I've been receiving many notes from people asking me if they can reproduce tattoos of my drawings. Wow, I must say that I get flattered, thank you!
But I just try make to them understand this: I'm okay with someone who wants to tattoo a drawing of mine on THEMSELVES since it is not being reproduced for financial gain and my original art concepts are not being changed or affected. It's not okay to sell my images as tattoos to other people. Everything I create has copyrights.
DO YOU ACCEPT COMMISSION WORK?
Yes. For more informations, please, write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
I'M THINKING ABOUT GETTING INTO THIS BUSINESS, AND I WOULD LIKE SOME ADVICE: WHERE DO I START? HOW DO I SET UP A PORTFOLIO?
Generally speaking, it's important to be flexible and to pay attention to what the market is looking for -- US, European, Japanese -- each market has its own peculiarity and it's necessary to understand and adapt to it.
Be sure you're being objective in your samples: only present the best and most important of your work to the editors because they usually don't have the time or patience to look at more than 5 pages. Organize your samples in a portfolio case at original size. Make copies of your portfolio at letter size and attach your contact information (website, email, telephone, etc) so that you can leave a copy with interested editors. That way they can contact you later on. If you already have something published, include copies and references (title, publisher, date) of those works in your portfolio case so they can see it.
Be original -- not all comic book publications are super heroes! Present a variety of subject matter and storytelling genres to increase your chances of success.
About samples -- the first thing the editor will analyze is your storytelling skills (the art of telling the story through panels). Then if you know how to draw everything well, they will look at how you draw the character interaction, anatomy, gesture (expressing an idea of emotion through bodily movement), types of characters (adults, teens, kids), environments (cities, jungles, parks, living spaces, offices), and animals of all kinds. You have to be creative enough to create monsters, aliens, and other fictional beings that do not really exist. Sometimes you will be required to know certain characters and be ready to work on them before you meet an editor. In sequential pages, giving special attention to the details can make the difference. For example, if the story happens in New York City, use specific references of the most known tourist points and be loyal to the production of the architecture, cars, and people. It helps people identify with your characters and believe in your storytelling. Details like this will make your samples stand out from the ordinary ones.
Start sending your samples to small publishing houses. The chance for work and to grow and develop your work artistically is greater. Then if you gain the right skills and experience the major publishers will begin to notice you. Present your work with an open mind. Listen mindfully to all the pieces of advice and critiques from professionals to help improve your work. Don't forget to thank the professional politely for analyzing your portfolio.
Never start work without signing a contract and having the client sign it too (this is very important! A contract is not legally binding unless both parties sign it). However don't sign a contract before you have read and understood the entire thing. This isnt an oppressive thing. This is something that simply reflects and understanding between two parts.
If you don't get any results the first time, don't give up! Try again and again. What one editor didn't like may be gold to another!