NYCC is primarily a Culture Con, but it does definitely have some aspects of a professional convention. On Thursday, Oct 11, the first few hours of the Con were reserved for Pros (comic book creators, sellers, and other professionals, like teachers, using comic books in a creative way). But NYCC’s commitment to comic book professionals doesn’t end when their Pros-only hours end. Throughout the rest of the weekend, there were multiple panels on all manner of topic to encourage and assist young or aspiring comic creators.

They had panels outlining requirements and tips for good submissions to comic book publishers, panels about copyright for self-produced work, panels about the legal issues tangled up in going from comics to movies, as well as panels about writing technique, world-building, and starting/managing your own webcomic. They also had talent searches, portfolio reviews, guides to surviving collaboration, and Creator Connection (speed-dating for potential collaborators). Basically, if you’re even remotely interested in either becoming a comic book creator (or just seeing how the sausage gets made), you really need to get yourself to a Con.

But if you don’t want to wait a whole year for NYCC to come back, I’ll try to pass along what I can. I did not make it to any of the legal panels. So relax, none of that. Here’s the long and the short of the advice I heard:

For The Fledglings:

  • Tracing is okay
  • If you’re stuck on what to draw or you think you can’t draw, write down a number between 1 and 9 and start attaching lines to it.
  • Be brave.

For the Aspiring Creators:

  • If you want to make a comic/webcomic, just do it.
  • Make creating part of your routine.
  • Set reasonable deadlines and meet them.
  • Write/create what you like and what you want to see.
  • Story is greater than art. A good story can save bad art, but great art can’t save a bad story.
  • Use the rocks and the trees and the birds in the sky as your reference (not really, but if you need to draw a Rottweiler, take photos of rottweilers and draw from them, if you need to draw monsters or aliens, look at zoology books).
  • Do proper world-building—know the rules of the universe your story takes place in and obey them.
  • Good content will find it’s audience BUT if you want to be successful, then you have to learn marketing.
  • Be brave and go to a Con so that people who are experienced professionals can tell you more of this stuff and put it in context.