Monday, October 18, 2004

When you know what you want, you know where to go.

What's the first step to our addiction? Reading. We all start as comic book readers, one way or another, and there's not a single artist or writer in comics who never read a comic in his life. And, for the time we remember kindly in our minds, we loved the comics we read.

Okay. Time passes, we grow up - to the eyes of some, anyway - and we decide to do comics. When that happens, we probably don't even know how a comic book is done. If we're lucky, we already know there's a person, or a bunch of people, creating the stuff, but we may not know their names at first. When we do, it's always puzzling who does what. To me, it still is kinda blurry what's really the artist's part, what's the writer's function and so on.

That's the point where many people get lost in their quest: they don't really know what they want to do in comics. Mostly all begin with the hope to become the famous artist, even if only famous among the small comic book market. Those who discover very early their complete inaptitude to draw will think about becoming writers, but if you follow these ones from early on on their lives, you'll probably see that they were bound to become writers all along. But what about the rest of us? What about the guy who draws something, even if it's not pretty? What about the guy who can do a great Jim Lee page, and a great Mike Mignola page, but can't do a dozen of any? What about the guy who just can't write any good stories, can't draw well enough to be a super-hero artist, can't draw enough to tell his own stories, and still wants to do comics?

Many colorists in the industry are failed pencillers or failed artists. Many letterers are failed artists. Okay, you can say that lettering is an art in itself (and it really is), and that there are great colorists out there, that's not the point.

So what's the point, really?

I don't know. What I do know is that I see many artists who love comics and they just don't know what they want to do in the business. I don't think it's good for an artist to have many different styles and try many different types of comics, from the super hero type to the newly born kid's comics. You can work in any type of comics, but you don't really need to change your style, or try to create a different style for every comic you're trying to get a job in, because that may distance the artist from his own personal style, which is his most important skill, in my opinion. The artist, no matter what he draws, must have a style clearly his own to translate everything he shows in the page with it.

How do one gets there?

That's the question everybody wants to know the answer. All I can say is that, even if you don't know, the only way you can get anywhere is working it. If you want to draw, go draw. You may not be fit to draw super heroes, but if you keep drawing you may find out what's really the stuff you SHOULD be drawing, what stories you should be telling, who you should be.

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