If you’re wanting to break into comics, it can be extremely hard to get your foot in the door. Publishers and editors want to see published work (as opposed to self-published) which can be really hard to put together.
A lot of artists break in by creating their own web comics and publishing them on LINE WEBTOON, Tapas, or Tumblr, but you need to gain a pretty healthy following to garner recognition by a publisher this way alone. It’s also especially hard if you’re a writer and aren’t able to draw your own comics to self-publish.
One way to build up a portfolio of published pieces is by working on Anthology Projects. Anthologies are a collection of short stories with a variety of contributors who write, draw, colour, letter, and edit the project. There’s usually a common theme that tie the stories together loosely. Anthologies are also a great way to practice your comic book scripting/storytelling, and help develop your writing voice.
Many of them are paid projects (funded via Kickstarter) and one of the great things about working on an anthology is getting a portfolio piece that is being funded by somebody else. The team gets paid (writer, artist, colourist etc.) so if your story is selected, you get to work with someone awesome and the funding isn’t coming out of pocket. Some anthologies don’t pay and it’s up to you whether or not it’s worth working on in that case. Sometimes it’ll come down to who is a part of the project and whether your passion for it outweighs getting paid.
Depending on the anthology, sometimes you won’t be able to submit unless you’re also an artist who will illustrate the story. However, there are plenty that will not only allow you to submit with an artist in mind, but will help pair you up with an artist even if you don’t have someone that you want to specifically bring on board.
It’s worth noting that not all anthology projects are run by upstanding members of the comic book industry. Some don’t understand what exactly goes into putting an anthology together and poorly manage the project which can result in a not-so-great experience.
That being said, do your research and look up the people running an anthology, if you’re interested in one in particular. Check social media to see if people are talking about it, and pay attention to what they’re saying, and make note of any concerns that may be pointed out.
- Find Anthologies! – A Twitter account that’s dedicated to posting up currently accepting submissions. This is a great place to check out regularly if you’re looking to contribute to an anthology.
- Opportunities for Cartoonists – a web site that organizes (and prioritizes) paid gigs for creators working in comic books.