Archive for October, 2011

Really great posts by Leif Peng over at Today’s Inspiration about Illustrator’s compensation in years past.

Fascinated by this article about Albert Dorne (brilliant illustrator and founder of the Famous Artists School) and how he made $5,000 an illustration and $100,000 a year in the 50’s. If you adjust that for 60 years of inflation that’s $46,000 an illustration and one million dollars a year!

Or anecdotes about Rockwell and his contemporaries negotiating fees in the 20’s. Rockwell was getting $500 per Saturday Evening Post cover in 1924, when the average annual family income was just over $1,000.

Definitely check out both articles, but do yourself a favor and go back and dig through previous posts on the site. So much great info on illustrator’s throughout history. Highest recommendation possible.


While debating which of seven different character design variations to choose today, I came to a pretty big realization. It’s actually something so simple and basic that it prompts a “no duh” response.

To work faster, you need to make decisions faster.

It’s as simple as that.

Ask yourself this: what stage of work are you slowest at? I’ll just about guarantee whatever stage you’re slowest at isn’t actually the most labor intensive, but the stage you take the longest to make a decision on. Could be anything– plot, script, character design, location design, page layout, figure drawing, expressions, rendering, inking, lettering, coloring — but on one (or many) of those stages you AGONIZE over what direction to go.

Maybe it’s choosing between three possible panel layouts. Or two different color palettes for the scene. For me, it’s definitely sorting through endless character design possibilities. Should I use this body type on this character or save it for the cool guy in issue two? Who gets this sweet haircut, the girlfriend or the tv show hostess? The amount of decision making that goes into a character design, just bogs me down.

It reminds me of some advice Joe Kubert gave me when I asked him about drawing faster. At first he said the answer to drawing faster was to just force yourself to draw faster. Typical Joe Kubert answer! Thankfully he went on to elaborate a little and basically said that you force yourself to get into the habit of drawing faster. He forced himself to draw faster, setting limits on how long he’d work on something, which in turn forced him to make decisions faster. And the more he pushed himself to make decisions faster, the faster the decision making process became.

It’s much easier said than done, but I’m hoping now that I’m more conscious of it, when I start to get bogged down on a certain stage, I can realize I just need to evaluate things, make a decision and get on with it.

Want to work faster?

Sit your butt in the chair and make some decisions.


Had an awesome time catching up with everyone at New York Comic Con. One of the highlights of the week was a night on the town with Paul Pope and friends. Since Paul outed himself on twitter and Chris Hardwick mentioned it during the Legendary panel at New York Comic Con, I’m gonna confirm that Paul Pope does indeed have a badass Nostromo patch on vest.

For the uncool, the Nostromo was the name of the ship in the original Alien film. The patch itself was designed by Academy Award-winning costume designer John Mollo (Star Wars, Alien, Empire Strikes Back). Paul has that patch sewed on the back of his vest, unironically embracing his fandom.

In the photo of Paul below, you can just barely make out the patch on his vest. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that my photo of Paul looks just like one of his drawings. It’s even got that Paul Pope light trail effect to it.

Paul Pope with Nostromo Patch

Paul Pope Light Trail Effect

Nostromo Patch

Nostromo Crew Patch


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