Recent Crit Quickies!

Crit Quickie, featuring a comic panel by Myke Metts. Critique by Teaching Assistant Casey Roonan.


Crit Quickie, featuring a grisaille portrait painting by @tgarney. Critique by Teaching Assistant Alex Rowe.


Crit Quickie, featuring a painting of a tree by @bethanynmurray. Critique by Teaching Assistant Annie Irwin.


Crit Quickies are 1 min. critiques by the Art Prof staff.  Submit! Post your art on Instagram and tag us @art.prof w/ #critquickie. Watch more Crit Quickies in this playlist on our Youtube channel.

We accept submissions from artists in 8th grade and up. Please know that due the volume of submissions, we are unable to provide a Crit Quickie for everyone who submits. If you’re an art teacher, you’re welcome to submit on behalf of your students!


ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages to learn visual arts in a vibrant art community. Imagine all of the resources here on our blog, except exponentially bigger, in greater quantity, and in more detail. Our Kickstarter campaign hit its $30k goal on July 19!  Get info on our future launch by subscribing to our email list.

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Ask the Art Prof: Where is a Good Place to Start to Create Graphic Novels?

r-crumb-genesis-2

Robert Crumb, Book of Genesis


“I want to get into graphic novels/comic books but I have nowhere near the experience to do it. Where is a good place to start? How can I get people to notice my stories?”

If you’re completely starting from the scratch, I would begin with purchasing Scott McCloud’s book “Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art”. This book is the quintessential book about comics. The book itself is a graphic novel, and it talks about the history of comics, as well as techniques and approaches to making graphic novels which you can follow to help you get started. After you’ve done that, look at the big guns:  Robert CrumbArt SpiegelmanWill Eisner. Nothing substitutes taking the time to understand and analyze what makes a strong work effective.

understandingcomicscover

Scott McCloud,  “Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art”

I don’t have hugely extensive expertise in terms of technically making graphic novels, but I do know that having one solid story that you can focus on is essential to the process of getting started. It’s great to have multiple stories and ideas floating around in your head, but if you really want to make concrete progress, I would recommend focusing on writing one story that you can pursue in great depth. Keep the story short and simple, so you can get more complex and involved with the actual telling of the story.  Make sure that you can sum up your story in a single sentence.  If you find that you can’t sum it up in a single sentence, your story is too complicated and needs to be boiled down further.

Be prepared to do a monstrous amount of preliminary sketches which address panels and layout for each page of the novel. The composition of each panel and the positioning of the figures in space is critical in a graphic novel.  Be sure to keep the compositions for each panel visually dynamic so the viewer is engaged at all times.  Read this article I wrote about how to create an effective composition.

Another aspect to consider is what kind of stylistic choices you want to make for the graphic novel. Visual consistency is key for a graphic novel to look cohesive.  Every time I start a new project, I always assign a set of “rules” for the visual look of the work.  Ask yourself, what are the visual “rules” for your project? Write down that list of rules and follow them throughout the entire making of the project.

In terms of getting people to notice your stories, it’s essential to have your work online.  Read this article I wrote about how to get your artwork noticed online. Many artists are also self-publishing hard copies of their graphic novels through platforms like Lulu and CreateSpace, which they then promote online. Self-publishing is significantly more involved than simply exhibiting your work online.

For this reason, I would recommend starting with building your online presence first, and then looking into self-publishing once you get more established and experienced. In fact, many artists are now bypassing self-publishing hard copies altogether and opting to keeping their work entirely on the Internet.


ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages and means. artprof.org features video courses, art critiques, an encyclopedia of art supplies, and more.

FB    Youtube    Pinterest     Instagram    Twitter    email    etsy


PORTFOLIO VIDEO CRITIQUES
Prof Lieu offers video critiques on portfolios for students applying to art school and working artists. More info.


ART DARES
Every month, we assign a topic for you to respond to with an artwork. We give out prizes in several categories!  More info.


ASK THE ART PROF was a written column in the Huffington Post from about art related topics. Visit our Pro Development page.


Related articles
“How do I become a children’s book illustrator?”
“Can I make a respectable income on freelance illustration?”
“What does t take to get a job at an animation studio?”

Ask the Art Professor: How Do I Change Careers to Pursue My Passion for Visual Art?

Final Crit

“What do you think of the idea of changing one’s career to pursue his/her passion for art?  I always thought that art was a very risky career move. I have a stable job right now that pays well but it’s definitely not fulfilling, and I just want to cringe with the thought that I’d be doing this for around 3 more decades.

I can imagine that if I do really want to switch fields, it’s going to be a gradual thing but then what are the steps in moving towards it? I like doing concept art and my goal is to finish a story I have now into a graphic novel.  Not necessarily to make money out of it, but just the fulfillment of immortalizing the story. If I were to switch into an art career, I’d be happy to do concept artwork, commissions and if I become really good at it, comics.”

Art can seem like a risky career move because we have to determine on our own what steps to take and what our ultimate paths will be.   By comparison, fields like medicine and law are relatively straightforward because those fields have pre-determined steps that must be taken in order to be able to be allowed to practice that profession.  If you want to be a doctor, you go to medical school, you do residency, etc. In the art field, it could not be more different for every artist out there.  That’s what’s so scary about it: the options for artists are infinite and can be incredibly overwhelming. The path is different for everyone.

Yes, you’re right that it is going to be a gradual process, one that evolves slowly over time, so patience will be key. In order to make that transition, I would advise that you keep your day job, while working on the initiatives listed below in your spare time.  Keep in mind that this is an ongoing process. The tasks listed below never really end- I know that I’m still doing #1, #2, and #4 all the time.   Even established professionals have to work on these tips below on a regular basis. And remember, very few people are able to support themselves exclusively on freelance work/their own independent projects in the art field.  The majority of artists hold onto their day job or have some other part-time job that is steady and reliable while they pursue their art career.

Intaglio Printmaking

1) Establish a strong, professional online presence. 
Buy a domain name (yourname.com is ideal) and set up a website that looks classy and professional. If you want examples of good artist websites, look up the websites of some professional artists whose work you admire and follow what they’re doing on their websites. Google yourself and see what comes up, hopefully your website is the first thing that shows up.  Make sure you are on at least one of the major social networking websites.  Facebook and Twitter are good places to start.

2) Have top notch, high quality artwork on your website.
Better to have a website that is more minimal with a few high caliber, polished pieces than a website that has lots of mediocre, half finished pieces. Many artists make the mistake of including everything they’re ever made on their websites, which consequently leads to a portfolio that looks scattered, aimless, and unprofessional.

The work on your website has to look focused and cohesive as a group of works. Be willing to edit your portfolio and remove pieces that don’t fit.  I see people all the time trying to present themselves as someone who works in five different fields of art, thinking that it will get them hired more quickly because of their versatility.  Actually, that approach has the opposite effect. It’s confusing to Art Directors and other professionals in the field if you market yourself in too many contrasting fields. They want to know what kind of results they’re going to get if they hire you for a job.

Gesture Painting

3) Say yes to every opportunity and occasionally work for free.
You don’t want to do this forever, but it’s a good way to get the ball rolling, and a way to add some examples to your portfolio.   I took a class with the illustrator David Macaulay my senior year at RISD, and I remember him saying that at the very beginning of his career, anything that anybody offered him he would agree to do. That was how he jump started his career. Once your career is more firmly established, you’ll eventually be able to be more selective about what jobs you take on.

4) Don’t wait for jobs and opportunities to come to you.
When you’re ready, start sending out hard copy, promotional postcards to companies or publications you want to work for letting them know that you’re available for work. Always send your materials to a specific person, don’t ever send it to “Editor” or “Art Director”. Be sure to do this at least twice a year so that you can keep people updated on your most recent work. One of my colleagues said he went to an Illustration conference where he heard another professional say that he started getting results when he stopped asking for things, and started offering things.


ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages and means. artprof.org features video courses, art critiques, an encyclopedia of art supplies, and more.

FB    Youtube    Pinterest     Instagram    Twitter    email    etsy


PORTFOLIO VIDEO CRITIQUES
Prof Lieu offers video critiques on portfolios for students applying to art school and working artists. More info.


ART DARES
Every month, we assign a topic for you to respond to with an artwork. We give out prizes in several categories!  More info.


ASK THE ART PROF was a written column in the Huffington Post from about art related topics. Visit our Pro Development page.


Related articles
“What are the career opportunities in fine art?”
“How long did it take you to jump start your career after graduation?  What was your first job?”
“Should I pursue a career in fine art?”