“If someone had a good sense of visual storytelling, then I’d be interested in working with them.”
~ Carl Potts
Want to know how to become a comic book artist?
As former editor for Marvel in the 1980s, artist and educator, Carl Potts, knows exactly what publishers are looking for when they decide to hire you or not.
And, in this interview, he draws on his years of experience in the comic book and creative industries to give you a clear breakdown of the skills you’ll need to become successful.
Plus, you’ll get a fascinating insight into what it was like to work at one of the world’s biggest comic book publishers during its heyday in the 1980s…
And you’ll hear how Carl discovered and mentored legendary artists such as Mike Mignola, Arthur Adams, and Jim Lee.
How to Become a Comic Book Artist
00:00 – 01:09
Mitch introduces today’s guest and explains why, thanks to his book, The DC Comics Guide to Creating Comics: Inside the Art of Visual Storytelling, Carl Potts remains such a huge influence on many up-and-coming artists working today.
01:10 – 02:04
Carl Potts Career Overview
Carl has worked in many different areas of the creative industry, including storyboarding, penciling, inking, editing, and more latterly as a creative director and teacher. In this section, he talks about his different roles and how they helped shape him as an artist.
02:05 – 06:15
How Carl got his First Big Break in The Industry
If you want to know how to become a comic book artist, you’ll find this part of the interview particularly useful. Carl explains how forging good working relationships with fellow creatives in the early days can lead on to bigger things in future.
06:16 – 24:00
Carl on the Golden Age of Marvel Comics
Ah, the 1980s – the era of big hair, boomboxes, Madonna…and also arguably the golden age for Marvel Comics. Carl was there. And, in this chapter, you’ll get a fascinating insight into what it was like to work at the comic book powerhouse during this decade, and why hanging out in NYC with other creatives led to the creation of some of our best-loved comic book superheroes.
25:00 – 33:30
Learning Resources for Artists
So what skills should an aspiring comic book artist learn? In this chapter, Carl reveals the key skills he’d look for as an editor, and shares key insights from his years as a teacher to help point you in the right direction.
33:30 – 42:44
How to Get Your Work Seen by the Right People
In the good ol’ days, it was simple. You sent your portfolio to someone like Carl and you waited for the phone to ring. But, in this era of social media, email and tough competition, how do you get your work seen by the people who might want to hire you? Carl has some great tips in this section.
42:45 – 45:43
How to Adopt the Right Mindset for Success
If you want to know how to become a comic book artist, you’ll also have to adopt the right mindset when it comes to feedback and networking. In this chapter, Carl shares his experiences to help you get started on the right track.
45:44 – 48:24
What’s Carl’s final piece of advice for aspiring artists and where can you find him online? Listen to the concluding part of this interview to find out! You’ll also find a handy reading list at the bottom of this article to help you get the most from your art.
So, if you’ve ever wondered how to become a comic book artist, we hope this week’s interview with Carl Potts has inspired you.
Below this post, you’ll find a reading list which we hope you’ll find useful. For one thing, Carl’s book, The DC Comics Guide to Creating Comics: Inside the Art of Visual Storytelling, has become an indispensable guide for artists working in all genres.
What excites you most about working in the comic book industry? Let us know in the comments box below – we’d love to hear from you and we’ll do our best to help 🙂
People on this Episode:
Links From This Episode:
- Carl’s Blog, General Eclectic
- Carl’s Portfolio
- The DC Comics Guide to Creating Comics: Inside the Art of Visual Storytelling
- Alien Legion (hardcover)
- Recent collection of Punisher War Journals that include the issues Carl wrote and did layouts for
Courses Taught by Carl in NYC:
- School of Visual Arts continuing education comics classes
- Essential Knowledge and Skills for Comics Creators
- Comics Projects
- Creating and Developing Entertainment Properties for Visual Media
- Carl’s Instructor Profile at SVA
Thanks for listening to our show! We’ll be back next Wednesday morning 8AM EST.