We have a special and atypical episode of Off Panel this week, as artist Jen Bartel joins the podcast for a deep dive discussion about how to get started as an artist. Bartel discusses the value of art school, developing your voice and style, having a day job, the tools of the trade, whether sequentials are essential, creating your portfolio, cover work, where fan art fits in a portfolio, the impact of social media, where conventions fit in, communicating with collaborators, the value of working with an editor, managing your own schedule, the importance of paying attention to the larger industry, and more. This is a beast of an episode, but if you’re interested in working in comics, there’s a ton to learn from here.
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Thanks to this episode’s sponsor, TKO Studios. TKO is a new comic publisher with current or upcoming comics coming from people like Roxane Gay, Jeff Lemire, Garth Ennis, Gabriel Walta, and many more. They also are taking a different approach to comics, as they binge-release their comics, with each title coming in the format you prefer. Whether that’s single issues in a collector’s box, trade paperback or digital download, TKO has you covered. And even better? You can read each of TKO’s first issues on their site, right now. If you’re a store that’s interested in learning more about stocking TKO’s titles, you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to my patrons, including – but not limited to – Lytwyn Studios, Alex Dimitropolous, Terry Dodson, Troy-Jeffrey Allen, Liana Kangas, Keigen Rea, Milton Lawson, Wesley Gift, Shawn Kirkham, Harry Small, Alister Ross, Julio Anta, Gus, Brett A. Schmidt, Jason Goodmanson, Paul Reinwand, Connor Farner, Vita Ayala, Jay D’Ici and Matt G. Gagnon, Aditya Bidikar, Tara Ferguson, Dave Slusher, Ciaran Marcantonio, WMQ Comics, Akylle, Greg Lockard, Kokaachi, Phil White, Ben Becker, Shaun Pinello, Kent Heidelman, Phillip Sevy, Al Ewing, Ryan Alcock, Nick Michelin, David Kelley, Robert Wilson IV, Nick Poleto, Eoin McCready, Brenden Fletcher, Gary Moloney, Jonathan Nilsson, Matthew Groom, Jason Nassi, Adam Bogert, Xavier Files, Maria Schweitzer, Matthew Taylor, Tyler Turner, Nick Pitarra, Jacob Sareli, Ford Gilmore, David Baroldy, Evan Blasor, Brian McCray, Ira James Udaskin, Modern Magic Stories, Nick Hall, Bobby Angus, Bjorn Basen, John Hendrick, Steve Anderson, Phil Knall, Ian Maxfield, Cliff Chiang, Benjamin Schipper, Colin McMahon, Chris Palmer, Scott McGovern, Nathan Fairbairn, Cat McKenzie, Greg Rucka, Adam Highfill, Nicholas Gardner, Andrew Corrigan, Fiona Staples, Chris O’Hollaran, Mark Abnett, Mike Murphy, Michael Shirley, Tom Barnett, Jim Demonakos, Norbert, Nick Lowe, James Kaplan, and Mission: Comics and Art in San Francisco. You’re all the best.
Header image is from the cover of Blackbird #1, art by Bartel. Off Panel’s theme music is an original track by custom music agency Upright T-Rex Music, written and performed specifically for the podcast. A huge thanks to Ross and Cody from Upright T-Rex Music for putting the track together!