About a month ago, I got the following e-mail from a reader:
Hi, my name is Ashanti. I just want to say that I love your blog, especially anything tagged the “random things you like.” It is really encouraging to see the person beyond the hair and beauty posts, especially someone with interests like mine (go Korra!!).
I saw that you have connections in the world of Archie, and I have some questions. My sister is deep into DC. She lives and breathes it, knows the back story of nearly ever character, and can wax poetic on the interplay between each one. She has tons of ideas, from merchendise, to plot development, to distribution. I would love to see her turn her interest into a career, but we dont know where to start. Is there any advice that you could give her on how to put her foot in the door? Thanks a lot, and keep posting!! You help my work day go by that much faster :).
Awwwwww!! I was so flattered and so happy to know that other readers share my interest in comics/cartoons and enjoy my related posts! So, I reached out to Archie artist extraordinaire, and one of my good buddies and Sci-Five founding member ;), Fernando Ruiz and asked if he could share any advice to point Ashanti’s sister in the right direction. He replied with a very detailed and helpful list of tips that he said I could share here!! So, if you, your kids, siblings and/or friends have any interest in comics/cartoons as a career, here are some great tips for getting started!!
That was a nice letter.
Here are a couple of suggestions…
1) If she’s interested in art, take a class in it. It’d be great to take a cartooning class, but they aren’t always offered everywhere. A Basic Drawing class or figure drawing class is always a great place to start. It doesn’t have to be anything as intense as the Kubert School. Try an evening class or afternoon workshop just to see where her ability is and if she enjoys it. Classes can be found in lots of places. You don’t need an art school necessarily. Try a local community college, an adult program at the local high school, art associations, community centers or the library.
2) Attend a comic book convention. Go to the DC booth. Talk to the people you’d like to work with and make connections that can help you later. Let them know you’re interested in comics as a profession and they might be able to help you. Conventions are a great place to get a feeling for the business. Try to stick to larger cons. Smaller ones tend to be about dealers, buying, and selling. Comic book companies mostly attend large shows only nowadays. This might require some traveling but there are large shows in many major cities across the US such as Philadelphia, Chicago, Seattle, Orlando, and of course New York and San Diego.
3) I’m not sure where Ashanti and her sister live but they might be interested in coming to one of the Kubert School’s Open Houses. We have them in October and in March. They’re a great opportunity to find out about the business and what it takes to break into the business. It might be a good idea for Ashanti’s sister to see even before finding out what the business is like, to find out what it takes to learn about the business. It’s not about selling her on the school. It’s more for the casual setting and access she’ll get to many of our different instructors.
4) Depending on her sister’s age and location, she might want to consider an internship at a comic book company. Lord knows comic companies love free employees! If she doesn’t mind grueling work for free, it’s a great experience. You really see the day-to-day guts of a comic company and you make great connections.
5) If art is her sister’s thing, she might want to consider one of the Kubert School’s correspondence courses. I know they’re not cheap, but they are very good in terms of instruction and they’re a nice non-committal way of dipping your toe in the water. The courses are available through the school’s website.
6) This might also require some travel, but take a tour of a comic book company. I know Archie has granted tours to fans who have called to ask for one. Naturally, these are usually done through appointment only.
7) Hang out at comic shops. Comic shops are often the buffer between fans and pros. Pros are often fans themselves and like to hang out at comic shops too. They’ll also do appearances and signings at these stores so these are good opportunities for her to meet people and pick their brains.
I hope these ideas help. Feel free to post any or all of my response on your blog.
I’ll talk to you soon!
How awesome is that?!?! Thanks Fern!! You’re the best!!
And, if any of you are interested in checking out more of Fernando’s artwork, you can find it here on his website, www.fernviewart.com, or by picking pick up an Archie Marries Betty/Archie Marries Veronica the next time you’re at the bookstore, comic book store or newsstand:)! Speaking of Archie Marries …, did you know that Archie married Valerie of Josie and the Pussycats too?!?!
Dan Parent drew this limited (for now ;)) Archie Marries series, but Fern hooked me up with signed copies anyway!!
Last but not least, don’t forget to check out Fern’s collaboration project, EPICS, with fellow Kubert School alums Bob Hardin, Anthony Marques and Fabio Redivo!! I already have my digital copy and can’t wait for the launch party next Saturday. It’s bound to be a great time as whenever I hang with the Sci-Five, I laugh until my stomach and cheeks hurt!!