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UniverseX259
01-21-2015, 02:49 AM
So I'll preface this by saying that I like my life to be as streamlined and hassle-free as possible. If there's prep work or thought that needs to be done for any task I find it's best to sort that all out in the beginning to avoid further complications. I'd also like this line of thinking to extend to my freelance work on any project. I find that the more solid the script and layout stages are the easier everything else becomes. I also tell this to my clients before starting on a project so we can be on the same page in terms of the story as early as possible. It's like building a house - You need that strong foundation before you can put the pretty shingles on.

Unfortunately many of them don't follow this. I've found that even if I receive a script or proposal that's meant to be finished, the client might change their mind about details halfway through. I just had a project finished up where a client wrote the proposal and then when I drew what he described exactly as he described he realized that wasn't what he wanted it to look like (And after about 10 revisions it became clear he didn't even know what he wanted, and the final product looked MUCH different than what he asked for in the proposal). In that case of the latter it SEVERELY affected the outcome of the final product - I had a three week deadline but 2.5 of those weeks were spent re-doing layout after layout, leaving me only a weekend to complete 4 full-color illustrations.

This thread was inspired by an exchange I just had with a client I'm working with who, as of late, seems to want to request changes just to make them. I went back-and-forth with him for about 30 minutes about one panel with a pretty simple set-up. A character enters an already established outdoor scene from the background, but the client wanted the character to just be sitting in this panel out of nowhere after it was established he wasn't present at the start of the scene. I explained to him why this was flawed from a storytelling standpoint, and after some back and forth he agreed......Then suggested I change the perspective. He couldn't give a reason, something just looked "wrong" to him. But in this context character placement ≠ perspective. I couldn't help but feel he just wanted to have revisions for revisions' sake to get his money's worth, like he was compelled to make a change to that scene and god damn it he'll get that change!

Now I understand that the clients are the ones giving me the money to draw what they want, and I have no problems with that. But I'd rather spend the time allotted for the project actually drawing rather than having to change things around due to indecisiveness or incomplete concepts. I'll also gladly change any visual mistakes I make - If a character's costume is wrong or someone is holding a cup with their right hand and suddenly it's in their left then those are mistakes on my end and I'll change them to fix the story. But I've drawn pages or illustrations that look one way in the layouts and completely different in the final image based on client suggestions. On the one hand I want to keep the client happy, but on the other hand I'm frustrated when a client makes up the concept as they go, rather than solidify it at the beginning. Meanwhile, I see layout to pencil to inks to color step-by-step images from artists working at major comic companies who are dealing with huge property characters, and the final pages don't look much different than the layouts, if at all. Are these artists allowed to tell the story as they see fit without outside interference? Or do the editors make damn sure the concepts and stories are finalized before they even make it to the artists? Do the editors try and squash problems in the story before the artist can draw the page? Do they find art mistakes before the inker gets the pages?

I'm wondering if anyone else has dealt with situations like this and how they handled it. This seems like a more recent thing for me, so I'm wondering if it's some way I'm working with the clients. I just know that the layout I get approved by the client will end up looking much different in the final stage. Do you go with it? Stand your ground? Just say no?

QAN
01-21-2015, 08:59 AM
Are these artists allowed to tell the story as they see fit without outside interference? Or do the editors make damn sure the concepts and stories are finalized before they even make it to the artists? Do the editors try and squash problems in the story before the artist can draw the page? Do they find art mistakes before the inker gets the pages?

I'm wondering if anyone else has dealt with situations like this and how they handled it. This seems like a more recent thing for me, so I'm wondering if it's some way I'm working with the clients. I just know that the layout I get approved by the client will end up looking much different in the final stage. Do you go with it? Stand your ground? Just say no?

I'm a writer (snicker). Most of the time I bump heads with my patrons. It's great to find someone who knows what they want and can communicate that clearly. It's a rare thing. When this is found, people tend to stay close.

I've never heard, seen or read an instance where there isn't some measure of interference. Depends on the scenario, who's involved, contract/agreements, etc. Some artists have praised inkers for fixing their pencils. Continuity seems to mean different things to people.

I tend to give the artist some leeway. Sometimes it'll be a scenario, sometimes a full-on storyline. I tend to be concise and clear though. Some artists despise showing thumbnails and such, but it's great to see it. It's a good way to find out where we stand. Then comes the back and forth. This way works well for me. Even with language barriers, this provides good results.

I remember having to spends weeks laying things out and answering questions, just to get 1 page done. I'm sure you know how it is.

Have some fun with it. If the artistic skill resided in these bones, I'd pick up the pencil again, but that should never be unleashed on the world again.

Steven Forbes
01-21-2015, 10:01 AM
A competent editor should cut out most of those problems.

I've had writers want to change things that were perfectly fine, for some nebulous reason, and I talked them from the ledge. I've seen artists not follow the script, and have had to rein them in so they did their job.

Like all things, it depends on the clients. Not even the project. Projects change, but clients rarely do.

UniverseX259
01-21-2015, 11:34 AM
I'm a writer (snicker). Most of the time I bump heads with my patrons. It's great to find someone who knows what they want and can communicate that clearly. It's a rare thing. When this is found, people tend to stay close.

I've never heard, seen or read an instance where there isn't some measure of interference. Depends on the scenario, who's involved, contract/agreements, etc. Some artists have praised inkers for fixing their pencils. Continuity seems to mean different things to people.

I tend to give the artist some leeway. Sometimes it'll be a scenario, sometimes a full-on storyline. I tend to be concise and clear though. Some artists despise showing thumbnails and such, but it's great to see it. It's a good way to find out where we stand. Then comes the back and forth. This way works well for me. Even with language barriers, this provides good results.

I remember having to spends weeks laying things out and answering questions, just to get 1 page done. I'm sure you know how it is.

Have some fun with it. If the artistic skill resided in these bones, I'd pick up the pencil again, but that should never be unleashed on the world again.

Like I mentioned, I don't mind doing revisions if something is obviously messed up on my end and I missed it or ignored it. But where it gets annoying is when some change is arbitrarily requested that I know will mess up the storytelling. As the artist I'd like to think that my experience drawing comics seriously for about 12 years (5 years full-time) would give me the final say in the visual storytelling, but even when I say this to a client they many times want their changes implemented no matter what. And they pay the bills, so they want the final authority.

A lot of times if I bow down to what they want the final product suffers. Not to toot my own horn, but last year I went to NYCC to get portfolio reviews done and the panels that stood out the most to the pros as having issues were ones that had heavy editorial influence from the writer/client. It's like they zoomed in to the exact areas of a panel where the client wanted to add or move something and knew something was off. I always do roughs for clients before moving on to the pencils, and much of that time doing the roughs is thinking about composition, figure positions, and storytelling. Move any one aspect of that panel and the entire thing could fall apart (I also find that the more I like a panel/page, the more the client wants to tinker with it. I can't tell if it's because I have shitty taste and the client is right, or if the client thinks I did a good job but can't let me have too much of the glory of making a page look great).

UniverseX259
01-21-2015, 11:36 AM
On a side note - I sometimes do an experiment if I'm unsure of a writer/client and the changes they request. In the pencil stage I'll make a storytelling faux pas - The first time I did this was with a character who had a cast on his left arm, but in one panel I drew it on his left (I always fix the mistake in the inks, so don't worry!). The client was on a tear requesting changes, and actually requested a change in the faux pas panel......with a background detail ("Let's change the photo on the wall to a family portrait instead of a still life"). That photo was only seen in that one panel. All that time going into making that one change, and he completely missed the cast switching the arms.

It's a bit like Van Halen wanting a bowl of M&M's with the brown ones taken out backstage - They actually put this in their rider in the 80's right in the middle of the section about their sound set up. They knew that if there were brown M&M's backstage that meant the promoter hadn't read the rider, and they'd have shitty sound that night. The only problem is I don't have a dressing room to trash.

UniverseX259
01-21-2015, 11:42 AM
A competent editor should cut out most of those problems.

I've had writers want to change things that were perfectly fine, for some nebulous reason, and I talked them from the ledge. I've seen artists not follow the script, and have had to rein them in so they did their job.

Like all things, it depends on the clients. Not even the project. Projects change, but clients rarely do.

I guess my problem is that I don't have editors for my comic work, that job goes to the writer whose own work I'm drawing. I suppose that's why Jim Shooter did away with writer/editors at Marvel in the 70's, because it's giving one person WAY too much power. An editor should be a strong leader who gets everyone on the same page and makes sure shit gets done. They should also be objective and impartial and make sure everything is in service to the story and not get butthurt if they don't get their way. You can't be objective if it's your own story you're working on.

I've heard micromanagement stems from insecurity, like they feel they're losing their cool and have to do a lot of passive-aggressive tactics to get the power back in their favor. The main writer I'm working with has painted himself into a corner story-wise with some grandiose ideas and he's been trying his hardest to figure a way to fix it. I've found that if he's lost (With his own story, mind you) then the revisions and micromanagement is upped. It's like asking me to make tons of changes will buy him time to figure out what the hell he's doing.

ponyrl
01-22-2015, 08:23 PM
After the 3rd revision, and have this stated in the contract, that each additional revision costs more $$$.

That, one would think, would usually rein in the endless revision notion.

Hassle, yeah, but at least it's financially worth the hassle, IMHO.