If you're not gifted with the ability to draw, which I unfortunately am not, then you need to find an artist to bring your script to life. This can be a challenging endeavor for someone new trying to break into the field.
There are two main approaches you can take. The first and best option is finding an artist who is willing to go in as partners. This means that they would be working on spec and not getting paid in the upfront, but would split profits with you once the book is published. However, this is going to be a lot harder to find someone willing to do this. Unless that artist isn't established yet and is your friend, more than likely you won't find working artists willing to take that chance on a newcomer. And really I can't blame them for that. If I were in their position I would do the same thing.
If you are still in college and know you want to get into comic books, then I would recommend finding the art department of your school and meet with the department chair to tell them what you're trying to do. Then they can give you more information and help you find another student that might be willing to help you.
The second approach to take is paying an artist. This is the route I ended taking. Paying will give you a better chance of someone taking on the project, however, the drawback is if the comic doesn't get published, then you're out the money paid to the artist. Whereas if you're partners working on spec, the only thing spent is time. Going this route isn't going to be super cheap, so really make sure that you truly believe in your story and won't go into financial ruin if it doesn't get published. You can look to spend anywhere between $2,000 to $4,000 to complete one issue that is 22 pages long. This can also help determine how many pages you want each issue to be. The fewer pages then the lower the cost will be for you. Also if you don't do colors that will save you some costs.
For actually finding an artist, I stuck to emails. This was the easiest way to reach out to multiple people. A few people recommended I check out the website deviant art, which I did. However, this site is a bit of mess and a little tricky navigating around. Also it didn't seem like many of the artists I liked were active anymore on the site. Contact information didn't seem up to date either. I emailed about 4 or 5 artists on deviant and never got a response. I don't know if that was because they just didn't want to do it or they never got the email. Either way, I didn't have any luck there.
My next stop was universities that offered sequential art as a major. Savannah College of Art Design offers a program there. I was able to get in touch with the department chair and got a few inquires back, but none panned out. Then I reached out to the Kubert School, which is a school in New Jersey that specializes in comic book art. I sent out a request saying I have a finished script and am willing to pay, can you put me in touch with either a current student or a recent graduate. And I lucked out. They put me in touch with Orion Zangara, who ultimately agreed to work with me and illustrated the first issue of RELIVE.
Here are a few tips when reaching out to an artist.
- Give the scope of the project. How many pages will the issue be? Do you want them to do just pencils? Or pencils and inks? Will the issue have color? If so can they do colors or do they have someone they work with?
- Ask for a page rate quote from them. Or see if they are willing to work on spec.
- Ask for their turn around time to complete the pencils, inks, colors.
- Provide them with a synopsis of the story.
- Email more than one artist.
- Keep your email professional and give them enough detail to provide you with a price quote.
- Avoid emailing superstars or artists with monthly books currently out. They won't be available and you'll end up being disappointed.
Finding an artist that is willing to take a chance on you can be a daunting task. Many won't reply to you and those that do have a good chance of saying they can't do it. But don't give up. Keep searching and stay positive. If you truly believe in your story, you'll eventually find someone.
After you have an artist on board, then it times to get into the artwork itself.