My pal Gordon Harries asked me about how I have been able to come up with great artists to draw my two graphic novels so far, so that's the topic of the day here at blog central.
When I approached Oni Press with the Union Station proposal I had an art team in place, and the pitch packet included some sample pages. For various and complicated reasons, after Oni accepted the project for publication, that plan fell apart. So, Oni and I started looking for someone who could draw the period well, from the cars to the suits and dresses to the guns. Oh, and they had to be able to do so for, frankly, less than a ton of cash.
We danced around with several possibilities without much success until I got an e-mail from my editor Jamie Rich one day that said, "Eduardo Baretto is available... we think he might be the guy." My head spinning, I ran to my comic book collection, pulling out my cherished issues of a book Eduardo had done with Gerard Jones called The Shadow Strikes. That series was set in the same era as Union Station and, holy shit, was it beautiful. Done, thank you.
So, probably over-confident that lightning would strike twice, I pitched Capote In Kansas without an artist in place. Oni said yes, and we began beating the pavement again, looking for the right fit. Again, various flirtations produced no results until a young (I mean... young!) Chris Samnee entered the picture. We weren't sure he was ready initially, but after Chris did a couple of sample pages... sold!
Since Capote In Kansas, I have had my first project accepted at Oni that I actually co-created with an artist. That project, Blood Red, is on hold now, because that artist found higher-paying work. So it goes. I also have another graphic novel in the works for Oni, the South American kidnapping story called Ciudad. Again, no artist in place and, once again, we are on the prowl. We thought we had a guy, and... no. We think we have a guy now... not positive yet. So it goes.
In short, unless you're writing and drawing the whole thing yourself, you have a tall hill to climb in finding a collaborator. Unless you get a movie deal, there is not a ton of money involved in making these books. There is some money, thank god, but it's nothing like drawing a book for the big two. That reduces the options to people who are hungry and ready to prove (or re-prove) themselves. Well, actually, I guess an independently wealthy artist who just loves the material would work, too. Haven't met that guy yet.
Every now and then, I threaten to draw one of my books myself. My good sense has always talked me out of it, to this point. I'm not good enough to satisfy myself, really. I'm certainly not fast enough. It may happen someday, but I kinda doubt it. So, I will continue to be, like so many writers I know, on the lookout.
Do me a favor, willya? If you're a brilliant artist in search of a project with a reasonably talented writer to collaborate with... drop me a line?
As always, your humble servant,