Who are you?
I’m an illustrator and storyteller based out of Phoenix, Arizona.
I like the art you have for sale, how do I purchase it?
I accept PayPal and checks. Please allow 14 days for checks to clear, and 5 days for PayPal. Continental US Shipping is included for sketch cards, and $20 for comic pages. Don’t worry, it’s $20 total, not per page. Please inquire for noncontinental US and international shipping. I can also arrange to bring art along to personal appearances and conventions I’m attending. Email me at either tony @ tonyparkerart dot com or ethnyt @ yahoo dot com to make a purchase.
Are you accepting commissions, and what are the rates?
I am currently not taking commissions, but please check the posts to see when they become available. 🙂
How did you get started?
I got my regularly paid art career started in the pen and paper Role Playing Game industry. I sent off samples to around 100 companies via snail mail and online submissions. Of all those, I got one commission for a single piece. I was able to parlay that in to regular freelance work in the RPG industry.
What materials do you use?
Basically anything I can get my hands on. I use multiple mechanical pencils of varying lead densities, as well as traditional pencils. For inks, I use Rapid-0-Graph ink primarily, with occasional use of FW Black Acrylic for rich blacks and Higgins for washes. I’ll use Rapid-O-Graph technical pens for certain mechanical pieces, but Windsor-Newton Series 7 #2 brushes and 102 and 107 nibs for inking. For white, I use FW Pro White Acrylic for most corrections, with white Gouache for large spaces, and some occasional Doc Martins Bombay White. I do comic work on hand cut 11″x17″ boards cut from Strathmore Bristol Smooth 400 Series paper. It’s incredibly durable, erasable, and a delight to work on. I also employ the standard barrage of rulers, erasers, templates and french curves.
Who have you worked for?
Including, but no limited to Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, Image, IDW, BOOM! Studios, HERO Initiative, Games Workshop, Black Libraries, Mongoose Publishing, and Green Ronin. I’ve also done designs and storyboards for commercials and movies, as well as CCG art and book covers.
What is your process?
I start off with tiny thumbnail sketches (sketches the size of your thumbnail), in order to get the basic composition down. I can’t emphasize how important composition is. I will then draw the piece in pencil, or in the case of sequential work, 5-11 pages. I try to give myself time between pencils and inks so that I can look at the pencils with fresh eyes. I’ll usually ink in stages, varying between brush, quill and tech pen. I’ll try to work in as many “fresh eyes” opportunities as possible. I’d rather see the mistake in front of me than on the printed page. If I have to color the piece, I generally use Photoshop. I’m currently using CS2.
What suggestions do you have for artists starting out?
Find a good instructor and take classes. Look at an instructors work before taking a class, because odds are if they can’t draw, they don’t know enough about drawing to teach. Carry a sketchbook with you where ever you go. Draw as many different things as possible, not just your favorite character. Go to conventions and appearances and get as many portfolio reviews as possible. Don’t believe your friends and family. Remember, they’re paid to love you, and have a biased opinion.
What do I use for a portfolio?
Keep it clean and simple, and show only your best work. Keep it to no more than 20 pieces max, and that’s including any pinups, covers or single illustrations. A great method for portfolio layouts is one the I got from Joe Quesada (EIC of Marvel Comics). Draw three 3 page stories, and include a cover for each one if you have time. Don’t get hung up on the covers, for comics are a storytelling medium, and that’s generally the starting point. Try to be as diverse as possible on each story. Do a single character story, a team book, and what ever strikes your fancy for the third. If you know a certain editor will be at a convention, try to sculpt the portfolio to that editor.
Okay, I have that portfolio, and I’m meeting that editor. Now what?
First off, don’t try to explain or apologize for your work. They hate that. This leads in to the worst thing you can reasonably do, which is get in an argument with the editor over your work. Listen to what advice they have to give. In fact, it’s a good idea to bring a sketchbook along (which you should have with you already), and take notes of what they say. It shows that you’re listening, and you can remember what they said after the con (and work to correct it). When it’s all done, remember to thank the editor for the review. It’s good to have a hard copy of the portfolio to drop off in case they want one. Ideally, have the portfolio printed on 8.5″x11″ paper, stapled together, with your contact information printed on the back of each page. Also include a business card and a self addressed stamped envelope. Odds are they’ll contact you via email, but it’s good to have it there just in case. Unless it’s specific to your property/art (i.e. animated web comics), don’t include a disk with your work. It will only get discarded. If you get contact information for the editor, write a thank you letter or email.
Do I have to only show my portfolio to editors?
Not at all. Show it to any creative type that you think you might be able to get constructive criticism from. The greater diversity of artists, the better. A lot of artists try to only contact artists who draw of a same style, but these people are missing out. The more fresh eyes the better.
Do I need a web presence?
Yes, but thankfully, there are free ones out there to take advantage of. Blogs are wonderful and popular, and Deviantart (www.deviantart.com) is a great place to watch and share art.
How do I develop a style?
Keep drawing. It will come in time.
What’s the greatest secret to art?
Have fun with it. It shows.
I have questions that you haven’t answered. What do I do?
Email me. I’ll try to get back as soon as time allows me.