learn to draw, then... draw faster." John was done and going for the door when they dragged him back for more but, that was all minutiae. The Kirbys, Ditkos and Kuberts of the world are few and far between. The Maneelys that make them look like dilettante slackers are once in a lifetime. Listen to Big John, "First, learn to draw, THEN... draw faster."

                  Steven Grant once said all stories start with the same 2 questions: What does the hero want and how far will they go? So, how much time, effort and work are you willing to flush down the drain. How many dates, weddings, graduations, new years, holidays are you willing to surrender for work no one will see? How much abuse and humiliation will you take with a smile? I was 30 when I "made it." Hal Foster was 40. Raymond Chandler was 50. Steve Englehart came to NYC to be the next Neal Adams, took one look around Continuity Studios and became a writer instead (one of his generations best.) Mr Grant has you covered: What do you want and how far will you go?

                  A Grandmother once wrote Dear Abbey for advice. Her family was adamant that she NOT go medical school. "Grandma, it will take at least 8 years." Abbey's response? "How old will you be in 8 years if you stay home?" What happened here was NOT fun but, it's Cod Liver oil for artists. It's good for you. Survive it and the day comes when you're in the bottom of the boat with Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfuss swapping stories, comparing scars, laughing your asses off, drunk as skunks. But first, you have to stare down Bruce. You have to fend off the sharks, thieves, liars, backstabbers, sycophants and gladhanders... for years. That's what you signed up for. If it sounds like fun, come on down the water's fine. If not, you're in the wrong business.

                  Break a nib.
                  Smitty
                  PaulMartinSmith

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                  • #10
                    Thanks so much everyone, a few things. All my work is pencil, I darken it in photoshop. The publishers submitted to we're all the publishers that pay, that have emails avaible. So no marvel or dc. Just smaller publishers. I'm gonna focus on what everyone said here it was really helpful and I can't wait to see where it leads me. Thanks very much guys
                    Mike J.C.

                    Check out my blog www.MikeJC.com

                    Pummel stats : wins: 13 Losses:10 K.O.:6

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                    • #11
                      What Are Your Goals?

                      WHY do you draw comics? Are you looking for a way to earn money doing something you like to do? Then focus on what the people above suggested. Work smarter, not harder. You can do this by taking life drawing classes. You should also examine the work of those you admire: buy original art - consider it to be an investment. Submit your work here for critique.
                      If, and only IF, you are creating comics because it is in your blood, then CREATE ART! Write your stories and draw them YOUR WAY!
                      Neal Adams, Bryan Hitch, and lots of other guys have artwork that looks realistic. Mike Mignola, Jack Kirby, and lots of other guys have been very successful creating work that is more cartoonish. Find ways of telling YOUR stories in an entertaining way. Not everyone is going to like your work. Not everyone likes Jim Lee or Stephen King. Find your style and your audience.
                      As for your samples. You write "The publishers submitted to we're all the publishers that pay, that have emails avaible (sic). So no marvel or dc. Just smaller publishers."
                      From what I understand no publisher wants to look at a competitors characters in submissions. If I had a company and you sent me samples featuring Marvel characters, your submission would hit the round-file like it was a hot potato!
                      My suggestion would be to create a submission featuring characters you created.
                      One last note. Joe Quesada wrote once about how to submit to a company. He suggested a nine-page sample featuring three three-page stories with a beginning, a middle, and an end. I think the first three page sample features your standard super-hero knock-down, drag-out. The second features super-hero(es) interacting with normal people. The third features entirely non super-hero characters.
                      If this is in your blood, you will make comics no matter what. If not...

                      Good Luck!
                      CyberLord
                      Smashing 37 arch-villains into raisins with his bare-hands since 1971!

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                      • #12
                        I thought your work was poorly inked, I didn't realize it was pencils. I'd suggest not darkening the stuff. Make sure it's clear that what you're showing is PENCILS.

                        I actually find it hard to believe that an editor *actually* thought you were submitting a writing sample. I'd be inclined to think he was trying to teach you something about submitting art samples while also attempting to diffuse any personal offense on your part by talking about "your artist" rather than "you". Kind of brilliant, actually.

                        I will say that the excellent Cap face on page one shows you have the talent to get there with more work (and the half-assed muzzle flares on Natasha's guns on page two show how far you still have to go...)

                        Seriously, it appears to me that you're at that almost-there stage where you just need to keep drawing until you have that breakthrough. I've seen it happen REALLY fast for some people at your stage. It really just comes down to how well you can see your own weaknesses at this point. If you're delusional, you'll never break through that wall. If you're honest with yourself, it's only a matter of time.

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                        • #13
                          My first point of advice would be not to submit original stories to publishing companies to begin with. You should pick an existing story or one of their sample stories that many publishers provide, draw it to the best of your ability and submit THAT. When you are submitting pencil samples and you add lettering or darken the pencils to where they look like sloppy inks, it'll only create confusion. And if you drew up some Black Widow samples, why would you send them to anyone other than Marvel anyway? Think about that for a minute from the editor's perspective and why that wouldn't be such a great idea.

                          My second point of advice at this point in your development is to work on precision and clarity. Overall your stuff based on your Widow samples looks very rushed almost somewhere in between thumbnails and finished pencils. Too many stray lines and some of the hatching is haphazard and sketchy looking. Professional presentation of pencils, or at least pencils you intend to submit, really needs to be crisp, clear. Precise.

                          Third, never take anything anyone says as anything other than motivation.
                          Last edited by dfbovey; 05-06-2012, 09:36 PM.
                          See my work on Game of Thrones seasons two, three and four blurays
                          DeviantArt

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by dfbovey View Post
                            My first point of advice would be not to submit original stories to publishing companies to begin with. You should pick an existing story or one of their sample stories that many publishers provide, draw it to the best of your ability and submit THAT. When you are submitting pencil samples and you add lettering or darken the pencils to where they look like sloppy inks, it'll only create confusion. And if you drew up some Black Widow samples, why would you send them to anyone other than Marvel anyway? Think about that for a minute from the editor's perspective and why that wouldn't be such a great idea.

                            My second point of advice at this point in your development is to work on precision and clarity. Overall your stuff based on your Widow samples looks very rushed almost somewhere in between thumbnails and finished pencils. Too many stray lines and some of the hatching is haphazard and sketchy looking. Professional presentation of pencils, or at least pencils you intend to submit, really needs to be crisp, clear. Precise.

                            Third, never take anything anyone says as anything other than motivation.
                            all very reasonable and fair points. the only thing i wish to add is that many of the editors and companies dont have sample scripts to work from, such as boom or few others that im a little to tired to look back up now. Isnt it best to draw characters that everyone knows to send to editors such as these? since they already know what these iconic characters look like, isnt it a safe bet to assume they want to see how you draw other characters. this is what I found with a lot of artists agencies such as glass house. Whom actually have original scripts they wrote of characters for other licensed companies like dc or marvel since they get these artist jobs at such places. Dont get me wrong, i send examples of all my work to different companies depending on what style of books they produce. ( I.E. i dont send fantasy pages to MARVEL and I dont send superhero pages to Arcadia) Im not trying to be argumentative, i just wanted to know you guys opinion on that
                            Mike J.C.

                            Check out my blog www.MikeJC.com

                            Pummel stats : wins: 13 Losses:10 K.O.:6

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                            • #15
                              If they don't have a sample script, one thing you could do is redraw a scene from one of their books. For the smaller companies it may increase your chances. They are the more likely to hire off submissions process, and if you go that extra mile it would help you distinguish yourself. If given a choice, they'd always want to see your take on their characters. And taking the time to draw their characters shows your commitment. Find a property you'd want to draw for that company and draw it 125 percent better than the artist who's currently on that title.
                              See my work on Game of Thrones seasons two, three and four blurays
                              DeviantArt

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