Tips and Tricks

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Q9: I hate showing people my work… any advice for coping with the fear?

‘My only advice: don’t be afraid. It will be gut-wrenching and horribly difficult, but if you don’t share your work, it will never improve. If you’ve had bad experiences in the past, form a working group with other cartoonists so that you can help each other out long-term – in comics. It helps a lot if you work with people who have a deep understanding of the medium.’ Ellen Lindner, Mentor.

‘Very often a new eye will show up something you haven’t noticed. And even if it is negative and it means you then see something in it that you aren’t happy with, in the long run that’s good. As there is nothing worse than submitting work and then seeing your own mistakes when it too late.’ Isabel Greenberg, Intern.

‘Nope! Just suck it up.’ Freya Harrison, Intern.

‘It’ll have to be done sooner or later, other people’s insight into your work can change it for the better. Deep breath and…’ Abraham Christie, Intern.

‘Don’t imagine them naked, that’s just weird and actually more embarrassing. Just imagine they’re someone really nice and they often are anyway, and remember that you are offering them something valuable, not just them offering it to you. It’s cheesy but just be yourself.’ William Goldsmith, Intern.

‘Yeah: MAN UP. I can promise you that if you walk up to someone and say “Oh, it’s not very good” that person will offer you no sympathy and won’t want to look at your work. Don’t look for that tiny chance of someone saying “Oh I bet it’s not’” because they won’t. If you believe in your work, other people will follow. It’s the golden rule. Even if you don’t think it’s great, be proud of your hard work “Look, look what I did! I tried something new! What do you think?” Yeah, sure, they might criticise you, but you can take that criticism and use it to fuel your next piece. So be CONFIDENT’ Jade Sarson, Intern.

‘I always tell people that the no.1 rule in comics is THERE’S NO CRYING IN COMICS but I think I’m the one who breaks that rule more than anybody…’ Ross Campbell, Graphic Novelist

You need to communicate the same enthusiasm that inspired you to create in the first place if you want someone seeing your work to be as interested in it as you are. Avoid saying your work is no good – just in case they believe you. If you are making a comic, share it with people who like comics. Enthusiasts (–and by “enthusiast”, I simply mean a friend who reads comics–) are in the best position to respond to your work – whether they have compliments or criticisms, they will understand your intentions and motivations. If you show your work to people who have no interest in comics, you can expect polite non-comprehension, but don’t be disheartened – you may not have penned the ground-breaking work that makes even non-comics-readers pay attention just yet. Try showing your script to someone who likes writing, or showing your art to somebody who draws instead.’ Lily-Rose Beardshaw, Intern.