Oct 6, 2007

Comic Book Idol

I lost Comic Book Idol. Hell, I didn't even make a runner up. I will
admit I could see where at least 8 of them were better then me. For
real. 8 People without jobs kicked my ass. Different styles, same
styles, whatever. Better. More complete, more professional, and just
all around cleaner. By that I mean that their art is almost perfectly
pencilled. Not messy at all. And one of the runner's up was clearly
the best of all 14 in the running(I wasn't even a runner up, shit) but
he dropped out(and I know I own a comic of his, it may have been Paper
Museum). The only bummer was where I could see how one or two of them
weren't as good as I was in certain ways they should be(if they beat
me out). I think they were picked because of some style preference
of the judges(and I have a very open mind to different styles, I just
don't like derivative without skill).

None of this means I suck. It just points out that no matter how good
I am I need to be great to be a comic book artist. Good doesn't work
anymore. In the 90's they would almost literally hire anyone. The
80's were filled with artists who could barely draw, but they put the
work in and got stuff on time. The 90's boom changed that. The
founders of Image made a company that started out(Image now is
completely different and I'd love to work there, and it is the first
place I would send my stuff to) as style over substance. They started
hiring anyone who could ape their style. Writing didn't matter. You
hired a high school friend for that. It was all about selling comics
to go into a bag and be kept for future generations college fund.
Even as a young teen I knew there was something wrong with that
mentality. And the comics just fucking sucked.

But the point is they hired anyone with a pulse. Then the industry
collapsed. A bunch of losers were left without a job(and some
talented people too who got lost in the shuffle). The amount of jobs
basically were few and far between. There was no room for new people
unless you were absolutely brilliant. And really there are only a few
who are actually that good. Actually great.

People tell me I am a great artist all the time. This is not
bragging, all artists hear this. It is based on how well non artists
draw or who they know. But when you are in the industry and see
people like Moebius, Mike Mignola, Geof Darrow, Adam Hughes, Travis
Charest, and others, you know deep down you have a very long way to
go. I think I am good. But I know I am not great. But getting to
great and the potential of getting there is what fuels me.

All this just points out how futile it is for me to do anything but my
own comics. It's like a secret backdoor into the industry. It's funny because that was my reasoning for making my own movie(And yes the link doesn't work I hope to get it up very in a week). I can
act, write, direct and I'll be a movie maker no matter who takes
issue. In fact since it's finished I basically am. Now I just need
to get it into a theatre. Then I've really arrived(like making my own
comic, and then getting it published).

So I'm not discouraged. I just know I have to up my game. And doing
that will make me great. It may take a year. It may take five. It may take a lifetime. But
it will happen. I don't give up.

I drew these two pages when Steven Grant let out an open call for
talent on his online column(which has excellent political commentary
and dissection of comic storytelling techniques). I pencilled it on
Canson Blueline Comic Book Paper. The paper is pretty good. A little
rough for my taste since I feel my art doesn't really come together
until it is inked. I mainly use Sakura refillable brush pens after
they have lost their pointiness. They last forever as frayed dry
brushes. I used microns for all the perspective stuff. I've been
told it doesn't match too well with my dry brush(which is an excellent
observation) so I may need to modify my storytelling to exclude
details that would need a pen(at least a normal pen, a croqeul pen may
work since in the past I have used ti for tiny parts of dry brush
drawings. I think I need to also not darken or contrast it so much
because it looks better with more watery or translucent ink. I don't
know how Greg Ruth keeps it so dark. I noticed Mark Shultze and Toby
Cypress use a lot of translucent ink(by that I mean watered down to
get a smoother effect, another reason I like plate finish although I
know that they don't use Plate finish). Whatever, now I'm just



Anonymous said...

Hey, I feel for you, I didn't make the cut either, nor was I an honorable mention.
Your take on the industry was interesting, but flawed. There are tons of artists from the 80's and earlier who could draw their asses off. Hell some of the guys you mentioned, Mignola for example, broke into the industry in the 80's.
Don't let the CBI setback throw you off your game, we have to keep on chugging along, doing what we love, cause there's no other way.
good luck

Adrian Rivero said...

Your right. I just meant that there was a lot of filler artists, artists who were there a long time but didn't really have a full range of skills who still have a hard time getting a job because they were edged out by clones of 90's artists who only were good at ripping off. I'd prefer those 80's guys who put in the hard work but weren't great to rip off artists. People Like Byrne, Mignola, Art Adams, Miller(before Strikes Again) and others I would take above most any 90's artist and I feel they didn't really suffer too much(although Byrne has had a hard time getting new series, but thats another story).

I do have to mention that this years CBI probably has the most talented of any year. I felt past years had people who were more clearly unqualified(including myself). I know I am abetter artist than I was then, but it seems so is everybody else.


flameape said...

`a very honest outpouring of your feelings and observations. i agree with anonymous' corrections too- but it's always a good thing to vent, and regroup. your work has many great qualities and as has been pointed out to you- keep at it!. it's worth it- you do get what you put into the work.

much good luck-

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