How To Begin
Entry posted by Thom Revor ·
For those who don't know me, I'm Thom Revor. I'm the writer and co-creator of the webcomics "Crossworlds" and "Murry & Lewy". I've also been a substitute writer, co-writer, editor and publisher for many others.
The first comic I did was when I was 8 years old. A friend and I wrote and drew (well... he drew. As an artist, I make a great mess...) a superhero comic book. I had been reading comics since long before that and still do to this day. I've seen the work of the greats (Otto Binder, Jack Kirby, Will Eisner, Neil Adams, Jim Steranko, John Romita [Sr and Jr.], Peter David, Elliot S! Maggin, Mark Waid, Dennis O'Neil, and so many more that I could fill the server just with their names).
And then, much later in life, I joined their ranks as a legitimate comic creator.
I say this so that you will understand that when I come at passing on some of the lessons I've learned, it comes with a bias. I love comic books. They are an art form unto themselves. They aren't just the written word. They aren't just artwork. They are an amalgamation of both, truly reaching the definition of synergy, where the whole is greater than just the sum of their parts.
Or... at least it should be.
When starting off to do a webcomic, it isn't pencils, inks, colors, or a computer that is the most important thing. It's passion.
In any profession, if you are to become successful, you have to have that passion for what you do. If you are wanting to do a webcomic because you want to get rich or because you think it's an easy way to make money... it's not and I suggest you look elsewhere.
There are some who do make it big, who become famous or make a good chunk of money from them.
But they started off with the same thing that everyone else should. They need to:
- Want to do this and
- Need to do this.
You have to have ideas bursting out of you. Stories that need to be told or characters that need to be seen on the page. Something that drives you from the inside that says "I want to be seen!"
The second thing you should have is dedication.
Bill Holbrook, creator of the webcomic Kevin & Kell (http://www.kevinandkell.com) as well as the King Features syndicated comic strips On the Fastrack and Safe Havens ("syndicated", as in "published in the newspapers") who every day has a schedule time where he goes in and creates his comics. K&K and Fastrack are both published every day.
Let me repeat that... Every day.
That's not to say he doesn't take a vacation or spend time with his family. But he knows this is his livelihood and so during certain times of the day goes in to do his job. He does his strips several weeks in advance and has a buffer built up just in case something unforeseen happens.
And Bill hasn't missed a day of Kevin and Kell during it's entire electronic publishing run -- a publishing run that has been going on since September 3, 1995.
Bill is who I want to be when I grow up.
The third thing you should have is talent.
It pains me to say this, but there are some people who shouldn't be doing comics. In my opinion, they can't write or they can't draw. The passion and dedication may be there, but it's just missing that third crucial component.
That's not to say that if you can't, you don't have a chance in comics.
(Just look at Rob Liefeld or the other Image founders...)
But you do need to take an honest assessment of yourself. It's hard. Really hard. But not everyone is the same and some people just don't have what it takes.
Which leads me to the fourth thing you should have: Confidence.
You have to believe in yourself and what you are doing. I've spoken with so many writers and artists who all say the same thing: "I'm not as good as <that person>. I need to give up."
One of my favorite stories is about a guy who took one of those "Draw This Character" tests inside a matchbook cover. (If you don't know what a matchbook cover is, look it up... This is the Internet after all!) He spent a careful amount of time on it, drew the picture and waited for a response. And he got one... "you'll never be an artist."
It's a good thing that he didn't listen to them. Otherwise, the Army would have missed out on a unique style they used for some of their medical pamphlets.
Oh, yeah. We wouldn't have had Charlie Brown, Snoopy, or the rest of the Peanuts gang, either.
Just because someone else says you can't write or you can't draw, doesn't mean you can't. Practice what you do. Get advice from others. And believe in yourself.
And who knows? Some day you may be telling others how to do something!
Next blog, I'll be getting a little more into the technical portion of comics.
From someone else who was told he'd never amount to anything...
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