Artist submissions for the Earthlock comic [CLOSED]

**CLOSED. THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO SUBMITTED. INFO GOES OUT TO YOU ALL THESE COMING DAYS.**

If you follow me on either Twitter or Facebook you’ve probably seen that I’ve mentioned Earthlock now and then. Simply put, it’s a fantastic adventure RPG I’m writing the story for, together with Snow Castle Games in Oslo. We ran a Kickstarter earlier this year and it was a great success. One of the rewards – since I write comics – was an Earthlock comic book. A one-shot, as we call them. Expanding on the universe and exploring the characters more. But we also wanted the comic book to stand on its own adventurous feet. And now the time has come to find an artist for the book.

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We’re looking for you! An experienced artist, you can meet deadlines, collaborate well and also bring some of your own magic to it. We’re looking for a style that fits the atmosphere of the game – a bold and funny adventure with vibes of both Disney and Ghibli Studios. Fun, charming and fantastical are what we’re looking for.

– This is a paid, work-for-hire-gig with a decent budget.
– The comic book will be 32 pages, full-coloured greatness.
– Work begins as soon as possible.
– About 400 backers will receive this gem with their Kickstarter rewards.
– Send your 4 best sequential pages to me, with some info about yourself and what you have published. And your preferred page rate. Send this here with the headline Earthlock Comic.
– Do let me know if you colour or letter your own work.
– Decent English proficiency is a must.
– If there are too many e-mails, I might not be able to reply should you not be the one we’re looking for. So please take a couple of weeks of silence as a kind “thank you but it wasn’t you this time”.
– A lot of info on the game can be found at the website.

If you have any questions, you can comment to this post or send me an email, and I’ll be sure to reply as soon as I can.

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Hope to see your artwork in my inbox!

Creating a noir comic book – part 4

Earlier I have talked about the seeds that turn into an idea, and a concept. I’ve talked about outlining the story, and breaking it down with format and plot in mind. And I also pondered a bit about what noir means to me.

Now, it’s time to talk about scripting. And how to get an artist.

Now, there’s no true right or wrong when it comes to comic book scripts. In screenwriting there are hard and fast format rules to follow, it has an industry standard. Not so in comics. Here every writer’s format and scripting style is usually different. But there are similarities and key points to consider when writing a comic book script. I won’t turn this blogpost into a how-to for newbies, but I’ll say that I find scripts that have a concise format, to-the-point descriptions (not too detailed) and where the writer breaks it all up into easy digestible paragraphs are better than the opposite (the so-called Alan Moore way). Concise, clear and lean mean a lot of “white space” to the page, and – as long as you’re not too sparse with the description – makes it easy for the reader to extract information. Because it’s a blueprint. Used for building a comic book page/story. So the reader, which will be either an editor or an artist, must be given an easy time in terms of info extraction. Finding that balance between too little description (clarity) and too much details takes a few years of practice, and attempts at putting art to your script. Also, the writer/artist relationship in comics is different from pair to pair. Some artists love a lot of details and suggestions from the writer. Some prefer it to be as lean as possible, so they can pull a lot from their own creative brain. But with Spiral, I wrote the script without having an artist already attached. In such situations – which are quite usual – I’d say those years of practice and finding the balance are crucial.

But I’m digressing a bit. Back to Spiral and how the breakdown turned into a script.

With each breakdown note intending to represent a page, let’s look at two pages in the beginning of the script. Note #7 and note #8, which are page 6 and 7 in the script.

On note #7 all the info I have is “Gabe and partner pulls a neo-Nazi over. Ammunition.” Looking back at my outline and the other breakdown notes, I knew this meeting with the neo-Nazi was part of a returning storyline, but all the visuals and dialogue bits were just swirling around in my head. I tend to keep those bits in my head rather than to write them down. Do so at your own peril. I find that if the dialogue exchange or visual element is good enough, your brain will hang on to it. If it’s not good enough, it’ll slip away from memory. Also consider that your second pass at writing the page/panel/dialogue will likely be twice as good as your first attempt. So don’t worry about forgetting or losing anything. The good stuff will surface.

This is what ended up on the page after a a second revision:

page6

Things to note:

– I give a few page layout and camera angle suggestions to the artist. Different artists will take this differently. We’re all different. Some might find it patronizing. Some really helpful. I feel comfortable enough putting them in, because I’m a very visual writer. But when moving a script over to an artist, I always explain that any “art department suggestion” is just that. A suggestion. It’s important that an artist feels like a co-director, and not just a camera man. In comics, there should always be two “directors”.

– I’ve changed the main characters name from Gabe (Gabrielle) to Olivia.

– I’ve merged a previous scene into this page. The morning/wake-up scene. It doesn’t do much, but has two crucial elements: mood/atmosphere, and establishing Troy, Olivia’s husband, so that he doesn’t just suddenly pop up in the story later out of the blue. Also, it makes the transition from the 2nd to the 3rd and 4th panel slightly confusing, and playing on what was said by Olivia on the bed.

– My format, which is a tweaked format from an existing Final Draft template. This image is two pages. Notice I try to leave it as concise as I can, making the page breathe. Which welcomes the artist (or editor) to soak up the information more easily. I also establish the location quickly after the panel numbering. Since in this comic book I jump from scene to scene quite a lot, I found it nice to be able to see that location change right away, before one reads the panel description/action.

I notice one grammar mistake right away, and needless to say, they should be eradicated before the script goes to the next person. And before you put it online in a post that shows your noir comic book creation process.

And note #8, which is page 7, had this information: “The interrogation of Brett.”

Here’s the scripted page, after a few revisions:

page7

This is a very tight page, meaning there are quite a few panels with a lot of information in them, particularly dialogue. Again, a layout suggestion and some visual suggestions (framing inside a panel with the chair’s legs, for instance.) These I things I consider artists usually have a different and better idea about. But as long as you’re up front about it, it doesn’t hurt to offer visual suggestions. Might trigger something in the artist brain that leads to a brilliant choice, which might not have been triggered if you didn’t write down that visual suggestion.

These are just two pages to show how sparsely I plot out the story before going into script. I refrain from writing down dialogue snippets and such until I’ve reached the script stage. Might work for some, it does for me. But it might not work for everyone. I find it saves time, and that marinating things in my brain usually leads to better output than if I jot down too much. Once I jot something down, I tend to be a bit locked by it.

But each to his and her own. Try everything, and find your sweet spot.

So, I finished the first issue script for Spiral and had the outline and breakdown notes for the remaining 3 issues. Typed those up on my laptop so that everything was there for once I needed to start scripting issue 2. The way I see it, once you reach a certain point you can’t be bothered to write too much script on spec. Write enough for the project to be presentable, then focus your energy on getting the project out there. This will work on most projects, but there are a few exceptions where the details in the script are crucial throughout the whole story, where you might have to write everything up as a script before your move on. But with Spiral, I was now ready to find an artist.

The easiest advice I can give if you want to get a good artist with you on a project: offer them something worthwhile and which leads to an emotional bond with the project.

Knowing I couldn’t pay a page rate for the whole project, and that I wasn’t looking at Spiral as a gold mine or my magnum opus that I couldn’t share, this was the ad I posted on a few sites where a lot of artists hang out:

Hi,

I’m looking for an artist for a contemporary crime/noir 4-issue mini-series set in London.

Specifically looking for:
– something that can work as B/W but also with some stylistic and minimalistic colours.
– someone who’s been published, or have good references.
– knows London and its suburbs/architecture, or someone willing to dig into visual research.

I will:
– offer a page rate for the pitch pages + character studies. ($70 per page, more for added colour. Negotiable, of course, so let’s talk about it.)
– pay less than 3 days after completion and delivery of high res files (tiffs or psds). Paypal or direct bank transfer. Willing to discuss some payment up-front.
– split I.P. with artist (and colourist if we need one)
– let all revenue from the 1st issue go straight to artist/colourist.
– split revenue equally on the 3 remaining issues, AFTER set page rate has been recouped by artist/colourist.
– aim this at a specific publisher. (But I also have back-up plans.)

So this is kind of a mix between a back-end collaboration and paid work.

The story is called SPIRAL and feels like Scalped, Daredevil and BBC mixed in a blender. In London. On my blog you can read a few pages of the script.

If you think this might be something for you, hit me up with page samples, your preferred page rate and some info about yourself at templadiaboli (A) gmail.com

Cheers!

Magnus
magnusaspli.wordpress.com
http://www.comixology.com/Magnus-Asp…s-creator/4944

Then, the waiting began. Would I get any replies on such an ad? I’ll let you know next time, and then how to pick the right artist.

Creating a noir comic book – Part 1

I’m in the middle of making a four-part noir comic book aimed at the US/UK market, which I’ve called SPIRAL (as a working title). In this article series, I hope to highlight how I go from idea and concept to outline and story, from outline to breakdown and script, and how to find and work with an artist, and eventually get a publisher to bite and get the book on the shelves.

In part one we’ll take a look at how a concept emerges from that tiny, initial idea.

Sometimes, ideas and concepts I have emerge from a single inspirational element. Be it a photo of an old house. A walk in the mountains. Or the video of a never-before captured squid. The latter became the foundation of the story for my graphic novel THE VESSEL OF TERROR.

The idea to SPIRAL was different. It emerged slowly through observing and reading several things. The seed was planted around Sept/Oct in 2012. At the time there was a lot of buzz online around gay characters in US/UK comics, the lack of female voices – both writers and artists – in comics in general. And the lack of female-driven comic books on the shelves. It was also when I found the time to read a some of Mark Waid and Paulo Rivera’s DAREDEVIL.

These two things became the idea to SPIRAL. A vigilante comic with a female lead. I wanted to do a legacy story, about passing on the mantle. But I also wanted to reverse the expected roles and play with the reader as to whose story it actually was. But I didn’t have the tone down. I couldn’t move into the story. So it kept churning in my head, not putting anything down on paper.

That December, I left London and went back to Norway. Having spent two years in South London, I had absorbed a lot of the atmosphere of not just London, but  the distinct differences of the communities in South London. The class differences, the minorities, the architecture of poor versus rich, working class versus upper class – and everyone between. The tiny details.

Back in Norway, I (finally) started reading Jason Aaron and  R.M. Guéra’s SCALPED. A noir story set on a Native American reservoir with crooked FBI agents and crime lords with spirit animals. About characters who are struggling with their roots, and can only move on if they face their past mistakes. A comic book series I cannot recommend enough.

When all these things had marinated for a while, the tone, genre and characters of SPIRAL came to life so strongly I could start putting things to paper. I had enough to start.

I always let ideas marinate inside the skull for quite a while. Several days. A week. Sometimes months. I’m not suggesting that you don’t write down your ideas in your idea archive. But for me, if the idea is strong enough, it will stay in the back of my mind, and I will not lose it. With the limited time I have these days, I never start exploring an idea/concept on paper before I’m positive it’s a strong idea. Then I’ll know if it’s something to dedicate time to.

Tip: Let things marinate. Explore your idea in your mind long enough to make sure it’s the right one to explore further. Discuss with like-minded peers. Watch and read stuff which might be close to your idea to see how your concept might fit into that landscape.

I’ll try not to make these posts too long-winded, so that’s it for now.

Next time, let’s look at how best to get the story down on paper.