Career Advice, Tips & Techniques

How to become a Comic Book Illustrator

Step one should be obvous.

words by: Alee Kwong
Mar 24, 2022

Comic book culture has seen a sharp uptick in recent years, and a lot of that has largely to do with the large volume of superhero movies we’ve gotten in the past decade. Comic books have always been popular, but never truly embraced. Now that it isn’t embarrassing to love comic books anymore, people are setting their sights on their childhood dreams—writing and illustrating for their favorite comic book creators.

 

If you’re looking to get into the comic book industry, here’s what you need to do.

 

1. Read comic books

 

This one feels obvious—I know–but it’s arguably the most impactful. There’s nothing better than becoming acquainted with well-known comic book artists and their art style. While you aren’t looking to copy their style, it doesn’t hurt to bookmark your favorites and take inspiration. The two comic book powerhouses, Marvel and DC Comics, have a variety of art styles under their belt, but are very well-known for specific art styles. Certain series runs are popular for more than just their story, just saying.

 

2. Practice your art every chance you get

 

Practice drawing nonstop. Again, seems pretty obvious, but there’s something to the old saying “practice makes perfect.” If you don’t have the brainpower to create new characters out of thin air, practice drawing your favorite comic book character.

 

Chances are you won’t be debuting your own unique character right from jump, so get comfortable drawing established characters from the comic book company that you’re interested in working for. While it’s totally normal to be a little more biased towards one company, it doesn’t hurt to be flexible and versatile. Practice drawing as many different characters across different companies as you can.

 

3. Freelance and get your work out there

 

If you want to increase your chances of getting a job at an established comic book company, consider publishing your own series. Platforms like Webtoon allow small creators to publish their own work. While there is loads of content on Webtoon, and your series could get lost in the sea of self-published comics, the best thing about the platform is that there is such a large audience—one that is constantly looking for indie series to pick up on before it becomes big.

 

Webtoon has become so well-known that there’s a solid chance that you could end up on the radar of someone who works in the industry.

 

4. Read fiction 

 

This really only applies if you are looking to work solo and self-publish. If you are more versed in illustrations and not so much storytelling, I suggest going back to basics and reading fiction.

 

Understanding the flow of a story, building characters, and even establishing a foundation for a series, is important to any comic book writer. Reading comic books is an immersive experience and there needs to be a sense of cohesiveness between the story being told and the art that goes along with it.

 

When your comics get big, there’s always a chance that it’ll get adapted for the screen. And your fans will always keep their eyes peeled for accuracies.

 

Being a comic nerd is why Kevin Feige is well, Kevin Feige. Here’s how to become the next big shot director.

 

Photos via Marvel, DC, Webtoon, Laemeur