Visual story-telling, manga, graphic novels, anime, artistic explorations all imply the much-loved comic books. The world of comic books is a magic fix magnetizing a whole lot of people from coon’s age. The network of comic books was decentralized – location-specific comics, culture-specific comics were witnessed yet adored by fans around the globe. It’s wondrous to know that comics also gave rise to one of the most cherished industries today—Films.

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Comic book Career_©www.verdict.co.uk

Evolution 

Comic book art magnetized the audience when it was all about the movies and hand-drawn animation has just re-acquainted the lost prominence for reading in individuals. The evolution of comic art can be enunciated as an organic process that originated from radio shows. Its history shows the dynamism in the evolution, which has been shaped by several artists pertinent to the different contexts, cultures, and beliefs yet accepted by the audience across the globe.

The Golden Age (1938-1950)

It all began in 1938, which was called the golden age. Comics of this age depicted the crystal clear segregation of good and evil and created sensitivity through its narrative. It was everything that a child would dream of, from gaining larger-than-life powers like superheroes to overcome their bullies to relish the world of adventure.

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Golden age’s idealism_©99designs.com
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Action comics by Marvel_©comicvine.gamespot.com

The Silver Age (1950-1971)

The Silver Age of comics witnessed the inception of genres like horror, terror, and crime. The innocence and impulse of the golden age no longer lasted as the belief of victory of good over evil diluted against time. Owing to many incidents of warfare, terror and horror have taken the place of stories of good and evil. 

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Silver Age comics -Marvel_©www.marvel.com
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The Incredible Hulk by Marvel_©www.marvel.com

These comics were so effective that morality groups often condemned them, saying “junk food for the young mind.” These comics were characterized by disturbing imagery, pop art, dark themes, etc.

The Bronze Age (1971-1980)

The bronze age was less lustrous than the carefree Golden Age or the experimental Silver Age. It was embarked with the creation of another superhero, spiderman, with even tougher enemies—Dealing with the urban landscape and gritty reality of urban life, closer to real situations, were evident in the comics.

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Bronze Age of DC COMICS_©www.wikiwand.com
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Demon In a Bottle -Comic by Marvel_©comicvine.gamespot.com

The depth of focus and lighting led to the “cinematic style” that evoked emotional connection in the readers.

The Dark Age (1980-1993)

Until the dark age, it was all about the Golden age’s uncomplicated right and wrong and filled the readers with unopposed enlightenment. But the dark age has portrayed the hero’s world as gritty as the antagonists. Writers of this age not only muddled distinctions between the hero and villains but also divulged that it was non-existent.

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“Watchmen” – a celebration and deconstruction of the myths of superhero_©www.polygon.com

Sardonically, despite not being dark after all, it has got its name from the imagery—playing around with the lighting, deep, dark, and contrasting colours. After all, the freedom of creative expression was attained through any medium by not limiting the genres.

The Ageless Age (1993-Present Day)

The dynamism in the comic book evolution has led the path for today’s comic art style where there is no definitive way to classify it. Factors such as advanced technology, television, and video games have shaped the comics adaptable, desirable by all contemporaries. It’s the time when superheroes no longer have to be heroic; writers no longer were neck-to-neck with publishing agents.

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Chew by John Layman and Rob Guillory_©www.themarysue.com

It was stylized with a wide variety of art styles- digital paintings, illustrations, motion comics, animations, films, graphic novels. Now is the time where anything imagined can be possible.

Career scope

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that the employment opportunities for comic book artists will grow by 3% from 2014 to 2024. Comic book artists can work as freelancers as full-time jobs at the finest companies. Typical job opportunities are available for comic book artists at book publishing, electronic magazines, online media, and the video game industry. They can also form a company with other artists who have more freedom to explore. 

This team may consist of assistant comic artists, marketing agents, story writers, and creative directors. They often collaborate with publishing companies and other organizations such as  Nickelodeon Animation, DC Entertainment, Streetside Stories, TryNFail media, The Third Cartel, Squat New York, Quantum Mechanix, etc., and build a network.

Qualifications

Bachelor’s degrees offered by colleges and schools in varying degrees and bachelor courses provide easy access to jobs. Bachelor’s degrees include a degree in Art with the support of drawing and illustration skills. Besides bachelor degrees, Courseworks in fine art, art, studio art, and design can make one’s resume unparalleled. Qualifications with any added skills would showcase the talent of the individual in the best means.

Skills you need to steal the show…

Dedication can wreck the greatest obstructions in one’s success path. As one can expect, artistic ability tops the list, which includes conceiving concepts into sketches. Creativity, visualization, conceptualization, and interpretation skills go hand in hand with artistic ability.

Because comic art these days is generated through digital media considering the printed comics as well, it is important to get used to the interface of sketching software such as Procreate, Autodesk Sketchbook, etc. 

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Apps for sketching and illustration_©99designs.com

Drawing tablets are of great help when coming to sketching software. As the interface is different from the hand-done sketches, it is important to attain coordination between the hand and brain. Besides this software, it is necessary to be competent in using editing software such as Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, etc., to do the final tweaking to be done.

However, creation always starts on paper. So to put down the ideas, concepts on the paper, first proper interpretation skills are indispensable. Owning an armoury of stationery, selection of media such as colour pencils, watercolours, Copic markers, oil pastels, etc., for representing one’s art is required.

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Drawing and sketching media_©www.metmuseum.org

In the light of the comic art style, the main character and many minor characters were always sighted.To illustrate the ideas effectively, the scale and proportions of the human body should be understood.

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Social media and Art_©www.artworkarchive.com

One of the many ways to bring one’s comic art to light is social media. Instagram, Facebook, Artist’s website, Application, etc. To connect with a good many people, updating oneself with the technology and changes is constructive.

Know your best destination for work

Despite the fondness of comics reaped from all over the world, its market is strong and fostered in countries like Japan-Manga, USA, France- Franco Belgian comics. They present opportunities for comic art to grow and address issues at a larger scale.  

Japan

It has the strongest comic book market ever, with a wide audience from all parts of the world. Japanese comics or graphic novels are commonly known as Manga and people of all ages read them. It covers a wide range of genres such as action, adventure, drama, romance, horror, mystery, etc. This renders freedom to the artists to explore their interests.

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Manga Artists_©homeworkfor.me

Manga artists usually have a company that involves few assistants, a creative director from a commercial publishing company. Manga artists in Japan, on average, get paid around  ¥4 million (38,363 USD) to ¥6.6 million (63,300 USD) yen per year and a manga artist assistant gets paid around ¥200,000 a month.

USA

American comics, which retrace their origin in the United States of America, gained acceptance with the original action Comics such as superhero superman, The Flash in Showcase #4, etc. They are one of the major comic books globally, along with Franco-Belgian comic books and Japanese Manga.

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American Comic creators_©en.wikipedia.org

The average salary for an American comic book artist is around $41,643 annually. This can vary contingent upon the factors such as education, certifications, additional skills from $34,698 to $50,321. 

France

Franco-Belgian comics referred to as Bandes dessinées, which means ‘drawn strips’ are initiated for readers across France and Belgium in the French language. French comics are cherished more than American comics. Unlike the American comics, every French book store has a dedicated section for these comics, which need a distinguished store.

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Franco -Belgian Comics_©www.pipelinecomics.com

The average salary of a comic book artist in France is 53 186 €/year or an equivalent hourly rate of 26 €. The junior comic book artists with 1-3 years of experience earn around 38 123 €/year.

Upgrade your portfolio with these courses 

While a Comic book career doesn’t call for formal education, there are myriad courses offered by various platforms. These courses help apprentices enhance their skills according to their requirements.

1. How to Make a Comic Book- Coursera

This course, which is put forth by HTH Graduate School Of Education, is a project-based learning program. The contents of the course are condensed into six parts, wherein each part targets a component of the making of a comic book. It provides freedom of exploring the genres to create a mini-comic which is the outcome of the course.

The platform is open to any queries and doubts that can be accounted for by the instructor thyself. After the completion of the course, one gets certified with a document from the institute.

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Making of a comic book_©www.coursera.org/learn/make-comic-books

Duration: 20 hours
Rating: 4.6/5

2. Comic Creation Classes- Skillshare

Skillshare, which is a well-liked platform for varied online training today, also provides courses to learn comic creation according to the specific requirements of the learners. It includes courses such as Figure Drawing Fundamentals, Drawing Comics, Improves your Figure Drawing, How to Draw a Mindset, Method, and Exercises to enhance one’s skills as required. The classes created by professional comic artists can assure quality learning time.

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Skillshare_©www.skillshare.com
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Skillshare_©www.skillshare.com

Duration: Self-paced
Rating: 4.4 out of 5

3. Comic Book Creation Courses- Udemy

For individuals who are confused about the right comic creation course, Udemy is the best platform that provides varied courses specific to the requirement. Trained by professional comic artists upgrades one’s skills with constructive hands-on experience. The course style is perspicuous which includes lectures, figure designs, real-world examples, and practice exams.  Upon completion of the course successfully, a certificate of completion is awarded to the trainee which further helps to showcase one’s skills. 

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Comic Book Creation_©ramstudioscomics.com

Duration: Self-paced
Rating: 4.4 out of 5

References :

  1. 1.Wikipedia Contributors (2019). Comic book. [online] Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comic_book
  2. Become a Comic Book Artist: Education and Career Roadmap Video (2020). Become a Comic Book Artist: Education and Career Roadmap. [online] Study.com. Available at: https://study.com/articles/Become_a_Comic_Book_Artist_Education_and_Career_Roadmap.html#:~:text=Remember%2C%20to%20become%20a%20successful

Accessed 13 Sep. 2021].

  1. Johnson, J. (2016). The amazing stylistic history of comic books. [online] 99designs. Available at: https://99designs.com/blog/design-history-movements/history-of-comic-book-styles/.https:/99designs.com/blog/design-history-movements/history-of-comic-book-styles/
  2. ‌Centeno, G. (2020). A Very Brief History of Comic Books. [online] BOOK RIOT. Available at: https://bookriot.com/a-very-brief-history-of-comic-books/.
  3. Site built by: Salary.com (2021). Comic Book Artist. [online] Salary.com. Available at: https://www.salary.com/research/salary/posting/comic-book-artist-salary[Accessed 13 Sep. 2021].
  4. The Art Career Project. (n.d.). Comic Book Artist | Requirements | Salary | Jobs |. [online] Available at: https://www.theartcareerproject.com/careers/comic-book-art/.
  5. Study.com. (2016). Become a Comic Book Artist: Education and Career Roadmap. [online] Available at: https://study.com/articles/Become_a_Comic_Book_Artist_Education_and_Career_Roadmap.html.
  6. Institute, E.E.R. (n.d.). Comic Book Writer Salary Paris, France – SalaryExpert. [online] www.salaryexpert.com. Available at: https://www.salaryexpert.com/salary/job/comic-book-writer/france/paris  [Accessed 13 Sep. 2021]
Author

Manya is an architecture student pursuing her Bachelors and loves to explore, learn and grow.She believes in divergent thinking which made her passionate about Research and writing Architecture. Graphic designing and creating pieces of Art interests her and helps her escape reality.

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