Monday, September 26, 2011

Draw Me a Picture and Maybe I'll Pay You Someday

This is a really interesting entry on SR Bissette's blog, consisting of a response to some requests he has received (at least every other month, he says, and I believe him) by people who  casually ask him to draw their graphic novel.

Here's a sample of the early part of the entry- he gets way more detailed:

Long answer: I am literally asked what you’ve asked me WEEKLY, seeking either me to engage or for me to steer some other cartoonist or CCS student (as if they’ve nothing better to do, like, oh, their own work plus the education they’ve paid for) to a similar task, and have been since about 2006.
What nobody (or precious few) seem to realize:
(1) It takes years to do a good graphic novel; Maus took over a decade to complete, as did From Hell; Howard Cruse’s Stuck Rubber Baby was one of the faster ones at 5+ years, and all required multiple funding sources, grants, and/or multiple publishers to complete. It’s a bear.
Yes, many lesser graphic novels are done in months; most of those show it.
(2) Cartoonists have their own projects they’d dearly love to afford to do, many of those lengthy works.
We rarely get to them due to the eternal question: How do I eat/pay rent/mortgage while dedicating my life to this venture?
(3) Now, taking on adapted and/or collaborative graphic novels, sans a publisher footing the financing, complicates it all multifold. I now have to introduce letter sections into the outline answer:
(a) Who owns it? Co-ownership is sticky: if you are the source author (as in this case), you’re not going to want to give up ownership/proprietary rights; but if I’m not in for 50%, why pick up the pencil?
If we co-own, what’s the split of ownership (just ownership, mind you—we’ll get to payment and royalty sharing shortly)?

I've actually seen this sort of thing all over the place, mostly on Craigslist searches for freelance work. It will usually be somehting along the lines of "I am writing a children's book and need illustrations for 10-12 pages. If I sell to a publisher we can work out a payment deal." So, in other words, he wants a bunch of fully rendered, professional drawings to help him sell his crappy book, for free. This is nothing compared to the time and skill required for a complete graphic novel of any quality, but it reflects the same disregard for professionals in our community. As if creating the art is its own reward and we are just waiting around for the opportunity to have something to draw.

Beyond that, he goes into detail about the kinds of issues that need to be considered before entering into a writer-artist partnership: royalties, ownership, page rate, etc. He doesn't take sides, and defends the writer's rights as well, but explains in great detail, that it is just not as simple as saying "I have an idea- draw it for me?"

Very educational for someone in my position who is looking to get more compelling freelance work, but needs to understand the complexities behind it.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Something to Post

Has it really been a year since my last post? Oops. Well, I got busy... becoming a dad mostly.

Anyway, I have something to post, so I guess I'm back. This is part of a larger project I am working on for Christmas. Kind of liked the way it was coming out so I thought I'd share!