Hiring a freelance comic book artist

I’ve seen many “how to” guides and advice columns on the internet about how to go about handling the production of a comic book. One of the best is Steven Forbes Bolts and Nuts column at the excellent Project Fanboy community website. However, this column is primarily from the writer / publisher point of view. I’d like to devote today’s blog to helping artists (specifically colorists although the guide should apply to all forms) successfully gaining employment. I’m offering this advice because I can’t believe how badly the majority of applicants need the help.

Cat says WTF?Try thinking about things from the POV of your potential employer. They want someone who will give them a professional service at the agreed upon rate, and deliver the product / service by the agreed upon deadline. They want someone who is trustworthy and sticks to their word. Someone who is willing to work with them to give them what they want. If you actually want to have a shot at getting hired as a penciller, inker, or colorist then you not only need talent and experience, but a bit of initiative helps. Do your research on the project, engage the writer / publisher in a conversation about it and about yourself. If you are a sociable person then that will help give you an edge, although it will never beat good references from reputable sources.

I’m not meaning to sound like a jerk about this, but if you could see the low quality of the submissions and the brevity of the emails from most of the applicants you would roll your eyes along with me. If you want a job, then make it clear to your potential employer. You’re not applying to a machine. It’s a human being that makes the decision to hire you, so be personable as well as doing some research. I gave a link to this site about the Sovena Red project. I’ve thrown you “a frickin’ bone”. Take that tool and use it to help your chances. I am offering to pay you my money for your work, but you are up against 100+ guys and gals who want that money too. So what are you going to do to stand out?

I’ve used DigitalWebbing.com a couple of times in the past four months. Back in April I advertised offering a paying job for a penciller, inker and colorist. I received well over 100 emails in the space of a couple of days. Later I posted to test the waters for a letterer and received a handful of responses. I will have enough pencilled and inked pages from John Amor soon to get the coloring machine in action so last Saturday I posted a new advertisement on DigitalWebbing.com for a colorist. I’ve received around 60 applications in the last 3 days. Here’s what I have learned from all of this…

1.) 80%+ of the responses will fail to read the advertisement correctly.

2.) Very few will bother to proof read.

3.) I’d say approximately 50%-60% of all the responses are artists who over value their services and are charging a page rate that is not remotely competitive.

DigitalWebbing.comLet me elaborate. The artist will shoot off a generic response with frequently inappropriate sample art. What do I mean by inappropriate samples? Well, in my case I specified that this project was an ‘all ages’ Marvel Adventures style book. Sending me gritty, shadowy, horror style renderings isn’t that smart. Okay, so that’s all you have at the moment and you are confident you can branch out into all ages if necessary. Congrats. Just know that you’re forcing me to use my imagination in regards to what your all ages work would look like. I’ve also been sent sample pages which involve pornographic images. Look, I don’t have a problem with mature content, but I don’t think it’s in your professional interests to use this sort of work as a sample unless the job you are applying for involves this sort of content. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. And I’ve actually had a LOT of this sort of material submitted to me… for a project that is all ages! Come on guys. Think about this for a minute!

What about providing me with the key information I requested. The vast majority of applicants will not do research on the project even when a link is provided. And if you make it a requirement of the advertisement for them to respond to key points, a good portion will fail to do so regardless. Why? Clearly because they are not professionals. I hate to say that and offend these people, but failing to read the requirements of a job posting is failure at the first step.

But wait, there’s more!

Can an applicant do any worse than failing to acknowledge the requirements of the job ad? Apparently, yes.

If you don’t proof read your email and double check your links to your online portfolio / gallery are working then you just invalidated your entire application. I am looking at too many applicants to have the patience for your mistakes. If you promptly followed up your erroneous email with a quick message providing the correct URL then hurrah! No harm done. But it’s those people that don’t even seem to know they are messing up that make me shake my head in bewilderment. Do you want my money or not?

Oh and while I’m at it, for god’s sake, figure out how to get a proper website or blog. Don’t use Flickr and Photobucket. They just make you look amateur. AND because of their temporal ‘fly-by-night’ nature they make you look shady. At least one scam artist I have had the misfortune of meeting has used Photobucket as his online gallery, and he is now infamous online for running an art scam. If I hadn’t wised up and gotten lucky then he would have stolen my money. Don’t associate with the amateurism that a Flickr and Photobucket account gives you. If you are trying to make money professionally as a freelance artist then present yourself thus. The cheapest and simplest solution is a free online blog. I don’t care how you figure it out, whether its through a friend or through trial and error, just GET ONE!

It’s even sadder when an artist responds with samples that clearly show their level of rendering experience is still far from professional level AND YET they expect to make a higher page rate than their professional peers. I’ll give an example. Professional pay for a colorist working for a studio with money is in the $50-$60 dollar per page range. I offered to pay $30-$40 dollars per page for colors (a low rate, which I acknowledged in the advertisement) but explained that this is a 3 issue mini-series so this means more money in the long run. I knew this meant that the standard of samples from the applicants would be mixed and the majority would not be good enough, but I knew that there would be at least a couple that I could filter out. Here’s what happened…

Most responses priced themselves at $40 in order to get the most out of my offer. Understandable. However, when one guy who has worked for Image (and is actively working on Image titles right now) contacted me and was willing to work for a page rate of $35 in order to keep his plate full as a full time professional colorist, how do you guys charging $40 and more feel? Now in this case the guy may have enough work lined up to take a lower rate, but when there’s a guy out there at this level offering his services for such a bargain price, how in the hell can you expect to beat him if your own style is not nearly as refined yet and in the $40-$50 dollar range per page?

It defies logic. The bottom line here is that there are some guys on DigitalWebbing.com as well as PencilJack.com who simply are not professional standard but seem to think otherwise.

Admiral Ackbar says it's a trap!Keep in mind the following. With my very first project (Sovena Red) I dealt with a scam artist passing off other people’s work as his own who was then running off with the 50% upfront and switching aliases. See my early blog posts for more details. Then I got screwed around by my back up cover artist who did one evening’s work on two rough layouts for me and then wanted to charge me $50 bucks per additional rough. There is a dangerous mix of greed and egotism out there in the business world and comic books are no different than any other business. Just as artists can get screwed out of getting paid, writers can lose their money to fly by night jackasses, and uncompromising, egotistical jerkwads.

I no longer ‘trust’ or take people at their word and am more than aware of at least one scam being run out there. In fact, I laughed out loud on Saturday night when one of the fifty or so responses to the colorist ad I posted was ‘Ron Runstrom’ (the alias of scam artist Josh Hoopes). Obviously he has not yet heard the news that Rich Johnston has exposed him over at BleedingCool.com as he’s still trying to fool newbie writers and publishers into giving him the fairly standard 50% upfront so he can then drop off the face of the Earth with their money. In my advertisement on DigitalWebbing.com I was very clear that I would ignore all applicants who did not follow my guidelines to the letter, and Ron (Josh Hoopes) sent the same generic email as he had to Rich Johnston and myself in the past months. The sad thing about Josh is that he can very easily drop the Ron Runstrum alias and create a new one and keep scamming people out of their money. I hope this guy gets arrested ASAP. Someone needs to kick this guy’s ass and help set a precedent to discourage scam artists from these fraudulent schemes.

One guy who responded to my first ad back in April questioned my request for references, shrugging it off as being unusual on my part and only offering to provide them if I still insisted. After feeling like I was being schooled by Mr. Knowitall, I responded by telling him that I wanted references because this was a paying job.

Sorry for turning this into a rant, but I really think freelancers over at DigitalWebbing.com need to hear this and think about their approach to job announcements before firing off a hurried and brief email. Of course not all the guys that respond suck. Some follow my requirements to the letter, are professional, and engage me in a bit of dialogue and enthusiasm for the project. It’s these guys that I remember and spend more time reviewing. So take some time, do some research and show that in your email. Even if I don’t end up hiring you for this job, the feeling I get for you will be a positive one and I may use you for another job in the future, or recommend you to my friends and acquaintances in the industry. After all, it’s all about networking.

Sovena Red update!

At Heroes Con, Leanne and I had our table next to the After School Agent team (Scott Weinstein, Chris Zaccone, and Gino Patti) and we had a blast. I wish we had been able to spend more time together outside of the show. Scott, Chris and Gino are a laugh-a-minute group of New Yorkers who we made quick friends with back at Heroes Con 2008. Scott and Chris are the creative force behind After School Agent, a comic book about a 12 year old secret agent with super powers.

Scott is the nicest guy we have ever met as well as the producer for Saturday Night Live’s “Weekend Update”, Chris is a superb artist and after only seeing him briefly at New York Comic Con in February, it was a long overdue to finally get to hang out with him at Heroes. Gino is an art teacher for high school students with a comic project of his own that he is currently developing. Gino got lucky and when the table on the other side of After School Agent ended up being empty throughout the show, so he was able to spread out and occupy it all by himself. It’s these guys that make the show for us so great and I can not wait to see them all again whether it is at Baltimore or New York.

After School Agent Team

Both Chris and Gino each generously offered their time and talent to a commission of Sovena Red. I was honored to have these two great guys tackling my character and making her tangible outside of my writings. I could not have been more blown away by either piece.

Gino drew me a beautiful airborne Sovena Red with just the right amount of mischief on her face to perfectly capture her spirit and personality.

Chris drew me a picture of Sovena Red looking admiringly up at Captain Wonder (her fellow super hero crime fighter from the 1960s and 1970s).

Check out Gino’s new site for artists. Chillustrators.

You can see them pictured below, including the silhouette mock up that Osmarco Valladao (the Sovena Red logo designer) threw together to accompany the logo design as a fake cover. Osmarco is a writer as well as a colorist, based in Brazil. He has an absolutely stunning comic / graphic novel titled “Sinchroncity” which he writes and colors, with Manoel Magalhães.

On the Sovena Red comic book front, the amazing John Amor continues to impress me with each new page. I have now uploaded the first three pages as a teaser. You can view them below.

Artist Luis Lasahido is working on a pinup that may end up being the front cover and as soon as I get the finished piece I will share it here.

The wheels of steel are turning and the traffic lights are burning as the Sovena Red machine heads into July. Now I just need to settle on the colorist…


Katusha by Wayne VansantAnother great little moment from Heroes Con 2009 was meeting Wayne Vansant, writer and illustrator of The Nam, Two-Fisted Tales, Red Badge of Courage GN, and countless war comics. Wayne is from Georgia, and I don’t know if it’s southern charm, or simply Wayne’s warm personality, but he was a pleasure to talk to and I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation as much as I enjoyed flipping through his comics and admiring his detailed pinups.

Our conversation began as I tried to peak at a pinup girl that Wayne had surreptitiously hidden underneath another illustration. Although Wayne did not have any other pinup girl work on display, I have an eye for beauty and couldn’t resist the temptation to look. Really pathetic, I know, but that’s just how this went down and I’m being honest. 😉 Wayne obliged me with a laugh explaining that I looked old enough to see, and soon we were sharing stories about World War II in which our not-so-distant ancestors fought so bravely.

Wayne is working on an epic graphic novel called Katusha about a Russian woman who joins the Russian army along with many other women during World War II. The eastern front saw the bloodiest battles history and the devastation of Russia’s resources and people. Katusha ultimately becomes a tank commander, something Wayne assured me could happen in the Soviet military machine of the 1940s. Wayne’s research and artwork are astounding. Anyone with any remote interest in this subject matter please check out his work and watch Katusha’s progress.

When I filled Wayne in on the Sovena Red comic project he was delighted as our interest in Russian history and culture came into play. I made quick and handy use of my new iPhone’s voice recorder to grab some snippets of Wayne’s wisdom concerning Russian superstitions that he had gleaned over the years. I can not wait to work them into the stories.

As more customers came up to Wayne’s table I offered to buy him a couple of adhesive cardboard stands to raise the eye-line of some of his great War pinup pieces rather than leave them flat on the table. I gave them to him and promised to return to talk more and buy more of his books. As the Sunday afternoon flew by so quickly I ran out of time and we did not cross paths again. It’s funny the people that you end up remembering the most fondly are sometimes those you least expect. :-)

Heroes Con and on and on…

The 2009 Heroes Con comic convention in Charlotte, North Carolina has been and gone. This was our second year after a wonderful and uplifting experience at the 2008 show. In our first year at Heroes Con we became friends with both the After School Agent and Perhapanauts gang. Between then and now we went to Baltimote Comic Con 2008 and New York Comic Con 2009. This year we spent time with friends both old and new.

Leanne bit off a bit too much in the way of commission work and didn’t get as much time to walk around and meet people as I did, but we’ve learned from the experience and will do better at Baltimore Comic Con in October. Jimmy Aquino and Joe Gonzalez of Comic News Insider interviewed Leanne about her current work and we plugged Blue Milk Special and our friend Kevin Conn’s Lava-Roid comic project. We became good friends with Bryan J.L. Glass and his wife Judy, we got to know Comfort Love and Adam Withers a bit better, AND I met and spoke briefly to the legend Don Rosa… It was a great weekend and far too short.

Rod and Leanne Hannah at Heroes Con 2009The last few weeks (well, the last few months!) have been hectic as Leanne and I rushed around in preparation for Heroes Con. She had her After School Agent 8 page webcomic to complete so that printed copies could be available in time for the Heroes Con. Her backup story with Scott Weinstein also came out today in Perhapanauts #6 (Todd and Craig had advance copies at their table over the weekend). She also had a sketchbook to prepare, and we both had a tonne of Blue Milk Special material to take care of as well. At the same time I’ve been hard at work getting my first ever comic book project underway which unfortunately would not even be ready for preview form in time for the Heroes Con… however, I have to say it is looking good so far thanks to John Amor’s amazing work.

As far as Heroes Con is concerned we were cutting things pretty close. We had two 7 foot tall scroll banners with display stands being made and shipped directly to the Westin Charlotte hotel to guarantee we would get them in time due to our having to put the majority of a day aside just to drive down there from Maryland. The banners were there waiting for us on Thursday so we tried them out in the hotel room. Leanne almost cried. They DID look amazing. Heroes once again proved to be a great show for her.

For me, Comic Conventions have always been ‘Leanne shows’. There’s no jealousy there, but there is a sense of feeling a little perfunctory to what’s going on. I have worked on my writing over the years, initially dabbling with animation scripting and journalism, but it has been children’s novelization that has really pulled the strongest. However, comics provide another avenue for me to share my imagination with others so being married to an artist seemed like the perfect team just waiting to happen.

The catch was that Leanne has been tied up with a 9-5 ‘office job from hell’ for the past few years. The only time she has to work on her art is an hour or so each evening, and then a few hours (if she’s lucky) on the weekend. Trying to complete a large or even a small comic book project with such little time to spare can quickly fill her schedule for an entire year. Then there’s the self doubt that affects us both when it comes to our arguable talent. Okay, I’m being modest and self depreciating, but that’s better than being an arrogant delusional prick.

Mainstream comics for me have always felt stifling and a creative dead end. I can see it being a lot of fun to write a famous comic hero but just how satisfying can it be when the character is bogged down into a statis quo by the weight of its history? Leanne has taken more interest in independent comics of late (DC’s canceling Robin did not help) and started a slow shift away from the mainstream as a reader. Now the only thing keeping our creative pairing apart is time.

We have a bit of a dilemma… Working full time at home would allow Leanne to commit to projects with tighter deadlines, to complete more projects in a year, and hopefully work together as husband and wife like our heroes Adam Whiters and Comfort Love. As it stands, I will always step back in favor of Leanne getting greater exposure through working with an established creator. Already, Leanne has drips and drabs of work and promised work that has her booked for the rest of this year and all of this keeps us from being able to work together. Which is why we agreed that I would fund my own project and hire an artist.

After several scripts for different comic book ideas, I had to put each aside because Leanne loved all of them and wanted to be the artist. Hell, I want her to be the artist for all of them! But if we keep postponing things then it could be another two or three years before the stars align. Finally we settled on Sovena Red as the project that she would graciously pass on and allow me to hire another artist. You can read more about Sovena Red here on the site.

That’s when I ran into all that fluff with Davy Screwball (see previous blog entries), as well as the scam artist Josh Hoopes who was using the new alias Ron Runstrom at the time. ‘Ron’ was using Robbi Rodriguez’s superb sequential pages to get a 50-75% upfront fee from aspiring wide-eyed writers and then drop out of contact, keeping the money and never to be heard from again. I came close to being one of his victims.

It was at Heroes Con last weekend that I found Robbi Rodriguez (coincidentally, he was at a table not far from out own) and we talked about what had been going on with our friend Ron. We had both seen Rich Johnston’s excellent article exposing Josh’s latest alias “Ron Runstrom” the previous week and quickly bonded over the matter. And this is one of the coolest things about the show for me. Although Robbi’s work was being used fraudulently by Josh Hoopes, and although I nearly lost $700 bucks, it let both myself and Robbi get to know a bit about each other’s character and subsequently become fast friends. The irony is that I heaped praise upon the ears of ‘Ron Runstrom’ when I spoke to him over the phone, telling this slime ball about how wonderful his artwork was and how his liberating style reminded me of Michael Golden and Don Bluth, only to later learn that I had been worshiping an impostor. Robbi, I hope I made up for this at the show. :-)

Robbi generously, and quite without prompting, offered to draw me a cover for Sovena Red after hearing my other crappy story about Davy Screwball. Robbi is now my new hero! Oh, and Leanne and I realized later at the reception for the Auction that Robbi started out with Hero Camp –a title we picked up at a Chicago Con back in 2005! It’s a smaller world than we realized. So, there may have been some positives to come out of what was otherwise a shitty experience for me as a newcomer / wannabe creator in comics.

This time last year, Leanne and I were driving back up to Maryland from Heroes Con and we were talking about how we would have the first issue of our own comic book project ready in a years time for the next show in 2009. However, thanks to Scott Weinstein, Leanne had the opportunity to illustrate a back up story for Perhapanauts, and shortly afterwards Scott paid her to illustrate his After School Agent webcomic. There’s no sarcasm here, as I really owe Scott so much. Both Leanne and myself do. Scott has helped encourage Leanne and given her projects that have helped her refine her sequential storytelling and character work, all of which has seen publication. Working on these projects chewed up most of the year, and in the rest of that time she managed a few pinups and sketches but there certainly was no time for our own project which would have been in the husband and wife vein of Comfort Love’s and Adam Wither’s comic project the Uniques.

After New York Comic Con in February 2009, I decided that I wanted to do whatever I could to try and break out into full time writing. So to bring this all back around to where I was heading with this little write up, I’m now looking at these upcoming cons as ways to meet other writers and artists as one of them myself. So now, rather than flatter myself as Leanne’s arm dressing (I’m usually more her bus boy), I’m now at the cons with a purpose too.

Well, my recollections of the Heroes Con 2009 seem a bit disjointed and whimsical upon re-reading, but there’s one last thing I’d like to mention in closing. A big thank you to Jon Kallis, without whom, Leanne and myself would have had only half the fun and peace of mind. Jon kept Leanne company at the table, helped keep the table stocked, and generally kept our backs covered whenever we needed it during a very busy three days. Thanks Jon!


‘Con-Artist’ seems an appropriate title for today’s impromptu blog post. You’d think it would be about my terrible experience with the ‘screwy artist’ who we’ll call Davy Screwball from this day forth. However, I have another story to share about the perils of working with freelance artists. I just learned that in April of this year I came close to losing $660 dollars with one of the first artists that I seriously considered for my first comic book project. — edit: my gripe is not with true professional artists, it’s with those that offer themselves as such but do not conduct their business that way —

Tek Jansen - Stephen ColbertLast Friday, Rich Johnston posted news on his site that he had exposed the previously infamous Josh Hoopes, a comic book con-artist who was running a scam where he tried to pass off other people’s sequential and pinup work as his own in order to get hired. Once he received his 50% he would run off, never to be heard from again. Rich’s article is vital reading for any aspiring comic book creator and any fan surfing the net looking for artists to draw them commissions… because this could happen to you!

Josh Hoopes Scam Artist Returns, This Time Using Stephen Colbert

Josh Hoopes recently resurfaced with the new pseudonym, Ron Runstrom. He was responding to writers posting their advertisements in the ‘help wanted’ section of Digital Webbing. He provided the potential client with a photobucket website which hosted a small collection of pinups and sequential pages. In case you have already guessed, I was one of those potential clients.

When I saw Rich Johnston’s article about Josh Hoopes / Ron Runstrom last Friday, my jaw dropped.

Although I didn’t go ahead and use Ron Runstrom as my sequential artist back in April, I came close and even spoke to him on the phone three times over the course of a week. I had no idea that the work he was passing off as his own was, in fact, the work of other vastly superior artists. I wouldn’t just have been ripped off… my money would have been stolen!

Here’s how I avoided falling into his trap.

Ron’s “Stephen Colbert / Tek Jansen” comic sequential pages were stunning. The fact they were really the work of artist Robbi Rodriguez was something I had no idea about. I never did the research to learn this truth myself because I had no reason to doubt him at the time, so instead I took him at his word. The style in the Tek Jansen pages was perfect for the tone of my comic project (specifically with the characters) yet theses pages did not have enough in the way of backgrounds for me to be fully confident. My script needed an artist who could tackle the much more visually demanding contemporary urban locales. I asked Ron if he had more sequentials with backgrounds.

Ron could obviously tell I was getting itchy feet and we talked over the phone. I wanted to get a feel for him as a person because I wanted to gauge my potential artist’s interest in my project, and also know that we would be able to communicate clearly which would benefit his interpretation of script. I called Ron and we introduced ourselves. I explained my accent with the story of how I met Leanne and immigrated to America to marry her. Ron told me he too had undergone a long distance relationship that resulted in his Peruvian (or was it Chilean) wife immigrating by way of marriage. Perhaps this was true? We had a shared experience to bond over. He told me how badly he and his family needed the money that this project would give them. He told me he had six kids…

At this point you are probably laughing at me thinking it was obvious he was making it up and playing to my humanity (yes I have humanity tucked away somewhere)… And yes, at the time, I knew he was playing for sympathy, but I took it more as a struggling artist desperate for a dime.

I felt that I liked the guy, but told him he just did not have enough samples on his site to give me the confidence that he could handle the more complicated background scenes. He claimed he had a broken scanner but would get it fixed tomorrow and get me some more samples. This unsettled me a bit. An artist with a broken scanner? He was starting to sound flaky and unreliable.

I was torn… Ron’s page rate was around $60 dollars per page for both pencils and inks. This is an extremely competitive rate. Being a kind-hearted idiot, I felt I could offer to pay him more as the quality of his work truly deserved it. I figured it would help this ‘struggling artist’ out, and hopefully it would inspire him to do some really good work for me. My problem is that when I meet deserving people, I really want to see them make it.

A couple of days passed before I received more sequential samples. They were more Tek Jansen pages and very sporadically chosen. However, it did remind me of how much I liked the art and how I seemed to have found a superb artist who was just looking for another break. I told him over the phone that if he could blow me away with some rough character sketches from my script in his Tek Jansen style then I might be willing to take that chance on him despite his lack of backgrounds. He made several excuses, but I was honest with him that I had several other people in mind who were decent on characters and very strong on urban environments. He agreed to sketch me some samples.

A day or two later he sent me three sketches. All three sketches were in a completely different art style from one another, and none were anywhere remotely similar to the style from Tek Jansen. It was like looking at two different artists…

I emailed him back asking what was going on? He called me that evening and he explained that just over a year ago he was on the sharp end of some really harsh portfolio reviews based on his Tek Jansen style . As a result he took a break and almost gave up as a comics illustrator. However, now that he was getting back into it, he was just a bit rusty. If I didn’t hire him then he told me he might have to give up forever.

I can be quite business like when it comes to my hard earned money, so I told him in all honesty that his current style was not something I wanted for the book. He was unhappy, but gracious. I actually felt a little bad, but c’est la vie. I work hard to earn my money, and I don’t make a living from writing either. Anyway, that was the last I heard about Ron Runstrom until last Friday, June 12th.

Between Josh Hoopes and ‘Davy Screwball’ (see my previous entry) I’ve been given a major wake up call.

Lack of a real contract with Davy Screwball was one of the key reasons things became as bad as they did in the space of a couple of emails. However, thus far, I usually send a formal contract which both myself and the artist sign. This is what I have done with John Amor (Sovena Red’s sequential artist), Luis Lasahido (Sovena Red #1 original cover illustrator) and Osmarco Valladao (Sovena Red logo designer). All received and signed contracts, and all have been very professional to work with.

In the case of Davy Screwball I waived a formal contract because he insinuated it was more than was necessary and an email agreement was binding enough. In addition to this, he was somewhat known, and had worked with people I knew, so I felt that perhaps I was being too anal about contracts and should lighten up a bit. However, had I actually spoken to my peers about their experiences with him I would have learned that it was far from desirable.

In the case of Josh Hoopes / Ron Runstrom a formal contract would have done what? The contract would have done nothing to get my money back once he received it and dropped off the face of the Earth. So what can an honest guy with very little money do to protect himself?

People are people… and unless you live with a smiling purple dinosaur and sing happy songs all day about sharing and kindness, you’ll know that most people are self interested, and some far more so than others. In my experience there are few genuine Saints and Samaritans. The comics industry might even have a larger share of them given the number of starving artists out there desperate to make a buck with their careers going nowhere. Taking lazy shortcuts, and being overly sensitive and egotistical are traits that might not be uncommon among ‘professional‘ artists willing to exploit clients over their perceived naivety.

My advice from this experience is to simply TALK to everyone you can about the potential artist you are considering… not just to their fans, but to people who have actually worked with them before. This may be hard to do, but do whatever you can to be confident they aren’t a fly-by-night con artist, or an egotistical bully out to get your money without breaking the sweat that your hard earned cash deserves.

If you are a writer funding your own project then you need someone who is going to be reliable. You need someone who will work with you when elements of the art need revision, as well as having at least some modicum of talent. It’s now clearer and clearer to me why the overall quality of art in the majority of books on www.IndyPlanet.com is so low. It’s a rare thing indeed to find an artist who can draw well and is also prepared to work at giving you what you want for your budget and deadline. So even if the art may be a bit unrefined, if the artist can at least deliver a finished product then that is one small miracle in itself!

Fool’s rush in where Angel’s fear to tread is one of those proverbs that we’ve all heard a billion times. So if you don’t know if you should fear to tread the waters of hiring a lesser known freelance artist for your project, DON’T RUSH IN!