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Alternatives to Traditional Comic Art

One of the most common issues discussed on social media by comic book creators, lately, is money. It costs money to hire an artist or artists don’t get paid enough money. It’s the biggest obstacle that I hear coming from aspiring writers. And artists are often not paid enough for the many hours that they spend on a page.

Well what if I told you that you it didn’t have to cost a lot of money or take a lot of time? What if I told you that fame and fortune could be yours even if you don’t have the hottest art on your books? Yes, folks, you can have a successful comic book without spending a lot of money or time on art. But there is a catch – you have to be willing to give up on this idea that the art HAS to look a certain way.

If indeed, you have a story that you’re dying to tell, then you may want to ask yourself “Does it really need to be drawn in the traditional comic book style?” Case in point, here are some wildly successful graphic novels that use non-traditional art.


Smile by Raina Telgemeier – a New York Times #1 Bestseller
Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey – more than 70 million books sold worldwide
Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O’Malley – Over one million copies in print and a Hollywood film
Maus by Art Spiegelman – the first graphic novel to win a Pulitzer Prize.


As you can see, these books are using much  simpler art. Art work that some of us might be able to create ourselves, if we tried hard enough. And if you’re an artist already, you can see how these styles can take less time. Now I’m not saying that art like this is easy, I’m just saying that it probably doesn’t take us much time as a page by say – Jean “Moebius” Giraud.

Granted, these do not have that “DC/Marvel look,” but so what? And yes, the genres are not mainstream comics, but wouldn’t it be better to get your stories out there in alternative art and genres than not at all? “Oh, but this kind of art won’t work for serious superhero story! These books are kids stuff!” Maybe so and maybe not. I’m just offering another option. And as you can see from the numbers, books like these can even outsell traditional comics.

So if you’re willing to accept a different kind of result for your vision, then consider an alternative look and feel to the “superhero” stories of old.

We can make comics or we can make excuses.

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