Drawing Warmup 1.11.2KX7

imageI’m doing AM drawing warmups, after resisting them for too long, finally conceding to the wisdom of sweeping the cobwebs before work. This is the singer Mitski, as seen in Teen Vogue. First, a light, volume, and detail study. Then, more stylized, thinking about how I’d design her hair, face, and dress for animation/comics. Last, Teen Titans Go! show style.

(I bought a Teen Vogue sub to support their reporting on #notmypresident, and the December volume also has a page on SAILOR MOON!)
Thanks to Adam Warren for the motivspiration!

On Not Paying Creators

imageI’ve been a comics pro for thirty years now, and watched many companies come and go. A lot of the companies that went had one or both of these things in common: they either didn’t pay their bills, or they insisted that the road to respect was papered with a contract that required a creator give up most or all rights.

I’m writing about this today because of this story: “Billionaire” Trump Can’t Pay His Transition Team’s Salaries.”

Good ol’ Orange Dictator has a habit of not paying for things. He’s ripped off countless small businesses, refused to pay the caterer for one of his weddings, and so on. And he’s about to be president of the United States. (#notmypresident)

If one of the most visible people on the planet is crappy about paying his bills and treating small business owners like vending machines he can shake for a free soda, why would a comics company no one outside of comics has heard of worry about paying a creator or giving them a fair deal? OD’s transition team was well aware of his habit of not paying, they just thought he didn’t dare to not pay them.

Don’t kid yourself that you have the magic or the pull to get paid or get a good deal from a unscrupulous publisher. Don’t assume that yours will be the property a crum-bum executive won’t exploit.

While bad apples in comics aren’t easily identified by having orange skin and flapping yellow hairpiece, your gut should be a reasonable guide. If it sounds to good to be true, it is. If a company keeps going out of business and coming back, there’s trouble. If you find yourself casting about for a “second-best” idea to pitch to a company, you don’t trust them. Run away. Orange skin and bad feelings are how nature says Do Not Touch.

RIP Carrie Fisher, the Best Disney Space Princess

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2016 is the year that said to 1943, “Now you’re really gonna see something.”

I’d be crying about my ideal princess, if I wasn’t so tired, in front of other people, and overwhelmed.

I was called “Princess Lea” in high school, and I owned it. Leia was a badass teenage princess. She dragged Vader, lied like a carpet to Grand Moff Tarkin, blasted her way out of jail, rescued men (the Sulk is Strong with the Skywalker males LUKE, KYLO), and beat bad guys. Then Leia became an admirable general; tough, careworn, kind, and grieving. Leia’s journey, Carrie Fisher’s journey, has see-sawed from young and addled (Carrie Fisher was addled, not Princess Leia) to fierce and wise, and giving no fucks about men bitching that she wasn’t a kid anymore.

Carrie Fisher could write, too, true and funny stories. My best friend Lisa read me all of Wishful Drinking in a marathon phone call because once she started, she couldn’t stop reading it, and I kept asking for another chapter until the last page.

I understand Carrie Fisher’s and the Princess/Admiral life arc so well. Any girl who grew up alongside them does.

A Overpriced at $1 Course on Making Money with Your Art

I’m not going to link to it. I can tell you that it’s a course on how to set up an account on a marketplace where pricing is a race to the bottom. For example, character design with a 3-day turnaround and unlimited revisions for $20-ish.

The course tells you to start low. An artist with an unproven track record, developing skills, and no cachet is going to be waiting a long time if they price themselves like Stephen Silver. But $20 or even $50 or $100 for a character design where all rights are the buyer’s, or $5,000 for a 200-page comic with a cap on how much you can earn from it in royalties, is bull.

You and your art worth more than that. Doing nickel-and-dime jobs hurts your ability to earn a living in the future, and it hurts other creators, too. Ones you admire. Ones who could be future employers and allies.

Take a pass on working cheap. It’s not good business for anyone.