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Most Independent Comic book writers don't do enough.

Discussion in 'Fantasy Art' started by Annoyingkid, Sep 28, 2017.

  1. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    I'm not sure I understand the point you're trying to make in regards to the conversation about writer and artist workloads. But while Marvel and DC do have editors and a creative team, and often do crossovers with their writing teams, and their writers probably have assistants, and their artists probably lean on colorists, and so on..... most publications still come down to one artist and one writer.

    Managing through the creative hierarchy only serves to increase the workload on the writer, who has to justify the story upwards and far in advance... and working with a colorist reduces the workload on the artist, which does a lot to bring the workload on the team closer together.

    It's another thing that separates Marvel and DC from new or independent comics writers, looking for an artist.


    But it wasn't an example of writing. It was an example of artwork. Spiderman opening a can of soda is relatively easy for an artist to do. A new character opening a can of soda is a much larger creative undertaking for the artist. That shifts the decision-making workload from writer towards artist for new/independent strips compared to established characters.

    All of this comes back to the main question of the thread: Is it realistic for a writer who wants to break into comics to be looking for an artist? OR, is the project too much work on an artist for a writer to expect it to work out?
     
  2. Uffda

    Uffda Scribe

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    It doesn't matter if it's a new character or if they have been drawn a million times before, what matters is if opening a can of soda is important to the story,

    The reality is that if you want to create a comic book, you should expect to pay your creative team a fair wage. Being a "writer" has very little do do with it. You can create a comic book but hire a writer and draw it yourself. Heck, you can come up with an idea and hire out the whole dang lot. If you just want to be a writer, then start sending pitches to editors, who as I mentioned, are responsible for assembling the creative teams.
     
  3. Annoyingkid

    Annoyingkid Banned

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    It matters because drawing Spiderman opening a can of soda doesn't involve any character design. Which is why independent writers looking to companies like marvel or dc for what to pay artists and how to script stories isn't working. From what I read the publisher wants the writer to assemble and pay for his or her own creative team. It's a terrible business model.
     
  4. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

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    A friend of mine who has been a Graphic Artist, a musician and involved in creating a graphic novel [more than one I think] has said the working relationship for making a Graphic novel is like being in a band. There may be the lead song writer but others in the band have an input and they have to work as a team.
    I see the publishing houses as very much like music publishers. They may try to pull a team together but they are much happier when a team that is already working together walks through the door.
     
    Devor and FifthView like this.
  5. Uffda

    Uffda Scribe

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    Character design will have been taken care of well ahead of the sequential art phase.

    The normal course of business even for an indie book is that the creator (which we've established here is almost always the writer) will have character designs for reference, or first pay the artist to come up with said character designs. You don't just ask an artist to invent the look of a main character on the fly.
     
  6. Michael K. Eidson

    Michael K. Eidson Archmage

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    I thought the point was that when you're starting a new comic, there is work involved in creating the new character design, that isn't necessary when you already have an established character you're working with. Feels like common sense to me. Did I misunderstand something?
     
  7. Annoyingkid

    Annoyingkid Banned

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    Not quite on the fly, they expect the character to be designed through argument. Instead, design for hire should be based on time. If you pay for five hours you get five hours worth of design. No more. If you want an hour's worth of additional changes you pay for that hour. That's how a professional relationship operates. There should be no reason whatsoever for an artist and a writer to argue over a design. Ever. The writer isn't returning a faulty product when they ask for additional changes to fit their vision. They're asking for additional modifications to a product that subjectively works fine. If the writer doesn't like it, find another artist.
     
  8. Uffda

    Uffda Scribe

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    Exactly -- but creating a new design/character is not done when the writer hands over the script, and it's not something a writer/creator should expect an artist to do for free. (New) character designs should be well established by the time the project is ready to move to the sequential art phase.

    See below for an example of some designs I worked with an artist on many years ago for an original comic. This and other characters' looks were well established long before the artist even started drawing page 1 panel 1.

    [​IMG]

    I'm not quite understanding what you mean by "designed through argument"? As I mentioned, character designs are established well before the sequential art begins.

    Artists do not work on an hourly rate, at least not in comics... at least not that I've ever heard of. They are traditionally paid a page rate for sequential art, and an agreed-upon flat fee for character design. Now as far as changes, there are a thousand and one different ways to work with an artist when creating a comic, but usually the artist will provide some roughs for the writer/creator to approve before turning in final pages.

    The point I am trying to make in all this is that it's not necessarily a "larger creative undertaking" for an artist to draw a comic that isn't Spider-Man, Batman, or some long-established character.
     
  9. Annoyingkid

    Annoyingkid Banned

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    From the OP:
    Ie. Why pay for a complex or good design when you can pay for a basic one and argue for free modifications over time?



    Which is why they can't get artists. If they don't pay an hourly rate, then they get no modifications. What they get is what they get.

    And just how do you think the artist comes up with the value of that flat fee? Wild guess? Shoot in the dark? No, an hourly rate. The size of that fee reflects the time the artist will invest. If the artist earns twenty bucks an hour, then a flat fee of 100 dollars gets the writer 5 hours worth of character design work whether the writer agrees to that or not. Because let me guarantee you this : The artist isn't running a charity and isn't working overtime for the writer.


    An original setting has more unique aspects to it than just characters. There's weapons, buildings, the characters themselves are less familiar to the artist than cultural icons giving less or no frame of reference for the interpretation of the script, magic or the look of powers, the look of extras, any unique fighting style and so on, and so on. Character designs in and of themselves does not make a setting. It's always going to be more challenging to draw the original hero's hideout based on the words of the writer then it is to look up a panel of the batcave and just copy that layout.

    If you think it's not a larger creative undertaking despite having a bunch of character designs in front of you, by all means try it yourself. See for yourself.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2017
  10. Michael K. Eidson

    Michael K. Eidson Archmage

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    Are we getting into semantics? There must be work done to design a character. Is that something everyone can agree on?

    If one artist works on the design and another artist take those designs and starts drawing the comic, then the second artist didn't have to do the work involved in designing the character, because the first artist did it, but the work was done, nonetheless. I don't understand the objection to the statement that a character not designed yet requires more work than a character already designed. If the objection is that, hey, the design is always done beforehand, it feels like that's ignoring that the design was even done at all.
     
  11. Sheilawisz

    Sheilawisz Queen of Titania Moderator

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    Hi everyone in this thread, I have just a quick and friendly reminder:

    Avoiding Duplicate Content

    Please do not repost anything that has previously been posted elsewhere on the Internet (including your own sites or blogs).

    If you wish to share an excerpt from an article or page that is located on another site, the excerpt must be no longer that 3-5 sentences, and must include a link back to the original article.

    Thanks!
     
  12. Uffda

    Uffda Scribe

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    No. That's not how it works.

    Again, no, that's not how it works. If an artist agrees to some character designs based on a particular fee, he/she is not going to quit working on them after 5 hours just because "time's up." I'm not trying to be flippant, but it's obvious you've never created a comic, and have little understanding of how it actually works.

    I'll say this again: illustrators and comic book artists do not traditionally charge by the hour.

    Think of it this way: if the kid down the street agrees to mow your lawn for $20, would they stop 3/4th of the way though because it's suddenly taking them longer than they think is worth $20? (Probably not, but they may ask for $30 the next time.)

    There are original locations in just about every comic, whether it's batman, Spider-Man, or something you just made up. And hey, what to stop an artist from using the layout of the Batcave or Fortress of Solitude for the original hero's hideout?

    That is exactly the objection. Nobody hands over a script with a 100% brand new lead character and tells the artist to just invent his look on the fly as they are drawing the sequential pages. That's just nuts.
     
  13. Annoyingkid

    Annoyingkid Banned

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    How what works? It's not working. That's the whole point of this thread. If it was working there wouldn't be so many comic writers without artists. There wouldn't be so many artists abandoning these projects.


    Do you believe you're entitled to free work? Because that's what you're telling me. You think artists are so stupid you'll pay them a flat fee for a character design and the amount of time they're working on said design isn't going to matter to the artist? Things like bills and food , that doesn't matter. Artists aren't even human. We're fairies who will work for however long it takes , for a flat fee. No. The artist is going to start wrapping it up when the fee doesn't justify continued work. That should be blatantly obvious to anybody. This does not mean the design is incomplete (although the writer may think so). It means the design is of a quality appropriate to the time invested and the fee paid. Again, to argue with this is to say you're entitled to free work.

    It's obvious that I've never created a comic and have little understanding how it actually works?
    Is that a fact?

    Photo by C D

    Maybe I understand more than you think. Maybe you should listen.

    The kid isn't going to stop halfway through, but the kid will rush through the job or do a very basic job for just twenty bucks. No one's saying anything about half finished.


    Because the law.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2017
  14. Sheilawisz

    Sheilawisz Queen of Titania Moderator

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    Hello everyone!

    Please remember the Guiding Principle of Mythic Scribes, which states: The guiding principle is to treat others with respect and dignity, and to foster a positive, welcoming and family friendly community.

    Take it easy and do not allow the conversation to get heated =)

    Thread Moved to the Fantasy Art Forum


    S.W.
     
  15. Michael K. Eidson

    Michael K. Eidson Archmage

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    Which to me means you're arguing a different point than the one I thought was being made. There is work being done by someone for a new character design. What is the objection to that statement? The writer doesn't just wave a wand and have character design notes to give the artist.
     
  16. Dark Squiggle

    Dark Squiggle Troubadour

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    Old thread, I know, but I remember a contractor telling me that he'd never bargain hard with a customer. He said that the number of dollars given him were proportional to the number of nails holding up the siding. In other words, if you underpay, you will get shoddy work.
    I get the amount of output you have is related to the amount of work you put in and each new project is another chance to break into the profitable side of things. I heard from an unreliable source that Terry Pratchett was a nobody until he published Small Gods, when the turtle on the cover finally hurled him into fame. (may or may not be true, but a good story anyway.)
    As an Artist, not really a writer, I will say that as of right now I'd illustrate anything, but if I thought I could get legit commissions, I wouldn't work for solid cash on a big project unless I thought you had a good chance, as in are a published author, or I really like the story that much and like you as a person to boot.
     
  17. Uffda

    Uffda Scribe

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    I like the contractor analogy, but I also think if you are doing work for hire (whether is is siding or art or whatever), who the customer is needs to be taken into consideration. If I am an artist and Joe Schmoe wants to hire me to illustrate the cover of his comic, I understand that he likely does not have the resources of Marvel Comics. If I am an artist and some struggling family needs siding put on their house, I'd probably charge less than I would to remodel a McDonalds. Does not mean I'd put in any less effort in either case. Or, I guess I could turn down the struggling family and continue to look for higher-paying work. It's all subjective (much like art!)
     
  18. Annoyingkid

    Annoyingkid Banned

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    Having enough money to eat, pay the bills, buy materials, and live life, isn't subjective.
    And how would you know the writer is struggling? Cos they say so? They all say that.
     
  19. pmmg

    pmmg Auror

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    For me, working in IT, I tend to do all the friends and family PC's for free or parts only, depends. At present I work with the same people everyday, so I tell them if they bring their home PC in, I will fix it, but I don't do house calls. In earlier years I did, and I did not like it. Mostly because I knew they could not afford me. Just a small thing like a virus on a PC could take several hours to fix, and if I was real thorough, a day or so. At an hourly rate, and that gets expensive quick. Yeah, I gave a lot a charity over the years, but what I can I do, I feel for people in that position, but my time valuable too. But I disliked working on home user stuff for a lot of reasons, and none of them ever said, wow, you worked so hard, here have more money. So the charity only seemed to go one way. I am kind of out of the home user game, and I don't think I will ever go back. Its not worth it.

    I suspect the same is true for any profession. If I am an artist, I have to pay my bills to. What I do has got to cover that. So I am happy to draw and paint pictures, and perhaps in some special circumstances I will, but if it my profession, I cant just give it away on a whim. Not sure if any of that was on topic or not, but...
     
  20. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    >Having enough money to eat, pay the bills, buy materials, and live life, isn't subjective.

    These things are in fact highly subjective. What one eats is elastic (to use the economics term). Even paying bills is, especially if you are rich. What one person considers a necessity, another considers a luxury. Indeed, the wide variation in perception as to what is necessary lies beneath many arguments between management and labor.
     

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