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Rob Norton
02-17-2015, 07:12 PM
so I have often wondered this. where is the line where you can be called, or refer to your self as a professional comic artist?

I was told that "technically", its when you reach a point where, for example im wondering about this situation, you have a signed contract with a publisher as an artist that's putting out a book with a major licensed property that will be available in Diamond and on the shelves of comic shops.

does that make a person a "professional comic artist", technically speaking? does that term every really expire?

how is this usually viewed? I appreciate any insight you guys have to offer.

Bishop
02-17-2015, 07:30 PM
I guess it petty subjective, but, in my head, a pro artist is one that can support themselves with their art. Basically, someone that can do art t pay their bills for themselves and their family without needing a supplementary income.

Morganza
02-17-2015, 07:54 PM
I my mind, It's someone who has achieved omni-super-galactic- oneness with the pencil.

Stewart Vernon
02-17-2015, 08:44 PM
By the most technical of definitions... I would say you could call yourself a professional comic artist if you have made money from producing comic art.

Some would draw the line at a higher point, requiring you to make a living at comic art... but I would argue that would actually make many historically great comic artists retroactively NOT professionals... since many a great comic artist has not been able to pay the bills with comic art alone, and instead had to take other regular jobs to do that.

So, calling yourself a "professional" in my mind is just a matter of a technicality... but not all professionals are created equal.

I have made money as a Technical Writer and Illustrator, and made good money for a time with multiple jobs at different employers doing that. I have no qualms about calling myself a successful professional at doing that.

When I make some money at the cartooning and comic strip work, I'll have no problem calling myself a professional at that as well... but it doesn't mean I suddenly am as good or as accomplished as the giants in the field.

UniverseX259
02-17-2015, 10:31 PM
I've often wondered this, myself. I've been making 100% of my income from the past 5 years off of my art, mostly comic work. So in that sense I'm a professional. But a majority of my work is independent comic work or commissions that either won't be seen by a wide audience or which is for someone's personal collection. So if you view being a professional as someone who's known/does work on major properties/is a household name then I'm not one.

ponyrl
02-18-2015, 12:03 AM
A professional that can support themselves with their art, either by comic, graphic design, character design, film work, etc., of anykind not just comics, IMHO would be considered a pro.

Even those that didn't make their money STRICTLY by comics, but did cartoon character designs/backgrounds/animation work/ are still professional illustrators/artists.

Emmis
02-18-2015, 01:06 AM
I feel like professional simply means someone who creates with more than mere hobbyist intentions. I dont make a lot of my money through comics, its still the 'extra' while I work, but I consider myself a professional because what I do I take serious, put my full weight behind, and honestly I would consider someone a professional any person who tells me they are. If you think you are a professional, who am I to squash your dream?

DaveyDouble
02-18-2015, 01:43 AM
When drawing comics s the day job, you're a professional.

It sounds like you just need to look up 'professional' in a dictionary.

Rob Norton
02-18-2015, 03:11 AM
When drawing comics s the day job, you're a professional.

It sounds like you just need to look up 'professional' in a dictionary.

How about you don't be a dick? How about that?

Stewart Vernon
02-18-2015, 05:23 AM
When drawing comics s the day job, you're a professional.

It sounds like you just need to look up 'professional' in a dictionary.

This means Jim Steranko, Wallace Wood, Neal Adams, just to name a few and countless others were not professionals when they were drawing comics but doing commercial art/advertising to pay the bills?

That's why I said, the defining factor shouldn't be whether you make a living at it or not... just if you've been able to sell something for money.

Scribbly
02-18-2015, 05:46 AM
Professional artist is when your artwork has professional level and you can deliver in professional time and manner when it is required.
To make your daily income from your artwork, comics or not means you are an employed or unemployed artist, which is a totally different subject. Mostly when you are a freelance artist.

DaveyDouble
02-18-2015, 08:31 AM
This means Jim Steranko, Wallace Wood, Neal Adams, just to name a few and countless others were not professionals when they were drawing comics but doing commercial art/advertising to pay the bills?

That's why I said, the defining factor shouldn't be whether you make a living at it or not... just if you've been able to sell something for money.

It makes them a professional illustrator.
Whatever you're doing for money, that's your profession.

It's not about what iot 'should' or 'shouldn't' be. It is what it is.

You want to call yourself a Pro Comic Book Penciller for no other reason than you think your work looks like the guys who are actually getting paid and making their living by doing the same thing, knock yourself out.
But it isn't true.

DaveyDouble
02-18-2015, 08:34 AM
How about you don't be a dick? How about that?

How about you do a Google search before asking a stupid question? How about that?

You want someone to tell you it's fine to call yourself a 'Pro' because your work looks a hell of a lot like Jim Lee? Awesome. Go for it.

It doesn't make you a professional penciller, inker, colourist or letterer. It makes you delusional.

When someone is employing you to create art for comics, you are a professional comic artist.

I am a professional AV Technician. Because that's what I get paid to do, day in, day out.
I am a hobbyist comic book artist, because no one is paying me to do it.

This is a very fundamental and basic definition available by simply typing Professional and Dictionary into the address bar of most web browsers.

MBirkhofer
02-18-2015, 08:57 AM
I'm pretty open with the title. largely, if you think you are, you are.

The three qualifiers have been stated.
A. primary income=professional.
B. "professional" work ethic, and quality=professional.
C. Been published=Professional.

Its probably more about disqualifiers. I know more then a few artists, in this new frontier of digital publication. (kickstarter,patreon,webcomics), who have found an audience, and make money. (good on them.) Professional, by the tax income standards. however, the quality of their work, and their abysmal attitudes, and/or work ethic will not allow me to label them professional. If they had to work for someone else as an artist, they would fail utterly.

jarrodulsh
02-18-2015, 11:17 AM
my opinion falls in the lines with Davey, if your a illustrator and your able to support yourself and your family on that income for a significant amount of time then your a pro.

Anything else your a journeyman or a hobbyist.

Not to be confused with producing work that is professional looking or having a professional attitude. Those are two skills that help you to become a professional illustrator but, not necessarily make you one.

DaveyDouble
02-18-2015, 11:23 AM
I think that if someone is telling you that you produce professional results, or that you have a professional attitude, they are implying such as an indirect way of accounting for the fact that you are not a professional.

So rather than saying "He's good for someone who doesn't do this as a full time career" they might say "She has a very professional manner".

It's a nice way of giving credit for doing the job as well as a Professional. But it is not the application of the Professional label. For that, someone needs to be paying you to do it instead of doing something else.

jarrodulsh
02-18-2015, 12:12 PM
to answer the op's secondary question. Yes it expires if you were getting a steady paycheck as a illustrator and you no longer do that work it makes you a former professional illustrator.

Now if you were to start doing freelance jobs you could command a higher pay than novice or journyman as you were a pro.

Rob Norton
02-18-2015, 12:25 PM
How about you do a Google search before asking a stupid question? How about that?

You want someone to tell you it's fine to call yourself a 'Pro' because your work looks a hell of a lot like Jim Lee? Awesome. Go for it.

It doesn't make you a professional penciller, inker, colourist or letterer. It makes you delusional.

When someone is employing you to create art for comics, you are a professional comic artist.

I am a professional AV Technician. Because that's what I get paid to do, day in, day out.
I am a hobbyist comic book artist, because no one is paying me to do it.

This is a very fundamental and basic definition available by simply typing Professional and Dictionary into the address bar of most web browsers.

still being a dick...

how about the fact that everyone that has posted here all has had the same question and the definition seems to vary from person to person? seems a vaild question to me. we are just talking here. friendly conversation. absolutely no need for you to be the ass that you seem to have to be. good for you tho. you can label yourself a professional snarky smartass. that fits to.

DaveyDouble
02-18-2015, 12:47 PM
still being a dick...

how about the fact that everyone that has posted here all has had the same question and the definition seems to vary from person to person? seems a vaild question to me. we are just talking here. friendly conversation. absolutely no need for you to be the ass that you seem to have to be. good for you tho. you can label yourself a professional snarky smartass. that fits to.

Not really, cos no-one is paying me to be a smart-ass. I'm a volunteer.

Scribbly
02-18-2015, 03:45 PM
my opinion falls in the lines with Davey, if your a illustrator and your able to support yourself and your family on that income for a significant amount of time then your a pro.

Anything else your a journeyman or a hobbyist.

Not to be confused with producing work that is professional looking or having a professional attitude. Those are two skills that help you to become a professional illustrator but, not necessarily make you one.
There are two points of view that answer this question. One POV is from the amateur side, the other from the professional's POV side.
My guess is that Dave and you fall in the same lines because both of you are amateurs artists, which is OK., in the delusion that professional artists can always make their income from their artwork as comics artists or in any other artistic media.
As example, guys like Travis Charest would be journeymen or hobbyists then.
The amount of professional artists that are not longer able of making income of their artwork (for any reason) is bigger than amateurs who are not yet able of make income from their artwork.
Professional is not a transient state that you can lose tomorrow when you lose your job.

DaveyDouble
02-18-2015, 04:08 PM
Semi-pro. Its a thing.

Bishop
02-18-2015, 05:02 PM
This means Jim Steranko, Wallace Wood, Neal Adams, just to name a few and countless others were not professionals when they were drawing comics but doing commercial art/advertising to pay the bills?

That's why I said, the defining factor shouldn't be whether you make a living at it or not... just if you've been able to sell something for money.

Well, as you stated those guys were professional artists. "Comic Artist" is just a subset of that.

Stewart Vernon
02-18-2015, 05:52 PM
Well, as you stated those guys were professional artists. "Comic Artist" is just a subset of that.

Exactly... and I don't think anyone would have walked up to any of those guys back in the day and "explained" to them that they were not professional comic artists because they didn't make their living at it.

I know some like to judge on "quality" of work... but quality is subjective, not objective... one man's trash is another man's treasure. Go look at your local comic shop shelves of books coming out every week and the quality of the art and quality of the story will run the gamut from crap to classic. But the guy doing the comic you think is "crap" every month still gets paid, so he's still a professional.

If this were a discussion about who is the best, it would take a different turn... but if you can get people to pay you for doing something, you are arguably a professional at it.

I've give one caveat. IF you only sell one thing and never sell another again... maybe you can argue that person is not a professional, just a one-hit wonder... but then what does that do to an author who sells a best-seller and makes multiple millions of dollars on a book and never writes another book. Was that person not a professional author?

Morganza
02-18-2015, 06:23 PM
I wish quality of work was still something to aim for.

Rob Norton
02-18-2015, 07:24 PM
I wish quality of work was still something to aim for.

yeah..of course. but its subjective. trash to you is quality to someone else.

I doubt that any comic artist you could mention as having terrible art, in your opinion, would think that he or she isn't TRYING for quality.

if the universe were to upend itself and someone I got some kind of gig in comics and people would see it... I have no doubt that plenty of people would think im a horrible artist. doesn't mean im not trying my guts out to do the best I can at this moment and aim to keep getting better.

Morganza
02-18-2015, 08:41 PM
yeah..of course. but its subjective. trash to you is quality to someone else.

I doubt that any comic artist you could mention as having terrible art, in your opinion, would think that he or she isn't TRYING for quality.

if the universe were to upend itself and someone I got some kind of gig in comics and people would see it... I have no doubt that plenty of people would think im a horrible artist. doesn't mean im not trying my guts out to do the best I can at this moment and aim to keep getting better.

I could name a dozen right now but I don't want to start a flame war, I know what I meant. YOU WANT TO FIGHT ME EH!?!

ponyrl
02-18-2015, 08:58 PM
Morg, TO YOUR CORNER, NOW MISTER!

Morganza
02-18-2015, 09:10 PM
Take it easy, I'm just fucking around...I'm bored.

ponyrl
02-18-2015, 10:09 PM
I'm mundane, just don't call me Shirley.

jarrodulsh
02-19-2015, 07:52 AM
There are two points of view that answer this question. One POV is from the amateur side, the other from the professional's POV side.
My guess is that Dave and you fall in the same lines because both of you are amateurs artists, which is OK., in the delusion that professional artists can always make their income from their artwork as comics artists or in any other artistic media.
As example, guys like Travis Charest would be journeymen or hobbyists then.
The amount of professional artists that are not longer able of making income of their artwork (for any reason) is bigger than amateurs who are not yet able of make income from their artwork.
Professional is not a transient state that you can lose tomorrow when you lose your job.

We will just have to disagree. Davey gave you the definition, I think there is confusion between skill and occupation. This can go back and forth the next 5 years and I don't think anyone is going to change their minds.

My opinion still stands, if someone is not making their living with whatever skill, they are not a professional of "whatever the skill is". Whether is be carpenter, baseball player, salesman, etc.. they can call themselves a carpenter, baseball player, salesman just not with that adjective up in front.

In the one example about the author that made one book and never wrote again, he/she isn't a professional author anymore they are considered a former professional or more likely in that example retired.

Scribbly
02-19-2015, 03:00 PM
We will just have to disagree. Davey gave you the definition, I think there is confusion between skill and occupation. This can go back and forth the next 5 years and I don't think anyone is going to change their minds.

My opinion still stands, if someone is not making their living with whatever skill, they are not a professional of "whatever the skill is". Whether is be carpenter, baseball player, salesman, etc.. they can call themselves a carpenter, baseball player, salesman just not with that adjective up in front.

In the one example about the author that made one book and never wrote again, he/she isn't a professional author anymore they are considered a former professional or more likely in that example retired.

That is why I stated in my former post that may be two different points of view that answer this question. I don't pretend to change yours and I'm afraid you won't change mine.

Stewart Vernon
02-19-2015, 05:27 PM
Here's another one... you are a paid comic book artist, but you work freelance... so you self-publish your own work, and get paid for it 2 months later. You make enough to pay your bills, but your pay is sporadic.

Are you a professional during the months when you are not making any money?

If the answer is yes... then the only difference between this guy and the guy who got paid last year and is waiting for his next gig... is elapsed time. So in my mind, both are professional comic artists as they have been paid for comic art work.

UniverseX259
02-19-2015, 11:30 PM
yeah..of course. but its subjective. trash to you is quality to someone else.

I doubt that any comic artist you could mention as having terrible art, in your opinion, would think that he or she isn't TRYING for quality.

if the universe were to upend itself and someone I got some kind of gig in comics and people would see it... I have no doubt that plenty of people would think im a horrible artist. doesn't mean im not trying my guts out to do the best I can at this moment and aim to keep getting better.

When getting a gig what matters to me is that the people who hired me and are paying for it like it, since hopefully these people know their market and what will work. I can't satisfy the tastes of every individual person who purchases what I do, so I make sure I draw the hell out of what is assigned regardless.

Personally, I have a hard time getting people to view my work online or get feedback/responses about it. This has lead to me seriously doubting my abilities and wondering if I'm really cut out to be a professional. Meanwhile, I was hired by a record label and just completed an album cover for U-God of the Wu-Tang Clan, a HUGE leap from my typical independent clients. And when U-God posted the image on his Facebook it got over 1,200 likes. So there are people out there who will like your stuff, it's just a matter of finding the right niche.

ponyrl
02-20-2015, 01:31 AM
^Dope!

Stewart Vernon
02-20-2015, 02:54 AM
In a similar vein to UniverseX259... you can never tell for sure what is going to impress people the most.

Sometimes what you think is your best work, even if it truly is your best work, will not be the thing that catches people's attention. Both myself and my father have experienced this phenomenon... he would work on something for days and be really proud of it, and it draw a "meh" response... then something he still did well, but put far less time into and just thought it was "ok" would be something that people would rave about.

Always do your best... but don't be afraid to put it all out there. You can't please everyone, but you also don't know what will please anyone. That thing you hold back might have been the work that really would get you attention. It's worth hearing the criticism and even hate than to not get any response at all sometimes... and if you don't keep creating and keep submitting, then you guarantee no responses.

Lightdragon
02-20-2015, 04:17 PM
for me once you get work published from a comic book company then I consider you a professional.granted you have one book published and that is it. you are still a pro. maybe not a successful one but still a pro.

self publishing as well as companies which take teams in for publishing where they pay the printers is a gray area.

UniverseX259
02-20-2015, 07:49 PM
In a similar vein to UniverseX259... you can never tell for sure what is going to impress people the most.

Sometimes what you think is your best work, even if it truly is your best work, will not be the thing that catches people's attention. Both myself and my father have experienced this phenomenon... he would work on something for days and be really proud of it, and it draw a "meh" response... then something he still did well, but put far less time into and just thought it was "ok" would be something that people would rave about.

Always do your best... but don't be afraid to put it all out there. You can't please everyone, but you also don't know what will please anyone. That thing you hold back might have been the work that really would get you attention. It's worth hearing the criticism and even hate than to not get any response at all sometimes... and if you don't keep creating and keep submitting, then you guarantee no responses.

^This!^ Over the Summer I began doing these dopey little cartoons that took me no more than 30 minutes each. One of these is currently my most popular drawing on Deviantart out of almost 500 pieces I have on there (http://ianjmiller.deviantart.com/art/Happy-Little-Clouds-473891118). Meanwhile a lot of my actual comics work that took me hours or days to do are just in limbo.

I realized that there's a lot more to art than just skill, though. In the case of my dopey designs they were all humorous, and in this case the humor of the drawings outshone the lack of technical skill. I also have a daily sketch blog where some of my most rushed or messy sketches are the most popular. In the case of my blog, I pretty much only draw well-known characters from major comic companies or movies, so chances are a person who likes Batman will favor a crappy sketch of Batman (His favorite character) over a tightly-rendered comic page I did of original characters that they have no connection to.

I also wonder if the quicker, I-don't-care drawings are liked because they communicate something subconsciously. If something is easy for you to draw then it must mean you have skill, so perhaps that skill is translated. But if something is a labor for you to draw then that might show through in the final lines, no matter how much time you spent on perfecting it.