By Sally Horowitz
With images of starving artists suffering for their work, living on the fringe of society, eating rarely and crashing on friends’ couches, the stereotypical artist’s life seems a tough one. It’s the type of life that artist Andy Fish once thought inescapable, “I always envisioned setting up paintings in the park and eating out of trash cans.”
Happily, Fish found that art and commerce can indeed co-exist. He has managed to stay out of the trash cans, developing a wide and loyal clientele through simply “delivering good work on time.”
The pay-off is more than just “making it” as a commissioned artist (which alone is a dream accomplishment for many artists); Fish’s success and commitment to/passion for his work has now made him an author as well as an artist. In November 2010, London’s Quatro Publishing published his How to Write a Graphic Novel, which can be found in bookstores world wide… a far cry from paintings in the park.
But for those creative types who are just getting their feet wet in the world of art and are drawn (no pun intended) to drawing characters and creating new worlds and…really whatever their imagination can conceive of…(and perhaps are living that starving-artist-paintings-in-the-park stereotype), the graphic novel is an especially good medium, Andy says. “[It] allows you to essentially tell a story very much like a movie…without the monstrous budget needs of film or the interference of studio bosses.”
A few art supplies, and a good idea, and a love for what you’re doing is all you really need…but having Fish’s book wouldn’t hurt, either. It guides newcomers through the conventions and styles of the graphic novel, with particular attention to their difference from regular comic books, “Graphic novels are comics grown up. They don’t feature page after page of one costumed character beating the snot out of another costumed character.”
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