Posted by Tyler Chin-Tanner on Aug 18, 2011
I haven’t written a column in a while because… well, I just haven’t had a lot to report. Despite having all the black and white artwork done for every page of my upcoming graphic novel, American Terrorist, (thank you Andy MacDonald) I just wasn’t having a lot of luck with the colorist and cover artist I hired for the project.
The original colorist for the graphic novel, Matt Wilson backed out a couple of months ago. After coloring more than half of the pages, he just couldn’t fit it into his schedule anymore. He had hit the big time, coloring many of Marvel’s best selling titles including Thor: The Mighty Avenger and Uncanny X-Force and DC’s new relaunch for Wonder Woman.
I understand this happens in the business. I was disappointed to see him go but also happy for him. He kindly arranged a new colorist to take over for the rest of the pages while agreeing to oversee her work. I thought this was an excellent solution and was excited to move on in this direction.
But then, a few months went by without seeing anything from this new colorist. I found out only after a series of inquiries that she had taken on coloring jobs for Archaia and Boom! and had but my project on the backburner. She would only get to mine when things slowed down from those companies, but wasn’t sure when that would be.
On top of that I was still trying to get a solid answer out of the cover artist I had hired. He’s a very prominent cover artist in the business, a tough get, I knew from the beginning, but I agreed to pay him the same rate he receives from the other companies and he agreed to do the cover.
But after several emails and phone calls without any response, or an excuse that my email must have gotten lost in his inbox, even though that doesn’t explain the no response to the voicemail, he finally backed out citing a work schedule that was just too busy. Well at least I finally had my answer.
So I’ve had to move on once again. And I’m going to make a quick side point here. I know that a lot of artists get upset about the idea of smaller companies hiring artists for their titles for no pay or the promise of backend pay. I get that this is a crappy deal. I’ve made it a point to always pay the artists that I hire, and even at a fairly competitive rate. But there’s another side to it as well. Those salaries that I’ve paid my artists don’t always buy me loyalty. It seems to be that nature of the business that artists are constantly trying to climb up that ladder, most likely towards the big two. And smaller companies are the bottom rungs of that ladder, the really small ones being so low that artists will rather step over them or leap from them as fast as they can.
It’s something that I haven’t been happy with while being in this business, how quickly the work I’ve hired an artist to do falls to the bottom of their priority list because I’m not even Boom! or Archaia (and that’s no knock on them, I wish them the best).
But I also wish the best for my artists and I want them to succeed in this business. And I’m glad I can pay them what there worth while they work for me. I just wish I could get my damn graphic novel done!
So with that goal in mind, I’ve moved on. The first thing I did was make the decision to go ahead and print a black & white edition of the American Terrorist graphic novel so that I could finally have it to release for the New York Comic Con this October 13-16.
And it’s funny how things work out, but as soon as I made that decision to move on without color, I finally found a new artist and he’s been doing an amazing job, making my project a priority and getting the pages done on schedule.
So I’d like to introduce Michael Wiggin as the new colorist for American Terrorist. You may have seen his work before on titles like Amber Atoms, R.P.M. from 12 Gauge Studio’s, and Star Wars: Clone Wars. If not, here’s a taste of his colors for my project. I couldn’t be happier about it.
At the rate he’s going, I’ll have the colors done near the time of NYCC. So what I’m going to do is release the b&w print version, but also have the full-color version out digitally. I think it will be an interesting way to provide different looks for the same project in print and digital. Perhaps further down the road I’ll print a color version of American Terrorist, but for now I’ll see how well these releases go.
Tyler Chin-Tanner started his own publishing company, A Wave Blue World, where he wrote and drew layouts for Adrenaline, its flagship series, Adrenaline and wrote its latest graphic novel, American Terrorist.
© 2011 Tyler Chin-Tanner. All rights reserved.
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