Finding an Artist and Thrashin'

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Ah, the quest for an artist. You can network your ass off and meet tons of writers, artists and publishers but selling one on your idea and finding time in their schedule usually has you compiling a wish list that you send emails out to, one person at a time, saying, “Hey, you don’t know me but...” I begun the wish list process yesterday after testing out the waters with some of the people I’ve worked with in the past. So, where do I find the people that I want to work with? I generally see a lot of the new up and coming artists in the pages of anthologies, for starters. Digital Webbing Presents, Shooting Star and Ape being a good source for artists that are staring out. There are also websites where you can network or email artists, Digital Webbing, Pencil Jack and Deviant Art being my favorites (but you have to pay to search Deviant Art). Once you compile your wish list you contact them, one at a time, and generally give a day for the person to answer.

And here’s where writers generally make a fool of themselves. As you know, I meet with monthly with the DC Conspiracy which is basically, as of right now, about 14 cartoonists and me. One of the first questions I asked was, “How do you feel about writers?” Not surprisingly, they didn’t mind the concept of a writer but felt as if their methods were questionable. Number one complaint, a writer sends an email saying, “I have this kick-ass script and I want you to draw it,” as if it’s an honor to draw someone with no previous publishing experience’s story that’s already laid out and leaves no room for artistic expression. I never really got that. I keep two versions of a script, the loose version with no layouts (which is what I have right now for the first issue of this project) and then I tighten it into layouts for display purposes if I’m going to display it or give it to someone for early feedback. But I redo all the layouts with the artist in mind and even give the artist the option of doing the layouts fully from the loose script because, and here’s a big shocker, he or she knows how to tell a story sequentially better than I do.

Granted, it comes down to the artist. Some artist will ask for layouts. One guy I worked with even asked me to draw the layouts myself (that project never got picked up, obviously). But still, you’re starting off on the wrong foot if you attack it with the “draw my script” angle. Anyway, storytime.

If I had a filing system and some categories I would file this one in the “What the fuck was wrong with us” category.

I’ve mentioned my skating days in a previous post. I probably skated for about three years but didn’t get good until, well, I never really got good. But, back when I was really bad and couldn’t even ollie, I’d find ways to make skating fun while keeping both feet on the ground and I dragged my friends into as well.

Demolition Derbies.

Now, I know you’re probably thinking, “How cute, these younguns used to skate around and bump into each other.” FUCK THAT. This was like that NES Skate or Die demolition derby challenge. We were each allowed one weapon. Either something that can whip or hit like a thin tree branch or a bat. And not only that, we would sprinkle additional obstacles across the course like large rocks and pipes. And then we’d go through it, first one to the end gets five points.

So, why didn’t we just take off, not fight and get to the end? Because each fresh cut or bruise you received was worth two points. We we’re trying to get hit with rocks and bats.

Every derby was three rounds, if three different people won you had a three way tie. If one of those people finished the course with a cut above their eye, they had seven points and won the tournament.

We were sacrificing our bodies for “points”.

I used to come home with cuts, scrapes and gashes all over my body and my mom would ask what happened to me. “Fell off my skateboard, mom.”

“Oh! Those things are so dangerous! You’re going to get hit by a car one day!”

Anyway, we stopped playing one day. You see, when you’re on a skateboard and you swing a pipe, you don’t do much damage to the person you hit because the momentum throws you back and off your board, I think, Jorge knows physics he’ll chime in if I’m wrong. But the thing is, you don’t get a good swing.

Now, what I discovered, is if I’m beating my friend Dave in a demolition derby and I get tripped up on a rock and fall off my board and then pick up a pipe and, while standing, crack Dave in the face with it as he rolls past me, that does A LOT of damage.

Like, broken nose and glasses kind of damage.

I have to say that’s the first and last time I’ve hit someone in the face with a pipe. I swung a bat at someone once but he ducked out and, besides, he deserved it. Dave didn’t deserve it.

I’ll never forget seeing him, eleven years old, lying on the ground, clutching his nose as blood poured out, crying while I thought to myself, “Damn. That’s the best two points ever.”

read a book, fanboy: Comics and Sequential Art

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