Question about working with writers

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Cities
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Question about working with writers

Post by Cities » Mon Dec 17, 2007 2:49 pm

I have a question for any artists who have worked with a separate writer on a piece. First, I suppose, how did you meet or decide to work with said writer? Did the writer approach you, or did you approach the writer? My next question is whether this is a particularly enjoyable way of working. Is it fun to work with another person on the same material, or do you find it constricting?

I'm asking because I have almost a whole story arc scripted and have three consecutive story arcs outlined. I'm interested in finding an artist to work with, but don't know how to go about doing so. Thanks :)

Jackson

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thirdeyeh
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Post by thirdeyeh » Mon Dec 17, 2007 11:51 pm

I personally find it very constricting to work with another writer. Mainly because the story is WHY I draw comics. I want to tell a story. So I find it very suffocating if I have to draw a script I didn't get to write or have a huge part in the creation process. Now my experience comes mainly from one bad experience regarding this and it was because it was pretty much a "I'm the writer, you're the artist" type thing. We both just felt too strongly about what kinds of stories we wanted to tell. That doesn't mean that if a writer came along with the right script I wouldn't jump. It just hasn't happened.

I think if you do get someone, be open to them influencing the story. Most comic artists want to be writers too so we feel very strongly about theis type of issue. Just be open.
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Blom
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Re: Question about working with writers

Post by Blom » Tue Dec 18, 2007 12:54 am

I don`t think there is a fixed way to this. But I do think it helps if you know the person you are going to work with. And I think the one who approach is the one who has to have the control. I think if you try making some short stories and try to work with a illustrator before you come with the big great thing. This way you both find out if it`s fun to work this way. Also, making big projects often take time for an illustrator, and then you got the money issue. The artist needs to live when making it, so if your script is getting published it also may be more easy.

I think the best way is to get to know the illustrator/artist before starting up. So then it may be a good thing to go to places where you find other artists. Cons may be a good way, also your local community can be the place to find one.

I do both writing and illustration, but I do also some writing work on something that is going to be an animated TV series for kids. And from past experience, working with others is fun, but you need to put up the rules on who does what, and how your going to work with the creation.

Some movies that may help you, American Splendor, made up from a comic. Also if you find the movie "The Wizard of Speed and Time" you may find some inspiration, but that cult-movie is hard to find...
Also on the 2disk DVD Bambi from Disney, you find a transcript version of how Disney and his story-men put the story together.

Hope it helps, and good luck! ;)
Tor Harald Blom

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jdalton
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Post by jdalton » Tue Dec 18, 2007 5:31 pm

Well if you pay the artist the relationship suddenly becomes very clear and easy to manage. :P Otherwise I think it works best if it's somebody you already know and are friends with. If you're going to work together with someone on a project "just for fun" as it were, even if you hope it will be profitable at some point in the unforseen future, the way to keep it fun and keep both parties interested in continuing with it is to have it a non-business-like relationship, i.e. a friendship.

I'm working now on a collaborative project for the first time ever, and I wouldn't do it if we weren't friends first.
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Post by Prankster » Thu Dec 20, 2007 10:13 am

thirdeyeh wrote:I personally find it very constricting to work with another writer. Mainly because the story is WHY I draw comics. I want to tell a story. So I find it very suffocating if I have to draw a script I didn't get to write or have a huge part in the creation process. Now my experience comes mainly from one bad experience regarding this and it was because it was pretty much a "I'm the writer, you're the artist" type thing. We both just felt too strongly about what kinds of stories we wanted to tell.
As a writer who's worked with other artists on freelance projects, I try my darnedest to avoid stuff like this. I think there's a tendency for a writer to start bossing the artist around if he's not careful. It's understandable; that's sort of what the writer is doing anyway, giving directions to the artist. But you have to be flexible and always remember that you're collaborating, and that artists often have a lot to contribute to the story as well as the art. A lot of weak or bland comic stories have been saved by clever designs or other artistic touches.

As for finding an artist to work with...well, as you may have noticed, I put up a thread asking if anyone was interested in working with me, and I got zero responses. :) Artists aren't usually too keen in jumping on board a writer's script if it's going to involve them grinding out 100 pages or whatever. Other than talking to an artist who's an actual friend of yours, as mentioned, the best solution is to pay the artist. It can be a blow to your bank account, but it'll help you get consistant work and make sure the relationship is stable.

An artist may also be willing to do something for free if it's a short script, 8-12 pages or so. That's about the length of a standard submission, too, so you might be able to work something out whereby you do this and try getting interest from a publisher. You might even want to make a deal where you get an artist interested in drawing a longer comic for you, but offer to pay them a page rate to do the first few pages, with the hope that a publisher will pay both of you to do the rest. Of course, it helps to have a brilliant idea for a story, something the artist would never have thought of on his or her own...

Finally, you can try something which I've found fairly successful: find an artist with some ideas for a strip or book but no writing ability, and offer to write for them. A lot of writers can't stand this because it means they're not in control of the narrative, but if you can be open-minded and adapt to someone else's material--which is also good practice for a writer--you may find it to be a good fit. Obviously you have an artist that comes attached to the material, and who's already passionate about it; as long as you can avoid sticking an alien invasion in the middle of their sensitive, poetic love story, it should work out OK.
Check out my comics and stuff at Phantasmic Tales.

Cities
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Post by Cities » Sun Dec 23, 2007 10:44 am

Okay, cool. Thanks a lot for the input, guys. I really feel like I have a better grasp on what to do next!

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