12WC: Week 1: The Big Question

First, mad props to Jonathan at Zero2Illo, thank you for spearheading this challenge. I am really looking forward to focusing on my work as well as offering a lending hand to my fellow 12WCers.

The task for Week 1 of the 12WC:

Ask yourself this question…If I could illustrate anything and get paid for it, what would it be?

If you hate illustrating comics (even if you are great at them), it isn’t very sensible to fill your portfolio with samples of your comics work. Even if you think this is your best shot at getting that first commission, it’s recommended that you should focus on creating a portfolio that reflects the work you really, really want to do – not just the work you can do.

Here are a few things that might help:

  • Remember this is a business, we’d all love to get paid to only work on those premium projects, but we all have to start somewhere, so balance out what you’d love to be doing with what is going to pay the bills. Aim for the sweet spot between what you love, what you’re good at and what has potential to generate an income.
  • Remember this is for the 12WC so even if it’s not the absolute 110% ideal area you want to be working in to begin with, that’s ok you don’t have to stick at it forever – the important thing is that you can move on from this stage to the next one with something you’re happy with.

You may have already considered all of the above and have a clear idea of what you want to be illustrating – now is the time to ask yourself some further questions:

  • Is your idea commercially viable?
  • What are the target markets (publications, manufacturers, brands and companies) currently commissioning this kind of illustration?
  • Who are the big players (illustrators) in this market?
  • Why are they successful in this area? Look at their website and other online profiles, search for interviews with them online…How do they promote themselves? If you can break down what makes them successful (other than that they are very talented), you can apply this model to your own business.

Now, regarding the question, generally speaking, I want to create narrative/ figurative images with a slant towards action and adventure. I’d like to work doing books and magazine, both covers and interiors {black and white, and color pieces}. Ideally, I would like to work on a YA Adventure series, possibly of my own authorship.

There are some different avenues where I’d like to see my work grow into, for example; experimental graphic novel forms {i.e. “Lore” by Ashley Wood,} also the Sci-Fi/ Fantasy gaming world holds a lot of promise this includes game art, card art.

As I review this, I can see that I am very print-centric. One area that I need to explore further, is the online publishing world, an example would be Digi-pulps, and Downloadable books. Surely there is more, and I’d appreciate any help in thinking of it!

As for people who’re in it now and making a living, Tom Kidd, James Gurney, Rebecca Guay, Larry MacDougald, Paul Bonner, and Omar Rayyan just to name a few. For the most part these are folks who are working in both a similar market as I am, but also ( for the most part) in the same medium. Now, to unearth how they’ve met with success… you know aside from being awesome!

Week 2 Challenge is next!
• other 12 week challenge posts { here }
Zero2Illo {site/blog}
Omar Rayyan {blog}
Tom Kidd {site}
James Gurney {blog}
Rebecca Guay {site}
Larry MacDouglad {blog}
Paul Bonner {site}
“Lore” by Ashley Wood {but buy it from your local comic shop}

Thanks to anybody who made it this far in the reading!

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