Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login
About a month ago I finally got to meet an art hero of mine, Klaus Janson, a well known pro who's been in the industry for over 30 years. A mutual friend introduced us, and we hit it off right away. The group of us went through the Village hitting pub after pub, and soon I was drunk enough to ask Klaus something that had been bugging me.

I asked him if modern comic artists are, on average, slower than we used to be. He said yes, and I agreed.

From the Golden Age until the 80s, pencillers were generally expected to turn in at least two pages a day, while an inker was expected to turn in around 3-4. There were a handful of exceptions, I'm sure, but most of the artists could pump out pages like human printing presses. In the current comic industry, it's completely reversed: while a handful of artists can still hit this speed, the vast majority can't. Pencillers today struggle to produce a page-per-day, while inkers (those who still ink with ink) are hitting around 2.

So what happened? I've talked to a number of artists and a few comic reporters about this, and they came up with a lot of great points that I'd never considered. With their help I was able to construct a loose time line the helps explain what I think happened: artists are slower because the industry has allowed it.

THE 90s
There are a lot of great things that came out of the 90s: creative ownership, new titles, computer coloring, etc. The idea of a superstar artist wasn't new (Adams, Romita, Toth and Kubert), but the idea of superstar artists handling their own books was. The only hitch was that the Image guys, some of whom were extremely talented, were not workhorses like their predecessors (granted, few of the above ever started their own publishing company). Many late books didn't bother to use fill-in artists, rather they'd just delay the release until the superstar was done. And because the books made so much money, there was no monetary pressure to stay on schedule with the rest of the series. Suddenly it was okay that books were late because they were selling really well.

This, by they way, still makes no sense to me--why didn't they strike while the iron was hot and put out as many issues as possible? If there was ever a reason to force someone to work faster, it was during the 90s when they were printing their own money.

And while the 90s are over (supposedly), that decade forever increased publishers' tolerance for slower artists. Especially when it comes to tent-pole books: instead of hiring artists who can fit the schedule, the schedule is now created to fit the superstar. Whoever says that it's not an "artist's industry" anymore is wrong. Having the artist serve the book means the artists is forced to work quickly. Having it the other way around means more delays. But that's not always a bad thing...

While looser deadlines meant more fill-ins, delayed books and shaky schedules, it also meant that readers got a chance to see art that would never had been published before: guys like Travis Charest and Art Adams. Certain artists used the looser deadline to raise the bar, and because so many readers gravitated toward these more detailed styles, comic art became seen more as a "craft" and less as a means to an end.

Don't get me wrong--we had "craft" artists before (guys mentioned above), but those styles were created to fit a schedule of  2-3 pages a day. With looser deadlines, artists are freer to express themselves more completely on the page, and with that freedom comes a wider range of styles, some which take longer than others. One could argue that if you want to stand out these days, you're better off pushing a meager 3 pages a week--I mean, how else are you going to compete with the amazing talent of Paquette or Coipel, guys who's pages clearly take more time to produce.

Another contributing factor is that artists take more time off for conventions and commissions. Personally, I think it's irresponsible to attend a show if an artist is behind on deadlines, but that doesn't seem to stop so many from going. But I understand that comics don't always pay well (especially with artists who are slow), and there's a lot of cash to be made selling sketches, prints, and sketchbooks. More than once, I've seen editors get upset when their late artist shows up at a convention. Yet, they'll continue to tolerate it, because it's the new standard of the industry. Publishers are often so busy gearing up for shows that even the editors will fall behind.

Having an internet makes a comic career easier than ever. Not only is it great for quickly looking up references, it also speeds up communication with your publishers and allows artists to quickly check word balloon placement, color samples, and final PDFs before going to print. Of course, the net also provides a lot of vices--frivolous email checking, Skyping, and Tweeting probably makes the net more of a hindrance when it comes to speed. And while Google searching your references is helpful, it's also time consuming and allows some artists to become obsessive. Social networking is great for loneliness and reaching out to fans, but it's bad for speed.

And for the record, I have nothing against a slow artist. In fact, most of my favorite artists aren't fast--Zach Howard, Olivier Coipel, Yanick Paquette, and dozens of European comic artists. These guys slave over their work for an ungodly amount of time, and it's clear when you see the final product because it's something you want to hang in a museum. I wouldn't want them working any faster because the work would suffer. For some artists, being meticulous is part of the process, and I respect that.

But what we shouldn't respect is lazy. A lot of times I'll hear artists complaining about deadlines, and how the publisher needs to respect his meticulous working process. And that argument is completely valid-- assuming that their art is meticulous, well crafted and carefully considered. Which, often times, it isn't. Lucky, we now inhabit an industry more tolerant of lazy, it seems.

I did an interview once where someone asked me about being a fast artist (I draw a page per day, pencils and inks within 6-12 hours, 20 page a month). I told the interviewer that I wasn't that fast at all compared to Bagley, Cook and Davis. But considering the average speed of artists today, I could see why some would consider me fast. Then he asked me what my secret was. And I told him there was no secret--I just focus on my work, I don't waste time on the computer or playing video games, and I don't stop until I'm finished, even if it means working late.

I'm still babbled, so please share your thoughts, folks. I'm not totally convinced by some of the arguments I've put forth, either, so feel free to disagree. And help me answer this question:

In a world with time-saving devices like Cintiqs, Sketchup, digital cameras and PS filters, why are some artists still so slow?
  • Listening to: Beethoven piano sonatas
  • Reading: Attack of the Theocrats
  • Watching: Science Channel
Add a Comment:
NStevenHarris Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2015  Professional Artist
Great article man. Just seeing this after reading the article about conventions that was in CBR. I use to be a little faster, in the 90's, than I am now. I was doing a page and a half to 2 pages a day back then. But I think my decrease in production is a combination of my growth as an artist, family, social media, and social media distractions. I have gotten better over time and what has come with that is more planning of pages in the thumbnail and sketch process, better and more deliberate drawing. I also have to spend time marketing myself especially since I create my own properties as well as freelance for comic book companies and do storyboards for ad agencies. So promoting and doing multiple jobs contribute. Also there are many times when I get a good flow going and then I just get stumped on a panel/drawing or 2 that is just not coming together. Next thing I know a day is gone and barely 2 panels are done. That is all good stuff and excusable reasons. Now the more inexcusable...procrastination. Fortunately I don't do games, at least not heavily. I have one game that I have been playing since 2001 and that is it, but I do get caught up on social media with non business manusha, or stare in space.
LeighAD Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2014
"Google searching your references is helpful, it's also time consuming and allows some artists to become obsessive" <-- Who can't relate to that? XD I have to turn off the internet when writing sometimes to get anything done. Except I turn it on when I need to reference something, and then get distracted. 

The detail thing is a good point, as the art tends to drawn with a lot more detail (cross-hatching and other cool effects in the linework) and weren't as prevalent back in the sixties and many of the characters didn't have particularly detailed (or sometimes individualized) facial features and anatomy (which will take time to reference and keep consistent), lots of comics were drawn in a simpler style (assuming, as you said, that the art is detailed for the specific artist), but I'd expect three pages a week would be a problem - especially for the artist trying to support himself/herself. Artists are usually still paid by the page aren't they? (And less time on facebook would improve most people's productivity even in an office setting, so I wouldn't be surprised if facebook was a problematic temptation/timewaster for artists as well).

Building sketchup models takes time as well. It will save time later, but I wouldn't be surprised if it takes awhile for the time lost in building it to made up in time saved when referencing it.
seangordonmurphy Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2014
Thanks for reading!
RyanBlack13 Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2013
I don't have any answers to the question, aside from those you've already posed here (which are right on the nose, i think) but I DO know there are artists out there who are only getting work because they can meet or exceed deadlines.  Based on the work, there are guys working for Marvel who couldn't convincingly draw their way out of a wet paper bag and use some of the most ridiculous cheats I've ever seen.  I don't buy those books.  I look at them on the wall at the shop, giggle, put them down and go home and try to get better at drawing.   No, my style isn't ultra-realistic and sure, I screw up some perspective stuff from time to time.  But, if a hand or a lamp looks wrong, or is inconsistent with my style, I draw it 40 times until it is right.  It's obvious a lot of "pros" aren't doing that. 
supergirl1056 Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2013
I can't help but think of guys like Kirby and Curt Swan, who pumped out pages like a paper mill and still drew better than 90%~ of the artists today. Part of the problem is the constant switching of artists: they're never able to develop their craft to specific characters. Now they get thrown on a book as a gimmick more than anything else. And 'detail' doesn't cut it, since digital coloring and processing SHOULD vastly reduce production time, as it indeed does for real artists who aren't insulated from competition by Copyright symbols.

Modern comic book companies are basically going to shit, and it's because they're copyright whores. They've traded quality comic production for licensing and legal-warrioring. Fuck 'intellectual property', Superman is a rip-off of Marduk and Doc Savage anyway, lame-ass artsy idiots who think they have a right to think up some shit and never work again.
I can't explain how annoying it is when a company has a book that sells and can't get it out on time. Dynamite! does this constantly.

I say: plan it out properly or don't do it. If you know an artist takes forever, then start early. If he won't keep up, fire his ass and get a new project lead. If they don't like it they can go live in a fucking cave like Ditko, see if I care. I'd rather have an artist who actually produces a God damn book for me to read than one who sabotages a good book because he's too fucking lazy to put his nose to the grindstone. 'Artistes' indeed, bunch of hacks is more like it. If they can't produce on schedule they ought to be tossed on the street like any other failed worker, and if comics didn't rely on government-enforced monopolies to get their revenue maybe they would be run like a real business.
JNcomix Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013
I'm just gonna throw out some stream-of-consciousness stuff. Main things that immediately come to mind might be (in no particular order):

A) Many artists today are more detailed. I think, in general, most of today's readers demand or expect it.

B) As you mentioned, discipline plays a HUGE roll. Many "artistes" don't put a whole lot of weight into discipline and if they're not going to be held accountable then why on Earth should they change?

C) Along the same lines, maybe working from home plays a roll? I don't know how many of our comic legends worked from home or an office/bullpen. Most pictures I've seen of Kirby look like they were in an office but I don't know. Some people have a really hard time working from home. I know I do. I'm usually much more disciplined when I travel to an office and even more so when there's a production staff around. But then, I've been lucky enough to have an office/studio job for a long time. In animation, there's little-to-no room for idleness. I can work from home when I HAVE to but it's usually too chaotic for me (I also have kids).

I consider myself pretty fast but that's probably when I need to be. I work best with a solid deadline. In fact, I NEED a deadline (self-imposed or otherwise) or I'd never finish anything. Also, it's a different beast with storyboards because the rendering isn't nearly as important as the storytelling.
JNcomix Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013
I forgot to mention that there also might be a lot more artists today than before, although I really have no idea whether or not that's true. It seems that way to me. If that's the case then you'd need to factor in idea that most of these guys never would have survived in the old days. They just wouldn't have been able to stay on schedule and probably would have moved on to some other trade, possibly non-art related. All we'd be left with are the classic guys that we're all familiar with, some simply because they were able to produce the work fast enough and others because they are the comic gods.
TheDayTripper Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2013   Traditional Artist
I'd say you already answered it. Some artists are still so slow today because many enjoy what comes with being a superstar artist more than creating and drawing stories. The 90's was a perfect example of this. You had marc silvestri spending loads of time at the playboy mansion. Look at Rob Lifield. Yes everyone knows this guy is a dreadful artist and story teller, but look at his work in say, New Mutants #100, then look at some of his youngblood or more recent hawk and dove. While many of the same problems from 20 years ago remain, back then you could kind of see a hunger and potential in his work. Once he got uber famous and made a boat load, he seemed to not care about improving or anything. It's the same with today, except people are behaving like that even though they haven't made a boatload of money yet.
KiaDesignz Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2012
I think the answer to your question, in some ways, boils down to the individual artist. Some are lazy, some are meticulous, etc etc. but I think one big reason might be because we live in a world where digital tools, in theory, are supposed to make us faster, but instead, they make us complacent. Example: How many times have you drawn an eye slightly lower than it should be? Digitally, you just draw a selection around that sucker and move it to where it's supposed to be. Five seconds. Traditionally, you have to erase it and re-draw it, which takes longer. My point is, working traditionally, and making those mistakes, forces an artist to learn from the mistake, and is a good lesson in taking the time to make sure things look right (generally speaking). When you can fix a mistake in a matter of minutes by essentially letting the computer do it for you, you never learn how to not make that mistake next time. So in essence, you spend a lot of time fixing mistakes, whereas those people who took the time to learn the basics spend less time on trying to make things look right because they know their shit.

Having said all that, I know it seems like I'm bashing digital methods and I'm totally not. The computer is a tool just like a pencil and what defines it is the artist, not the tool itself. I'm also guilty of using those digital short cuts that I mentioned, and that's why I realize where it can be harmful. I'm just saying that, when I see an artist who is fast (and good), it's because the basics have become muscle memory to them, and they have the freedom to just be creative and get the job done instead of worrying about what looks right and what looks wrong. I don't think this applies to every artist out there, but I think it's more common than not.
RobPaolucci Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2012
There is so much porn readily available now peoples hands are on their dicks and not their pencils
seangordonmurphy Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2012
I'm above porn, so that's why I get shit done
RobPaolucci Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2012
You mean you stand above porn when youre jerkin your gerkin.
goodgrace1 Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
laziness and social network
uberfeist Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2012  Professional General Artist
Great post Sean! Thanks! One thing I do pride myself on is my ability to work fast, and get just the right amount of info, be it people, places and things on the page. It isn't refined by any stretch, but I like my style. However, I am lazy and undisciplined. If I were to sit and work diligently and not "fear" the work, and procrastinate...the things I could accomplish.
Layhas Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2012  Professional Filmographer
I wouldn't exactly call myself qualified to weigh in on this subject since I'm not a comic artist. That being said, I just completed a degree in animation and there was always a lot of talk concerning speed and quality. Being fast is something you have to train to be, to be honest. We had 30 second life drawing poses (in which full figure gestures were expected with accurate weight and balance) and you'd be surprised what some people can capture in 30 seconds. It's a completely different mentality and pace. I can't say it was something I got good at in just a few years, but you can become that fast if you work at it. If left to my own devices, I would easily spend 10 minutes on a pose before I felt satisfied. I suspect in the comics industry, the artists are doing the same and working at a pace they are comfortable with instead of pushing for faster completion. Now, I don't think that qualifies one as being lazy. I simply think they don't care enough to work faster in an atmosphere that allows them to work as they wish. Why stress when you don't have to? I certainly wouldn't. I bet if your editors came in with a different attitude, work life would be a lot different for everyone.

As a side note, you get faster at drawing as you age. It's not something that peaks early like gymnastics. Ollie Johnston produced his fastest and highest quality animations when he was 65 doing 160 completed drawings a week. It could partially be a generation shift that you're seeing with the majority of artists simply being too young/inexperienced and nowhere near close to their peak yet. There are just so many factors to this. Distractions and technology make it a different playing field too. I know for animators, we're told to not even listen to music while we animate. It sounds ludicrous, but it makes a huge difference if you can put up with (or are capable of finding) silence. Hope this adds some new points to the discussion.

*Really great topic, by the way!
Sol-Caninus Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2012   General Artist
You're qualified in my book! What you say makes a lot of sense. Something Jim Steranko said applies to it. He was remembering a slogan that used to pass around in the bullpens: "First you get good; then you get fast."

Also, what you said about training is spot on. It applies to all skills, including drawing and inking. One breaks down the performance variables into definite components, drills them separately, then in various combinations, then applies them in vivo. Aside from boosting skill level, it reduces or completely eliminates unnecessary thinking and decision making during performance.

It's also nice to hear that certain elements of skill, like speed, don't peak early! I don't know how true it is, but it sounds like what happens in Karate and other martial arts. While strength and speed, reaction time, etc, peak in the late 20s, training and experience compensate for the subsequent decline, so that the karate man peaks in his 60s. I think this has to be even more the case with art. Again I would point to Joe Kubert, well into his eighties and going strong- some might argue he's doing his best work.
RobertAtkins Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2012
Just a quick point. I pencil my pages so tight because my inker lives in mexico and my publisher doesn't pay for Fed Ex to ship pages. So he inks my pages blue line. He has a set of original pages, and I have a set of penciled original pages. I can literally make twice as much in art sales if my pages are penciled tightly. That's time consuming. I'd say I can keep a monthly schedule easy enough. Especially if I'm only working on one title at a time.

I would also say I could do twice as much work if I had an inker actually inky my pages and I could loosen up, not fill in blacks or worry about detailing textures. When page rates are low, it's more worth it to me to finish a page fully and get it back in art sales then to crank out 20 half done pages and hope the inker can "finish" the art like it used to be done.

If you pencil and ink your work (as is a growing trend for those that have the skill) this becomes a moot point.

Generally speaking, art styles is a major aspect in this discussion. It honestly shouldn't take someone who is doing strictly open line art with an occasional spot black as long as someone doing full renders and textures. What drives me crazy is when artists have this completely open line, leaving the bulk of the lighting, mood, and even at time the storytelling to the colorist and still can't do a regular monthly. That makes no sense to me.
Sol-Caninus Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2012   General Artist
Janson's ink over Gil Kane's pencils - yes!
I grew up on Golden and Silver age. I didn't like much of what came after it. I see in the meticulous artwork you mention a kind of facination with parts divorced from the whole. It can lack rhythm, which is one reason it looks meticulous. Rhythm makes what is complex look simple.
The rhythm I'm talking about is not just what you see in the composition and is not just what you see in the lines and spots on the paper; it is in the movements of the hand and the brush or pen, in the strokes as they are made as if to the beat of music. Someone like Joe Kubert will lay in a head of hair with highlights and darks instantly with well rehearsed patterns, executed automatically. The old timers seem atuned to rhythm - they let it guide them. They trust themselves enough to go with the flow.
Dave Sim explained how he made the transition from slow to fast. He did it in one step - by drawing faster. Hehe. But I think he would likely agree that what made it possible to do that was to stop obsessing over parts and percieve the gestalt -learn to suggest or give an impression, instead of articulating every facet of the subject matter - also, give up drawing single lines and start drawing unified patterns. That's only possible by feeling and using rhythm.
SAIDESTROYER Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2012  Professional General Artist
That sounds like AMAZING advice. I'm working on a weekly webcomic, and I could use that kind of method :)
Sol-Caninus Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2012   General Artist
Thanks, Said! I appreciate it.
Web comic? That's great! I didn't see any links for it on your profile page or in your DA portfolio. (You beefed up the portfolio since the last time I reviewed it.)
SAIDESTROYER Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2012  Professional General Artist
You can read it here: [link] hope your spanish's better than my english !:D

We have only published 5 pages, so far. Each story will have 8 pages, a new one every friday :)
Sol-Caninus Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2012   General Artist
Thanks for the link!
Maria Colora! She's so cute! But, you make a good point, unfortunately - I can't read Spanish. And for some reason the web translator doesn't work on this site. The pictures are great. I wish you much success with it!
SAIDESTROYER Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2012  Professional General Artist
Thanks! If we get enough interest, I want to publish an english version as well. [link]
Sol-Caninus Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2012   General Artist
Sounds good. But why not do it in English, now? You might get more interest that way to begin?

BTW- this facebook link gives me a blank log-in page. (I'm not a member.)
SAIDESTROYER Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2012  Professional General Artist
We're trying to get it to work in Colombia (where we live) first, but making the location vague enough so it works in different countries and languages.

We're using FB as an advertising tool, just to let our subscribers know when a new page is uploaded.
(1 Reply)
shushubag Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Not to bad mouth the generations before us but the industry now is a new ballpark. People are competing to stay alive. And artists have to compete with the absolute best of the best.

Back in the days people looked down on comic book art and though many of the greats came from that era the art just isn't the same. The readers demand more and there's less of a pie to eat from- audience wise. In the old days the industry did numbers that would blow todays numbers off the shelves in terms of units sold.
Ivandadajet Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2012  Professional General Artist
I wish I had deadlines, it disturbs me to think that lazy people can get away with overly procrastinating and neglecting their jobs while there are artist out there who would love to have the chance to do the job they dread doing.
On the other hand, I understand being slow when it is paired to creativeness and delivering awesome images. I studied fine arts and even though today I do a little of everything to try and stay busy, I still have a slow approach in all the mediums I am capable of handling. In my mind I struggle with a commercial vs artistic end for an image, if it was possible I would work for months or more on my images, not only because I am obsessive with my own art but because ......ok may be I needed to think a bit more about this part before replying..... Anyway , being slow is not necessarily bad, being lazy is an insult to the entire artistic community and the fans.
ScruffyScribbler Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
slow books and overpriced ones are the reason I no longer read comics as a whole... and I agree completely with everything you said. But if person X's art is THAT good where he doesn't need to produce a monthly book... don't put him on a "monthly book" and instead move him over, allow him to do a 4 issue mini or whatever and get guys that can produce the work to pump out your spiderman, xmen, etc...

if it was good enough for byrne, miller, romita, janson, etc... it's good enough for "person x"
ErnestoFigueroa Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I am of the camp that its laziness brought upon by the digital medium. Artists procrastinate so much more feeling their process is sped up by Cintiqs and google that by the time they are read to work theyve waited too long. I agree with the art style theory especially when it comes to the amount of lee way an artist may get on a adams took a year to do his first issue of longshot, at that point his first issue looked so good that he now has to deliver such work all the time . Drawing himself into a corner. Adam Hughes has stated that he is not willing to give up his OCD fora monthly gig cause thework will suffer and eventually his reputation. Editors definitely are too laid back ,if not afraid, of a superstar artists' ego so they let em take all the time he needs giving away any leverage an editor should have. There are many great artists looking for work that can still produce on a monthly schedule and trust that if editors stood their ground and fired a superstar for being late on books and hired another really good artist to take that spot, you better believe things would change. Allowing artists to be so late is such a disservice to the reader and eventually the company. There have been manya times when i would be gung-ho about a particular creative team only to find a long wait between issues, to the point where i give up not only on the book but the artist as well . Thats why i wait for trades and wait till a series is done before i commit
MoopieBumble Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2012  Student Artist
I think every artist could answer this question very easily if they are being totally honest with themselves. Let's be honest, it's a bit of laziness, and procrastination. But there are also artists like you've mentioned that have either highly detailed work or someone like Frank Quitely who is also extremely meticulous and a master at visual storytelling, but spends an inordinate amount of time during the layout(planning) stage by wanting to get all those little visual cues during story points that may or may not even be in the script. I think every artist especially in the business of funny book making has some degree of OCD in one way or another and is what I think makes us capable of doing this type of work but can sometimes also work against us.
KIANDRU Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2012  Professional General Artist
i never knew artists have become slower. like yourself i think present day tools should provide a better delivery schedule. actually, as a penciller, i am very fund of not having a classic studio with a big board and lots of pencills. i am fine with my graphic tablet and my laptop and everything i do is "freehand digital".

and to answer your question, i think we being slower is all about distraction, as you said. and when i say that i am thinking of the professionals that live big off the pencils.

for amateur artists like myself that haven't broken into industry and make some money out of small indie comissions is another subject. drawing for us is a part time job that gives a boost to the monthly balance. i draw from 6 PM to 3 AM. wake up at 7AM go to the lousy job that almost pays the bills then back to the tablet. with this schedule plus art school classes i still have a turnaround rate of 3 pages a week (pencill+ inks). that i try to improve. besides there is no room for much practice. so it's a vicious circle. no skill improvement = low page rates = keep the day job = kill yourself because you love comics.

i didn't include self marketing to get new gigs that also kills a lot of time.

i am not including myself when saying that i know plenty of better artists than me that are struggling between the hilarious "will give the artist shares from sales" and "$20 per pencilled/ inked and colored page".

to conclude i say that if an editor is willing to spend less money on high quality art than deadlines will not be a serious issue.

now you be the judge of that.

thank you for giving me the opportunity of speaking my mind by posting this thread.

by the way, great lineart in your folio. love 'em
good luck!
sopelana Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2012   General Artist
"I just focus on my work, I don't waste time on the computer or playing video games, and I don't stop until I'm finished, even if it means working late."

There's the nutshell of it all. It seems (and I say this as a lazy artist in recovery) artists are actually allowed to UNFOCUS, to lose track of what we're doing ("Go have a cup of coffee! Work will be here when you come back! Do some websurfing while you're at it.")

The only part I would disagree with (not that there's something pointing towards it in what you said) is if this leads to crunching time and late hours every working day. People, even hard-working people, are human after all.
seangordonmurphy Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2012
Agreed. And time away from the project/small breaks are important.
taytay101 Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2012
I don't think any of the older seasoned vets produced work like Jae Lee, Greg Capullo, Olivier Coipel, or David Aja. Whether current comic art is 'better' is a matter of opinion, but it certainly looks like it takes a lot longer to produce.
Also, full time jobs eat into comic making time.
hbkb9 Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2012
I always complain that Ryan Sook doesn't do enough interior art, so when he finally does it REALLY bugs me that its not an entire issue. That may be a scheduling thing, but it wouldn't be a scheduling issue if he was faster. Still, the 3 month lead time artists you usually get is the standard I'm now comfortable with.
smbhax Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2012  Professional General Artist
Very interesting piece, sounds spot-on to me.

I was googling artists you mentioned, and like the third Google image hit for Zach Howard is you and him fighting. : D
mayshing Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2012  Professional Filmographer
Not directly related to the topic... Artists in Japan and Taiwan, Korea, are still expected to produce at least 3 pages a day, "finished" in order to qualify being professional. They still do conventions too while working like a horse. My pro friends finish upto 4-5 pages a day on a good day by herself.

I had no idea artists in US can take that much time... it's understandable if their work detail needs to be extremely high.

I love these rambling and discussions, its great insight, thanks for sharing it to the world.
TCookeArt Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2012  Student
I met you when you came to Scad:ATL earlier this year. I was the guy who was saying how I also admire Ashley Wood's art (but not his storytelling).
I overheard Sean Crystal talking to some students in visual storytelling about spending proper time on your work. Some students where saying that they only spent about 5-6 hours per page, and he preferred if they spent at least 8-10 hours. He said that he finishes between 1 1/2-2 a day. Granted I believe he does pencils and inks, so those 1 1/2 to 2 are 100% finished and ready to be scanned.
However, is there anything wrong with working a little faster? I understand he is trying to teach us to make our stuff look as best as it can be, but some people's styles allow them to draw faster than others. I know plenty of people that can pull off the whole "less is more" thing. I don't do heavily detailed work, but I pencil pretty fast, and finalize most of my detail in the inking phase. Do you strive to draw faster? Or are you content with your current speed?
Tonydonley Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2012
For all the Kirby's & Toth's there were many more guys who were pushing out those 2 pages a day that were no where near as good. The quality of the work is obviously much higher now. Also a lot of those guys worked for a company, in the offices. If your boss told you to finish 2 pages you finessed 2 pages. I'd love it if we all worked in the studio pumping out pages. We would get to see everybody loosening up & that is where some of the best stuff comes from.
DanCassity Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
I think there's validity to all points presented above, but I'd also say that, as a trade skill, it's sometimes hard to convince people that something you can draw so quickly is worth a fair amount of their money. The standard rate of production is kind of like an average retail price--if someone comes out selling video games for $40 a pop, they'd lose their wholesale license for attempting to drive down the market. Someone who happens to be more dedicated or talented than others may be able to produce professional looking pages at a faster speed, but they could inadvertantly lead publishers, retailers, and readers towards unreasonable expectations & offensively low page rates across the board. It's really nobody's business how fast you can/can't draw; we should all be judged by our end product (beauty being in the eyes of the beholder and all that... ;).
BlastedDead Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
Now more then ever are there so many distractions, especially with technology and the internet, as you mentioned. However it totally is baffling to see artists getting slower, rather then faster, especially with devices to speed up the process considerably, as you mentioned as well.
randomacity Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2012
I think something important to note here is style. Look at Doug TenNaple's stuff and he's penciling and inking three of those pages a day. Of course, a lot of it has to be work ethic.

I think you can get faster if you try to, it's just a matter of pushing yourself until your uncomfortable. Maybe a lot of people don't want to do that once they're pro, instead they want to focus on producing quality images to retain jobs, and by doing that, focus too long on an image that you could have walked away from 10 minutes ago.
randomacity Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2012
Just out of curiosity, how long do colorists take on average?
Dark-Cobweb Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2012
Disregarding laziness, I'd guess that it's simply that with an industry more tolerant of slower workers, a broader range of artists are getting into the field who otherwise would have been pushed out by faster ones. Because people who work to a high level of detail, or simply take more time to produce similar levels of work and wouldn't have been able to keep up have been gradually accepted into the mainstream, it broadens the spectrum of fast to slow. With a broader spectrum, I guess the average speed for people is lower than it would once have been.

I suppose it's also worth considering that the people who were pushing out that many pages in the past were the ones at the top of their game, and they got there by really pushing the boundaries of what they could do. With an industry that has more patience for a slower production rate, there's not the same incentive to work fast. A lot of people - and this is true in all fields - are surprised at how much they can produce when they're really pushing themselves, but if the same incentive isn't there, then maybe they aren't reaching their full potential in terms of speed.
BenjiCS Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2012  Professional General Artist
I'm a teacher/artist and I find that the internet has become our downfall, on the whole. Because we can have just about anything we want with a few key strokes it makes us impatient. Being a great artist takes lots of time to hone one's skills. To be a truly great, fast artist takes even more time and discipline. I'm not saying that the internet is inherently evil, I just think it gives more people excuses to be lazy than actually being productive. I know it's true for myself, I get so scared at not having perfect resources in front of me I just don't do much. I know that sounds pathetic, but it's the truth. For you truly prolific artists who work on art for a living, I don't know if this thought applies at all, but it was my thought, especially for the younger generations. It's like most of them think that to pick up a pencil to draw a circle is a complete waste of time, yet they want to be drawing superheroes and expansive city scapes.

I do agree that the overall quality of art has significantly increased over time, thus increasing the physical time to think out and render a quality piece. It's why I like more contemporary comics than the classics. Classic comics were driven by their stories, where as comics are now driven by art and story (I'd argue that less and less are comics driven much by the latter, but that's a discussion for another time).

I agree though, that nothing should be used as an excuse to be lazy, but I don't think quality should be sacrificed for speed.
justblah Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
i feel my work suffers a lot because i try to work fast.. ive never spent more then 5 hours on a piece or a page, but now its become habbit and im too impatient to go any slower :P
that being said, if i where to be hired by one of the big's, id work as slow as a piece wih no fault would allow me. problem is..i have nothing of the sort to show to those big companies that aint rushed work :P
when i draw i dont tend to be distracted by the vices of the internet though which i suppose is a good thing ;P
just need to stick to a style that works both with speed and quality i guess..

also..this drawing. as a sample of me , now...being distracted by one of deviant arts vices ;P
deviantART muro drawing Comment Drawing
SHADOBOXXER Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2012  Professional General Artist
I have a day job as a Sneaker Designer, and do my comics on the side. So i'm working 37.5 hours a week, have a girlfriend that lives with me, I cook at times, then try to stay in shape and not get fat while sitting around working on art for most of my waking hours.
diecast75 Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2012
lot of great points in there...
FalyneVarger Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2012  Professional General Artist
Personally my speed depends on how much I need and want to push myself. I can get 3-5 penciled and inked pages done in a day, it gets cut to 2 if I'm doing the colors, but on average I do 1 page every 2 days. 1 day for the pencils and 1 more for the inks. I don't like rushing and I take pride in my sequential work. If I take 2 days for a page I can put in more detail and make sure everything reads properly.
However, sometimes things get tight and I need to push it.

It might be that more artists are like me and they only do something if they need to? lol
TonyDennison Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2012
I just ran across this today posted by another member, coincidentally, it touches on a few points from our discussion here...

Neil Gaiman Addresses the University of the Arts Class of 2012-- Inspiring stuff for creative people!

Add a Comment:

:iconseangordonmurphy: More from seangordonmurphy

Featured in Collections

Journal Entries by k-arashi

journals by animatorjourneyman

Journals by HallowGazer

More from DeviantArt


Submitted on
June 12, 2012
Submitted with


82 (who?)