Right now, right at this very second, I have at least sixty six art submissions in my inbox. It was sixty six when I started writing, but it’s probably more than that now. That’s sixty six different artists from all over the world who responded to my ad on digital webbing in the last four days. Sixty six different artists all vying for a position from an unheard of independent two time comic book writer for what is, admittedly, an abysmal pay rate. That is a LOT of eager comic book artists struggling to get their voices heard. Last October, my inbox filled up with ninety nine different art submissions for artists seeking a job working on issue one of The Adventures of Galaxy Girl in Outer Space and from those submissions I had to narrow it down to just three deserving talents. I chose Catia Fantini, Sid Quade, and Gabe Ostley. Three artists who you likely have never heard of, but who I think will be big names in this industry in the next few years. Three very different, very talented artists who would never be put together on any other book. But, I, like them, was an artist seeking work on digital webbing among the hundreds of others who couldn’t find work, and I wanted to make a book for them.
Put yourself out there
Those sixty six e-mails I mentioned earlier? They’re for Galaxy Girl Issue 2. In fact, you could submit your work right now if you’re a budding comic book artist looking for your first job. I’m not promising you a spot on Marvel’s next “young guns” panel, but everyone has to start somewhere. I started by drawing a few pages of my first comic book, Potential, and then launching a kickstarter campaign. I had no idea what the hell I was doing, but I learned by fumbling through those first six Issues and I came out the other end a better comic creator. After everything I had learned, I decided it was time to put myself out there and try to find some freelance work. That led me to digital webbing and to many failed attempts at networking. So many new writers didn’t seem to understand or value the work it takes for an artist to make a comic book. I saw promises of back end pay, requests for free sample pages, and experienced a potential employer disappearing on me after receiving said sample page. Not fun. So then I cooked up my plan for Galaxy Girl: Put out an ad. Pay what I can. Offer advice and critique. And hopefully make some lasting connections along the way.
Identify talent and determination
Galaxy Girl is an anthology comic book series, all written by me, but drawn by various artists of various backgrounds and styles. I mentioned that Catia, Sid, and Gabe wouldn’t be put together on any other book, and that is because they each represent a very different mentality when it comes to making comics. Catia creates beautiful figures and dynamic layouts, expect to see her on Wonder Woman one day. Sid brings expressiveness to both facial expressions and body language like the best of any Pixar animator. And Gabe is a master of the quirky and bizarre stylings of the Comix underground and the school of Robert Crumb. Galaxy Girl can be all of these things. She is a vehicle for these artists and more to show their stuff. With any luck, I will have the pleasure of working with each of them again in the future whether on Galaxy Girl or some other title we concoct together.
In this way, Galaxy Girl has already been a huge success. Three artists who I believe in now have something to add to their portfolio, and I have their great work helping my words on paper ascend to something more. I went to a panel at Boston comic con a few years back on which, Becky Cloonan, an artist I greatly admire, said “Artists and writers have to help raise each other up. Find people at the same level as you, career wise, and just make comics together.” Mind you, this was years ago and I never write anything down, so don’t go quoting me on the exact wording! But that sentiment stuck with me.
Appreciate your collaborators
When I set out to make Galaxy Girl, I set out to share something with three other creators and to help one another put our art out into the world. I’ve done that. And now I’m hungry for more. So this is a thank you letter to you, Gabe, Sid, and Catia. Thank you for helping me bring Galaxy Girl to life. Let’s do it again some time.
Galaxy Girl is now on Kickstarter. More stretch goals means more physical comics printed, and more comics in the hands of Gabe, Sid, and Catia to sell at conventions. Please take a look and consider backing THE ADVENTURES OF GALAXY GIRL IN OUTER SPACE!!! If we raise an additional $500 by Monday we will reach our “Bleeding Cool Goal” and include special character cards in all Space Cadet and higher level reward packages. And don’t forget to download your free Galaxy Girl Valentines before Sunday! Thanks again, and be sure to support Gabe, Sid, and Catia from the links below.
Catia Fantini was born in 1987 in Italy and has always had a passion for drawing. She graduated from the International School of Comics and has worked as a freelance artist and children’s book Illustrator ever since. She also teaches a comics workshop for kids. You can see her art in “EF Ed.-Dominate Comix”, “ECV Press”, Ed. “Quadrifoglio in miniatura”, Ed. “Amrita” and she is currently producing her own work under the label, Damage Comix.
Sid Quade graduated from the Kansas City Art Institute with a BFA in animation. He currently works as a freelance artist and has his own comic series called Wanderlust Blues. While drawing is his primary pastime, his other interests include coffee, cats, bluegrass music, and listening to silly horror stories on the internet.
Gabe Ostley is a comic book artist based in Portland, OR. He holds a BFA in Sequential Art from Savannah College of Art & Design. His work has been published by DC Comics, Devil’s Due, the Cincinnati Review, and many others. He loves pizza more than any ninja turtle ever could. You can see more of his work on his blog or on his deviantArt.
Andrew Taylor is an artist and writer from Glenside, PA. He has a BFA in Painting from Arcadia University and is currently creating comics under his own label, Potential Comics. He is secretly a space alien and he loves your Earth-tacos and Nicholas Cage movies, strange though they may be.