Reflection: On Making Comics

Despite being artistically inclined, I knew from a young age that I would never want to do art as a career. It was just so much work. It might take me upwards of ten hours to take a single image from sketch to full color. Taking commissions for that amount of effort seemed so overwhelming that I never bothered, let alone doing that sort of thing for a living.

 

So how do comic artists do it?

 

I wondered that then, and after working on the group project, I’m left even more astounded by the amount and quality of work that comic artists put out every day. While our group of five struggles to get two black-and-white comics out per week, I have seen a single man put out five pages in full color in the same amount of time. I’ve seen some mangaka, with the help of their assistants, produce entire chapters in a week. I know that with our inexperience and limited time, we cannot possibly hope to match people like this, but…how do they do it?! These people are incredible!

 

I must also wonder how much their hands hurt at the end of the day. I know mine doesn’t appreciate working for more than a couple hours at a time.

 

I’ve come to respect how well-coordinated artistic teams must be to keep up the pace they do as well. Even though our group hasn’t had any major problems, it’s simply a matter of fact that having to wait on others slows down the process. Sometimes people are busy and can’t be immediately available to answer questions, or sometimes life happens and you end up working on your part a bit later than is ideal. Stuff like that happens to everyone, and it’s not really anyone’s fault, but it means that the entire process takes a lot longer than it looks like it should.

 

Whenever I read comics now, especially those with impressive artwork, I’m left wondering, how long did it take? Even moreso when a team of people is involved. I was already impressed with Watchmen, but now that I look back at it, I’m astounded that it took three people a mere year to complete the entire book. A year! Team or no, I don’t think I could put out that many comic pages in a decade.

 

Working on comics myself has given me more respect for the process than any other aspect of this class or my previous artistic experience. I’m grateful for it, but I also don’t think I’m prepared to do it again any time soon.