View Full Version : How to find paying penciler gigs

05-25-2016, 08:41 PM
Hey everyone,

My goal is to be a pro penciler (at any company that pays a decent wage). I've been submitting my art to the various submission portals at comic companies only to receive the sound of silence, however. I was wondering if anyone had any tips on other ways to find gigs as a penciler.


P.S. - Does the reply of no reply mean that I still need to work on my craft first (some samples below)?

Rob Norton
05-26-2016, 01:26 PM
what you are looking for is the same thing that about a million other guys and gals are looking for.

the only solution is to just get your damn work out there. have a big social media presence. FB/instagram/twitter/ whatever. have lots of your best work always coming out.

work non stop on sequential pages and make them as pro as possible. build an audience. join forums where pros run them.. where there are a LOT of eyes watching.

basically, you need to make your self visible, and the work will find you. getting work thru submissions, based on the general consensus, almost always leads to nothing. just get your work out there.

Stewart Vernon
05-26-2016, 03:23 PM
Nothing to add to what Rob said... but to answer your "PS" question...

Lack of reply just means that... lack of reply. It could mean they aren't interested in your work, it could mean they didn't like your work... but it also could mean they didn't even see your work under piles of other submissions they likely get regularly!

If people actually respond to you, positively OR negatively, then you know something... but don't try and interpret a lack of response. Most companies have a policy where they will not respond unless they have work to offer you right there on the spot... so even if they like your work, that doesn't mean you'll get a reply.

05-27-2016, 08:36 AM
yeah. you have to make your own work.

There are simply too many creators and not enough jobs.

You are a garage band. You can make your CD, and shop it around. but, getting your big break and having a record label pick you up is 1 in a million.
If you want to WORK. you need to build your own audience, and work local gigs, colleges, etc.

Its exactly the same for a comic artist. Being noticed by an editor is more about networking then skill. There are more skilled artists then jobs. So, you need to self publish, and build your own audience and fanbase you can monetize.

05-27-2016, 11:16 AM
I agree with the above answers to you question.
If you are living in Japan you can work and be part of the team of any of the Manga Studios that produce 300 pages Manga=Comics books every month in Japan. With martial continuity. The pay is good and gives you experience on the whole process. Then you can start self producing your own series and make money of it.
Easier than trying to break in in the American comics scenario. If you already are living in Japan.
Or you can produce your own indie comics and sell them in the American Market for comics. Rather than work for anonymous people or small publishers who wont /can pay for your artwork the money you want or need or give you the continuity that is essential for make a basic living. Although you should work for them in order to get your artwork exposed. Fair enough. Not yet to make a living of it.
With the level of artwork you already have ( I like what I'm seeing in these pages) you can work for any other commercial art media rather than American comics and make good money, in continuity for make your living as artist. If you like comics, make your own comics and sell them. Publish them by any media. If these are good enough people would like them and from there you may be able of start making a modest, reasonable living of it.
Just saying that.

05-28-2016, 03:20 AM
As an aspiring artist like everyone else on this board, I can tell you I've seen people post work up here and I can say wow they are good and they break in like five years later. But it's because they exposed themselves and spent a lot more money than comics can pay. My advice is that I've gotten more exposure promoting comics with my friends on a podcast than just posting up work. I also know people that have broken into comics only to tell me how messed up the business side of it is. And they still have to depend on a spouse that has a normal job that is stable.

Just do the stories that you are inspired to do and be proud of that. If you get some love then that's awesome, but at least you got your work out there. Just saying.

05-28-2016, 08:50 PM
Awesome! Lots of great advice! Thank you so much Rob, Stewart, MBirkhofer, Scribbly and Afro! :thumbs:

I do in fact live in Japan, so I've been feeling a bit lost in my attempt to connect with others out there (it's not super easy to pop into a comic-con from here ;) ). I'm working on my own series at the moment (http://theimmortal.info). Doing it full time, drawing 2 pages a day, but making next to zero cash. As such, I'm worrying about paying the bills (the ones I pay now are from teaching). So I'm trying to find ways to make a bit of cash with the skill set I've developed.

I think most creative jobs are kind of like garage bands nowadays. I started off in film and it was the same way. I made a bunch of short films trying to get someone's attention, trying to get my 'demo' into the right hands. But filmmaking was too costly to continue (films require so much money, equipment and manpower before you even start)

I've been thinking about working in the Japanese manga industry as well. That would be super awesome since I'm already here. And while there are tons more inroads into that industry than the American one (all the big publishers have monthly contests to find new artists here), I'm starting to get the feeling that being non-Japanese could be a hurdle. :huh: I've heard that a Manga-ka is like many jobs in Japan - rather traditional (start as an apprentice, work for nothing, respect your 'sempai,' and see if you get a shot).

Thanks again! If you have any more ideas, thoughts, or just wanna talk, please let me know! :carrot:

06-02-2016, 11:27 PM
join forums where pros run them.. where there are a LOT of eyes watching.

Can you give some examples of the types of forums you mentioned? besides this one of course.

06-07-2016, 05:36 PM
Can you give some examples of the types of forums you mentioned? besides this one of course.

It seems there used to be a lot more message boards with pros posting than there is at the moment. Maybe the likes of facebook and twitter have replaced them or maybe it's just me.

This board had some great guys, Cary Nord, Khoi Pham, Will Sliney, Matthew Weldon, Jose Holder, Marco Turini, Matthew Roberts, Jeremy Rock to name a few.

I think Khoi Pham and Reilly Brown still post at

Brian Stelfreeze, Jason Pearson, Cully Hamner, Karl Story, Chris Brunner, Jason Latour, Doug Wagner all used to post on the Gaijin Studios message board but that seems to be gone now.

If you're in to colouring a lot of professional colorists post at
http://www.dave-co.com/gutterzombie/ which is ran by the awesome Dave McCaig.