So You Want to Work in Pop-Culture?

Really, who doesn’t want to work in entertainment?

So I’ve been very lucky to have been able to head to the San Diego Comic-Con for the past 6 years. And since year 1, I’ve tried to line up meetings both in the Portfolio Review area, as well as individual company booths for possible freelance leads in the entertainment industry. Cause, let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to to make fun things for a living? 😀

So this post is for all of you, that might be like me, who’s hungry to work in pop-culture, but can’t make it out to SDCC to meet and greet people.

How? Well, after the jump, you can find notes I received on my book this year. Hopefully it’ll help you on your journey to make fun shit for a living…

Okay, first things first, so the notes have some sort of context, check out the leave behind I had printed up for the show. For privacy sake, I removed my contact information, I mean the internet can be scary, haha! But if any potential leads are reading this post, please feel free to reach me via the Contact Page if there’s interest.

BUT for the rest of you, again, so the notes have context, please take a look at some of the work I presented at SDCC here.

I should note that I post the work not only for context, but I do think it’s also important to know where your competition is at. It’s not enough to be better than the worst person working, you should be competitive with the best people working.

Now I’m not saying I’m hot shit. But I do think it’s important to access where you’re at against the work presented here to determine for yourself how much work is ahead of you.


So have you all read up? Okay, the notes:

    • Think about camera angles more: though this could be applicable to all the pages, the recurring note this came up on was the splash page where Kamala is looking up at the Trash Monster. The note was to work on that camera shot to greater show the difference in size between the two characters.
    • Work on body language: this note was in regards to the end of the comic pages, where Kamala changes, and has her arms out. Though that’s what the script had called for, the note was it was confusing what her posture was trying to communicate.
    • Work on backgrounds and texture: this is a no brainer, but it was commented I should pay more attention to my backgrounds, and also add texture to background elements, like the trash bags (make them more grimy).
    • Vary facial expressions more.
    • Watch out for tangents. What they meant by this was lines that elements on the page create. Like the line a arm might create that might be butted up awkwardly against a line an element in the background creates. Which was funny, this is something second nature to me in my graphic design work, but missed in my comic pages. 🙂
    • TIP: Now this is something I observed in my work. But in meetings, reviews, and panels, they all say if you’re just starting out, stick to a grid layout on your interiors. Don’t break panels, or get super crazy with your layouts. Because, chances are, you’re not ready to do that effectively. Just food for thought.
    • Have more facial expressions on the model sheet: they did mention, as a working animator, you won’t need to provide EVERY expression imaginable, only what is called for for a specific production. But when presenting a portfolio, having more is better than less.
    • Have an “action pose” model sheet.
    • On the character model sheet, showcase a full turnaround, including a 3/4 shot.
    • Explore basic shapes and get a little crazy: this note was coming from Nickelodeon, as they really don’t do “human” characters, not since KORRA, but that ended. So it was suggested exploring shapes to create fun, nebulous characters.
    • TIP: Though storyboards weren’t part of my book, some companies had me meet with their story reps based on my comic work. But outside of encouragement to provide storyboard work, I asked if there was sample scripts to pull from? Well, there wasn’t. But one thing they suggested was a “story prompt” exercise, in which you decide on a point A and a point B, something simple like crossing the street, and illustrate what happens in getting from those 2 points. Another thing that was suggested was pausing shots in movies and looking at how those stills are composed and blocked.
    • Include a 3/4 shot in the product turnaround.
    • If there’s no difference between the left and right sides, only need to include one side.
  • MOVIE POSTERS: it’s funny, I actually had the thought to include B2B/design work in my book, but chose not to, and it turned out it would’ve been helpful, haha. Oh irony, you cruel mistress.
    • The main note here was to have more “realistic” portraits. Though there were likenesses displayed in the pin-ups in my book, the impression I got was something more along the lines of Tony Harris or Drew Struzan (Though NO ONE will ever match the magic that is Drew!)
  • MARVEL: Now these comments weren’t based on my book, but more some takeaways from the MARVEL panel, HOW TO BREAK INTO COMICS THE MARVEL WAY.
    • Watch your online/social behavior.
    • If you’re sending work to a publisher, try sending work to an assistant editor & associate editor, because they are just as hungry, if not more so, than the editors to find new talent to bring in and grow.
    • Watch your backgrounds, anatomy, and leaving room for dialogue.
    • For reference, try blowing up a comic page approximately 150%, or to 11×17, to see line weights, space between panels, etc.
    • Watch expressions and body language.

Well, that’s it. I hope these notes are helpful to you on your journey for a awesome career! Take care!