The short, practical answer: Most business is conducted entirely over email. Your editors may hire you, work with you for years, and if you don’t post selfies or attend conventions, they may never know what you look like. Even if they do know what you look like, editors care more about your quality of work, your timeliness and your professionalism, than any selfie. Be fearless, do the work, make connections online, and of course you can flourish!
The long, twisted answer: Yes. We’re women, it’s inevitable that we’ll be judged, coveted, and derided purely on the basis of our looks, our age, our perceived sexual availability. These judgments crash against us at every turn in life. They’re inescapable, and yes, explicitly or implicitly, from men and from women, you will confront these judgments and many more during your professional career.
If you choose to make your gender public knowledge, some readers will be cruel to you. They’ll seem to single your art out more loudly and consistently than any equivalently accomplished male counterpart’s for pillorying. They’ll call your lines ugly, and in the comments section they will call you ugly. Or, they’ll be too kind to you. It won’t matter how unattractive you may think you are, they’ll speak to you too long at conventions, they’ll stare and say you’re even prettier than your art, and that will be worse, because if you can be the target of such bombastic, lecherous praise, then maybe your art is actually just as bad as you’ve been made to feel.
If you choose to make your gender public knowledge, some readers will support you. They’ll support you unfailingly, they’ll class you as a “woman creator” and they’ll ask you to provide sound bites that speak for all women, though of course that’s impossible. They’ll put you on a “Women in Comics” panel at every show, and often that will be the only panel you’re ever on. They’ll buy your work because you’re a woman, just because you’re a woman.
Have I gotten more or less work because of the way I look? Like you, I bear all the lifelong mental wounds of growing up in this society and consider myself “far from what most would consider attractive.” I think a lot of women do. But when I was first breaking in, I encountered my fair share of sexually charged interest and dismissal, in equal turns. I’ve escaped from gross situations with professionals and never worked with them, but also never spoken publically about those intimidating experiences. I’ve been hired to be in multiple woman-themed anthologies exclusively because I was a woman. I’ve been in an Asian-themed anthology because I’m Asian. Almost any review of my work from the first five years of my career begins, “Drawn by the lovely/beautiful/hot/exotic and talented Ming Doyle…”
Whatever you are in this life, however you look or identify or are identified, it’s going to impact you professionally and personally. Attractive, unattractive, majority, minority, there’s no getting out untouched. And if that sounds grossly generalizing and invasive, that’s because that’s what a lot of these experiences are like.
But remember what I said way back up there in the short answer, about being fearless? Do that. Yes, there’s a host of adversities attached to embarking upon any endeavor as a woman, and comics come with their own unique and prickly set. But if you love what you do, if you’re good at it and you can persevere, if you can access the core of who you are as a person and align that with what you want to accomplish as an artist and hold that knowledge as a shield in front of everything you do, you can make it! And I hope you will, because I want to see you here. For all the awful people who may make the journey rough or unpleasant for you, there is a large number of people who want to employ you and want to stand with you professionally.
Thank you. And please, even after I’ve said all that, GO FOR IT! It’s not going to be easy, but it was never going to be. The secret is that it’s not easy for anyone, and in the end that’s what’s going to make you a goddamn warrior.
AMAZINGLY well said. I have the hardest time summing up all my feelings on this subject.
Beautifully said for “women in comics”.
Reblogging because the economics of creator-owned comics are of interest to me, and because this is the kind of thing I should probably take into account when it comes to who gets their comic pre-ordered, who gets shelf picked, and who gets trade-waited.
…some of my casual wisdom…(via bmontclare)
For thw sake of creator owned!
Ink and wash practise.
microns. too much love. carry me home.
- Gabriel Hardmanmellon)
This is it. The art is the story. It’s that simple.(via benrankel)
Storytelling vs art!
DEAD LETTERS. Sebela, Visions, BOOM!, drops APRIL 2nd.
First issues are tough. good first issues are murder, are rare, are wonderful, and should be shouted about from the rooftops.
DEAD LETTERS #1 is a GREAT first issue. And the hook on its first page is only surpassed by the hook on its last page.
BOOM! might just have the next PREACHER on its hands.
Even better, they have the first DEAD LETTERS on their hands. So to get it in YOURS, call your store, tell ‘em to get it for you. FOC is today.
I’m really excited for DEAD LETTERS. Get this on your list TODAY.
Definitely catching up on this one provided I get the digital copy but this looks like something for sure. Art looks so fine.
Here are few samples that I did for Rupa Publications, India. The project was unique, mainly based on food culture in the southern parts of India. Here were some samples that were done with a story - a relation between the uncle and niece. Have you heard of chettinad cooking by the way? Have you visited the old traditional chettinad households in Tamilnadu? Very old photo, vintage - y looking - this one was done entirely digitally. The other sample is that of an early dawn. There is the cold and the smokin bidi’s.
When I do these, it makes me feel as though, the GREAT south - north divide is probably a myth! Having lived equal portions of my life between Bengal and Bangalore, I feel culturally we have so much in common. We’ve borrowed here and there from each other. I r’ber how I spent my childhood school vacations in my grandparents house, where we had a coutyard too, in a similar fashion. Cooking does bring the members of a family together and sometimes creates unique bonds too like its here.
Lastly, while creating these samples I learnt a new photoshop rendering style you can check the tutorial of creating Vintage look and textures here.
Goodluck and have fun. See you soon.
Tons of tee shirt graphic illustrations! Digitally inked, colored for the kidswear brand PINE for www.babyoye.com. All the graphics were theme related from ‘submarine’, race car driving, air hostess, yoga, badminton etc. Go and pick a piece for your little girl from the guys at babyoye! Its also on SALE now. HURRY.