Comic illustrators create drawings and art for publication so we can see
the story. The work involved can range in length from a whole comic book to
a complicated one-frame picture. The content of those comics -- funny or serious,
strange or realistic -- is only limited by the illustrator's imagination.
"Superman comic books, The Far Side and Garfield are all very different,
but they're all produced by comic illustrators," says comic illustrator Jenny
Illustrators may work for large publishing companies as part of a team
to create a comic book.
A large number of comic illustrators also create, promote and publish their
The creation of a comic has four stages: writing the story, penciling or
creating pictures that tell the story, adding the text to each frame and inking
over the pencil lines in color or black and white.
If an illustrator works for a large publishing company, they'll probably
be responsible for the pencilling stage.
Most independent comic illustrators are responsible for all four stages
of creating a book, as well as the business side. This includes managing finances,
arranging for printing, networking at comic book conventions and keeping in
close contact with distributors and publishers.
Some 5,000 comic books are published in North America. While alternative
comics are becoming more popular, traditional superhero comics are becoming
less so, experts say.
While job security may be pretty alien to the industry, people in this
field do have a fair amount of flexibility. Since comic illustrators almost
always work from a home office, they get to set their own hours and their
"Comics can be a tremendously solitary thing to do for a living. Most of
the time it's just you and the board, which is, for some people, a hardship,"
says Superman illustrator Jon Bogdanove.
Flexibility doesn't mean fewer hours. Comic illustrators say they work
anywhere from eight to 16 hours a day -- and they can't quit until the job