Saturday, February 17, 2007

For Aspiring Pencilers Only

Every so often I get an e-mail from and aspiring penciler asking me for advice. I usually end up saying things like "work on your faces, anatomy and backgrounds-- and if you have the talent and the discipline, you'll hone your skills enough to the point where editors have no choice but to hire you." But, honeslty, my instinct is to always say "don't do it!" Go into some other line of work and be happy. This is tough work, the hours are long, the pay is less than spectacular, and even if you are lucky enough to get work you will probably not draw the things you were hoping for. Most aspiring artists have portfolios filled with pics of Batman, Wolverine, etc. doing something heroic or dynamic. They are running, jumping or punching out the bad guys. It's the most fun stuff to draw and probably what you practice most often. In reality, your first gig will probably have you drawing Alfred going to Starbucks to pick up a latte for Master Bruce or Peter Parker going to the library to do some research. Not exactly what you were hoping for when you got the call from Marvel offering you a Spider-Man story was it? But actually those scenes can be fun-- you can draw the quirky kid with his ipod headphones on typing on his notebook while sipping from a cup in the foreground while Peter argues with the librarian. These scences can be fun if you make them fun. The thing is, can you draw all these "normal" people in normal situations? And if so, can you do it for 22 consecutive pages? Chances are that the story you're hired for won't have any action whatsoever. Unless your name is Jim Lee or Frank Miller you have to take what you can get from the editors out there and the assignments given to you will not be very spectacular. Just something to think about if really want to be a penciler. I've heard editors say this in the past-- if you are discouraged by any of this, you are probably not meant for this business.

Now for the other side if this-- say you are a HUGE Star Wars fan and are given the opportunity to draw Obi-Wan and Anakin sparring in a pre-Episode III comic? Wow, they're actually going to pay you for this? Although the job is tough and the hours long (sometimes 12-15 hours a day), in the end you are getting paid to draw, how cool is that. I can think of worse jobs out there.


-B

3 Comments:

Blogger Feenomite said...

Well said...
"Do something you love and you'll never work a day in your life."
My currrent job working in sports is like that, however drawing for a living would still be the coolest job to have...
Maybe one day....
David

10:36 PM  
Blogger Feenomite said...

That would be working in sports journalism... Not sports in general....

David

10:41 PM  
Blogger BrianChing said...

That's very cool, David. I never knew you were a journalist. Now that's something I wish I could do :)



-Brian

4:33 PM  

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