Small in Beautiful
“Back when I was breaking into comics, I always used to present my work in an A4 ringbinder, and never had any problems as a result – in fact, at a crowded portfolio session, A4 binders are a lot easier to deal with,” advises creator Matt Brooker, best known for his work on 2000AD as D’Israeli.
“[Include] whole pages of comics. Three pages is a good amount for a sample piece. A good way to do a sample is to take a scene from a real comic, write down what happens in each panel, plus dialogue, then re-draw the pages from scratch without referring to the original comic. Some publishers do also provide sample scripts for this purpose.
“Showing pencils can be helpful if you’re showing samples to the Americans – if that’s the case, try to get photocopies of pencils before you ink them. It’s best to show pencils and inks on facing pages in your portfolio for direct comparison. The only exception to this is 2000AD, who tend to prefer people to ink their own work.
“I’d also say that it’s better to keep it short; only submit your strongest work, and leave out anything non-comics related – no life drawings, illustrations, stuff like that. Perhaps one pin-up and one page of character sketches to show you know how to do such things.
“It also helps to target your work a little; for example, have a giant robot sample for 2000AD and a superhero piece for Marvel/DC (or even a piece based on a character from each publisher if you can).
“And above all, don’t let the fact that you haven’t, or can’t do any of the above from going and talking to editors. Go for it, and have a great time!”
• Matt’s guide to colouring comics on the computer can be found by clicking here
• You might also like to take a look at this guidance on what you should – and shouldn’t – include in your art portfolio when you’re showing it around at comic conventions. You might also like to take a look at my Editor’s View on what we like to see in Portfolios and there is some advice from independent comic creator Pete Ashton here about presenting yourself to an editor; and more advice here from Marcia Allas