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RichardB
04-27-2006, 04:49 PM
In his latest column for CBR, Steven Grant answers a letter from a reader (http://www.comicbookresources.com/columns/index.cgi?column=pd&article=2438):

I've written a script for a graphic novel that I had planned to self-publish through lulu.com. Not being an artist or knowing any, I posted for help on the Digital Webbing boards. As I felt the project would be too big for a single artist, I advertised for sections of the book at a stated amount to be paid. (Yes, I was even offering money). I chose five artists, all of whom were willing to do multiple sections, made arrangements and off we went.

Eight months later, five guys had only produced 17 pages (I suppose I should say four since one of them asked for the money up front and then disappeared back into cyberspace with it). Feeling like it would never be finished, I paid what was owed, dismissed them and scrapped the project. But it sure would be nice to see it finished.

Is there any hope? Do I keep shelling money out willy-nilly until I chance upon someone who does what they say? Am I completely screwed? If you have any advice as a writer I'd love to hear from you.

Having had a number of projects belly up over the years because the artist never quite got around to it, I feel your pain.

It's unfortunate, but one of the risks of using untested talent, whether writer, artist, letterer, whatever - and it's a risk that makes many editors reluctant to give them a shot unless they show an enormous amount of commercial potential - is that you can never be sure of whether they can actually do the work required. There's a saying in the music business that you have your whole life to write your first album and six months to write your second one, and that parallels comics to some extent. I've seen artists produce the most gorgeous sample pages imaginable, which isn't surprising when they pore over them for weeks or months at a time, but when it came time to draw even a six page story on any sort of deadline, they turned out crap. (I'm only ragging on artists because that's the subject of the letter, but it applies across disciplines.)

And the fact is that while a lot of people want to be known as artists, actually drawing comics is work. A lot of would-be artists simply aren't prepared to work. A lot harbor the notion that getting something in print will help their chances of getting more work but they have specific ideas of what they want to draw, and when they take on an assignment that doesn't address that, they quickly lose interest. Then there are those - probably the bulk - who are simply overwhelmed by other aspects of their lives to the point where they can't find the time to finish the work. That can't be helped, but the problem comes from their unwillingness to officially bail on the job.

The rest of the column is well worth reading too; Steven's column always is.

If the guy who sent that message to Steven happens to be here, I'd like to offer him my sympathies as well. Variations of this have happened to me countless times in the past year. Not with a graphic novel, but with stories that were four to twelve pages long.

Each script was written after consultation with an artist about what he would most like to draw, and each artist was someone I'd checked out to make sure he had produced a certain volume of pages. I'm not talking about people who just drew pinups. Each artist was very enthusiastic about the given script...and each one promptly disappeared. I had just gotten to the point where I was going to offer money out of my own pocket (and I would have to go into debt to do that) just to see one of my goddamn scripts drawn...but the above makes me realize that's no solution either. Steven has the same problem despite his considerable reputation; having been published professionally doesn't help me. Now I'm almost completely burned out just from dealing with artists who bail or flake out.

I considered posting this in the artists' forum...but fear it might come across as trolling, or an attack on good and well-intentioned people. So, I post it here. At the very least, I'm venting my frustration and looking for some cheap sympathy. But if anyone has words of encouragement or suggestions for better ways of coping with the problem -- or even just wants to complain about his or her experiences with the same problem -- feel free to join in!

Kep!
04-27-2006, 05:12 PM
I have worked full-time in the comic industry as writer and letterer for almost four years. In that time I have seen this happen time and time again. Most of the time there is a simple reason: poor relationship management. If expectations are not made clear and a mutual understanding of what is required doesn't surface than there is a problem. I have been on both ends of the equation and it rarely falls to something as simple as lack of talent...I wish it did. Instead, it comes down to the project manager (often an editor...usually a writier on smaller books) not following through on his needs and setting realistic deadlines. When it is the artist's fault, it's an issue of drive. There's a huge difference between a page a week and a page a day and a lot of people don't get that until they have to do it.

As to giving money over before product -- Don't. Half down and half on completion is common and fair, but giving over the whole ammount is just stupid. Don't do it.

Finally, the idea that it's the writer's responsibility to pay an untested artist is ludicrous. At the point the artist has a nice portfolio of provable art they can demand payment...until then, if they want to work in the buisness, they're better off shacking up with a writer of equal talent and publishing books. Too often the unproven want to be compensated...screw 'em. If I'm paying that kind of money, I have the phone numbers of real talent that don't miss deadlines.

scherzo
04-28-2006, 06:01 AM
For every 10 artists with the skill to produce a professional looking comicbook page, maybe 2 can actually do it consistently on a timely basis. It's gotta be next to impossible for writers to find a high caliber artist to draw their scripts for them, unless they're throwing big bucks around. But there's definitely no excuse for bailing on a project, without consulting the people counting on your involvement. I have no sympathy for artists who not only don't keep their word, but lack the honor to own up to their failure.

On the flip side,(and I'm not accusing you of this Richard) many writers don't quite understand the incredible amount of time, effort and resolve sitting down and drawing a script requires. This much is made obvious by repeated implications that newbie artists are out-of-line for insisting on payment for services rendered. I don't care how many finished pages are in a given artist's portfolio, if they're assigned work, they have a right to expect compensation like any other job.

-scherzo

Scribe
04-28-2006, 10:36 AM
On the flip side,(and I'm not accusing you of this Richard) many writers don't quite understand the incredible amount of time, effort and resolve sitting down and drawing a script requires. This much is made obvious by repeated implications that newbie artists are out-of-line for insisting on payment for services rendered. I don't care how many finished pages are in a given artist's portfolio, if they're assigned work, they have a right to expect compensation like any other job.

Let me get this straight, a newbie writer is expected to work without pay, and often have to foot the bills for self publishing and promoting a comic book but it's perfectly acceptable for a green artist to get payment?

It is incredibly time consuming for a writer to generate a concept, characters, story and unique character driven dialogue. It's also one thing to have the concept and another to turn it into a workable, visibly appealing, active script. I would say that the time investment is about equal from start to finish and skewed tremendously toward the writer if they're self publishing a book.

I would think an artist who's never produced 22 consecutive story pages shouldn't be paid anything until they've proven they can pull off the task and aren't a waste of your time and money.

DannoE
04-28-2006, 11:44 AM
I recently posted an add for an artist for Green Mountain Gunslinger. I offered $25/page + 30% back-end, which is a lot to pay and very little to work for, and got well over 100 respondents. Of those, due diligence and reference checking yielded perhaps 25 who could actually do the job, and then my personal tastes narrowed the field further to 5. From there I asked for a sample page or two from those with time and geniune interest in my project. The entire process took about 3 weeks.

It is hardly impossible to find an artist on a budget, but you need to know what your budget is, and you need to know what to look for in an artist. AND you need to take real time with your search to establish the relationships that will eventually make the project work.

IMO, writers make a mistake looking for a "newbie" or "untested" artist. That's crap. If you're a good enough writer to invest your own money in your writing, then get the best artist you can.

scherzo
04-28-2006, 11:44 AM
Let me get this straight, a newbie writer is expected to work without pay, and often have to foot the bills for self publishing and promoting a comic book but it's perfectly acceptable for a green artist to get payment?
Of course it is. Since when is getting paid not perfectly acceptable? On point 2...if a writer OR artist is determined to self publish, what other entity should be expected to foot the bill for the expenses involved? The simple reality is, services rendered are generally gonna cost you money, unless you manage to find someone who just gets off on working 10+ hours a day on other folks projects. You ain't gonna though...at least not for very long.
It is incredibly time consuming for a writer to generate a concept, characters, story and unique character driven dialogue. It's also one thing to have the concept and another to turn it into a workable, visibly appealing, active script. I would say that the time investment is about equal from start to finish and skewed tremendously toward the writer if they're self publishing a book.
You're kidding yourself. Any writer who believes scripting a comicbook page, requires as much time as drawing that page, is kidding themselves. Also a writer can continue to conceptualize while doing almost anything, but the drawing board demands your constant presence. Frankly I'd consider it out of the question to work for a writer who didn't understand where the comicbook grunt work takes place.(which works out nicely...since I'm my own writer most days :) )
I would think an artist who's never produced 22 consecutive story pages shouldn't be paid anything until they've proven they can pull off the task and aren't a waste of your time and money.
Make any deal you can comfortably live with I say. I don't disagree that it's unwise to hand over money before any work has been completed. I also believe that once the parameters of the deal are agreed upon, the artist is now obligated to live up to them. I'll say this though; If I had a script I needed drawn, I'd give my artist every reasonable accommodation for taking on what amounts to the bulk of the heavy lifting. If I were unable to fork over the dough for an acceptable page rate, I'd retain full ownership of the creative property, but offer the lion's share of sales royalties. Even then I'd have to keep my fingers crossed for a steady stream of publishable work to arrive, but what other choice would I have?

-scherzo

AthenaRose
04-28-2006, 12:08 PM
As a writer, I appreciate that drawing a full script (not to mention inking, colouring and lettering) takes time. But if the script is based on my characters and my story, then I'd feel I'd contributed at least as much, if not more, creatively. After all, without my script, there would be nothing for the artist to draw. However, without an artist, my script remains a collection of words on a computer screen.

Richard's story has been a bit of an eye-opener for me. I suppose I'd had rosey images of me and an artist discussing the finer points of comic-creation over virtual coffee and biscuits, as we moved harmoniously towards publication. At the very least, it will make me wary of how I choose an artist. Always assuming I can complete a script, of course! :D

DannoE
04-28-2006, 12:28 PM
Richard's story has been a bit of an eye-opener for me. I suppose I'd had rosey images of me and an artist discussing the finer points of comic-creation over virtual coffee and biscuits, as we moved harmoniously towards publication.
Finding guys who want to work on short pieces isn't too difficult, but when you get to where you're talking about telling longer stories (say 60 - 100 pages), then that's when you really do have to be prepared to pay. In the small press, that kind of thing takes about a year to get done, and that's a hell of a long time for somebody to work on YOUR project for free. I mean seriously, I doubt many writers would even write somebody else's project for that long without pay. I certainly wouldn't.

Look at the typical turnover on comic review sites. How long would you write comic reviews FOR FREE for somebody else's site? Now imagine that THEY dictate what books you were REQUIRED to review. How long would you do THAT?

You wouldn't. Nobody would. And that's the issue.

Guys want to work on their own projects. They MIGHT be willing to work on yours for a while if it's fun and cool, but for more than six to eight pages, you're asking for a lot of time for a very dubious payback.

kdmelrose
04-28-2006, 12:39 PM
For every 10 artists with the skill to produce a professional looking comicbook page, maybe 2 can actually do it consistently on a timely basis.

Very true. As you point out, a lot of writers may not realize how much time goes into penciling and/or inking a page. At the same time, I think many "new" artists don't fully realize the commitment involved in producing 10, 22 or 32 pages within a specified time frame.

It's one thing to draw those Spider-Man sample pages in your portfolio at your own pace; it's another thing to maintain that quality while racing toward a deadline. Toss in a full- or part-time job, school, friends, spouses/love interests, etc., and, "Yeah, I can crank out three pages a week," isn't quite as easy as it originally sounded.

But there's definitely no excuse for bailing on a project, without consulting the people counting on your involvement. I have no sympathy for artists who not only don't keep their word, but lack the honor to own up to their failure.

Agreed. That's where regular, open communication comes in. After working with a few collaborators, I think (hope?) most writers (and artists) develop a sixth sense for when things aren't going well. On so many levels, a collaboration is like dating: When you're going out with someone and, suddenly, he or she stops returning phone calls or doesn't reply for days at a time, odds are there's a problem.

Let me get this straight, a newbie writer is expected to work without pay, and often have to foot the bills for self publishing and promoting a comic book but it's perfectly acceptable for a green artist to get payment?

It has to depend on the scenario. If I'm the writer, and I'm calling most (if not all) of the shots creatively, and I'm retaining the rights, and I'm publishing it ... I become the de facto publisher/employer. But if I'm entering into a true creative partnership, that's something else entirely.

It is incredibly time consuming for a writer to generate a concept, characters, story and unique character driven dialogue. It's also one thing to have the concept and another to turn it into a workable, visibly appealing, active script.

I can't argue with that.

I would say that the time investment is about equal from start to finish and skewed tremendously toward the writer if they're self publishing a book.

The time investment varies. Writing a relatively mindless -- and I don't mean that as an insult, necessarily -- superhero free-for-all isn't likely to take as much time as researching and scripting a period piece or a complex psychological drama.

I would think an artist who's never produced 22 consecutive story pages shouldn't be paid anything until they've proven they can pull off the task and aren't a waste of your time and money.

So, how many pages would the artist have to produce for you before he's proved he can pull off that task? Ten? Twelve? Twenty-two? That's a bit like getting a job at an office/restaurant/whatever, then being told you have to work for free for a week or two -- until the boss decides you're not a waste of time and money.

bezelleo
04-28-2006, 05:17 PM
Interesting stuff, and very relatable.

I think it's just the basic understanding that both crafts are very time consuming, and that sometimes, that perception is skewed from the other side of the fence. A good writer might be cranking out 22 pages a day, and then get back the artist and say, "Hey, draw this!", and then the artist is like "Wow, you're fast!" and then thinks it's easy to do since one page at the most will be drawn that night... if that. And vice versa. I think we as artists and writers just need to be aware that a lot of time and effort is put into developing fantastic worlds and ideas onto paper. No one job is really easier than the other.

Communication is definitely key in this area. Even when things fall apart, it's still good to say to the other person in an email or call, and just let them know, "Hey, I'm sorry man. Life's a little rough for me now, and I'm gonna have to pass. But I enjoyed working with you and will let you know in the future if I can hop back on the boat." It's both respectful, courteous, and professional. Disappearing is definitely not the answer, and that seems to happen quite often in this industry. It kind of amazes me really.

I think the biggest difficulty I've had thus far is what I like to call, "the hope factor." I'm a writer, so when I land an artist, and he's all excited about the project, then I get really excited about it. It's like we're going to Disneyland. We talk everyday, our ideas are matching and worked out, and we've got everything ready to go. It's almost a sure thing that the project will be done, so what do you do? You tell everyone about it. You let people know, "Hey, my book is coming out. Get ready to help support my dreams, (insert: family, friends, coworkers, companies, colleagues, and future employers)" And then, what happens... You're not going to Disneyland. Something happens to one person, and it's not fully explained, and then the project is dead in the water. So what happens to you? Those people that you told about the book start asking questions, like, "Hey, where's that book?" And what can you do? In the end, you look bad, and become a part of the "Boy Who Cried Wolf" club. Because no matter what happens after that, people will then take you lightly, and the only way they're gonna believe you when you say something like that again, is when you place a copy in their hand after you say it. And that's rough. Especially when you feel you did your part, you did everything right, and the other guy just got up and bailed. There's always a ripple effect, people.

Until then, just keep doing your part, and hope for the best.

RichardB
04-28-2006, 05:20 PM
I'm feeling better for having gotten the subject off my chest, and for seeing the variety of opinions expressed here. It reassures me that this actually is a complicated subject and the answer isn't necessarily cut and dried...so I'm not necessarily a complete moron for needing some extra guidance.

A little background on me to put things in context. As it happens, I studied illustration at a fairly well known art school. I can draw, I've worked as an illustrator...though I've never been quite good enough or fast enough or consistent enough to draw comics to my own liking, so leaving that to the people who actually can do it do it properly always seemed like the best idea. (Two of my favorite comics writers, Steve Englehart and Grant Morrison, are also artists who don't draw their own stories.) In the past I've worked as an assistant to a couple of professional comics artists, and spent four years working in the production department of one of the major comics publishers. So, you know, I'd still like to think I have a little insight into the work involved in drawing even a single comics page, and come into this with understanding for the artist's position.

But dealing with a newbie is still a crapshoot. And realizing that this isn't just me but a problem in the whole industry reminds me how hard an editor has it, having to gamble on people all the time; I'll definitely be more patient next time I'm irked by an editor being too busy to get back to me.

One thing I'm getting from this discussion is that I may have been wrong to focus on new artists. I just naturally assumed this was the way to go, since I wasn't in a position to offer money. I've been assuming a newbie would have more interest in a script to show off his or her talents...and that someone with an established record would consider it beneath him to do something on spec. Buuuuuuut, maybe I've been aiming my sights too low.

Anyway, a lot to think about here. Thanks!

Scribe
04-28-2006, 11:57 PM
You're kidding yourself. Any writer who believes scripting a comicbook page, requires as much time as drawing that page, is kidding themselves. Also a writer can continue to conceptualize while doing almost anything, but the drawing board demands your constant presence. Frankly I'd consider it out of the question to work for a writer who didn't understand where the comicbook grunt work takes place.(which works out nicely...since I'm my own writer most days :) )

Maybe the artists are the grunt workers because man that early Image comics proved that the most important work is done long before some guy with a pencil sits down at a table.

If anything any single artist is less important to a project than a writer is. A model I've developed for a four-issue self published mini is to hire four different artists on work for hire contracts that pays incrimentially on chronolgical pages, that way if any one artist flakes out you've only paid for what you recieve. Also with issues one and two and then three and four drawn at the same time the odds of being late are greatly reduced.

Another bonus is instead of having only one artist working with you to promote your book you have four, conciviably in different cities, working to get the word out. It also allows you to give extra time to an artist or take a flyer on a completely green artist and get an issue drawn for free. You've also increased your odds of working with an artist who could blow up and owe you a favor down the line.

Since you drew up work for hire contracts you can publish a TPB without any additional art fees and realize your profit on that end.

That model would never work with writers in a single-story mini. Maybe you're right that they're grunts in that they can be replaced easier.

scherzo
04-29-2006, 04:35 AM
If anything any single artist is less important to a project that a writer is.
Well this depends on what the people involved in the project consider "important". I presume your opening remark to be critical of early Image, but they made tons of money based exclusively on "artist" popularity. Something that anyone making the financial investment in a comics endeavor would consider extremely important. If the writer believes the ultimate quality of the story and characters happen to take precedence over sales(certainly a valid and noble POV) then it barely matters what it looks like.(although any story's impact will always be hampered by poor drawings)

My point really wasn't about who is more "important" though.(this can vary wildly from project to project) I'm saying the artist does most of the actual work. I don't consider the term "grunt" the least bit pejorative in this context. Grunt work is difficult, and dirty, and 100% necessary for anything else to exist.

-scherzo

daweir
04-29-2006, 10:43 AM
My turn to chime in.

Who is the most important member of a creative team?

The writer. Because he or she develops the background of the story, creates the backdrop to the story, and backs up the story with details. He creates the characters and brings them to life, giving them problems, hopes, joys, torments and expresses their mood. The writer determines how the story begins, what happens as it progresses, and where it ends up. The writer is the one who decides what happens on each page, in each panel, and what brings the panels together. While it may only take a few hours to write a single script, it can take days, or even months, to come up with the actual story. It can be even longer if there's research to be done! Sure, the interior artist has to create the actual iamges, but without the writer the artist would have nothing to draw! So, the writer is the most important member of a creative team.

Who is the most important member of a creative team?

The interior artist (read: anyone from pencilier, inker, colorist, letterer, whatever). The art inside the book is what really makes the project a success. The artist who does the interiors slaves for hours upon hours on a single page just to get the pencils done. A single page being done in a day is not uncommon, so a twenty-two page book often takes twenty or more days! All the writer has to do is come up with an idea and put the descriptions of the images in order on a page. They don't even have to hand write or use a typewriter anymore! They can use prefabricated scripts and just enter information. The artist has to start each page from scratch and god forbid the writer needs a revision!! So, the artist is the most important member of the team, because without the interior artist there'd be nothing but a script. No book, no nothing.

Who is the most important member of the creative team?

The cover artist is the most important member of the team. This should be a no brainer. It's the cover artist who puts hours upon hours of work into making an image that draws the eye, stands out from all the other images on the rack, and still captures the spirit of the book. Without the work of the cover artist, nobody would ever pick the book up to begin with! So, the cover artist is the most important member of the creative team.

Great! Now, for those of you who need to have your ego stroked so you can achieve some sort of personal satisfaction, pick the entry above that applies to you, pretend that's all I said, and move on. For the rest of you who are actually reasonable and realistic about the process of creating a comic, read on.

Generally speaking, the process of creating a comic book begins with the writer. There are the odd cases where a book has another beginning, but generally the writer is the one who births the concept, or at least the current plot. The writer takes an idea, develops it, researches whatever he needs to research in order to avoid glaring errors in the story, and crafts the plot from start to finish. It is his job to provide a script with enough detail that the images can be clearly seen before the panels are even begun, and it is the writer's obligation to clearly express the necessities of each page.

In addition, it is the writer's job to back off and let the artist have some creative license when the story allows for it. It is not an easy thing to know when you MUST provide incredible detail, and when you MUST NOT. "Can" does not even factor into this. Of course, a writer must also be sure not to contradict previous stories and must do his best not to do anything with the script that would prevent future stories from being viable. It is not an easy job.

The second stage of the comic varies from book to book. At times the interior art is developed prior to the cover art, though the reverse is also true. It often happens that both are started concurrently, though the cover tends to be finished first. For our purposes we will assume the interiors are begun first, as that is the longest stage of the project.

The interior art, made up of pencils, inks, colors and lettering, can be done by one or many talented individuals. I have noticed a trend lately that leads me to believe more and more artists are doing all of the interiors for an increased pay. Even if they do not, each portion of the interior art takes a lot of time, generally one page per day, if not more. If the artist is doing all interior work, it can be two or three days per page.The process of putting the images on the page can be tedious, grueling work. There is no doubt that the hand begins to throb and ache after many hours, a problem most writers do not contend with. At least, not on the scale the average artist will.

It is the job of the interior artist to follow the script to the best of his ability, ensuring that all vital information is translated into appealing visuals that will not only convey the proper meaning needed by the panels, but will also drive the reader's eye in the proper direction and maintain flow. This is harder than it sounds, especially when you consider that many writers don't always know what is needed in a panel to accomplish these goals.

At long last we come to the cover artist. The cover artist does not have to develop the story as the writer does, nor does he have to create twenty-two pages of sequential art in a short period of time. His job is to create an image that stands out. He must be careful to include just enough visual information without giving away too much. He must be sure that the image on the cover is relevant to the book. He must not overshadow the interior artist.

When the book finally comes together and is finally on the stand, the order of action is reversed. It is the cover that grabs the eye first, making a reader pick up the book. Once the book is in hand, the interior art must inspire the reader to BUY the book, and must help the reader progress smoothly through the story. And last, but certainly not least, it is the story that gets the reader to come back next month.

There is no single individual who is most important to the creative team. Every player has his role, and every role must be played to the best of the talent's ability. Before you can answer the questions posed on this thread, you have to first understand the fundamental truth that all parts are of a whole, and no part can survive alone. Once you accept that, you realize that some parts of the process take longer and can be harder at times. A writer will occasionally slave away harder than a penciler, though the cover artist might occasionally have the hard job. In the end, what matters is that all parts come together.

Otherwise, why are we here?

daweir
04-29-2006, 11:05 AM
I'm making my next point in a separate post, because my last post was already running long. Please forgive me, but I wanted to make it easier on people following this thread.

I've noticed a lot of talk lately about equality of work between artists and writers. I'm honestly surprised this debate is even taking place.

The value of individual work is NOT equal in this industry. To get down to the basis of this argument- money- a single script put to page by a writer is of lower monetary value than a single script put to page by an artist. It is not an equal one-for-one trade. Period.

I have already gone over the bare basics of what each member of the team does. For clarification, read my prior post to this thread.

Now, while it is incredibly difficult to put a monetary value on something as abstract as putting a story to the page, it is still possible to justify higher value of an artist's work. This is, of course, assuming that the writer and artist are of equal calibre in their respective fields.

A writer must do research in order to properly craft a story. No offense, but an uneducated, ignorant writer is going to write crappy stories. So it is assumed that a writer will take the time to research necessary materials that he may need, if he doesn't already have that knowledge. A writer must then determine the plot, map out the plot, and put the plot in writing. He must properly format the script so the artist can follow it, and must accomplish the goal quickly so the artist has time to create the book.

But the writer generally only has to do the research once. Once he has done it, he should have sufficient notes or references available to jog his memory, if that much is even necessary. He doesn't have to go back and research the entire topic again from ground zero. Also, a writer can save his script in electronic format and email it to the editor or artist. It requires no materials beyond his computer.

An artist, however, always begins with a blank page. In the case of the inker or colorist, this translates to an uninked or uncolored page, but you get the idea. So not only does the paper elevate value, simply by being a required material, the artist does not have the benefit of having already drawn the page and just building from there. The artist has brushes, pencils, inks, erasers, straight edges and a million other possible tools that he must use. For our purposes, we will only consider the disposable materials, such as paper, ink, and things of that nature. Brushes, pens and pencils need to be replaced, but not as often, so do not contribute to this factor.

Where the writer can take a day or two to get the script together, the artist has a great deal more to do per page than a writer does, so that extends the amount of time spent on the book as a whole.

In today's industry, it's possible to produce a book with just hi-res scans of the original images, but I do believe a number of writers still want the original sheets, at least until publication. That is an additional cost the aritist often incurs to transport the art to the writer, if that happens on a particular book.

So, it's pretty simple to see how an artist's final work is generally granted higher monetary value than that of a writer.

With all that said, I want to answer a previous post that asked how it was fair for a new artist to get paid but a new writer does not and will foot the bill. It's pretty simple, really. With art, an editor or publisher can look at it and know if they like it. While there are a million artists out there, it's still pretty easy to decide from a few quick glances. With writers, an editor actually has to read the work. There are as many would-be writers as there are artists, and since it takes longer to decide if a writer "has it," an editor needs to KNOW the writer has it. Being published means you're going to get looked at. Artists don't have to be published.

Getting an artist on your script means you're going to increase your chances of getting looked at. That's why I'm actually paying to have my book drawn, inked, colored and published. I'll never get anywhere if I don't. There's not a company out there that will care about my work unless I have something VISUAL to show them. The visuals make it easier for them to read my story. If they like it, they can see the script. From there it goes up.

Very well. I'm done, for now.

RichardB
04-29-2006, 03:52 PM
My compliments to daweir for stating these facts so comprehensively. This is all the more impressive because I know you've been in this same position of deaaling with "artist letdown" yourself and still remain even-handed. Well done!

Any argument over whose contribution to a finished comic is "most important" is bound to be inconclusive -- unfortunately, that doesn't mean people are going to stop arguing about it any time soon. Variations on the same debate have taken place since the invention of comics, and will continue to take place anywhere you have more than one creative person collaborating on a given project.

I can't speak for anyone else but this discussion is doing a lot of good for me, so please continue! :)

AthenaRose
04-29-2006, 05:37 PM
I'm with daweir - everybody involved in a single comic contributes to the final whole. No individual can take all the credit. And whilst it might irk me that an artist's work is worth more in monetary terms than mine, I do understand why that would be. Drawing is, in general, more time consuming to do, but has a more immediate impact once it is done.

*shrug*

I still see myself as a prose writer, existing comic scripts not withstanding. Having said that, I have enjoyed the process of producing said scripts as my imagination works in visuals, and writing comic scripts takes less time than describing the same thing in prose. Which links back rather nicely to my first paragraph.

daweir
04-29-2006, 05:49 PM
Richard and Athena,

I want to thank you for your comments on what I had to say. I wasn't sure what to expect by way of response, but I'm glad to see it was taken as a positive thing, rather than a devisive train of thought.

I may not have earned my stripes yet, and I'm probably newer to this than most people, but I like to think I have a good head for this business of comics. To be honest, most of what I know I feel I've learned from the people here, at the DW forums. The rest of it is common sense.

So while I agree that it does sort of suck that writers won't ever get the recognition that artists do, or more importantly that we won't bring in the money that artists do, it's something I've come to terms with. To be honest, my barometer of success is if people keep reading my work, not if people know my name. The money comes later, after the first few stories have been told. I can handle that.

Oh, and Athena, I'd love to try a collab with you some time, just for grins.

Cheers,
Devon

KH
04-29-2006, 11:29 PM
You're kidding yourself. Any writer who believes scripting a comicbook page, requires as much time as drawing that page, is kidding themselves. Also a writer can continue to conceptualize while doing almost anything, but the drawing board demands your constant presence. Frankly I'd consider it out of the question to work for a writer who didn't understand where the comicbook grunt work takes place.(which works out nicely...since I'm my own writer most days :) )


you're absolutely correct. look at how much crap writing is out there ... especially in the comix biz.

scherzo
04-30-2006, 06:28 PM
daweir everything you typed here is utter nonsense!

Just kidding. :har: It actually reads like the definitive analysis of the neverending writer vs. artist drama. Personally I think it could be permanently sticky posted to the top of every forum, for quick and easy reference. Your post rates a perfect 10 out of 10.(although the East German judge is giving you an 8.5 :( )

-scherzo

AthenaRose
04-30-2006, 07:48 PM
I suppose it is an eternal debate, but it should be a non-starter. As long as everyone is doing their best to make something great, that should be enough, surely?

Peedee
05-03-2006, 12:29 PM
It surprised me that there even *is* a writer-artist drama, although now that I've read this thread, I can see where it could potentially be a problem. Of course the artist is important, just as important as the writer, no more or less. Neil Gaiman may have written a powerful story with Sandman, but without the talented artists he had, it would have been lessened. Supposing the whole story had been drawn as Manga? Of course, somewhere in there, the writing itself would shine through and you would still have emotion...but with a story like Sandman, you're better with the art of (for example) Michael Zulli.

By and large, my focus has always been the short story, or the novel, as my creative outlet (until the ideas take me into another field). So if I want to be the most important person on the project, then I'll go write a novel or a short story. Then, it's just me and blank paper, and I'm the most important person. And if I shut away my manuscript in a desk drawer and never show anybody, ever, then I am THE most important person EVER on the project.

Humility, I think, and perspective, and just genuine niceness are the most important things in the industry, be it the comic industry, or even the book industry. If you're a high-handed asshole, then you may still get where you want to go, but you're not going to have a happy road there. If you're nice and decent, then you're going to find other people who, like you, are essentially doing it for the love of it, and will be doing it for the love of it even after it's making money.

That's important.

Speed, too, is important. I write slowly and I usually ricochete from project to project as the whim takes me...up until speed is required on one thing. Then, I hunker down, I focus, and I churn it out very fast. I think that's probably more important in the comic industry than any of the others, really. :)

(I think I probably just recapped the thread, but now I've said it myself, which clarifies in my mind...so I'm happy, and I'll be quiet.)

Peedee
05-03-2006, 12:33 PM
An addendum, before I shut up. :)

In all brutal honesty, I can't decide if coming to DW has encouraged or discouraged me when it comes to finding an artist. Certainly, my original plan was to find someone who dug my project, with whom I would work on the first issue with (for the love of the thing) and then we would get the first issue out to publishers who would then publish it, and hire us both for the remaining five issues.

Niave, I suppose, but it was a happy vision. Since being here, I've started reformatting my first script with the intention to just send it off to publishers who are willing to look at scripts-only. I've been comfortably familiar with the book industry for the past ten years, and I've been happily reading comics since I was old enough to hold them open, but when it comes to the comic industry, I've greener than the Grinch. All I've got is a story. Certainly, I haven't got a clue! :D

Right! Now I am silent!