column_breakout.gifOoh…a bright, shiny new shiny set of articles here (originally run at the Digital Webbing site). I guess I should start by introducing myself–aside from the occasional colorful expletive, I’m usually referred to as Jeffery Stevenson, and I’ve put together this series of articles to share my insanity……to, umm, share advice and motivational words on “breaking in” that I’ve managed to mish-mash together from books, websites, comic creators, editors, business professionals, teachers, little kids that are wise beyond their years, and even that guy on the street downtown with the cardboard sign that states he knows how to unlock the secret, universe-altering potential of liverwurst. Some of this material might be informative, some of it might even be funny (which can help you learn stuff better), but the only thing I can guarantee is that I’ve managed to write it down for people to read (so that I can get it all out of my brain and make room for weirder stuff). Now, since this is the first article, I have yet to receive much feedback on it, so I’ve taken the liberty of going ahead asking myself some questions people might be interested in:

Why the [rhymes with “chimichangas for a buck”] would you call a column about breaking in Breaking Out!? It’s like you’re trying to escape from [not again] jail or some [potty mouth] like that.

Good question. My philosophy on breaking in has always been learning my craft, finding my voice, practice the heck out of it, work hard, have fun and entertain people…and hopefully find some doors opening for me along the way. Would I like a shot at breaking in to the big publishers? Hell yeah! Well, how am I gonna set myself apart from everyone else that wants this same goal? By breaking out of the pitfalls, traps, and false thinking that aspiring creators can fall into when they try to get into the comic industry. Some people forget the comic “industry” is a business and that creators have to mix skill and experience with patience, discipline, and great sales and marketing skills…just like trying to get a job in any other business out there. And yeah, I know, making comics is supposed to be fun…and it is…any good job should be.

What makes you so qualified to cover this subject?

Truthfully, I’m still learning myself, and I always will be…but if I wait until I’ve learned everything about this subject before taking on this column, I’d never get any of it written. With any project, there just comes a time when you have to stop thinking about what you’re going to do…stop planning it to death and just get the damn thing done.

Do you really think throwing in some funny stuff will help people learn better?

How many people have you met that can go on for a long time describing every detail and every event in a movie that leads up to a single punch line they found funny? Tying an emotion to the information gives people something else to associate it with…another path to the data. Besides, learning stuff shouldn’t be boring.

Will I be able to break in to comics if I read your articles?

No. Breaking in requires much more than reading a few articles. I’ll present ideas, ponderings, and tips on the subject–things to get YOU thinking about what YOU can do to increase YOUR chances in the long run. There’s a lot of difference between knowing what to do and actually getting it done. Take what bits of info here you find helpful, apply it, practice, and work hard at it. With each step forward, you’ll increase your chances…and as long as you’re going in the right direction, you’ll eventually get to where you want to be.

And that’s all for this week! Next week we’ll get rolling with this column.