Saturday, August 10, 2013

On Contacting Artists

I started out writing five page (or thereabouts) stories as my first thing in comics. Part of this was that I believed (and still do) that getting good at telling stories in five pages would make for a solid foundation for telling longer stuff.

But the OTHER reason I did it was that I reasoned that it'd be much easier to actually get people to draw them damn things if I were only asking for five pages or so. I was not a total idiot - I knew how long it took to draw a page of art.

Which seemed to work. My thinking was that having stuff drawn would make it easier to get more stuff drawn, and this seems to be true. By the time I contacted Tradd to see if he wanted to work on Luther Strode with me, I had somewhere over two hundred pages of work that had been drawn and lettered. Not all or even most of it five pages stories - this ranged from those stories to (mostly) pitches to Zuda entries to full issues of at least one thing.

So having a goodly sized....porffolio, I guess, is one thing. The other thing is refining your pitch, which I got pretty good at. The basic format I eventually developed was:

Introduce yourself briefly, including one or two relevent work credits.

Tell them why you are contacting them - basically "I have a project I think you'd be great for, and I wanted to see if you might be interested in working with me"

Mention where you saw the artist's work and what you liked about it.

Tell them, in no more than one sentence, what the project is and the length it'd be, and if it's just a pitch how many pages you think it would be.

Link to a place where they can see the stuff you've done, with some direct links to two or three things.

Tell them if they're interested you can send more information, and thank them for their time.

And that's it. Basically, this works out to about a sentence for each thing. This is assuming you are contacting the artist completely cold, so you want to be as brief and direct as possible and provide the means to check you out. I don't include attachments, and wouldn't recommend it - I wouldn't open an attachment from someone I don't know, and it would make me suspicious, so I don't do it to others.

Of course, sometimes I don't follow my own advice. I'm going to copy and paste the first email I sent to Tradd here, which follows this format but goes waaaaaay long in the description.

What can I say, I had a hunch.

Hello, Mr. Moore

My name is Justin Jordan, and I really hope you're both a Mr and a Moore, or I'm going to be all kinds of embarassed. I write comics, and I'm having some success with that, and I wanted to see if you were interested in working together on something. I read on your DA account that you're extremelt busy, but I figured it was woth a shot.

First, my bona fides: I've been in a bout a million anthlogies, and I've twice been a finalist in DC's Zuda competition, with the comics Junk and Rumors of War. I've also had a comic with Arcana, but that fell apart when the company changed hands. You see a bunch more of my comics projects by following the links: The Assignment, Overthrow!, The Weird Adventures of Jenny Strange and Red Winter.

The comic project I'd like you to take a look at is called The Strange Talent of Luther Strode, which is about a bullied kid who wishes he had the power to fight back ...and gets it. Luther is a bullied and abused kid who orders an obscure physical fitness course called the Hercules Method from an old comic book.

The book actually shows up, and skinny Luther, who is desperate to buff up and become less of a target, starts performing the book's exercises, which are a strange mix of martial arts, mysticism, meditation and yoga. Much to Luther's surprise, he begins to add muscle immediately. In fact, the transformation is nearly miraculous. Luther gets stronger, faster, more confident.

Unfortunately for Luther and everyone else in his life, the book is actually a manual and test for an ancient murder cult, and following the Hercules method instills in him both the capablity to kill with his bare hands and the desire to use it. As if this weren't bad enough, the cult has dispatched the Librarian, the keeper of the book, to recruit Luther, even if it means killing everone Luther knows.

It's sort of a superhero origin story gone really, really wrong, and features an awful lot of blood and destruction. The series would be six issues but all I'd need right now is enough to pitch - five pencilled and inked pages and a cover mockup. I can provide coloring and lettering, although if you'd like to do either, that'd be cool, too.

Anyway, I've taken enough fo your time, so I'd just like to thank you for taking the time to read this and if you'd like to read a more complete synopsis of the series, I'd be happy to provide.


Justin Jordan

1 comment:

  1. Thank you very much Justin. I hope to follow in your footsteps.


    Tito W. James