HTDC’s Comic Book Store has been an idea I’ve been thinking about for some time. It seemed to be a natural progression for How To Draw Comics. NET. Because to me, every art school out there was missing an essential component to the learning experience. Students might enroll in a course that stretches on for multiple years with the promise of receiving the skills they need to create the things that they want to create. Then eventually graduation day comes bringing with it the bittersweet ambiguity of what comes next.
They’ve got the qualification in hand but that’s about as valuable as carrying a bank check in the desert. They’ve acquired all this skill, but no one told them where to take it, or more importantly what to do with it.
I observe this year in and year out with many of the students I teach on campus. Students who have been studying for years and going to such lengths as to intentionally institutionalize themselves for fear of what lies beyond the class room.
My vision for How To Draw Comics. NET was to make it the top learning resource out there for aspiring comic book artists. I wanted to offer the best comic art tutorials, courses and learning resources available, and for them to serve the comic artist community with real results that they could see within the art work they created.
But the last thing I wanted was for How To Draw Comics. NET (HTDC) to equate to another run of the mill art school. So I asked myself what would need to happen to push HTDC to the next level.
Think about it… what is the end goal of anyone who wants to learn how to create a comic book? To acquire the skills to make a comic of course, but then to actually make one right?
Most independent creators who have the skills to make a comic book do eventually go out there and make one. Which is an absolutely massive feat, requiring an immense amount of energy, time and dedication. Anyone who has ever been through the process of producing their own comic knows what I’m talking about here – and they have my absolute respect. Because it takes guts and every ounce of inner strength you can muster.
Getting your comic out there after you’ve created it is a different story. That requires a whole other set of skills most of us independent comic creators tend to kick to the curb – because we either don’t like the idea of marketing ourselves or we just don’t see it as important enough. But the reality is – marketing is everything if you want to get your comic exposure.
That’s when I realized how I was going to set HTDC aside from being yet another learning resource site that gave you the skills, but left you hanging when it came to actually doing something with them.
HTDC’s Independent Creator Initiative would create a place where budding comic book artists could come to learn the skills they needed to draw comics – then give them a place to get their comics out there once they’d created them.
Essentially this would bind the learning phase every comic artist must go through, with the reality of actually being able to make a comic book and have people purchase it.
Luckily this was a possible next step for How To Draw Comics. NET thanks to our already existing community of comic book artists. By combining our e-mail subscribers, social networking platforms and the organic traffic How To Draw Comics. NET gets daily it could be used as a viable platform to promote independent comic book creators and get them more exposure.
So that’s exactly what I set out to do, building a new section within the HTDC site, dedicated to helping comic book creators get their work seen by the very audience they were a part of.
In doing this, my hope is that eventually the HTDC Comic Book Store will become a self-sustaining bubble – where creators will support other creators while creating comics themselves.
More than that though, I’ve got a powerful belief that independent creators will become the pulse of the comic book industry someday due to their originality, passion and drive. I should know, because I’m an independent creator myself. Rather than using our drawing and writing abilities to produce someone else’s story, we’ve got our own to tale to tell. And it comes from our heart, our mind, our very being. That’s what comic book readers and collectors want to see – they’re tired of the status quo, the same old thing lining the shelves of their local comic book stores again and again.
I believe HTDC’s Comic Book Store will be the start of something great for the comic book industry, possibly even the cause of a revolution that sees readers experiencing something they’ve never seen before in comics.
If you’re a part of the How To Draw Comics Facebook Group you’ll know just how much talent goes unnoticed by the corporate overlords within the comic book realm. There have been so many times where I’ve seen an artist share a new illustration on the news feed and wondered how on Earth they haven’t been snapped up yet by Marvel or DC – and wished that there was a comic they'd authored that I could read out there somewhere.
Each and every comic book creator has chosen the comic book medium as their choice of expression. When you read their stories, they’re giving you an insight into their imagination, beliefs, insecurities, strengths, fears and values. A small part of them is manifested within the frame of each panel we peer into as we turn through the pages of their book.
And I knew that even though they may not have yet received the mass recognition for the sum of their hard work and dedication – these creators still had undiscovered comics out there that a majority of readers just weren't aware of.
My mission with HTDC’s Com