This was the podcast I was on a few weeks ago with C. Spike Trotman. I’ve been blessed to have a penny-pinching partner so this topic is actually one that I’m quite familiar with. As a comic artist, it’s important to have a very good grasp of your financial situation because 1) if you’re freelancing, that’s of utmost importance and 2) if you’re going to be self-publishing and starting your own business, it becomes even more so.
I make some points about finding your own tribe which is a concept from Seth Godin’s book, Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us.
These are my favorite financial sites that I mentioned and don’t forget to check out Spike’s Poorcraft!
The comics world is a fairly small and enthusiastic environment. I didn’t actually know much about the scene until I started hearing about local and major conventions around the Bay Area. I realized, “Oh wow, anime/manga-loving kids actually get together every year!” Here are a couple of ways you can engage in the community and start developing a platform for your own work in the future.
1. Utilize social media.
Here’s a tip I found has worked for me on Twitter, my favorite social media site. Be a real person. That means don’t just broadcast all your updates to your feed. Talk to people and especially your fellow artists. Follow your creative heroes and have conversations with them. You’ll find a lot of people chatting about industry news, sharing tips and tools, and just hanging out. If you place nice, offer thoughtful comments or questions that spark a good discussion, you’re off to a great start.
2. Attend and/or table at conventions.
You don’t live in a vacuum. And you shouldn’t have to! I’ve attended a few conventions since college and I’ve always had a fun time. I’ve had the opportunity to meet my favorite webcomic artists at SDCC and have tabled next to other aspiring comic artists at Anime Expo. Let me tell you other artists trust you more online when they’ve met you face to face and are assured of that fact that you’re not a psycho. I’ve also met people who have followed my work for quite some time and it’s always nice to keep in touch.
3. Look out for contests and join them.
Final Track was a submission entry for Yen Press’ first Talent Search back in 2011 and The Dark Horse Fan was the winning entry to a short contest held by Dark Horse. Both stories were a challenge on my time, organizational skills and comicking efforts but they pay off because you get your name out there. People start seeing your work and understand you’re someone to watch out for.
Even if you don’t win (as in the case of Final Track where there were no winners), I made friends with my fellow entrants, follow each other on social media and we support each other through the good and bad.
4. Support your favorite artists by buying art, commissions or comics.
I’ve made it a point to support my heroes financially when I can afford to. Since I am not rich and don’t have much space, I’m quite limited in this endeavor but when I can’t throw cash at people, I offer them my time and effort when I retweet, reblog or share their work. People remember good deeds and you build goodwill in the community by doing so.
5. Be nice!
I’ve heard this over and over again from creative people everywhere. The community is small and artists warn each other about people to watch out for. It pays to not be so negative all the time either. We all have bad days but when you’re known as the “artist that____,” you have to consider the association that does for your work.
You are certainly free to be yourself but if you want to be taken seriously as part of the industry, conduct yourself as a professional as much as you can. (I make exceptions for fangirling/fanboying over other artists’ work because there’s just never enough of that to go around! ^_~)
The items listed above are not meant to be a strict laundry list of things you need to do to succeed in the business but they have been especially helpful for me. If you’re shy for example, it can be quite hard to approach other artists at cons for the first time. But believe me, it helps to move out of your comfort zone once in a while and reach out to others. It’s definitely made me feel less alone in my artistic endeavors and it’s provided me a stronger sense of belonging in my own tribe.
This post is part 2 of my blog post series, How to Run a Successful Kickstarter for your Manga.
*dusts off blog*
Happy new year and Happy Valentines, guys! First off, my apologies for the lack of updates since January. Recently, I’ve started getting buried in freelance work which has been good for me and the bills but hasn’t been good for 1)blogging and updates and 2) finishing up the Vol. 1 PDF I’ve been teasing since November. That’s completely my fault but I’m in unfamiliar waters and just learning as I go. I’m the hardest on myself on matters like these but I’m resolved to organize my time better and make room for what’s important. Mainly – you guys! Thanks for your patience!
I generally like blogging and having a voice on the web but lately, it’s felt so much like a “chore I have to do.” It sits on on my To-Do list grumpily uncrossed for weeks and whenever I actually sit down to do it, I distract myself like crazy. So, I’m changing it up a little.
I’m going “Seth Godin” style with short but sincere posts coming to you every week. My hope is to keep up with a consistent schedule and also share moments, thoughts and habits I feel have helped me either become the artist I am now or continue to help me with my work (organization, creativity, productivity, writing, drawing) If you already follow me on tumblr and twitter, there might be some overlaps over what I actually share but I promise I’ll go into some more detail here.
I haven’t forgotten about the Kickstarter series! In fact, that’s my topic for my upcoming Comics Art Forum talk at the Ann Arbor Downtown Library next month. That’s motivation enough for me to work on it so stay tuned!
I’ve already mentioned before how much I appreciated MangaMagazine’s contributions to the growing local manga industry and I thought their site would be another great community to introduce my work to. So, I started uploading comic pages and illustrations a few months earlier and have been updating there consistently.
I’m very happy to announce they have invited me to be a Featured user on their site!Read More»