Twitter Tips on living the life of an artist

Archived from the original Blog)

A few nights ago, on twitter, “inspired” by the number of people offering hints and tips on breaking into the industry, I decided to add to the discordant cacophany with a set of ‘unwritten’ hints and tips. Thanks to Mark Kardwell (who had the foresight to cut and paste most of them) here they are for you non-twitterers.

(As an aside, I’m interested in doing a presentation of these tips along with a running commentary, wherein I describe them as ‘true’/’false’ or ‘maybe’…)

Artists Tips
To understand these fully, you have to remember I started posting them at 2:30AM. and if you read no other, read this one: Marry someone rich.

Comic Artist tips (everyone else is doing it, why not me?) Want to know what it’s like to be a pro comic artist with kids? Punch yourself in the balls 4 times a day, sleep 4 hours per night, eat dinner standing up and… that’s it!

Comic Artist Tips:why not make sure you eek out every last minute of your deadline,filling the time with self loathing and fear of rejection

Comic Artist Tips: remember, when asked how fast you are, the answer is ALWAYS “1 page per day”

Comic Artist Tips: that writer you can’t stand? him? yeah? you’ll end up working with him eventually. Bite your lip.

Comic Artist Tips: the ‘zone’ happens at exactly 10 minutes before you hit the sack. Why not fool yourself by working a full 24 hrs…

Pro Artist Tips: A silhouette looks cool AND is quick to draw.

Pro Artist Tips: Make sure you sneak wolverine into every page – that’ll give you a good secondary income when you sell the pages…

Pro Artist Tips: Writers will buy you drinks. Writers will buy anyone but other writers drinks. Remember this. It will save you a FORTUNE.

#ArtistTips if you find yourself attacking the table at awkward angles-like a snooker player on a trick shot-it may be time to lose weight

@simonfraser find a writer you like DRINKING with. A pro can work with ANYONE…

#ArtistTips find a new, unpublished writer, offer to do a three page strip for them, from that day on – you OWN THEM.

#ArtistsTips do work that excites you or you die a little with every compromise. Do work that pays you or you die of starvation.

#ArtistsTips There IS a magic pen that can make you draw just like Adam Hughes/Mignola/[other] – you just have to find it – now get looking!

#ArtistsTips to misquote Kirby: every time you erase a line you lose money! Remember this!

#ArtistsTips Don’t want to draw that panel? why not photocopy an earlier panel and ENLARGE it. Almost no-one will notice.

#ArtistsTips your mother and your girlfriend are NOT good judges of your talent. But your dad probably is. And he hates you.

#ArtistsTips if you’re too embarrassed to draw nekkid girls in case people think you’re a perve – why not make ‘em superheroes!

#ArtistsTips when an editor tells you what’s wrong with your portfolio – why not disagree with them! They can’t tell you how to draw. Idiots.

#ArtistsTips your portfolio case can handle more than 12 pages! Why not pack it full of stuff, an editor is BOUND to like something in there

#ArtistsTips buy some books on anatomy and drawing and leave them on your drawing table. Osmosis isn’t just for plants.

#ArtistsTips instead of drawing, go to twitter and keep hitting refresh – eventually an editor will spontaneously commission you via a DM.

#ArtistsTips when your wife asks what were you doing til 2:30am – tell her you were drawing.

#artiststips you’re right: it IS about WHO you know, unfortunately, though editors know a LOT people who can draw better than you.

#ArtistsTips the only person you can rely on is yourself. And even then you can only be 50% sure of that.

#artiststips spend at least five minutes a day wistfully remembering what sleeping was like.

#artiststips – just as you’ve suspected, once YOU’VE connected to an editor via a social network everyone abandons it, including the editor.

#artiststips – forget the naysayers, Comic Sans is a GREAT font to letter your samples with. Also: DON’T letter your samples.

#artiststips while you spend your weekend drawing that two page spread of 100s of clones vs x-men, just remember-it took 5 minutes to write.

#artiststips thinking of a career in comics? look at your local newsagents. See that? more magazines about Koi Carp than comics. Think FISH.

#artiststips don’t forget – ‘Leave Behind’ is not only a bunch of photocopies to give an editor, but also the odor peculiar to man sweat

#ArtistsTips – if you’re smart you’ll NEVER have to draw feet.

#artiststips Marry someone rich.

Writers Tips
Goaded into doing the equivalent for writers, here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

#writerstips Your first PAID work is actually a gruelling test of stamina that editors call The Gauntlet-run by interns for amusement

#writerstips that first pitch will resemble the final paid work only in so far as the credits will be the same.You will not tell people this

#writerstips remember, BEFORE you break in QUALITY is important, once you get your first gig QUANTITY is important. Don’t mix them up!

#writerstips remember, the more you write, the less you have to edit. And editing is DULL – ask any editor.

#writerstips if the first thing you wanted to get published WASN’T a 100 page opus, stop now: you’re not a writer.

#writerstips start saving now, remember the first rule of write club is that no-one will work with you unless you buy them drinks.
#writerstips get your artist while they’re young and hungry. Literally hungry; don’t feed ‘em unless they’re drawing.

Author: PJ

Belfast based Comic Artist who won’t shut up on twitter.