Originally published on Comics Vanguard, my old website. I’m republishing it here so I can keep track of it, and update it so it’s accurate for everyone!
Where do you go if you want to submit your artwork to a major comic book company? It can be hard to work out what to do if you’re an aspiring artist, especially as some companies don’t have a clear submissions policy. Below I’m going to track down all the mainstay comic publishers I can, and give you an idea of how (or if) you can approach them.I’d like to offer a few words of advice in advance: companies are never going to hire an artist based on static images. Comics are a sequential medium, so companies want to see sample pages which tell a story. If you can draw a big pin-up of Emma Frost – all well and good, but Marvel would far rather see you do a sequence of panels, telling a scene about her.
Always remember to leave space for the letters – if a letterer has no space to put dialogue, they’ll have to cover up your work, and harm the overall effect of the page. Typically the person who speaks first on a panel should be standing on the left.
Don’t send original artwork. Send clear, sharp photocopies of your original pages. And above all else – MAKE YOUR CONTACT DETAILS OBVIOUS! You shouldn’t slather a big copyright across your pages, but you should certainly make sure that your name and details are noticeable.
Of course, you can always go self-published and small press (in fact, it’s almost ALWAYS an advantage if you’ve already had work published, proving that you have the ability to get something to print by yourself) – but here’s a guide to the various places you can consider pitching to:
2000AD ask that all artistic submissions be sent in the post. One of the more practical companies, they have a bundle of different four page scripts you can download from their site (link below) which range from Future Shocks stories to Judge Dredd chapters. They’d like a black and white submission of those sequential pages.
Find more at http://www.2000adonline.com/submissions
Action Lab only take on work from whole creative teams – they want you to have already found a writer, and started work on your project. If you’re already holding your completed comic, then they’d like five-six pages of the story from you, along with pages of the script, attached into a PDF and emailed across to them.
Find more at http://www.actionlabcomics.com/faq
Archie are not currently accepting artistic submissions. Sometimes at conventions they do have portfolio review sessions, although I believe they typically promote that fact ahead of time – so check with them before you come over with your portfolio.
Editor-in-Chief William Christiansen would like to hear from you! Avatar ask that you email him with a few details about yourself, and a link to your online portfolio – don’t email him the huge portfolio PDF, but instead offer him maybe a few samples of your work, and highlight the link to where more of your work can be found.
They also accept postal submissions – follow the guidelines at the link below.
Find more at http://www.avatarpress.com/avatar-press-submission-guidelines
Boom aren’t actively looking for artistic talent, although they do browse the below Facebook page at regular intervals. Post samples of your artwork to the page (please don’t spam them, folks!) and leave them your contact details.
Find more at https://www.facebook.com/BoomStudiosArtistSubmissions
Dark Horse Comics
This is stressed as being uncommon, but Dark Horse have two separate submissions: one for sequential pages and one for cover artists. If you want to submit cover/pin-up art, they ask for around five or so images to be posted across. If any of the pages feature a character you own, they have a submissions Agreement they want for you to sign and send along with the images.
For sequential pages, they also ask for five or six consecutive pages of artwork. All submissions are to be sent through the post – send photocopies, of course.
Find more at http://www.darkhorse.com/Company/Submissions#artists
DC do not currently accept artistic submissions (if you want to work for DC, I’ll half-jokingly say “head to the Image Comics section”)
As noted at http://www.dccomics.com/submissions
Drawn & Quarterly
D&Q will look at a submission of up to 16 pages, although you should already have your own project up and running, with a full creative team. They ask that you email your art across to them, with each image no more than 1MB in size. A response will hopefully be forthcoming, but don’t be disheartened if you don’t hear anything – I imagine they’re pretty swamped with great artwork and ideas.
Find more at http://www.drawnandquarterly.com/aboutSubmission.php
First of all, you are asked to sign their Submissions Agreement. As with all contracts – read it carefully before you sign. Unsolicited submissions will not be read. Dynamite ask for 5 pages of representative artwork, photocopied at 8 1/2″x11″.
Find more at http://www.dynamite.com/htmlfiles/editor.html
Fantagraphics have a reputation as a strongly artistic company, and they want you to have something firmly in mind, and idiosyncratic and interesting. Bear in mind the other comics they publish, and think on if you’re wanting to go along those lines, or are more interested in drawing superheroes and aliens. You will need to have (or be!) a writer involved on the project – Fantagraphics do not pair up creative teams.
If you’re happy with all that, then five pages of your art are requested, along with a synopsis of the project, your overall page count, and post them to their address.
Find more at: http://www.fantagraphics.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=56&Itemid=127
IDW request that you send a jpeg of your work across to them at 72 dpi, and no larger than 10MB in size. Their editorial will take a look at the pages, although you may or may not receive a response. Again here, bear in mind the sort of work they’re publishing, before you submit – they do creator-owned stuff, but they have a specialism in licensed properties.
Find more at http://www.idwpublishing.com/page/2198/
Image Comics are a creator-owned company, and they don’t offer guidance – they publish your work or they don’t. You need to have a story of your own to tell, and a creative team to tell it. That in mind, however, the company DO hold some submissions from artists, and pair them up with a writer. This is highly uncommon, however – Kieron Gillen is already friends with Jamie McKelvie, it’s not likely that he’s going to bring you on for a new project (but maybe!!)
You won’t get paid unless your comics run a profit. Work something out with the rest of your creative team, and split the money accordingly. Image run a specific type of comics, and you should read their below guide thoroughly. If you submit art and do not hear back within a month, you should consider your submission rejected.
Find more at http://imagecomics.com/about/submissions
Marvel are not looking for artistic submissions. Again, turn to the DC section above, and then to the Image section. Marvel do note, however, that they keep an eye on other publications – if you make your own comics and make a splash with them, there’s always a chance that you might catch Marvel’s eye.
The best way to get in touch with them is at a convention – if you can get a portfolio review, listen to the advice you’re given. I know several artists who have gone on to get work at Marvel following a few portfolio reviews. It won’t happen overnight, but work hard enough and who knows?
As noted at http://marvel.com/help/category/14/topic/30
This is a special case – editor Nate Cosby works for a few companies at the moment, most notably on the Gold Key comics for Dynamite. On his Twitter he regularly asks for artistic submissions – keep an eye out, and see what happens. Don’t pester him until he requests artists get in touch!
Find him at https://twitter.com/natecosboom
Nobrow are taking submissions once more, in a range of categories. They ask for a specific brief in each case – much in the same way as Fantagraphics, they have a very focused publishing scheme, and you should look to see if you work fits in that model. They ask that you email your submissions to them.
Find more at http://www.nobrow.net/submissions
Oni Press do not accepted unsolicited submissions.
As noted at http://www.onipress.com/contact
Top Shelf are happy to look at submissions, although make sure to not email them your work – instead send them links to your online portfolio, or write to them personally. They would typically prefer to see an extended piece of work, around 10 pages of sequential artwork.
Find more at http://www.topshelfcomix.com/contact/submissions
Valiant will look at your artistic portfolio, if you email them with a link to it. Bear in mind that they tend to favour artists who have already started to make a name for themselves – if you’ve had previously published work, it’ll weigh in your favour.
They don’t have a detailed submissions page – they simply state that you should email your previously published work/portfolios to email@example.com
This page will be updated whenever possible. If you know of anything that’s out of date, please let me know in the comments!