Art agency Pickled Ink’s hunt for new comic artists

Art illustration agency Pickled Ink has launched a new award in a bid to find an artist to draw a new graphic novel by Super Gran creator and writer Jenny McDade.

Working with Jenny, the creator/writer of the TV series Super Gran, who cut her teeth writing strips for the British girls comic Tammy, and comic book author and editor Pat Mills, the agency is searching for an outstanding character-led artist to illustrate Jenny’s first graphic novel script, Party Girls. The winner will be awarded £1000.00 and a contract of representation at Pickled Ink, whose current artists include Hanako Clulow, Hattie Newman, Hannah Bagshaw and many others.

In brief, they’re asking for: character design of two lead characters; and a 20 frame sample sequence and a front cover design. The winning artist must be an existing or recent graduate, able to draw modern fashion, facial expression, great storytelling, and be generally ‘2011’.

“There’s a huge gap in the comic market,” notes Pat Mills. “In my view, 50 per cent of the population are largely not catered for. Female comics were once massive – more popular than male comics. But because the industry is now so male fan-based, this whole market disappeared.

“Girls comics like Tammy were selling 250,000 copies a week, compared with 2000AD once selling 200,000 copies a week,” he points out via Facebook. “People still read 2000AD, but there’s no female equivalent now. Yes, there’s Manga and female fantasy, but nothing – to my knowledge – that could be called mainstream female drama, aimed at an audience who would not describe themselves as fans.

“So Pickled Ink and Jenny decided to do something about it. Jenny has put together a female graphic novel with a Sex in the City flavour.

“I think this is a really exciting move,” he feels. “Bear in mind we often have to go outside the regular artpool to find the new look we are after in comics. I went outside the regulars to find Glenn Fabry to draw Slaine. The editor of Eagle went to his local art college to find Dan Dare artist Frank Hampson. With a new artist, they will often put so much more into their work because they have so much to prove.

“And Jenny’s excellent story requires a really strong fashion spin, lots of drama and emotion and comedy. So many artists who could produce this kind of work are booked up forever or are locked into male comics only. So this is definitely the way to go to find someone new and dynamic.

“I can’t wait to see who we discover!”

• The deadline for entries is Monday 8th November 2010. Download a PDF of the full brief here on the Pickled Ink web site

Pickled Ink web site

Pat Mills on Facebook

Creating Tammy: a downthetubes feature by Jenny McDade

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