A Short History of Comic Books
Comic books are magazines that are comprised of several comic strips. Many times, these comic strips are all related, and they tell a story. Other comic strips, on the other hand, may be comprised of several different unrelated comic strips.
The comic book has been a source of amusement and entertainment for children and adults alike since the 19th century. Some of these cartoon stories are meant to be very humorous, but the term “comic book” often brings to mind images of colorful and courageous superheroes, along with equally as ghastly super villains.
In the United States, the Golden Age of Comic Books was said to have lasted from the 1930s to the 1950s. It was during this time that some of the most legendary superheroes of all time were introduced. Among this star-studded cast was Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Captain America, and The Green Lantern.
World War II was one of the reasons that comic books were so popular during this time period. Many of the comic books published around this time contained war-themed stories, with gallant superheroes swooping in to save the day. The fact that this form of entertainment was also relatively cheap just made it that much more appealing.
After the war, comic book sales started to drop slowly. In the 1960s and 1970s, however, popularity in underground comics surged, but by the end of the 1980s, mainstream comic books were once again popular. The beginning of the 1990s also saw a boom in comic book sales, with comic book collectors snatching up several copies of a single comic book; the idea was that they would sell them for an amazing profit at a later time. This craze didn’t last long, however, and comic book sales dipped once again in the middle of the decade.
Today, the majority of children and adults get their fill of superheroes and villains from movies and video games, but a handful of hard core comic book lovers are still out there. Comic book artists create these comic books. They also create new characters and design merchandise featuring famous characters.
How Does a Comic Book Artist Find Work?
Comic book artists usually need to work as freelancers, as not many companies actively hire these types of artists. In order to find work, many comic book artists need to seek out authors and publishing houses that create and publish comic books.
Many writers will spread the word that they are seeking the services of a freelance comic book artist. In order to work with a publishing house, however, comic book artists are usually encouraged to send their contact information as well as their portfolios to the publisher.
Some advertising agencies and product design companies might also work with comic book artists.
What Does a Comic Book Artist Do?
A comic book artist illustrates comic books by drawing characters and scenes. Some comic books may recreate vintage comic books, while others are responsible for creating new characters.
Despite the availability of modern computer drawing software, many comic book artists still create their illustrations the old fashioned way. They may use a variety of different mediums, including pencils, pens, and paint.
Along with drawing the characters and scenes for comic books, some comic book artists also write the stories for the comic books as well. A relatively active imagination is usually necessary for this step, since this generally involves constantly coming up with new and different storylines.
Before a comic book is finished, a comic book artist will usually put it together using storyboards. These do not usually contain the quality, in depth images that a comic book has. Instead, they usually contain quick sketches of the different scenes, along with some writing, in order to give publishers an idea of how the finished book will progress.
What Skills and Education are Needed for a Comic Book Career?
Drawing skills, along with a vivid imagination, are essential for a career as a comic book artist. Writing skills are also necessary for individuals who plan on writing the stories and dialogue for comic books as well.
While a formal education is not always necessary for a comic book career, enrolling in an art school usually helps artists strengthen their skills. A stint in art school can also help aspiring comic book artists add a variety of different pieces to their portfolios too.
What is the Average Salary for a Comic book Artist?
Bureau of Labor Statistics does not have any specific information regarding comic book art careers, but it is estimated that these types of artists were paid roughly $100 per page in 2010.
Also, comic book art careers generally fall under the broad category of illustration careers. In 2010, illustrators, along with other fine artists, had an average annual salary of around $53,080.