It seemed like a lot of you enjoyed the first part of this mini series, so I’m excited to write part 2: The Artist. In this post I’ll be talking about finding an artist for your project and how to work alongside them in the comic process.
How to Find the Artist
If you’re like me (someone who struggles even with stick figures) you’ll be looking for an artist to work with. This can seem like a daunting task, especially when you’re just starting out and have zero idea about where to begin. When I first started searching, it was for a completely different comic than the one I’m working on now. It’s funny how things work out sometimes. The artist that I currently have (Arika) was someone who’s art style wasn’t what I was picturing for the comic that I was looking for, but it did fit perfectly for another comic I had in mind; Zodiac Life. As it happens, she’s now my main artist and I’m so thankful for having her. We work together well and are on the same page about most everything. Because of that, our comic is a success and we’re now in the planning stages of a new one which will be announced in the coming months. So, how did I find Arika? When you google things on finding an artist or hiring an artist for a project, you’ll usually get things like Fiverr or Indeed or Etsy. In my experience, unless you have a good chunk of budget to work with these usually won’t be the places for you. It was difficult, at the start, to figure out where to go to. I scoured Instagram and the web, even reaching out to a few people until I stumbled onto Tapas.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, Tapas is a webcomic and webnovel site similar to Webtoon and Wattpad. It’s more in the background and not an app I use often; however, they have a forum (something I wish Webtoon had) where you can post about most anything. I had an epiphany (which I’m sure most people just call common sense) and I made an ad looking to hire an artist. I realized that, rather than going on a wild goose chase, I’d let the artist come to me. This worked beautiful and within a few days I had a number of replies to my ad.
Creating an Ad Post
So, you’re on Tapas or some other place where you’ll be posting your “Artist Wanted” ad. What exactly do you write? For starters, you make it clear that it’s a paid position. Let’s cut to the chase and rip the budget bandaid off; no artist is going to want to work with a writer and dedicate hours on hours of their time for a free gig. You might get lucky, but they probably won’t have the art style you’re looking for, or the quality. If you’re fine with that, then go for them, otherwise you’ll need to pay your artist which is why you should have some semblance of an idea about your budget. You don’t have to come right out and say what it is (I didn’t), but knowing what you’re working with will make discussions with future artists go much smoother. It will also make you appear more professional and put together.
Second thing to include in your ad: genre. Be clear about what your project is and the storyline. Don’t go into every nook and cranny of what your plot is, but do be sure that an artist will have a clear understanding of what they’re getting into. Someone who doesn’t enjoy drawing gore or triggering scenes, won’t appreciate applying for a position only to find out that’t what they’re getting into. It’ll be a waste of both theirs and your time. If your comic is going to be rated mature, clarify why it’s mature in your post. Is it because of excessive violence or because of nudity and sexual encounters? While they both mean a labeling of the big M, they fall into very different categories within that rating. Don’t be scared about not finding an artist for your storyline. There’s going to be one out there for your comic, I’m positive.
Third, you’ll want to include a general timeline of your comic. Is this a long-term or short-term project? By long-term, I mean is it going to take more than a year to finish? For the comic I’m currently working on, it’s a long-term/indefinite project since Zodiac Life could be concluded at any time; each episode is its own mini story that comes to a conclusion by the end of the episode. On the other hand, the comic that my artist and I are planning is a long-term since it will take about three years to finish (one season per year for a total of three seasons). You don’t need to know every minute detail of your timeline from the get-go, but having a general idea of it will help you find an artist since not everyone wants to work on a long-term project and vice versa for a short-term project.
Below, you’ll find my old ad for an artist. You’ll see that it’s short and to the point. I didn’t go into every small detail of the project as I covered that when an artist would contact me.
Working with an Artist
After you find your artist you’ll begin working based on both your availability. Arika and I try to have a weekly meeting if our schedules allow. When they don’t we have at least two meetings a month so we can stay on the same page with progress for the comics. On top of this, we also message on Discord throughout the week. Of course, your interactions with your artist may differ. Arika and I live in different timezones (she’s 6 hours ahead of me), so we like to stay on top of things, especially since we’re both still in university. You’ll find your own routine and rhythm once you and your artist begin working together. Communication is key, though, so make sure you tell them everything you want with the comic. Also, be sure to discuss the topic of your budget and each of your schedules so you’ll know when things get done and when to expect a finished episode whether thats one episode a week or two per month, whatever you both decide. For me, Arika and I update Zodiac Life twice a month and we always try to stay at least two episodes ahead in the creation process so that if anything comes up one week we’ll have things to fall back on and won’t be scrounging around to come up with a post.
That about wraps up everything I have on working with an artist. It’s been a lot of fun working on this mini series so far, so I hope you find it helpful. Until the next post!