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18 Tips for Comic Book Artists by Jean “Moebius” Giraud: #17

17) When new work has been sent to an editor and it receives a rejection, you should always ask for and try to discover the reasons for the rejection.

Don’t take it personally.

What you hear might sting a little, but it also just might possibly put you on the path to making you a better artist.

As I often put it to my students:

Criticism is a gift. If the person criticizing your work knows what they’re talking about, listen carefully. Their criticism may sting a bit but it’s intended to make you better so, ultimately, what’s the downside? And if they don’t know what they’re talking about, then who cares?

If I want someone to tell me my work is great, I’ll show it to my mom. She never fails me. But her telling me I’m great is not going to make me a better artist.

By studying the reasons for our failure, only then can we begin to learn. It is not about struggle with our limitations, with the public or with the publishers.

You are not in competition with anyone but yourself.

Everyone develops at a different pace or rate, so stop comparing yourself to other artists. You should be working to become the best you that you can be.

One should treat it with more of an aikido approach. It is the very strength and power of our adversary that is used as the key to his defeat.

Here’s a personal example that also relates to the joke:
Q: Why did the hippie cross the road?
A: Because someone told him not to.

While I was in art school, I turned in an assignment in one of my illustration classes. My instructor, a an old school workaday illustrator named Sy Mezerow looked at it and said, “Your lettering is terrible. You should give up on lettering — don’t even try. Leave it to someone who is good at it.”

That really pissed me off. With a big, youthful chip on my shoulder I was determined to show him or anyone else who saw my work that I could be a damn fine letterer. I worked long and hard on my lettering skills. Eventually, I received satisfying vindication when some of the jobs I got in the movie poster advertising industry were solely for those skills I had perfected (the title lettering for the James Bond movie Octopussy is an example).

Art by my pal Dan Goozee...
...lettering by Yours Truly.

Next: Drawing as Communication

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1 thought on “18 Tips for Comic Book Artists by Jean “Moebius” Giraud: #17

  1. Oh my, now I am nerding out. I have always loved the Octopussy lettering. Lettering is what I like to do.

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