If you’re not taking the traditional route of pitching to a publisher to find a team for your comic book, don’t worry! You can still create your dream team by filling the different slots required for creating a comic book, including editor, storyboard artist, penciler, inker, colorist, letterer, and project manager. While an editor at a publisher can help you find all the missing parts, you can do it yourself! Although some of these roles can be filled by one person, it’s best to have a team to work on your project efficiently. For example, for The City, I handle writing, storyboarding, and project management, while illustrator Dicky Siregar does pencils and inks, and colorist Dave Praetorius handles colors and letters/bubbles.
Trying to do everything on your own or with a small team can take a long time, so it’s best to find team members who can keep each other accountable and collaborate effectively. Here are some ways to find team members:
- Online forums and social media groups: Look for online communities of comic book creators who are looking to collaborate. There are a handful of Facebook, Reddit, and Discord groups you can try. These groups often have job boards where people can post about their projects and look for collaborators.
- Reddit (Comic Book Collabs): https://www.reddit.com/r/ComicBookCollabs/
- Facebook (Cartoonist Kayfabe Ringside Seats): https://www.facebook.com/groups/2230261113720324
- Discord (The City Creative Community): https://discord.gg/n5gPuchnTu
- Comic book conventions: Attend comic book conventions and meet other creators who are looking for team members. Bring business cards or postcards with information about your project, and be prepared to pitch it to potential collaborators. Do your research and make sure to visit the artist alley and local professional tables. Ask them about any local events or places to meet other like-minded creators.
- Attend Local Art Events: Attend local art events such as art shows and exhibitions to meet artists in your area. You can also post flyers or advertisements at local art schools or art supply stores. Do further research, ask local creators questions whether there are meetups happening. If there isn’t any local creator meetups you can attend, look at online opportunities such as meetup.com
- Local art schools: Check with local art schools or colleges to see if they have any bulletin boards where students can post about their projects or look for collaborators. You can also browse their graduate portfolios and contact those that you like and want to work with. Or better yet, email a coordinator at the school to send out emails to current students and graduates to see if anyone is interested in working on your project. A lot of times, the school will only accept this request if it is a paid gig, so consider this option after you completed fundraising.
- Look for Artist Portfolios: Search online for artist portfolios and websites that feature work from comic book artists. Look for artists whose styles match the tone and feel of your project, and contact them to see if they would be interested in collaborating. Twitter and Instagram are great platforms to see what creators are working on. Research hashtags to surf and explore artists that you can contact around the world.
- Freelance websites: Websites like Upwork, Fiverr, or Freelancer can be a good way to find freelance artists or writers for your project. Make sure to check their portfolios and reviews before hiring them.
- Word-to-mouth: Don’t be afraid to ask a friend to handle some of the duties!! Seriously!! Anybody can learn to do project management. Anybody can give you some feedback on your script as an editor. Maybe they need to take a Youtube class or two to learn how to letter and bubble, but who cares as long as the job gets done? You may be surprised of what your friends are capable of!
Additional characteristics to look out for:
- Motivation: Where are they in their career? What is their goal? Does this project help them achieve it?
- Status: Are they an industry professional or a passionate amateur? Are they looking for paid work or are they okay with collaboration? Will their social status affect the project in a positive way?
- Pace: How busy are they with their life and career? How much time can they put into your project? What will be the expectancy on deliverables? How can this pace be influenced?
- Portfolio vs. Actual Output: When put on a real-time project with a deadline, what is the output quality? What is the sweet spot for optimal quality and timeline?
- Age: How old or young is the person? What daily responsibilities do they face? How will this project affect their daily life? Will this project be taken seriously?
For The City, it started with meeting illustrator Dicky Siregar through a mutual friend. In the beginning, I knew I wanted to eventually pitch my story to him, but I waited until we became more acquainted and better friends. I believe I mentioned the project to him numerous times when we were out partying and getting drunk but I never really followed up. It took COVID lockdowns to actually push me to book an actual meeting with him and to pitch the treatment. After it was official, we started to develop concept art for the characters and the world. When it was close to starting the first issue, we began fundraising for the project -which is when we began to recruit our colorer Dave Praetorius. Dicky and Dave had gone to college together so there was already a relationship and mutual respect for each other. Another factor that’s pivotal to our team work is our age and maturity. We were all in our mid or late thirties with our priorities in life already set. The City was recognized as a passion project that we were all happy to contribute to as a weekend hurrah. With maturity also comes accountability. Without respect for each other’s time and accountability, The City would never have worked out.
Remember to be clear about your project and what kind of team members you are looking for. Be open to collaborating with people who have different skills and backgrounds than you. Good communication and clear expectations will help ensure a successful collaboration.