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Gert-Jan van Oosten has always been an avid comic book reader. One fine day he took the step from comic book fan to comic book creator and, nowadays, he is the co-owner of Drop Comics - now the largest comics publisher in the Netherlands.

Every two weeks Gert-Jan, the Goost Writer, shares his personal experience of how he started his own comics publishing company.
Follow his trail. The trail of the Goost Writer.

Check out the last column for more of the Drop Comics story so far...

With two artist and two titles in progress, the loss of the colorist was gravely felt, but not a total setback. DMTR had also done a lot of work as a colorist and wanted to color his own work. He manages to do something that I did not know artists would do. He always has the complete page/panel in his head, so he knows what kind of color he is going to use on which kind of grid or filter. And because of this he knows what he has to draw and what he wants to color. 

You have to know that at that time DMTR and Ranjit did not know each other. But every time I got a drawing from one of these guys I was so excited that I wanted to show it to the other guy. Share the wealth so to speak. So I asked Ranjit and DMTR if it was okay to send the pictures to the other artist. I am very careful with drawings from other people, something I also learned from working with artists.

An artist draws for a living, which is their trade, but I think it is not really perceived as a real job by many. I will try to explain what I mean: I have a friend and she is a hairdresser. When I ask her to cut my hair, I pay her afterwards. Another friend of mine is a mechanic. When my car doesn’t work and I ask him to fix it, I always ask him ‘what the costs are”.  But what I learned what happens with artists is that someone asks them to draw something and expect to get it for free.  “Can you make a drawing from my colleague as a warrior?” or “Can you make a design for a tattoo?”  Questions I see them getting a lot. But when the artist modestly and reluctantly asks if he can get paid, because he invests a couple of hours making this, the majority of people look at them like he or she is crazy. 

Ranjit and DMTR were still busy with creating the characters, while I had already written two stories for several issues. Because we were working the comic thing in our free time it would be a project for at least two years. We had not done anything together but we did have fun talking with each other. It was Ranjit who asked me if we couldn’t start with a small story to see how the collaboration would work out.

That was a brilliant idea. For every aspiring comic writer out there, don’t do like I did and begin with a series of 7 issues, but start smaller. I have been extremely lucky with the artists I found who would sacrifice a lot of their time to help me realize my dream. 

I started writing an ACE story that takes place before the first story I had written, and this was also the first time Ranjit could tell me what he wanted to draw. I told DMTR what I was doing with ACE and he also thought an issue 0 for Sanguis would be fun and set the mood for the series. A series with a very different style and atmosphere compared to ACE. ACE is an action comedy and Sanguis is more of an action horror story.  So the last thing I have written for Sanguis and ACE were the first to be drawn.

With the first two comics in production I already had a few notes for another story in my notebook.  It was a story I really wanted to write, but was it wise to start writing another story and  start looking for an artist all over again? I still don’t know the answer to that question, but what I do know is that I really wanted to start writing again, and that was what I did. I started writing a third comic series. So again the search was on.

Next: New Jorg


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Gert-Jan van Oosten, co-founder of Dutch comic book publisher, Drop Comics, talks about his efforts to find his place on the comics market from across the pond; the Netherlands.

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