Monday, 30 January 2012

HOW TO GET STARTED IN COMICS AND LAST THE COURSE...



The answer is simple. Be good at what you do. Try and be at least as good as the very best, or even better if you can be. And don't be deterred when those who aren't very good at what they do seem to get the breaks and you don't. That sometimes happens when editors who aren't very good at what they do (and there's a lot of them) try and be different for the sake of it, or simply act out of expediency or desperation.

And if or when you do get the breaks, don't ever think that you can't or don't need to be better than you are. There's always someone behind you looking to take your place. And remember...even if you've got a lot of talent, you also often need a lot of luck. This might not seem fair, especially as those with little (or no) talent who got there before you only seem to have required a little luck, but that's sometimes the way the cookie crumbles.

Finally, whatever you do, when you see some talentless hack get his work published, don't be tempted to think that if he can get by with drawing badly rendered, incomprehensible, splodgy, childish scribbles, that you can too. Never take the easy route, even if it seems to be what's in vogue at the time. Tastes change, but talent is forever. So, work at being talented, not popular. That'll take care of itself.

And if you do make it, don't forget that you're in a minority niche market in which the majority of the population have little interest, so don't become a smug, arrogant prat towards those outside of your little 'club'. Remember that some people may have higher and more lucrative aspirations. (And may well have achieved them for all you know.)  

Now there's some truly smart advice.

17 comments:

Jamie Smart said...

Hi Kid!
It's nice you care so much to get annoyed by everything I say (could just ignore me if you don't like me, but hey). For the record I wasn't being arrogant, I was saying that artists need to develop a thick skin when showing their work to the world, because sometimes they can come under fire from vindictive critics.
In none of my blogs have I ever named people, nor personally attacked anyone, because I don't think it's particularly tasteful to do so (also, my points are usually general and applicable to a handful of people I may have in mind). While your blog was delightfully ambiguous, it's also pretty unsubtle as to who you're referring to and the piece in question. Let's not be silly and pretend otherwise.
It would be nice instead of being so angry about my work, you could concede that maybe I get the jobs I do because some people enjoy what I do, and if that's the case, then maybe there is something appealing in it. Not just that it is a style in vogue, I've been doing this 13 years and built up a strong audience in that time, and I'm very proud of that. If what I did was a fad, I can assure you I wouldn't have lasted more than a couple of years.
So I guess what I'm saying is leave myself and others to carry on doing what we do, and entertaining those who enjoy it. We'll obviously never see eye to eye, you and I, but we can at least respect each other's difference of opinion from afar.
Well done on achieving your aspirations. It's all any of us can hope for.
Jamie
ps. don't worry, not waging into a big argument here, this'll be my only comment.

Mr Straightman said...

"If you want to draw comics well, you need an intelligence behind you, a certain level of awareness" ...Oh my fucking sides! *splutters*

Kid said...

Well, I've read Mr. Smart's remarks and am duty-bound to say that they seem pretty arrogant to me. So it's all about him is it?

I've made it clear in the past that, along with a substantial contingent of former readers of The Dandy (as well as quite a number of more vocal objectors), I don't much care for the style he utilises in the comic. However, I've also clearly stated that some of the stuff on his blog has an undeniable charm. I even gave one of his covers a fairly positive review on one of my recent posts.

So I find these embarrassing outbursts of his where he insists on behaving like some crucified martyr to be extremely revealing. They seem to suggest an over-developed 'victim mentality' of someone who takes himself far too seriously.

I can assure him that it was not his art which inspired my latest post, but rather the kind of attitude where thinly-disguised vitriol is hurled indiscriminately at anyone and everyone who is far too stupid to recognise the artistic genius of those whose style comes in for less-than-favourable comment from time to time.

Again, on the question of arrogance, it comes across as pretty arrogant to me to continually dish out advice to others that one is not prepared to follow oneself. (And this isn't the first time Mr Smart has done so.) Did he get annoyed by something I said? Seems to me he could just have ignored me - but hey!

And for the record: His is not the only 'style' in The Dandy which I dislike - but at least the artists involved don't indulge in taking petulant pot-shots at their critics in self-serving, self-deluding blog rants.

Kid said...

I notice that one of my inevitable detractors is having a snide bitch about me somewhere else and unintentionally proving my point. (I'll forego the childish text-speak ending.)

Kid said...

Looking at the 'traffic sources' feature of my blog, I noticed I had been visited from a certain person's twitter site, so I took a look. You know they've lost the argument (if not the plot) when:

A) They misrepresent what you actually said: "Wrote a blog last week about ignoring critics, one vocal critic took it personally and calls me a pisspot (roughly)". A perfect example of not following one's own advice if ever I saw it.

And:

B) Opens the topic to his followers in order to get the reassurance he so desperately needs but so often claims not to, in the hope that they will spring to his defence. (They're busy holding his hand at the moment and telling him how wonderful he is.) Last time they went on the attack, they assailed me with such rigorously-reasoned argument and carefully-considered comment as: "Cancer's too good for you!" and "You've only ever f****d your mum!" I say his 'followers', but bear in mind that he's his own biggest fan and draw your conclusions from that.

He seems a bit desperate to me.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kid
Have you put any comics online that I could read?
E

Kid said...

Yup.

Anonymous said...

Can you add a link?

E

Kid said...

I'm not sure how to do internal links, I'm afraid, but there's a Tharg's Future Shocks I wrote for 2000 AD, A Desperate Dan strip I drew (not for publication), a Kevin & His Talking Socks strip. and numerous other examples of my artwork throughout the blog. You'll find them if you're genuinely interested.

Incidentally, you've telegraphed your upcoming 'punchline' by a mile. Happy hunting.

Anonymous said...

Cool. I'll take a look.

I tried writing a Future Shock a while ago but couldn't get the twist ending working well enough.

E

Kid said...

Unfortunately, the 'twist-ending' in my little 2-pager was also telegraphed by a mile.

Mr Straightman said...

Just for once, it would be really quite nice if young Jamie could possibly write just ONE blog entry that isn't in his default one-size-fits-all BBC3 bold-type 'zany comedy' mode.
I'm sorry, but phrases like "you better believe the HECK out of what you’re doing", "you rescued an old man in a motorised wheelchair from a river for your Duke Of Edinburgh Award", "what was that like in the 20s or something?", "big wobbly bags of ego", "I could weep while punching myself in the bum" and "ROLL DOWN THE ROAD IN YOUR MATTRESS COCOON AND SHOW THEM WHAT YOU GOT" just make me wince. They're the blogging equivalent of snagging your fingernails on a nylon bedsheet, even worse when accompanied by a 'random' drawing of someone riding a giant bouncing hot dog.

Kid said...

That doesn't bother me as much as his barely concealed contempt for anyone who isn't a fan of his art. For someone who claims not to care, his 'one-size fits all' references to those he perceives as his 'arch-enemies' as if they're something he'd scrape off his shoe can be extremely tedious at times. Persecution complex or what? ("Slither left", anyone?)

Mr Straightman said...

By the way, I like the illustration at the top of this article. Very MAD magazine / Al Jaffee.

Kid said...

D'you know, I was wondering why it looked so familiar to me when I'd drawn it, although I wasn't copying it, nor did I have any artist's style in mind when I produced it.

However, now that you mention it, I can see a hint of Al Jaffee's style in the guy's face.

Now wouldn't it be something if Al Jaffee drew for DCT? That'd be one in the eye for some of the current second-stringers.

Mr Straightman said...

Ever seen the MAD paperback 'Al Jaffee Draws A Crowd'? Well worth tracking down if you can find it anywhere.
http://www.collectmad.com/collectibles/pbacks/ajdcrs.jpg

Kid said...

I'll look out for it. I have a few Mad paperbacks and magazines, plus the odd book or two in a cupboard somewhere. I must dig them out for a look-through when I get the chance.