I’m crabby as fuck this morning
Hey, Brian. I'm an aspiring writer, and I have this complex about being a person of color trying to break into comics. I know I'm probably making a bigger deal out of this than I should, but it's kind of disheartening to see gatherings of creators and to notice the lack of color. Am I worrying for nothing? I tend to over analyze things, so this has been bugging me more than it probably should. I apologize in advance if this question is stupid, annoying, or has been asked before.
I am not a person of color but I am the father of a multiracial household and I’m Hypery aware of the world we live in in this regard. but I truly believe that there is nothing standing in your way of making your dreams as a creative person come true. It’s between you and your talent.
truthfully most of us don’t even know what each other looks like. all anybody cares about is the quality of each other’s work.
do not put things in front of you to stop yourself from making your dreams come true. do not. people do this all the time and I truly believe it’s the difference between those who succeed and those who fail.
stop rejecting yourself before the rejection comes. and if rejection comes, and it will, don’t make it about anything but your work.
Bendis has a good point here, with the idea that you shouldn’t put things in front of you and that you need to hone your craft and focus on you.
But for really real, speaking as a black man who has worked in and around comics for a while now: race matters. You’ll have to live with people treating you like their ____ friend. You’ll have to deal with people pulling you aside to show their bonafides or dropping your name as some type of proof they or someone else isn’t racist. You’ll have to deal with rarely being able to call a spade a spade without being painted as angry or sensitive. You’ll have to deal with all the usual stuff you have to deal with as a person of color, but comics is a relatively small world even now, so pushing back a little—”You need to stop talking to me about this”—makes people feel some type of way about you.
I’m real careful who I associate with in comics for these reasons. I don’t like barcon because I know somebody’s gonna say something stupid. I’ve been going to several cons a year since 2007, and I’m not exaggerating when I say I’m batting a thousand when it comes to people saying idiotic or messed up or banal racial stuff to me because I’m The Black Guy. My friends got the same story. I know women that comics boys have said garbage things to, I know professionals who have repeatedly called other folks out of their name and shrugged and smiled about it.
Comics is not a special oasis of no barriers and complete freedom. Comics is American society, and chances are good that you already know how it works.
For me, the trick ended up gathering a comics family that is wild diverse. I didn’t do it intentionally, I’m not trying to catch Pokémon out here, but real recognizes real, and I’ve gravitated to people who aren’t just the current guard in comics. My wolf pack is crucial to keeping me interested in and happy with comics.
None of this is your fault, none of this anything you should have to deal with. But as a person of color, you’re already dealing with it. You’re not overthinking it. You’re not pre-rejecting. You’re protecting yourself. You recognized a problem and you’re looking for ways to deal it. You’re on the right track, and you can beat it. You’ll find a way to beat it. You’ll find your family, and together you’ll steamroll through the nonsense.
and no shots, but it’s never just about the work if you’re anything but a white guy. That’s not how life works. Some people can’t network like white dudes in comics if they’re seen as Other, or an Anomaly, and networking is a big part of how you get gigs.
This David stuff on here.
When ever you draw, do you ever struggle to keep a characters appearance constant. Like the way you draw it and you can ever so slowly see it changing every time you look back on it. Or do you have trouble drawing a character in general? Otherwise I'm not sure whether its the art-style that's interfering when I draw or I'm just going backwards, I was wondering if that's a good thing maybe, because I like to keep my character appearance constant but I can't.
i definitely struggle! have you read any of my comics? my characters change from book to book and even sometimes within the same book, especially if i draw the pages in order. EDIT: sometimes i even deliberately do something inconsistent, like suddenly change a character’s eyes (as many of you will know XD) or i’ll suddenly not like a character’s nose and feel that a different nose would better suit them, and i just say fuck it and i change it. i’d rather have fun and do new stuff than keep doing the same thing just for consistency’s sake if i’m not into it anymore.
i personally think of it as moving forwards, though, not backwards. moving backwards is if the characters stay the same, because then it means you’re stagnating. i do have trouble drawing characters, though, different characters are easier than others but i don’t think it’s supposed to be easy.
i think people are over-obsessed with consistency, personally, i try to have a degree of consistency, of course, obviously i’d never draw a character one way in one panel and then with a deliberately completely different face or hair in the next panel, but overall i think you just need to let it happen and find a place you’re comfortable and satisfied, while accepting that time is a factor.
hi ross i got question what would the shadow babies look like if they could turn human? -<3 sybil
that’s top secret! ;)
Hey Ross, how do you get over illogical fear of failure? Illogical as in I can see my art getting better and there shouldn't be anything to be afraid of, but my brain disagrees.
i’m not sure if you mean artistic failure or career failure, i’m guessing artistic? i have some fears like that, i find that way more scary than career failure (you should see how big my stack of rejected pitches is and my long list of scathing heartbreaking reviews, yet i still keep going back for more). both kinds of failures never get any easier but i find the artistic ones harder to deal with in the long run because it’s more personal.
i’ve had times when i hate everything i do, nothing is good enough, nothing is satisfying, which sounds whiny and entitled considering the amount of success i’ve had as a professional, but that sort of thing can wear on you no matter how financially or critically successful you are.
anyway, i think the answer is try to have fun drawing. that’s what worked for me, at least! a year or two ago i was super unhappy with my work and i wasn’t having much fun doing it anymore, and i kind of wanted to throw my hands up but i didn’t know what else i could do instead. i was overfocused on making things “good,” and it got so bad that i knew i had to change something.
so instead i started trying to make my top priority to have fun instead, which sounds like a no-brainer but it’s hard to break out of those ruts, and it really helped when i did. i still struggle with it but i get better and better, and i’ve had more fun drawing in the past year than i have in a long time. like i said i still struggle with it but i don’t mind as much if i can’t get something right or if a drawing sucks, because i had fun doing it and that’s what sticks with me. if i “fail,” then i failed on my own terms.
i think having art-friends can help, too, or some kind of muse, someone you can bounce off of and they can bounce off of you, you can inspire each other. i realize that’s a hard thing to find, though, and even harder to keep.
hope my rambling helps!! :) good luck!