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Thread: Kaare Andrews On CB Cebulski And The Speed Of Production

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    Default Kaare Andrews On CB Cebulski And The Speed Of Production

    At the weekend, CB Cebulski took part in a round table discussion about the comics industry for the Toronto Star. An unexpurgated version later went online.

    It caused considerable controversy amongst comics creators, some who wondered exactly who it was selling their art for $5000 a cover, $1000 a page, who wasn't Jim Lee, Frank Miller or Adam Hughes... and if CB's recruitment of artists outside the USA that was actively pushing page rates down...

    Kaare Andrews was one, however, who wanted to go on the record about the scheduling issue. He writes for Bleeding Cool;
    First let me say that I like C.B. and we're friends. Now that that's out of the way, let's underline how wrong he is. At least from my perspective. Let me admit that I'm not the fastest artist in the world. It can take a long time to draw a page. In the olden days, you had inkers basically 'finishing breakdowns' over Jack Kirby. That's how he could push through 4-6 pages in a day. Kirby's art was bold. It was beautiful. It was awesome. But I'm not sure he would have as much success in today's climate. The truth is that the level of detail demanded on a page has risen dramatically. Comics aren't 10 cent disposable newsprints anymore. They are a legitimate art form. Paper stock is slick, coloring is high tech, and you can now print as many tones, in as many shades, with as much detail as you can imagine.It's expected from the fans.

    I have never, NEVER, spent a minute more on a page because I thought I could resell it for more money. The idea is just ridiculous to me. Many times I don't even have original art to sell because I've chosen to paint completely digitally. Or, maybe I have digital backgrounds over hand drawn characters. I can't even remember having a conversation with another comicbook artist that spent extra time on a page to resell it to an art collector. I certainly have never had that conversation with Josh Middleton or Steve Skroce.

    Look, I'm sure it's happened. But not with real artists. I've heard stories of hack artist complaining that he wasn't drawing Wolverine in costume enough because those pages would be worth more money. But again, I have never had that conversation. I'm not fast because I care. I'm not fast because I want to do great work. I'm not fast because drawing comics is one of the most demanding artistic professions in the world. Ask an animation guy how much he draws in a week. Maybe one character sheet. Maybe. They get paid more, have better health insurance, and work less hours in a day. Same thing in movies. Same thing in video games. You don't draw comics to cash in, you draw comics because you love comics. And this is from a guy who directs movies for half his days.

    Again, this is just my own perspective. There are still guys that can draw 4 pages in a day. I can't name any of them who are doing work I think pushes the medium. But they are work horses and often loved by fans. And the truth is, it's those guys that are making the most money.

    Let me repeat this, the utter truth is that more time you spend on a page, the LESS money you make.

    Let's use C.B.'s own math to clarify. Let's pretend I'm making $300 a page (a top rate). Then selling that page for $1000 (walk artist alley and you'll see most pages sell for $150-200). If I take a week to draw three pages and then sell them all for $1000 a pop (not a real number but let's pretend), you are making $3900 a week. If you are drawing two pages a day, at $300 each, and still selling them for $1000 a pop, you are making $13000 a week. A fan isn't going to pay more for a page because you spent two days drawing a detailed cityscape. They are going to buy a page that has the hero they love doing something that's important. Sure, splash pages are worth more but a splash page you spent a week on isn't going to be worth any more than a splash page you spent an afternoon on. And two thirds of all pages will never sell, because they don't have heroes they love, doing important things.

    Again. Truth time. Let me tell you about a conversation I HAVE HAD with my comic artist friends, "If I was to spend as little time and effort on a page as possible and draw something JUST good enough so that I could blow through a few pages a day, I would be making a lot more money than a guy who really cared about his work.... but I just can't do it."

    Just another perspective.
    Talking to Bleeding Cool CB Cebulski replied to Kaare, saying;
    You'll get no argument from me here. What Kaare says is on the money. He's right. It's why he's had such success in comics and all forms of entertainment he's touched. As have other artists. My comments were just one example for the possible lateness we see these days. One part of a larger conversation. Kaare presents another here. And there are plenty more out there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Johnston View Post



    I'm not fast because I care. I'm not fast because I want to do great work.
    Kaare doesn't make sense with this line .. because Kaare cares if the work is great or not ..

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    I'm with Kaare for the most part, although as a consumer I'd gladly accept a marginal drop in quality if it meant speedier production and lower costs. IMO, the extra time spent on pencils is often negated by the other processes that follow (inking, coloring, etc.) It certainly doesn't translate to $1000+ resalability.
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    I'd take issue with Andrews' characterization of what Kirby did as "breakdowns". From what I've seen of Kirby's pencils (the later pages that Marvel didn't "lose"), those ain't breakdowns. I won't deny that many of Kirby's inkers (I'M thinking Royer and Sinnott especially) enhanced his work, but they certainly didn't ease his workload. From everything I've read, Kirby was able to create such prodigious output because a) he was preternaturally fast, b) he truly loved the work, and c) he spent 16 hours or more per day at his drawing table.

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    The truth is that the level of detail demanded on a page has risen dramatically.
    I don't buy it. Every time I see it it sounds like an excuse to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by defchild View Post
    From everything I've read, Kirby was able to create such prodigious output because a) he was preternaturally fast, b) he truly loved the work, and c) he spent 16 hours or more per day at his drawing table.
    Kirby, Ditko, etc. couldn't get their original art back to sell .. therefore their income was their page rate ..

    as a result, they had a stronger work ethic .. just to survive ..

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    King of Cool Joe Kalicki's Avatar
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    Selling your pages basically means you're getting paid twice for the same job. I can see why they'd only want to do half as much work every year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Johnston View Post
    [/INDENT]Talking to Bleeding Cool CB Cebulski replied to Kaare, saying;[INDENT]You'll get no argument from me here. What Kaare says is on the money.
    LOL, i like the transparency.
    nice for Rich to admit his relationship, in the last article tho.

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    Most of Kirby Pencils reproduced in the Kirby Collector are more detailed than Kaare Andrews inked pencils...

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    Comic art IS more sophisticated to a degree. Teh finished product is largely more detailed than ever....that being said what Kaare noted is largely a distraction from why artists can't handle the monthly grind.

    Bryne (also Perez) was as detailed (in amount of lines) than many artists today, many artists today use open line, animation style or very spartan backgrounds. The issue today is that editorial is placing the same constraints on creators they used too. If they are at all...and I am not talking harrassing joe blow artist on a third tier book. I am talking the main guy drawing your top books.
    I personally KNOW how hard it is to do sequentials, so i feel for the artists. But I am pretty sure most of tehm could figure out how to work a script and decide whats important or not. These guys can breakdown pages pretty well unfortunately sometimes the scripts are crazy.

    Editors also have to be mindful of scripting. 22 pages of 6 panel pages with team shots and robust archtecture is gonna kill even the fastest artist.

    -aris
    Last edited by Aris; 03-26-2012 at 09:15 AM.

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