The Calculations of a Comic Book Artist

Today’s Weight 148.6 lb.
Goal Weight 130 lb.
Days Left: 14
Miles going today: 8

Weight loss is a mathematical venture. For those not inclined to mathematics…1 lb. = 3500 calories. To lose 1 lb. you have burn 3500 calories. If I want to lose 10 lbs. I have to burn 35,000 calories. I burn about 100 calories for every mile I run. This means if I run 350 miles I will burn the calories I need to lose those 10 lbs. That’s it. Done. End of Story. I win. If I don’t run the 350 miles, I have to burn it in other ways, but that’s a story for a different time.

So, what calculations are you doing for your goals?

You’ve heard it said every artist has 10,000 bad drawings in them, once you get those out of the way, you’ll be on your way. What they don’t tell you is that you don’t have to do all those drawings before you get a good drawing. I bet you’ll get a good drawing you like within 10 drawings. It depends on what you are drawing and how much you practice that one thing. It would seem to me that the advice for artists is to make 100 drawings in a year. You can set a goal of 2 hours a day to do this. At this rate, it will take you 100 years to complete the task of 10,000 drawings, and you will have learned a great deal about the craft in that time. Don’t have 100 years? Then you’ll have to find a schedule that works for you.

Every 10 drawings that you like becomes your portfolio. In sales, this number is called CONVERSION. You tried to draw 100 and only 10 came out of good. (10 divided by 100)10% conversion is good. Put these in your portfolio. When you do the next 100 drawings, you may get a better conversion. Maybe 12 is keepable. You can gauge your progress over the years in this way. The more you like, the higher your conversion. Even comic artists that draw professionally, don’t like every piece of art they put out, thereby lowering their conversion rate. They don’t like the project, or they could have laid the page out better, sometimes the professional conversion rate for the projects they want in their portfolio, aren’t as good as someone starting out, because they aren’t doing what they want–they are an artist-for-hire.

Here is the trick, (because you don’t want to show an editor 50 drawings you’ve spent working the last 5 years on converting at 10% each year.) After each year, limit your portfolio that you show to 10 pieces. Out with the old, in with the new–but only if the new pieces are better than your old ones. 10 pieces in your portfolio–that’s it. If you want a job penciling a comic, you’ll need 5 pages of sequentials, the rest should be different styles of art, or different subject matter of the same style.

I see some guys show up at cons with 100 pieces in their portfolio, and the online links of every single piece of art they’ve done. This is an editor’s nightmare. Show us you have real control over your craft. Give only your best stuff. Leave us wanting more. If we want to see more we’ll ask you.

This gives me a good idea for a future post, so I’ll leave it there.  In Conclusion,
– count the cost, plan your work, 2 hours/day for the month/year.
– convert your drawings into portfolio pieces
– put 10 pieces in you portfolio
– change your drawings out every year with better stuff.