Comic Book Artists
Exploring this Job
A common trait among comic book artists is that they read comic books regularly and they draw regularly to improve their skills. Get active in the comic book art community by joining an online club. Learn more about comic books by attending comic book conventions such as Comic-Con International in San Diego or the New York Comic Con. Another good way to get first-hand experience and see if this is the career for you is by volunteering at a comic book publisher. Look for independent comic book publishers that may be located near you and contact them to learn if they can use any help in the office. This will typically be administrative support work but it will give you the opportunity to observe the everyday activities involved in creating comic books. Part-time or volunteer work will also provide you with the chance to observe and talk with comic book artists and editors.
Comic book artists tell stories through the images they illustrate and the short bursts of words they use to accompany the illustrations. Some comic book artists come up with their own characters and story lines while others team up with writers. As described on The Art Career Project’s Web site, creating a comic book follows a series of steps, starting with the writing of the story script. Once this is done, the artist segments the script into panels, with the dialogue and captions allotted for each individual panel. The artist then draws the story onto paperboard or digitally. They typically use a pencil for the first step, then use ink over the pencil, erasing any extraneous pencil markings. Some artists now use a tablet and stylus to draw electronically and convert their rough drawings to finished "inked" pages. If the comic book is in color, they color the art. Many comic book artists use computer programs such as Adobe Photoshop for the final coloring phase. For some comics, the final art is painted in acrylics or oils. At most comic book publishing companies, these jobs are handled sequentially by different people: comic book penciller, comic book inker, comic book letterer, comic book colorist.