A new edition of the What do Comic Creators Earn? table, this week.


So it seems like £130 per page for line-art + colouring would get art from a mid-range artist. I’m assuming that the writer is the one commissioning the artist directly and can do things like…

* the finished script
* provide the artist with rough indications of possible page layouts and desired viewpoints for certain key scenes.
* do picture research to clearly show the artist what’s needed, re: world creation and mood.
* offer the artist some basic reference sheets or detailed descriptions on how characters should look.
* use Photoshop + good comic-book fonts to letter the comic pages to a pro standard, once they’re complete.

A shortish 69 page (68 pages, plus opening splash page) graphic novel could thus be done for about £9,000, and distributed digitally to save printing costs. If one were charging $4.45 per download and making $3.80 profit on each copy after ecommerce deductions, one would have to sell about 3,500 copies to more or less get one’s money back. If one were factoring in some of one’s own time, and the total cost was thus £10,000, then one would be aiming to sell at least 4,000 digital copies.

Seems to me that would be a fairly cost-effective way of getting one’s ‘movie pitch’/script out into the world, in a form that’s sufficiently compelling it might actually create a fan-base and be picked up by a studio.

It also seems a very feasible way for a town or place to market and re-enchant their place, re: small arts grants — six local writers each write a ten-page comic-book ‘short story’ script set locally, perhaps re-inventing / refreshing local folklore/legend and other forms of local distinctiveness. £10,000 then makes an attractive graphic novel -sized anthology of those stories, helped along by a little extra voluntary effort on the ecommerce packaging and marketing side.

One could equally well devise a way for the stories to centre around a certain path — a long-distance footpath for instance. The England Coast Path (complete 2020) and the Welsh Coast Path, for instance, might have a programme where each of the 120 notable coastal settlements on the route each had a £12k grant to each produce such a work. That would need a £1.4m grant, but that’s the sort of money that the Arts Council dishes out to talent support programmes in theatre, dance etc on a regular basis, and the amount is surely not beyond the reach of being funded via the Lotteries. One would, of course, have to guard against ‘family friendly’ timidity and committee-itis at the local level — which, at its most extreme, might skew the book into being turned into a de facto unimaginative tourism promo for the local Tourist Board. Or steer it into being some naff way to promote youth literacy, the sort of thing that most youth run a mile from.