The Business of Being an Artist – Collaboration

Part of being a commercial artist is running a business. While there are aspects of this that I’m horrible at and procrastinate on (accounting, marketing) and parts that I very much enjoy (comic book conventions, book fairs, meeting fans and showcasing my latest books, and art), I still have to do all of them. This series of my process blog will talk about different aspects of the business.

I get asked often enough by writers to collaborate that I thought I’d write a post on my thoughts on this. I’ve actually written about this in my FAQ section of the website, but I thought it’s important enough to talk about in a blog post. What is the significance of NFCC2015-Howardtheduck-WIPHoward the Duck in this post? Nothing, other than I just drew it at the Niagara Falls Comic Con and really thought it came out well. Here’s the information I give from my FAQ page.

Do you want to collaborate on a comic book or children’s book? Can I send you my pitch?

I’m going to ask you a few questions first, which may help answer the questions-

Are you an established writer or just beginning your craft?

Is this a work for hire project or a 50/50 collaboration?

Do you have a budget and is it one where you can pay someone a liveable wage?

Now if you have a budget but no experience or very little, then we may be able to start on something. However be aware that you are also hiring me as a consultant and as such you need to trust I know what I’m doing and give me the lee-way to do it. All of these things cost money, so make sure you have a reasonable budget. To give you an idea, it may take me a couple of days to create a single page of art. I am flexible in regards to pay, but it needs to be something that I can live off of. So think of what you would want to make in a full day of work, and then figure out the amount of pages that you want to have created. Add in the time that it takes to put the book together, as well as consulting which may be a couple of extra weeks time. That may give you an idea of how much budget you have to have to get your story created. It can get very expensive!

If you do have the experience and it is work-for-hire, then please contact me. Hopefully it will fit with my schedule, as I am often booked months in advance. I also do work-for-hire pitches, which might be something I can fit in my schedule a bit easier than a full issue of a comic book or children’s book. That being said, I don’t necessarily say yes to all work-for-hire. The story has to be exciting for me to draw, and we have to click to some degree. This is a collaboration that may involve months of us working together.

There are a few other things to consider. I may like you, you may like me, but does your story fit the art. If in the future you have a story in mind for me, please let’s get in touch!

If you are new, have little to no budget and want to find a collaborator to work with 50/50 , the best bet is to go on sites like deviant art or go to a comic book convention. Look for people who may be at a similar level as you experience-wise. Finding people to work with is not easy, but through perseverance and trial and error, you will find a great partner that shares similar ideas and passions as you do. Good luck!


Addendum– I didn’t mention this originally in the post- when you inquire an artist or a writer about their service, and they decline for whatever reason, please don’t take it personally. Best thing you can do is continue the relationship if possible, as in, thank them for their time and let them know you appreciate that they responded. Keep that relationship open. I may not be available now, but who knows what the future may bring. I’ve always responded to inquires (quite quickly) and if I can’t take part, I always say that I’d still like to keep in touch. I still want to see how you do with your project even if I can’t be part of it. Many times though the writer inquiring, never responds and therefore closes the potential relationship (which takes years to build by the way). It’s all about taking the time to build those relationships!