So you know that comic I'm working on that's an adaptation of a movie that's being filmed right now? Of course you do. Well we have our first official piece of merchandise, the ZOMBIE LIVES MATTER T-shirt! All proceeds go towards the filming of the Zombie With A Shotgun movie (And also zombie preservation, because we care). Get yours today!
I read an article recently regarding internships and it got me thinking about my dislike of them and how there’s no more on-the-job training (Entry-level jobs expect you to have experience even though you were in school and don’t have experience, but you can’t get experience without the job, etc.). Here’s my story about how I beat the system for a school project and did shit my own way and got stellar grades and learned so much about myself and my craft.
In my senior year of high school we had a program called CHOOSE, where you could take the last semester of classes off to do an internship in the job field you want to pursue. All my friends had an easy time getting internships, but not me. I wanted to be a studio assistant with actual artists, but all that was offered to me was being a gopher at a museum or a stuffy graphic design office. But I wanted to create art and learn the craft. So as the deadline to get the internships in place got closer, I said fuck it and went behind the program’s back and did my own thing - I would work from home, drawing my own comic book, and I would enlist the help of a family friend, legendary comics artist Frank Thorne, as a mentor via mail and phone.
The head of the program didn’t like this, but I went ahead and was on my own. I had 2 months to write and draw a 24-page comic. My only interaction with Frank Thorne was FedExing him copies of pages as I went where he would draw overlays to show me how to do things better. But aside from that I had no outside interference on the direction of the story or the art, his critiques were more for personal use (I still have the overlays and will scan them when I have time). I also had to meet with a faculty advisor once a week, but she also let me do my own thing.
I worked from home and woke up when I wanted and worked when I wanted, but I had so much fun I had no trouble spending most of my day on this project. In addition I learned about time management and setting up a schedule to stay on time. I also pulled my first all-nighter, finishing up the inks the week before the project was due. I got my first professional quality inking brush during this time, and did a lot of research about proper materials to use, and I also contacted artists I admired about their working process. In late June I finished the comic and printed it myself and prepared for my presentation, which we all had to do.
I was shocked at how boring everyone’s presentations were. Most kids just went to offices and fetched coffee for the people and didn’t really learn anything. A friend of mine did an internship at a police department and got to fire a gun, but aside from that his gig was mostly organization of paperwork. Another friend went to a graphic design studio, which I was on the path to doing, and no one taught him anything. He just looked over people’s shoulders as they worked.
But in my presentation I had all 24 pages of original art and the cover lined up along the walls and I passed out printed copies of the comic to all the attendees. I then talked about my process and what I did. Everyone was freaking out that I actually did something and managed to do this entire project on my own with little to no interference. I got an A on the project and the head of the program used my presentation as an example for future classes.
This 2 month period taught me more than any internship or college class could have. I was doing what I wanted to do and learning on the job in the most hands-on way possible. If I succeeded or if I failed it was all because of myself and no one else, and that was something I was proud of.
Here are some of the pages I did. I still have all the original art and I’m keeping them safe. I can honestly say this is the comics project I’m most proud of, and even though it was hard as fuck to accomplish I have nothing but fond memories of it.