Quick sketch of Dora from my book Suicide Sisters
Done in Sketchbook Pro.
Anonymous asked: In your opinion, does a writer have to be 'in print' on actual paper, and have an editor, in order to be considered a 'professional'? I was reliably informed by someone close to me who shall get a slap when I next see them, that having five e-books with five star reviews and receiving regular royalties means that I'm still not a 'professional' because I self publish. Thoughts on this lesson in author snobbery?
This caused me more thought than I thought it would. My initial urge was just to go “Of course you are. People should grow the fuck up.” but then I got thinking about it hard and tried to work out where the line actually was.
Because I didn’t consider myself a professional when I made my zines and sold them, for example. The moment when I first felt able to use the phrase pro-comics-writer was when I sold my first script to a company.
(Same with my journalism. The idea that someone would be willing to pay me to do something was very important to me, for all sorts of reasons to do with my background. If someone’s willing to pay you to do it for them, like a proper job, it’s a proper job, and you’re professional.)
Of course, I’m also aware this is all kinds of bullshit mixed in there, and this is coloured by someone who first wrote professionally in 1995 for magazines, and had his first pro comic work in… 2002? 2003? These are long ago, before it was possible to self-publish in the exact way you do now.Things change. Context changes.
(Self-publishing in comics is also different thing - there’s never been a scarlet letter there, and some of the greatest works in the medium have been self-published ones, for the simple reason that the publishers wouldn’t publish anything like that so the only reason the work got out there was people choose to do it themselves. We still have that lineage here.)
I suppose the real question is why that person feels the need to police the phrase “professional” like they are doing? And, to flip it around, when we live in the world we do, why you feel the need to use the label “professional” about yourself?
Now, as I say above, I felt the latter urge myself (though never the former), but the “Why” is still interesting? What does “professional” even matter? I suspect it’s partially to do with our impostor syndrome. Having a label to apply to yourself can make yourself feel a little more secure in yourself.
(I mean this as a purely natural thing, btw. Writers tend to be insecure. Well, people tend to be insecure, but writers are just louder about it.)
Which, I guess, leads to me thinking that it’s just a distraction. Professional doesn’t matter at all. The question is whether someone in writing is good or not. I’d rather be a good amateur writer than a shitty professional writer. Only the work matters, and we shouldn’t get distracted from that intellectually.
Of course, someone invested enough in making someone else feel bad by saying they’re not a professional can go fuck themselves.
That was a ramble. I may be dodging clearing up T-shirts off the bedroom floor.
Those of you using iPads/Phones/Tablets to draw on/sketch with? Don’t sleep on the new Wacom Creative Stylus 2. It’s a game changer for mobile sketching.
Anonymous asked: You went to college right? Have you got any advice for someone about to start?
I did go to college. I even graduated. With honors no less. Still ended up working in lower wage jobs for about forever up to even now.
Make sure you don’t graduate with student loans or debt in general. Don’t get a credit card. Try and do as many internships as you can in the fields in which you are interested.
The only thing I got right about college was it didn’t really cost me anything, and I didn’t have any student loans or anything I had to pay back.
In the current economy a college degree in and of itself, is not going to get your foot in the door for most jobs. Most jobs will want experience more than they want a degree per se, though they will use a degree to set your pay grade if you DO have experience.
But yeah. Don’t put yourself in a hole coming out of college, and the most important aspect of college in terms of utilizing it isn’t per se the classes, but the connections and internship opportunities. If you don’t work those, you might as well just skip college and just read a lot.
I don’t know what your field of study is either. Mine was English. So I may have a more dim view of the qualities of it. I think I got things out of college, but nothing that helped me immediately once I was out in getting anything like a decent job associated at all with anything.
I do use a lot of the critical skills I learned there in my professional writing career now. And I basically gorged myself on books, movies, and music while in college—and that has certainly given me a base artistically.
But yeah. That’s all I got.
I went to college to learn how to work, not how to draw. I don’t have a “degree” to show for it, as I went to the Kubert school and that’s a technical certificate. i spent 3 years learning how to work and how to structure myself to be capable of it once in the “real world” and then, when I was done, I made things and got them published and never looked back. (if I sound like It was easy after school, believe me, it wasn’t an easy thing to do. there were and will be really tough and hard times, but I got where I am on my terms, and learned/am learning from my choices).
no one in comics (or art/writing/animation in general, as far as I’ve seen) gives a fuck about a degree. only parents and corporate people that can’t tell the difference between a stick figure and a mucha care about degrees. I’ve seen people with masters degrees who don’t understand composition, perspective, and basic anatomy, and I’ve seen people who’ve never had any formal training do work at the level of the greats. the ability to accumulate debt is not a measure of ones ability to complete a task at a competent level.
so yeah. do the work to get the work. if you think a degree/school will get you where you want to be? do it. if somewhere you want to work turns you down for lack of a meaningless piece of paper and a massive amount of debt, do you really want to be there?