I don’t get many chances to talk about being an artist on a science blog, but as somebody who only recently was able to make comics a full-time profession, I am a huge proponent of fair wages and practices for creative professionals.
Particularly when it comes to being paid. In my early years, I did a lot of unpaid work. After graduating college, it was 100% normal to pencil and entire comic book on the promises of “money after publishing.” It was a rotten system, and I quit drawing comics for years until I started my old science comic. So when I was asked by a science organization to submit a comic for their annual calendar, the timing couldn’t have been better. I was already amped up about creative contests.
For the purposes of keeping this post evergreen, I’ll spare the details. If you’re curious, the full post (and links to follow-up posts) can be viewed over at Popular Science.
If I could give only one piece of advice for young creatives looking to “break in”, “make it”, or get “discovered”, it would be this:
- Is your contest spec work? Find out at No!Spec’s website.
- If you’re looking for fresh voices, artists on the internet usually make themselves pretty known. Just scroll through sites like Tumblr sometime. If you’re able to spam a hundred cartoonists, but still need to “find new voices” through a contest, something is very wrong.
- Oh hey, Symbiartic’s Glendon Mellow put together a handy list of science artists on twitter.
- Don’t spam this list with your contest. There are circles of hell reserved for such betrayals of trust.
- Glendon also wrote this piece titled, “So You Want to Hire a Science Illustrator.” He’s really cool like that.
- If you still want to do an open call, collect pitches instead of finished works. Work together with creatives, rather than taking an “I’ll know it when I see it” attitude.
- [Update 12/22/2016] It’s also 100% possible to have a fun, non-spec contest. Just ask yourself “Who’s benefiting here?” If it’s you (the contest holder), you might want to go back to the top of this list.