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"Interesting article about Indie Comic Writers.", 3rd Aug 2018, 8:03 PM #1
BeautifulRoses

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"What comic book artists should know about the writers they work with".

https://kisforkomics.com/2015/04/08/what-comic-book-artists-need-to-know-about-the-writers-they-work-with/

The ultimate problem he's running up against is the fact that most comic artists don't need a separate writer. It's not clear that specialization leads to a superior product. The advantage of the extra time a pure comic book writer theoretically has over a artist/writer hybrid is potentially neutralized by the fact that the pure writer has to outsource the final expression of their idea, so has to work a second job to pay the artist and has to spend time communicating waiting and compromising. He admits that himself.

The argument that often comes up is that since we can write more scripts than artists, our time is less important. But that doesn’t account for the fact that we still have to work full-time jobs because we can’t support ourselves on comic book work the way artists do. Even at the professional level.

I’ve actually taken on extra work on top of my full-time work load so that I could have the funds to pay artists. I got so overworked trying to pay for my comics that I didn’t even have time left over to actually write them




But when he says stuff like this:

When artists set their rates, they determine their own value by considering factors like experience, education and so on. Writers deserve to be treated the same.


I wish that were so. If it was so, then specializing as an indie comic book writer would make sense. You'd get an advance, so you actually get more writing time. But now it doesn't make sense, as he himself admits:

We don’t leave conventions with profit— we just hope we offset enough of our losses to stay in the game for another year.

we’re able to squeeze by living paycheck to paycheck all so that I can do this stupid, insane, almost reckless thing with my life.


He's just running on pure passion. And I have alot of sympathy and respect for that. But one has to be realistic. Which this isn't :

If you’re working on an indie writer’s work then you need to realize that doing so makes you an indie artist. If indie writers don’t get paid until a sale is made or a book is picked up or a Kickstarter goal is realized, then why should indie artists expect the same?
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3rd Aug 2018, 8:29 PM #2
ooel

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The industry as a whole is falling down and I think with it so are industry writers because, like he said the writing is not as self evident as a piece of artwork. So I think we're reaching a point where as comic artists are becoming more independent of industry, writers who are dependent on the industry to put them to work are now scratching for a job. There will always be more people who don't draw than those who do, and therefore there will always be a surplus of writers who need an artist to illustrate their work.

I don't think it's right to say it's because artists can all do their writing themselves. It's very clear that there are many artists who are not good at crafting a narrative. It's a different set of skills that take time and effort to be cultivated. I will say however, that it's not essential for an artist lacking writing skills to work with writer- But when you consider that comics are a form of storytelling and not just pretty pictures, your writing skills will make or break your work.
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3rd Aug 2018, 8:34 PM #3
BeautifulRoses

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That only holds true if the writer actually has time to write.

but he says himself:


I’ve actually taken on extra work on top of my full-time work load so that I could have the funds to pay artists. I got so overworked trying to pay for my comics that I didn’t even have time left over to actually write them


I'm not so sure he is writing any more than an artist/ writer hybrid.
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4th Aug 2018, 1:24 AM #4
keiiii

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That entire section containing this...

Let’s just call a spade a spade—what’s happening now is basically the poor robbing the poor.

The reason artists get so mad when writers don’t want to pay up is because too many of them are relying on us to help them pay their bills. Writers do not have the same kind of money as comic book publishers and do we really want to create a system where only the people who can afford to stay in the game are able to make their voices heard?

If you’re working on an indie writer’s work then you need to realize that doing so makes you an indie artist. If indie writers don’t get paid until a sale is made or a book is picked up or a Kickstarter goal is realized, then why should indie artists expect the same?

Comic book writers take financial risks for their art and for their careers. Is it really asking that much for artists to help shoulder some of that risk every now and then?


...seems to stem from a fundamental misunderstanding.

The brainparent of a project must pay up. If I want to hire a writer to help me fix MY story (so like, an editor), I'm the one who has to pay up. I'm the brainparent. I'm the one who really, really wants the project to come to life. Doesn't matter that the project is indie.

Hell, artists pay other artists all the time, most common example being a flatter. We don't go "this is an indie project. I'm an artist and I don't pay myself. So why should my flatter get paid?"

ETA: sounds to me like he's writing expectations about a true teammate, a business partner, rather than a hired hand. A true teammate situation can and does happen, but such a person is going to be FAR more difficult to find -- especially one who actually sticks around! The fact is, hired hands are the norm, so that's what one should expect IMO.
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4th Aug 2018, 1:32 AM #5
Toondoctor

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This silly artist versus writer debate has popped up again. His article was written years ago but it's the same story. He writes that artists and writers should not be pitted against one another but he does exactly that when he argues (even if he won't admit it) that artists should just abide by the rules and conditions set for writers or else.

Its insulting that he says that artists should not be paid for their work because he is not getting paid as a writer. This is not true. Writers in his caliber are not getting paid. Writers at other levels get cash advances. Writers in book publishing get advances. Writers in film get paid. But comics don't have the kind of capitalization to offer most advances to most writers.

He tries to shame artists for asking to be paid for their work by telling them that they are "stealing" money from others. This is not the way to attract a partner. You do not call your potential partners crooks in their face and then shame them to work for you.

He also assumes that all writers are as poor or destitute as he is. Broad unsubstantiated generalization. Artists cannot work on several projects at once. Drawing is also physically demanding and requires costly equipment and tools. Writers can write on a sheet of paper with a lead pencil. One line of a scrip can take hours for an artist to visualize. You cannot say that they are the same.

That blog post was painful to read. I would not work for this man.
4th Aug 2018, 1:51 AM #6
MK_Wizard

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I have to agree with Toondoctor. This guy really dropped the ball. While I agree that writing and art are two different practices, many people can be both and in terms of pay, artists are not stealing work from anyone by drawing the art. They are contributing with their work. And like Toondoctor says, it is not easy to put something on paper with drawing. It takes a while and a lot of heavy duty commitment.
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4th Aug 2018, 1:54 AM #7
SinisterRabbit

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I'll never understand why these types of "writers" don't just straight up go the novel writing route first before comics.

Gain some audience by self publishing their magnum opus first then they have an audience ready to fund their Kickstarter to pay the artists if they like the story enough or if they are lucky, they might get an artist who was a fan of their work and willing to collaborate with them at no charge.

There are quite a few places where writers can self publish their stories and even make some ad revenue from it too.
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4th Aug 2018, 1:56 AM #8
MK_Wizard

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I don't think that even a fan would be willing to collaborate without getting paid to do a project like that.
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4th Aug 2018, 2:00 AM #9
SinisterRabbit

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That's why I said "if they are lucky" but they still won't get a professional that will be willing to do it for free.

But I still think going into the novel self publish route to gain an audience to eventually move into crowdfunding to pay the artists is the better idea than begging artists to collaborate with them for free.
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4th Aug 2018, 2:09 AM #10
LeRenardRoux
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When you collaborate with an artist for free, you’re entirely at their mercy. If the artist doesn’t have time to work on your project, it’s incredibly frustrating but there’s nothing you can do. They don’t owe you anything.

It gets to the point sometimes where I wait for so long for an artist to be able to work on my script that I have time to completely rewrite it before they get to it. Because by that point the script is two years old and is no longer an accurate representation of what I can do.

It took an artist so long to get around to doing me a huge favor that I was actually able to create a better product for them to work with. The inhumanity.
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4th Aug 2018, 2:21 AM #11
Bear

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Hmmmm.... If you can't draw, get an artist ; if you can't write, get a writer - but many of us here can do both, fairly reasonably, so we end up with exactly what we want...

"Bullshit !", shouts the voice in my head - yeah, you now the one - "...when have you ever been 100% happy with your stuff !?"
Well there WAS that page....and some of those panels on...

B-)

Yeah, I LOVE to do both. Unfortunately, the almost subliminal output of stories from the grey stuff is nowhere near matched by the ability of my sweaty mitts and the mouse they hold, nor the muse that runs them, to keep up .

So I would actually love to have artists illustrate some of my head scripts, but I can't find any, nor could I afford to pay them . Maybe if I was Neil Gaiman or Alan Moore....
The writing is an amorphous thing, in comics - if you're REALLY good at story-telling, write and publish a novel or two, or get a movie script accepted...maybe then you can afford artists for your other stuff, without begrudging their pay rates !

B-)
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4th Aug 2018, 5:43 AM #12
The Letter M
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If I want to make a comic I make one...If I wanted to make a comic and could not do it without help I know I'd have to pay the person helping me.

That is very simple.
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4th Aug 2018, 6:00 AM #13
bmac85

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"The brainparent of the project must pay up" is dead absolutely spot on. If you create it, pay someone for their help or do it yourself. I can barely afford life, so I'm drawing a comic. I tried to write it as a novel at one point and it just didn't work that way (I didn't think), so here I am.

That's also a two-way street, but I somehow feel like an artist who has an idea for a comic (especially a webcomic) probably has the writing thing taken care of (or so they think).
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4th Aug 2018, 6:41 AM #14
DrewSpence

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The hardest part to understand is how he used the band analogy and considered himself PART of the BAND, when he would still be the writer of the songs.
A writer IS NOT a PERFORMER. A writer is the writer --> still..

A con is an appearance and/or a live show (if someone is sitting there, sketching away)
You're either there to meet a band member in person (the artist/lead singer) or see them do something. No one goes to a con to see the guy who "wrote the songs". That guy steps out after the fact or is wearing another hat besides that.

It's too much that he considers himself part of the band.
The job titles and responsibilities don't need analogies. They all have a one to one correlations.

The art director is a music producer. If you are doing story boards and working out composition for the artists.......
If you're setting up cons, you're a promoter....
If it's YOUR project and the artist is a hired thing, the artist is a SESSION PLAYER, not part of any band.

---------------
This is all pretty easy to figure out once you consider...
If the "band" splits up, who gets to keep the name?

That's the person running things.
That's the person shouldering the burden.
Taking the most risk.
Handling the upfront finances -
and has THE MOST TO GAIN if it takes off.
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4th Aug 2018, 7:39 AM #15
Theta Sigma
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As someone who has paid for the art in my comic, I can understand his frustration to a certain extent. However, I feel he attacks the artists far too frequently, despite his claims to the contrary! Frankly, unless you and the artist are equally passionate about a project, you should not be expecting them to do anything for free, I think that applies to any profession or industry, and it's quite fair considering how much more work they have to put in. I also feel that artists do deserve more money than the writers for the same reason. Ultimately though, the writer always seems to get the most recognition if a book ends up being successful, because a lot of people don't seem to realise just how much the artwork contributes to the tone and appeal of a comic, something I've always personally found incredibly unfair. It's pretty bizarre that this guy is supposedly trying to encourage writers and artists to work together, despite seemingly going out of his way to undermine artists, and make writers look like a bunch of angry ingrates.

Also, that Spider-Man reference at the end was just... eww...
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4th Aug 2018, 9:16 AM #16
DrewSpence

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I also feel that artists do deserve more money than the writers for the same reason.

More money from who?
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4th Aug 2018, 9:32 AM #17
Theta Sigma
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Whoever's paying, assuming there is pay at all. For the same reason, I probably wouldn't charge as much to write a comic for someone as an artist would to illustrate a comic.
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4th Aug 2018, 9:43 AM #18
DrewSpence

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So if you had a publishing company or owned a property and were to hire both an artist and writer, you'd pay the artist more than the writer because you feel/believe/consider/estimate a bunch of things about the value of an artist compared to a writer.

I think if you hang around artists, they believe they are the anchor....
If you hang around writers, they feel they are the more important end....

All the arguments for why one is heavier than the other fall apart pretty easily.
Let the wars continue. lol
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4th Aug 2018, 9:48 AM #19
Theta Sigma
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It's just my honest opinion that doing the art is a harder job that takes up far more time. As a writer, I don't feel I am more or less important than the artists really, but I recognise that I have a much easier time with my scripting, even if it can be stressful in itself.
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4th Aug 2018, 9:49 AM #20
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Artists get paid and writers don't because there are far more writers than artists. Writers need artists, but artists don't need them.
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