Sunday, December 29, 2013

Dreaming or Just Delusional

What is it about aspiring comic book artists (and writers)? Is it just this occupation and I just don't notice others or is there something that draws the delusional (or possibly dreamers). I see it online all the time, the guys who are constantly harassing Marvel editors because they think they draw the coolest Spider-Man or have a great idea for a Spider-Man story or have no concrete ideas but would make a great "idea man" (yes, I actually saw someone asking for a job where he just sits around coming up with cool ideas for Marvel). And I see it at the conventions. I just find it very, very weird.

The latest example. At Pop Expo Ottawa, as I was looking at some art they had for sale, a guy approached some of the pro artists and asked how he could get a job at Marvel (flag #1). He said he was just out of some arts school (no experience) and really wanted to work for Marvel (maybe not a full flag, flag #1.5 I suppose). He had no physical portfolio built up or anything posted online to show, he seemed to think a simple email or something would get him in (flag #2). So then it was suggested that he connect with the online community of aspiring artists and writers to try to build up some sort of portfolio and hopefully work for a small publisher, make a name for himself before going to Marvel but he had no clue where to go (seriously, can't do a bit of homework for himself? Flag #3) and did not seem all that keen on this approach. He seemed really let down that it wasn't just that easy to work for Marvel (flag #4). So the artists started naming creators that have forums and such set up just for aspiring creators to connect and sure enough, he doesn't recognize any of the names mentioned. We're talking Mark Millar, Brian Michael Bendis and other big name writers and talent (Flag #5). I was still trying not to involve myself in this conversation at this point but it was getting rather difficult. So the artists asked him what creators he's influenced by and he couldn't name one. Not one. He said he never really pays attention to creators (Flag #6).

This went on for a while and the artists were extremely polite and they gave him some very solid advice. But really, why do so many people think "Hey, I'll just be able to walk up to some Marvel guy and he'll give me a job drawing Spider-Man." Do you know how many people want to draw Spider-Man? Do you realize just how many people currently working for Marvel or other companies are working night and day hoping they can get up to drawing a top tier book like Spider-Man? This is not something they are going to give to some guy out of some art school with no portfolio and no professional experience.

This is why I avoid those "How to break into Marvel Comics" panels at cons. I feel it's mostly the same answers to the same questions. How do you get a job at Marvel? If you are asking that question then the answer is most likely "You don't."

I guess comics aren't the only thing, I do hear about people thinking they could just walk onto a sports team, step into a WWE ring, star in a big blockbuster, or make millions writing a bit of software over the weekend (even if they have no idea what that software is going to do). But I just hear it so often with comics.

And don't even get me started on what it actually takes to draw a monthly comic. One story I tell often is when someone asked for advice on drawing their characters consistently I suggested doing a character design workup, sketching the character over and over from different angles, and doing one of those "20 emotions" worksheets (where you draw your character with each of the emotions) they said "You want me to draw the same character over and over 20 times? Are you crazy?" I hate to break it to these people but do you realize how many times the Spider-Man artists has to draw Peter Parker or Mary Jane or any other supporting character? Drawing comics is not just drawing cool pinups of your favourite character whenever you feel like it. I know I have no actual experience but even I realize that.

I don't know why I felt the need to rant this. Maybe I'm just going through some crappy stuff and that's making me feel the need to destroy other people's dreams but come on people, let's be at least a little realistic here.

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