“Interviewer: What attracted you so much to Dick?
Carrére: For me, he’s the Dostoyevsky of the twentieth century, the guy who understood it all. Actually, I am struck by his posthumous life—not only all the movies based on his books, but all the movies that aren’t, like The Matrix, The Truman Show, and Inception, that show reality disappearing behind its representation. It used to bother me that all these people didn’t admit their debt to Dick. But in the end, I think it’s great. WHat twenty years ago we called the world of Philip K. Dick is now just the world. We don’t need to cite him anymore. He’s won. [The Paris Review]”—a portrait of the artist as a young man: Emmanuel Carrére on Philip K. Dick (via ayjay)
“If you’re an aggressive individual and you want to make this your field — and there is no school. You make your own school. You make your school. I say that you borrow arms and legs and heads and necks and posteriors from anybody you can. In comics, which is a peculiar field, every man — every artist — is the other artist’s teacher. There’s absolutely no school for it. People can teach you the mechanics of it, which is good. I can see a good reason for that. But drawing a good figure does not make you a good artist. I can name you 10 men, right off the bat, who draw better than I do. But I don’t think their work gets as much response as mine. I can’t think of a better man to draw Dick Tracy than Chester Gould, who certainly is no match for Leonardo Da Vinci. But Chester Gould told the story of Dick Tracy. He told the story of Dick Tracy the way it should have been told. No other guy could have done it. It’s not in the draftsmanship, it’s in the man.
Like I say, a tool is dead. A brush is a dead object. It’s in the man. If you want to do, you do it. If you think a man draws the type of hands that you want to draw, steal ‘em. Take those hands.
The only thing I can say is: Caniff was my teacher, Alex Raymond was my teacher, even the guy who drewToonerville Trolley was my teacher. Whatever he had stimulated me in some way. And I think that’s all you need. You need that stimulation. Stimulation to make you an individual. And the draftsmanship? Hang it! If you can decently, learn to control what you can, learn to control what you have, learn to refine what you have. Damn perfection! You don’t have to be perfect. You are never going to do a Sistine Chapel, unless somebody ties you to a ceiling. So damn perfection!
All a man has in this field is pressure, and I think the pressure supplies a stimulation. You have your own stresses; that will supply your own stimulation. If you want to do it, you’ll do it. And you’ll do it anyway you can.”—Jack Kirby (via CBR and Ryan Stegman)
Last weekend was Baltimore Comic Con, a show that was fairly pleasant by my standards and expectations of a comics convention. All in all it was a laid back, fun experience. A good time with friends and fellow creators and a good opportunity to talk to those of you who stopped by the table.
But towards the end of the show I had a couple of encounters that have got me thinking about what my expectations of a show are and how those have largely changed over the years. Granted I’m in a much better, slightly more privileged place these days, but it wasn’t so long ago that cons were a really torturous experience. I really do still understand what it feels like to attend a con hoping for a leg up, only to find yourself face down.
The conversations I had this weekend were with a few folks in that position. Some successful pros, others maybe not so fortunate yet. They inspired me to write down my thoughts on attending comics cons as a creator, which is something I’m really an old hand at. The philosophies I largely abide by are in a state of constant evolution. Honestly they’re the by product of far more error than trial. But of late they’ve really seemed to make attending conventions a much more rewarding experience and and have in no small way been beneficial to the career I’m trying to build and art I’m trying to create.
So with that in mind here’s what this thing isn’t:
It’s not how to nail a portfolio review or get an editor’s email.
It’s not what magic pen to use in order to ink like Wally Wood.
It’s not how to get rich at a comics show.
If that’s the kind of stuff you want advice on there are plenty of better folks to get it from. What I have to say MIGHT lead you to people who do know how to do all of the above and more. But I can’t promise you that. All I know is what has and hasn’t worked for me, and to some degree why. It should go without saying that ultimately it’s up to you to determine what that’s worth.