Now that I've had a Gin and tonic (or three) I feel its a good time to post a few random bits of wisdom (or hindrances thereto, depending on how you approach "the industry",as it were) I've accumulated from working on and being obsessed with comics... I'll refrain from including any real technical advice (as I'm hardly an authority-technique and skill at writing and drawing are things to be worked at continually in one's own time, not instant solutions gleaned from books or "pros", whoever they may be), Rather, the following are tips for maintaining one's sanity and keeping the process fun, which is kinda what its all about, right? Well, that and mountains of money, adulation, and sexual and/or narcotic favors. Still waiting patiently for mine. Anyway, for what its worth, here we go...
-WORK AT WHAT INTERESTS YOU MOST!
...Throw out any dreams of money or fame (despite my lame introductory joke-see above) If you're thinking about "the bottom line" or what people are gonna want to read, you're gonna produce half-assed work, simple as that. No matter how obscure or perverse your interests are, write about what interests YOU. always. That way, no matter what, YOU'LL like it.
... If your strong suit is in characters, work in a page of mostly interiors or landscapes. It'll help round out your artistic chops, and add variety and believability to your story. Drawing outside of your comfort zone will be a total bitch at first, but stick to it. It gets easier and the results will be much more pleasing.
-TRY NOT TO BE YOUR OWN WORST CRITIC!
... Its fine to look at a page of art or a script and think it could be better, but beating yourself up over weak dialogue or a sketchy line doesn't help anybody. Try to think of your mistakes as hidden intentions (I know, this sounds like Brown Rice hippie bullshit, but it works). If you can turn a weak spot into a plot point, your craft will improve from it.
-DRAW ACTUAL SIZE!
...I drew my first five issues on 8 1/2" x 11" sketchbook paper and published them at the same size. Your mistakes and shortcomings are all there to see, which will force you to tighten up your line. Also, its easier to keep a small sketchbook with you at work, so during downtime you can work on finished comics, In effect getting paid to draw (don't let your boss catch you)--you should be monkeywrenching your day job at any available opportunity anyway, right?...Which brings me to my next point...
...Nothing gets a person more serious about what they're into than actually having to foot the bill for it. Are you talented? Got a great idea that needs to be read? Well, put your money where your mouth is! Publishers arent gonna beat down your door 'cuz you've got a hot-shit portfolio and a bunch of cocktail napkins with great ideas written on 'em in ball point. Its the easiest thing in the world: Fill a sketchbook with comics, number the pages, scrawl out some covers, and find a printshop (or several--shop around for quality and prices. Try to find a shop with a relatively young person running the press that does mainly placemats, take out menus, church newsletters, etc... Chances are, that person will be thrilled to be printing something as cool as a comic book and give your project a lot of attention and care.)
HAVE A DRINK!
...This is an advanced tip (I.E.-It can be an extremely stupid thing to do, in which case, DON'T BLAME ME!) Stories inevitably will have pages that are artistically boring. Characters sitting around, talking, eating, etc. These scenes used properly, however, are extremely necessary to make the interesting stuff (violence, sex, violent sex) have more impact. If you're dreading having to ink a three-page conversation, pencil it all out, put on a good album, drink a beer, open a second, and start inking. Repeat as necessary. Just be careful to stay in the neighborhood of "pleasantly buzzed". Complete drunkenness is NOT conducive to quality inking.
Ok. Thats it for now. I'm going back to the board for a while.