I decided to respond to an application the other day looking for previously unknown or unpublished comic artists. The contest was through Deviant Art ( http://news.deviantart.com ) and if selected you can earn a free trip to San Diego Comic Con which would be amazing. I think I fit the bill as an unknown comic artist and so I scrambled for the last three days to find the right portfolio material and come up with a brilliant artist’s statement:
I’m Erik, a driven comic illustrator always looking to improve my own artistic skills and visual storytelling. I love writing and illustrating stories that convey a sense of fun, humor, drama, and excitement! I enjoy making my artwork a feast for the eyes through strong lines, cartoon violence, playful and immersive landscapes, scrappy handwritten dialogue, and a fearless use of vibrant color. My artistic inspiration comes more from European and American comics, as well as indie comics, underground comics, and low-brow art. I always am pushing myself to discover new experimental ways of telling a story having worked on animation projects, children’s books, storyboards, film, and photography.
After I thought I had everything figured out I went back to the rules and guidelines page and reread them just to make sure I was on target. Apparently I wasn’t. They are looking for “Emerging Comic Artists”. What does that mean?
As part of deviantART’s sponsorship of Artists’ Alley, we’ll be providing two scholarships to emerging artists — one web-based comic artist and one traditionally-based comic artist — who will be guests of deviantART and Comic-Con. The chosen artists will spend two days at Comic-Con, where they will be able to cruise the convention floor, attend panels, and be introduced to prominent artists in the industry; with a chance to pick their brains and gain artistic inspiration right from the source.
Okay, so they siphon this emerging artist thing down further saying they are looking for:
Now I am definitely the first article here,.. talented, graphic, looking to expand, etc. However I don’t think I have a chance to be considered this year judging by the second article. I have only just begun self publishing, have no sales, have yet to attend any local comic cons, and have very little reproductions of my best work to show. I am very much unprepared. To me the second bullet point refers directly to someone who might already be signed on to a publisher or already have a massive following online; which if this is the case, they don’t need a free ride to Comic Con and they are already beyond,”Emerging”.
That being said you read further and see the last part…
These scholarships will not be awarded to anyone who is professionally engaged or employed full-time in the graphic comic and publishing industries. We’re looking for unknown and under-appreciated artists with amazing skills.
I don’t know who the hell they are looking for to apply for this thing. To me this contest is asking a hell of a lot from artists working out of their basement, but it is also far too exclusive for really well polished established artists who are already making a bit of a living from their work.
I’ll try again next year, maybe when I have more work that’s unpublished but good-enough-to-be-published so that I have to turn away publishers from signing me on while also maintaining an online following that under-appreciates me. Then I will have a chance.