Draw my mind
November 18, 2012 5:54 AM   Subscribe

I have 3/4 of a graphic novel script in my computer. Where can I learn to draw so I can bring it onto the page?

I have a graphic novel script (Persepolis rather than the Sandman) close to being done. I'd like to see it published, online or on paper.

I can't draw at all. So I see two options and would welcome Mefite insight on one or both.

1- Find someone who'd be interested to draw it. I would envision this as a collaboration rather than a commission, but since it would be on spec or for online publication, I find it hard to imagine this option is either likely or fair. If I'm wrong - how does one go about finding artists looking for scripts?

2- Learn to draw. I am in Central London. Can you recommend specific evening or weekend cartooning/ comic drawing courses for someone who failed drawing in kindergarten? I've seen some at various adult education places or art schools, eg Central St Martins. I'm looking for actual recommendations rather than links I can find for myself, please. I'm also open to suggestions for drawing rather than cartooning courses, if that seems more sensible.

My budget is about 400 pounds though obviously I'd rather spend less.
posted by tavegyl to Education (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You have two tasks in front of you, the first, of course, is to obtain the "graphic" part of your novel. As somone who also "failed drawing" in kindergarten, I suspect the most likely route is to find someone to collaborate with you. This isn't that unusual, you're a novelist in search of an artist, rest assured that there are artists out there in search of a writer. Start networking!

And, the second task is also part of the networking aspect. I'm assuming that the steps look something like: Write novel, find artist, yada, yada, yeda, profit! You need to find the venue to get eyes on your work. A publisher, a web outlet, etc.....

My son's been working, along with an artist partner, on a graphic novel for a number of years now, it's been a long process, and a huge piece of it has been working his contacts and networks (he's fortunate in that he's in the film industry and has worked on a few major graphic novel based projects) to find the publisher that is interested in putting the work into print. Even with his connections this is a huge undertaking.

My advice, get yourself out there in as many settings as you can that connects you with people in the graphic novel, art, publishing industry. Be patient and don't give up...
posted by HuronBob at 6:12 AM on November 18, 2012

how does one go about finding artists looking for scripts?

The one I personally know of married the artist.
posted by sammyo at 6:49 AM on November 18, 2012

Have a look at City Lit courses. They're generally of fairly high quality, and are pretty affordable.
posted by Magnakai at 7:00 AM on November 18, 2012

This isn't about drawing per se, but I'm in the middle of reading Making Comics by Scott McCloud and it's a fantastic book. (In case you do decide to go the solo route.)
posted by lhude sing cuccu at 7:46 AM on November 18, 2012 [2 favorites]

I can't recommend anywhere for you to go in London to learn to draw, but there are books. Reading Drawing On The Right Side Of The Brain (note: also has website) absolutely blew my mind and really, really helped me to learn how to draw. The thing about learning to draw is that your brain has these little shortcuts for drawing embedded in there. Like when someone says, "draw a tree," you draw the #3 tree here rather than the #2 tree because that's what you think a tree looks like. The book literally shakes you up into seeing what a tree really looks like. If you draw something upside down, you'll see what it really looks like without the "shortcuts" telling you otherwise. If you do a drawing with a graph laid over it and you draw each square separately, you'll be able to copy it. It really, really helps. I think that book has probably helped me more than any drawing teacher did, and I've taken....what, four or five drawing classes?

And of course, these days we have the Internet for free lessons. The Virtual Instructor's videos look promising to me.

if you don't know anybody you're close to that can draw for you, I think you're better off learning to draw on your own than you are trying to find some other random human to help you. Random strangers aren't going to be as into your project as you are, and they'll probably want payment in order to do it. And you won't really have as much control over the project. And I keep thinking of this one online comic I used to follow that was great. The writer couldn't draw, so he got someone else to do it for him. And then after awhile that person had to quit for some reason, and I guess their replacement flaked and bailed, so the comic ended. I always thought that was a waste, that that ended because the writer had to rely on flaky people to help him.

I'd also like to point out that there are a few published cartoonists out there that, in my opinion, draw TERRIBLY. Their work is only slightly better than stick feathers and their humans kind of look like vomit. I really can't take the drawing style of this guy, but guess what, he's syndicated anyway despite drawing terrible people. You may not even have to be a good artist in order to get published, as long as people can get across what you're indicating.

Learning to draw is not that bad, honestly. You can do it!
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:36 AM on November 18, 2012 [2 favorites]

you don't need a class to teach you drawing, you do might need a group of like minded people to support you in the endeavour. just start, start drawing people, your surroundings, your thoughts, in the beginning it will suck but i guarantee it'll eventually look like yours.
posted by ahtlast93 at 8:43 AM on November 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

ahtlast93 nailed it. may be the most compact, direct, valid art-related answer i have ever seen here.

it isn't classical art. maybe you can start with stick figures to story board it then make your own style. see xkcd. if you can't tolerate stick figures, perhaps borrow pix from the internets to illustrate it to yourself and then make drawings that look like those.

400 pounds won't buy you much time and you'll need some. if you plan on doing this again, you'll need more, too, so why not learn now how to make your own steel? worth the effort, i bet.

(About 20 miles from me there is a cartoon art school. you could always come there! we have very little here in Vermont, USA, but by damn, we have a cartoon school.)
posted by FauxScot at 10:05 AM on November 18, 2012

When we owned a comic book store I had so many young kids ask me a similar question. Now you are more serious; but like ahtlast93's suggestion, mine was almost the same. Go to the stationary store and buy a ream of paper, a pack of pencils and draw 500 pictures. By halfway you should be getting pretty good and by the time your done pretty competent... if not 500 more pieces of paper will cost you $3-5 more and do it again. One kid took my advice and is a great artist now... and never took a course cost of learning MAYBE $20.00.
posted by mrgroweler at 10:29 AM on November 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

DON'T learn to draw. Instead check out 3D programs, most of which can render in a cartoon style. There are many 3D Programs including DAZ and Animation Master.
posted by Sophont at 11:38 AM on November 18, 2012

I am a professional comic book artist. I've been making comics for the last decade.

Ok. So here is the thing. You need to properly gage your expectations. You're not going to learn to draw well in under five years. It's possible to learn to draw (check out the indredible Jamie McKelvie, a londoner, btw- who learned to draw to an impressive degree very quickly).

To make a webcomic- which is exactly what you should do- print is a waste (you want people to read it, right? Don't print an indie comic.)

These are the things that you should expect:
1. You will not make money (for sure for like six months, prob never. Like really really prob never. Never ever.)
2. Getting someone who can draw well, and who is willing to draw for free is unlikely. The chances go up a lot if it's a completely finished script. Not kidding.
3. Pro creaters absolutly love that you are making comics, even if they don't want to talk about your project.
4. It is completely ok to publish as-is. Find an artist. Draw stick-figures- you can 100% republish your material later. You are not locked into anyhing. There is no law that says that you can't rework the story, publish with another artist. Go for it, just publish.

Have a great time, high five.
posted by Blisterlips at 12:39 PM on November 18, 2012 [2 favorites]

Another excellent artist who "can't draw" - Allie Brosch of Hyperbole and a Half. There's a post (or YouTube video?) somewhere where she talks about her process and how (suprisingly) long each comic takes her. Simple software, lots of work. Plus, her narrative comics about her dogs and childhood are hilarious. =)
posted by jrobin276 at 5:44 PM on November 18, 2012

Response by poster: Hmm. Thanks to all for both advice and encouragement. Maybe I'll give it a shot myself, with the help of copious practice and a few books. Look out in a couple of years on Projects...
posted by tavegyl at 12:34 AM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

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