The pay sucks, the industry is brutal.
Don’t produce a masterpiece, just be on time.
I heard this growing up as a starry-eyed artistic kid, enamored of the comic-book shop smell that was probably just dust, body odor, and the old plastic sleeves on the back-issues stacked in boxes in the back.
I went to conventions and grilled the artists. How did you do it? What was your big break? I practice drawing panels every day!
Nobody wants to crush a kid’s dreams, but they wanted to be honest. I know people in the industry, one of them told me. Very rarely do unknowns make a big break, get discovered.
I remember not liking that answer. I explored wed comics; dreamed of being that freelance rising star that got a book deal after becoming popular online. I tried that out in high school. I was consistent, uploaded a page every day. Got a few followers, but not the attention I thought I’d get.
“If you can live a happy life without making comics, then I suggest you don’t make comics. The industry is brutal and soul crushing. The pay sucks. You could work for months or years on a project only to be met with a resounding “Meh” from the public.” –Christopher Hastings
The realization that I could work very hard, get discovered, and then not even make a living wage was one of the biggest disappointments of my young life. The life of a creator, as reiterated to me over and over by artists that gave me their ear, was one of being a cog in a machine.
And yet, I keep dreaming. I’m on spring break from art school, where I’m studying traditional methods. It’s grueling, hard, and expects perfection. So to sort of unwind, I’ve returned to my love of comics. I started drawing fanart, depicting traditionally male superheroes as female.
You can check out the gallery on my Deviantart. Only if you are so inclined.
And yet, foolishly, doggedly, I find myself looking up “how to become a comic artist.”
Because I’m just a silly dreamer after all.