Wednesday, 13 February 2013

How to Make Awesome Comics ... for a Living!

Every day at The Phoenix we receive HEAPS of amazing fan art; scribbles of your favourite characters, bizarre made-up monsters and ENTIRE comic strips. There are clearly a lot of talented fans out there, but what about actually making comics as a job? If you’ve been inspired by The Phoenix and want to know more then look no further, because two of our super-talented contributors – Neill Cameron and Paul Duffield - have agreed to share their top tips….

Neill Cameron: Born in Oxford. Started drawing robots and dinosaurs. Did some other stuff for a bit. Decided that drawing robots and dinosaurs was way more fun, so went back to that. Currently Neill appears in The Phoenix where he is a close personal friend of Professor Panels and co-writes the brilliant Pirates of Pangaea with Daniel Hartwell. Neill also holds degrees in Philosophy, Information Technology, Paleontology, Robotics and Advanced Awesomeology. (NOTE: NOT ALL OF THESE ARE TRUE).

Neill: "When I was at school the teacher asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up and I said "draw comics about robots and dinosaurs". She said "No, as a REAL Job." HA.
If you want to draw comics the best thing you can do is to DRAW: all the time, as much as possible, and all kinds of different things. Draw from life, draw real people, draw crazy made-up monsters. Try drawing photos you see in magazines.

The OTHER best thing you can do is to READ: read lots of comics, read lots of books. Read fiction, read non-fiction, read comedy, read newspapers, read magazines, read people's twitter feeds, read the backs of cereal boxes. It all goes into the Big Soup Of Awesomeness that is your head, and all helps you come up with amazing ideas for comics."

A panel from the current Pirates of Pangaea

Paul Duffield: Comicker, illustrator and animator working in Oxford, UK. Paul has worked with a diverse range of clients (including The BBC, Dark, Horse and SelfMadeHero) and his work has received a number of awards including to Eagle Awards for Freakangels. Currently Paul explains the mysteries of the universe in the brilliant Star Born only in The Phoenix.

Paul: "If you want to draw professionally, there are a few pieces of advice you hear a lot - "draw every day" and "make sure you love drawing". They're very useful pieces of advice, but they're only part of the big picture!

The best way to think about drawing is "perfect practice makes perfect" - so whilst you're drawing, learn about drawing too! Challenge yourself, deliberately try things you find hard. You can teach yourself some of the basics with Professor Panels and Art monkey in The Phoenix, but there all sorts of books about drawing and cartooning that can help with the more advanced stuff if you're really serious about it.

Drawing pictures can be really fun, and it's easy to imagine that drawing as a career would be just as fun! In many ways it is, but there is a lot of work involved too! Occasionally you're going to have to draw when you'd rather be doing something else, so see it as a challenge and don't give up. It's worth all that effort when you finally see your finished comic published in a magazine like The Phoenix!"

A sneak peek of what you can expect in the upcoming Star Born.

Fantastic advice! We hope you found it useful. And remember, keep sending your comics to - practice makes perfect!

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