This is a little birds & bees for original art newbies who might just be getting into art or graduating from comics scene to the wonderful word of original comics art. It is rough waters to navigate and can be a little intimidating before you get your feet wet. So here’s a little primer for new fans who want to get in the know and get some art.
1) Where is the best place to learn about original comic art?
Well there is a one-two punch for original art education 101 and they are ComicArtFans.com and the Comic Art Group on Yahoo. ComicArtFans.com is the world’s foremost online gallery – a virtual museum – for original comic art. Fans can join for free and have their own gallery themselves or pay for premium membership and benefits. The site offers great reference and thousands of great art to admire and study. It helps fans find out what they like and what they want to pursue themselves. There are published covers, splash pages, interior panel pages, poster art, promotional images, commissions, con sketches and more. It goes hand in hand with Yahoo’s Comic Art Group. The Group has daily posts and discussions on comic art, convention reviews, artwork posting and serves as a great Q&A for those looking for info on art. This could be a great place for you to track down a piece of art when you don’t know where it resides.
2) Who sells original art?
Anyone really but some people might be surprised how many specialty dealers there are who just sell original comic art. Many advertise on ComicArtFans.com but you can also Google search the topic and you would most likely see some of these top dealers, all of whom have many great pieces of art ranging for the beginning collector to the seasoned veteran. Check out guys like Albert Moy, Romitaman (Mike Burkey), Spencer Beck (The Artist’s Choice), Mark Hay (Splashpageart), Graphic Collectibles, Coollinesartwork, Anthony Snyder, Tri-State, and Will Gabri-El. You can also find thousands of classified results from collectors selling their art on ComicArtFans.com. If you have even more disposable income lying around once you exhaust all of those locations you will also find great art up for auction on some with auction houses like Heritage, ComicLink, and the granddaddy of them all…Ebay! Some artists – like Stephanie Buscema – are even using Etsy to set up their own original art store.
3) What about the artists?
Fans can also contact the artist’s directly and buy the art right from the source. Comic artists are incredibly accessible and usually great to chat with. Fans can find them selling their own work at Comic Conventions (from the big ones like San Diego Comic Con and New York Comic Con down to local shows). This is also a great way to get your first piece of comic art – the con sketch. Simply get in line for your favorite artist and pay a nominal fee for your very own sketch of your choice usually ready before the con weekend is over. You can also search for the artist online as many have their own web sites and art reps dealing their art for them.
4) Where can I read about art?
Well aside from the numerous blogs and web sites devoted to comic news (such as Newsarama and Comic Book Resources) fans can always find artist related news in Wizard Magazine. A good place is also the publisher’s web sites (Marvel, DC, Top Cow, Image, Dark Horse) where they are pros at promoting their own books and creators. The best place to learn about comic art and artist’s is TwoMorrow’s publishing. Check them out at their site and start buying up some of their many books and magazines on the history of the medium. Great magazines like Alter Ego, Jack Kirby Collector, Rough Stuff, Write Now! and more coupled with their many artist biographies and books will give you a great understanding of the industry’s rich history. There are a surprising number of books devoted to the comic book industry and people’s fascination with its highs and lows. If you want a great scientific look I cannot recommend Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics. It is one of the best books a comic or comic art fan can read ever. Period.
5) What about Social Media?
The great equalizer. Everyone is one social media in some form or another and the comics industry has embraced this platform full steam ahead. Many writers, creators, and publishers are on Facebook and there are tons of Comic’s pros and industry professionals on Twitter. A great place to just eaves drop on the conversation and soak up knowledge on the hobby and medium. Best thing is if you don’t know something you can simply ask. It is as easy as that.
So what are you waiting for? You have a lot of work to do to catch up. Move it.