Wanna break into comics? It's tough, but Top Cow can help.
For Writers:Unfortunately at this time Top Cow is not accepting unsolicited ideas or scripts from writers. We do offer the following advice for writers on how to break into comics. First and foremost, write, write, write, and write some more. Reading is equally important. Read prose, screenplays, non-fiction, essays, and even comics. Read books and take courses on the art of writing and story structure when possible. There is no standard format for writing comic book scripts, but we’ve included several sample scripts below for pencilers, which can serve as reference.
When you feel you are ready to start sharing your writing with the world at large – self publish. You will need to find an artist or artists to draw your story and learn how to resolve production issues, but this will ultimately help you in the long run. Self-publishing can be with small print runs or ashcans released at conventions, print on demand comics offered online, or even a web comic. If your work is good a larger publisher will eventually notice you. Publishers are always on the lookout for promising young professional writers. For an excellent example of a writer who started out self-publishing mini-comics at his local copy shop before moving forward to writing in mainstream comics, pick up Common Grounds by Troy Hickman. Almost every script in Common Grounds originally appeared in a mini-comic drawn and self-published under the title “Holey Crullers!” For Pencilers or Complete Artists:Send three to six pages of sequential art. Demonstrate your ability to tell a story using sequential panels and pages. Choose a story that allows you to showcase not only your strong points but utilizes a wide range of settings, situations, props and character types. If possible include the story/plot pages you worked from. You may also include one to two pinup or cover type work if you wish. It is very rare that we hire any artist purely for pinup or cover work. Please use existing Top Cow or other published characters. Samples do not need to be of Top Cow characters, but we have included several sample scripts below for your convenience.Quick tips: 1. Backgrounds are as important as dynamic figures! If you send us some great pinup work but either not enough or bland backgrounds you will most likely get filed in the trash. Give us a showcase of all your skills.2. Use a variety of camera angles, depths of shots, and shot selections on each page. The easiest way for an editor to spot a novice penciler is medium shot after medium shot. Your pages don’t just have to be competent, they have to be exciting!3. Your first job is to tell the story. Is your story-telling clear and easy to understand even without the dialogue?4. Hands and feet. Editors look at characters’ hands and feet.Sample scripts available soon!For Inkers:Send three to six pages of sequential art. We’d need to see the original penciled pages for comparison, so be sure to send them as well. Pick pages with the widest range of textures and techniques possible. Choose the type of artist you feel you are most comfortable with and would like to work over. Be sure the pages, or single pieces, you use contain a variety of faces, well-realized backgrounds and figure work.
Please use existing Top Cow or other published characters. Samples do not need to be of Top Cow characters, but we have included several sample pencil pages below for your convenience.Quick tips: 1. Be true to the artist’s intent. Your job is to strengthen and enhance the penciler’s work, not over-ride it with your own intent. Make sure you understand what the artist is trying to convey (shape, shadow, texture) with every line.2. Separate forms and create depth by using varying line thickness, breaking up lines, and different rendering techniques. This is one of the inker’s primary jobs. 3. The tool you use to ink is not important, but use the right tool for the job. Classic tools like nibs and brushes rarely fail in a skilled hand. Typically, technical pens and markers will not give your line the life it needs to enhance the original pencils. Digital inking is an emerging discipline, but remember that computers are no substitute for technique.4. Vary your technique to convey texture. Metal should not be rendered with the same technique as fur or wood for example.For sample pages of Top Cow characters to ink download the images from the following links. Right-click these links and choose “Save target as…” for high resolution 300dpi JPGs. For best results, it is recommended you print these samples in non-photo blue ink on comic book art stock board (ex. Blue Line Pro). 4-6 pages of pencil samples coming soon!For ColoristsSend three to six pages of sequential art. We’d need to see the inked & uncolored pages as well, so be sure to include them with your coloring samples for comparison. Include pages with scene progression, action and quiet scenes, a variety of backgrounds, figures, and faces. Show us you can utilize color to evoke a mood, are conscious of and consistent with lighting, and can clearly separate a scene. Pinups are welcomed as well. Showing a variety of styles and techniques is not necessarily a bad idea, but remember that just like pencilers we are looking for individual voices in colorists, not utility production players. We are looking to hire someone with a vision for color, palette, mood, and atmosphere.
Please use existing Top Cow or other published characters. Samples do not need to be of Top Cow characters, but we have included several sample pencil pages below for your convenience.Quick tips: 1. Color theory is a must. Computers are useful tools, just like paintbrushes or markers, for coloring, but a fundamental understanding of color theory is a must for professional colorists.2. Select pencilers or inkers whose style suits your style of coloring. Colorists are not interchangeable with any penciler or inker and certain techniques or styles are better suited for certain artists. 3. Your primary job is to enhance what the artist drew, elevating it beyond black and white. 4. Study lighting theory. Many times you will be asked to provide information on the light sources, light intensity, and in some cases, complex multiple source environment. Samples penciled and inked pages can be download the following links. Right-click these links and choose “Save target as…” for high resolution 300dpi JPGs. 4-6 pages of pencil samples coming soon!Samples will only be accepted by mail. Send only photocopies – do not send original art! Due to the large number of submissions we will not be able to return your submission.
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