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Cartooning & Comic Art

Art Licensing: Free Teleclass and Member Discount on Webinars

Posted by Rebecca Blake on April 30, 2014

J'net Smith headshotJ'net Smith of All Art Licensing has announced her Summer/Fall schedule of licensing webinars and teleclasses, and is offering a mix of free and discounted events. Her “Ask J'net” free teleclasses are open to anyone, and are a live phone event in which participants can submit their questions on any aspect of art licensing. Upcoming “Ask J’net” teleclasses are scheduled for May 14 and July 16. Smith has also extended to Guild members a deep discount on her licensing webinars. Her next scheduled webinar is “Character Licensing,” taking place on May 21 from noon to 2 p.m. PDT. The discount code for this webinar can be accessed by logging into Member Central on the top right of our website, and visiting the Professional Discounts page.

The summer schedule of All Art Licensing events is:

Ask J’net Q&A free teleclass
Wednesday, May 14th, 12 noon – 1 p.m. PDT

Character Licensing
Wednesday, May 21st, 12 noon – 2 p.m. PDT

Sales & Trade Show Follow Through Techniques that Close the Deal
Wednesday, June 25th, 12 noon – 2  p.m. PDT

Ask J’net Q&A free teleclass
Wednesday, July 16th, 12 noon – 1 p.m. PDT

Designing Product Lines that Manufacturers Want
Wednesday, July 30th, 12 noon – 2 p.m.PDT

Getting the Million Dollar Deal
Wednesday, August 13th, 12 noon – 2 p.m. PDT
 

Will the Real Superheroes Please Stand Up: Fanboys and Sexual Harassment

Posted by Rebecca Blake on April 21, 2014

ComicsAlliance logoComicsAlliance senior editor Andy Khouri was horrified at the extent of the vitriol directed at his colleague and ComicsAlliance contributor, Janelle Asselin. His article, “Fake Geek Guys: A Message to Men About Sexual Harassment,” is directed at both trolls who indulge in anonymous threats of sexual violence against the women with whom they disagree, and the majority of male fans who would never contemplate engaging in such behaviour.

Asselin’s recent ordeal began when she strongly criticized the cover art of DC Comics’ Teen Titans. Among issues with perspective and composite, Asselin pointed out that the gravity-defying enormity of Wonder Girl’s breasts was both a physical impossibility and highly inappropriate on a 16-year-old character. This resulted in a backlash of criticism directed at Asselin that escalated to cracks over her credentials and legitimacy as a comic art critic which seemed to be fueled by her gender, and not her well-documented experience within the industry. The furor escalated to the point that Asselin began receiving virulent threats on an online survey she was running on sexual harassment in the comic book industry. As reported by Khouri, one male respondent wrote: “Women in comics are the deviation, the invading body, the cancer. We are the cure, the norm, the natural order… In the end all you are is a pathetic little girl trying to effect change and failing to make a dent.”

Khouri was also inspired to write his article after hearing a panel discussion on sexual harassment in comics fandom while at Seattle’s Emerald City Comicon. The women presenting at the panel – Asselin, along with ComicsAlliance Editor-in-Chief Laura Hudson and contributor Rachel Edidin – made the point that the sexual harassment was not their problem to solve, but that of men.

Khouri takes the point to heart when he writes:

“Sexual harassment isn’t an occupational hazard. It’s not a glitch in the complex matrix of modern life. It’s not something that just ‘happens.’ It’s something men do. It’s a choice men make. It’s a problem men enable. It’s sometimes a crime men commit. And it is not in the power nor the responsibility of women to wage war on this crime.”
“It’s on us.”

He concludes by pointing out that harassment, and enabling harassment by remaining silent when it occurs, is antithetical to the standards of decency and fairness promoted by superhero comics. Khouri challenges men to check trolling and harassment. In other words, Khouri is inviting fans to emulate the true superheroes.

 

Brought to our attention by @colleendoran.

Stickman’s Tips to Displaying at a Convention

Posted by Rebecca Blake on April 11, 2014

© Mark Monlux StickmanIn 2011, Seattle member Mark Monlux published “Stickman’s Advice to Having a Table at a Comic Book Convention.”  The primer’s advice is borne of Monlux’s many years of experience as an illustrator, cartoonist, convention attendee. The strip  covers the process of renting a table, from the initial reservation through handling booth visitors. He offers commonsensical advice, such as bring lots of business cards, prepare your pitch, and bring water (useful after exercising that well-prepared pitch).  Other advice is less obvious, such as how to scan the crowd and the advisability of having of a mobile phone credit card processor. 

The strip was drawn during the 2011 24 Hour Comic Challenge sponsored by CLAW, the Cartoonists League of Absurd Washingtonians. During the event, artists were challenged to write, sketch, and ink 24 pages in twenty-four hours. In a previous year, Monlux had struggled to finish the assignment using his finished, more labor intensive style of cartooning. For the 2011, he decided to do an instructional strip – creating the strip ate up the first seven hours of the challenge. So Monlux repurposed his long-running comic strip character Stickman for a much faster illustration style. With the trade show and comic/illustration convention season heating up, the strip functions as a charming and succinct visual checklist for anyone planning on renting a table.

Artwork © Mark Monlux. Used with permission of the artist.

The Unvarnished Truth: Susie Cagle on a Freelance Career

Posted by Rebecca Blake on March 25, 2014

self portrait © Susie CagleAt first glance, writer and cartoonist Susie Cagle looks as if she’s swimming in success. A graduate with a Master’s in journalism from Columbia University, her recent work includes such prestigious clients as Wired, the Atlantic, the Guardian, and McSweeneys. She’s appeared in radio and TV spots, and her work has been featured on NPR and in the Los Angeles Times, Print Magazine, and the Washington Post. People with “regular” staff jobs often tell her they envy her lifestyle. Yet, as Cagle describes it, “they then break eye contact when I tell them how much I am paid.”

In “Eight Years of Solitude: On freelance labor, journalism, and survival,” Cagle gives an unsentimental look at her career as an independent journalist and cartoonist. Her career has followed a trajectory similar to that of many capable and well-educated journalists: a Master’s degree, unsuccessful applications to entry level positions and unpaid internships, blogging assignments for $10 an hour, and a brief stint as a staff writer for a real estate blog before being laid off.

To distinguish herself from a glut other out-of-work journalists, Cagle taught herself to cartoon. The additional skill gave a boost to her bank account – a small illustration could earn as much as a 2,000 word story on a major news site. While her unusual skill set attracted notice (and requests for free work in exchange for “exposure”), she discovered that her talent in illustration devalued her legitimacy as a journalist.  She also discovered the huge disconnect between publicity and income, earning less than $20,000 in the year in which she had the most exposure on TV, radio, and in print. (Check out Tim Kreider’s beautiful summation of the value of “exposure” to a working illustrator.)

Cagle now finds herself on a treadmill of underpaid work: “I’m terrified that if I don’t publish an article one week, I might be forgotten altogether, losing out on the hypothetical opportunities I’ve been working toward for the better part of these last eight years.” It’s a bleak assessment of the freelance world, but one that rings true.

Top right: self portrait © Susie Cagle. Used with permission of the artist.

Brought to our attention by @ColleenDoran

Purge Yourself: Jealousy is Creative Poison

Posted by Rebecca Blake on February 21, 2014

Jim ZubThe multi-talented artist, writer, and educator, Jim Zub, has written a cautionary article on the destructive power of jealousy. “Jealousy is Creative Poison” is targeted to new cartoonists and comic book creators, but the advice is relevant to anyone working in a creative field. Zub acknowledges that he is stating the obvious when he warns artists against measuring their success against that of others. While he recognizes that jealousy is unavoidable in a career in which one’s ego is wrapped in one’s creation, he exhorts creators to push past it.

Zub passes on three key pieces of advice: First, don’t let jealousy motivate creation, leading you to tear down the work of others. Second, don’t lash out when you feel as though you’re failing. And third, don’t focus on others’ success, but live in your present. Zub ends on a high note, reminding his readers that there is an extensive audience for good stories, good characters, and artists who persevere.

Zub’s website is well worth a visit to aspiring comic book authors and graphic novelists. He’s featured a series of articles covering everything from “How to Break into Comics” to “How to Find an Artist,” comic writing, creator-owned economics, communication, and comic promotion.

Jim Zub is an award winning cartoonist and writer living in Toronto, Canada. He is the writer of Samurai Jack, Makeshift Miracle, Skullkickers, and Pathfinder. His client list includes Disney, Warner Bros., Hasbro, and Mattel. When he isn’t writing comics and graphic novels, he’s the Program Coordinator for the animation program at Seneca College.

Photo used with permission.

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Looking to keep up with industry trends and techniques?

Taking your creative career to the next level means you need to be up on a myriad of topics. And as good as your art school education may have been, chances are there are gaps in your education. The Guild’s professional monthly webinar series, Webinar Wednesdays, can help take you to the next level.

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