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Amateurs v. Professionals
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Greg Stephens
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2001 6:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This brief posting discusses some of the criteria between amateurs and professionals. I think this speaks to some of the things that Scott was discussing in RC about how the web levels the playing field for comics.

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Scott McCloud
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2001 1:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"We, the Amateurs, are as compentent and skillful, as professionals..." [sic]

Bad place for a typo.
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Max Leibman
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2001 7:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The rampant spelling and grammatical errors in the essay (in addition to the one Scott spotted, Paragraph 2 is a massive run-on sentence, and truth was miss-typed as "truht" and amateur as "amateru") kind of turned me off, but the guy is on target.

Ever since a 7th grade English teacher made the distinction plain to my class, "Professional" has never meant anything more to me than getting paid for something. People get too caught up in thinking that the qualities of Professionalism automatically come with being a professional, but this simply isn't the case (incidentally, I've always found the best blanket definition of professionalism to be those qualities that make one deserving of professional status). Moreover, there are plenty of amateurs who do professional-quality work, meaning simply that their work is good enough that it compares favorably with those who get paid for similar work.

There are certainly professionals who lack professionalism, and even those who don't do professional-quality work; most do one or both, though, and that is how they came to be professionals.

While we're pointing out that being a professional and being a quality craftsman (artist or whatever) are not always one and the same, it should be noted that amateur status isn't a badge of honor and proof of skill, either. Within the webcomic community, and elsewhere in the art world (such as among musicians), there is a small contingent that feels that only amateurs can be "true artists"; they feel that the minute you start looking to make a living off the work, the minute you become a professional, you have "sold out."

I hope I don't have to argue the point with anybody here, but that view is, frankly, bull$#!+. Just as professional does not automatically presuppose quality, amateur does not automatically presuppose purity of vision.

Ah, enough of me. Somebody else talk for a while.

Peace out,

Max Leibman

[ This Message was edited by: Max Leibman on 2001-08-23 07:55 ]
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marekj
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2001 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah. Horrible misspellings. This guy must be from Poland, or some other messed up place. I can't believe he would just type this badly. If he was a professional he would have spell checked before posting and as a professional he would edit the article for clarity and flow of thought. This way it's erratic and hard to follow and the post makes him look like an idiot.
Just my 2 cents.

Marek J
http://soapbox.radioPossibility.com/
P.S. I fixed the obvious misspellings and edited the article. Thanks
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Greg Stephens
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2001 10:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Typos aside, the message gets though, though as Scott notes it's unfortunate that there were any in that particular posting. Nice job being a good sport and correcting those, Marek.

Likewise, I agree with Max's debunking of the supposition that Amateur status automatically implies any greater integrity and/or quality. We may be preaching to the choir on this one, though.

(Wishing I had a spell checker for this forum, now...)

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Max Leibman
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2001 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Marek: Glad you had a chance to clean it up. It's a decent essay with an important point to make, but it would be a shame (and an ironic one) if people didn't bother to read through for the actual message because of simple language problems (which actually happens quite frequently).

Greg: Yes, balance in all things; Marek isn't wrong, but I figured we needed to look at the other side of the equation, too. Pro and Amateur are just states of pay-for-service or lack thereof, nothing more.

All: So, let's draw this back towards comics: How many people are working on their web comics professionally at the moment? I know several who are making a little, tiny profit off of 'em, but is anybody doing it as a profession, making an actual living (or significant portion of their living) from "webtooning?" I know this is Scott Kurtz's goal, but I have no idea how close he is, or how close any of the many others with similar dreams are. Is anybody making this happen right now?

-Max Leibman

[ This Message was edited by: Max Leibman on 2001-08-24 09:19 ]
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Scott McCloud
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2001 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just for the record, I've never found the distinction between amateur and professional to be particularly meaningful on an aesthetic level. Some of my favorite cartoonists have been giving it away for years.
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marekj
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2001 11:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks guys. This Amateur vs. Pro is an interesting thingi. Using those words definitely creates a context for any conversation. It gives a flavor to any interaction people have about products or services. I like your conversation about cartoons. I always admired people who could draw and had a great eye for color and were witty at the same time. One way for cartoonists to make some money is design themes for websites like Manila or Blogger. As more websites are moving towards separation of view from Data there will be some kind of demand to have skins for those sites that users can change as often as they want to. I am actually interested in this a lot.
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lylebclarke
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2001 6:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Marek,

This skins idea you are talking about. I've had a similar thought but have not mentioned outside my head yet, maybe you would know if it is possible.

OK, You know how some messageboards will automatically 'translate' a smiley into a little cartoon icon of a smiley? I think the same thing could be cool for weblogs. For example, instead of just skinning the background and fonts and table etc, the weblogger would somehow also adopt/subscribe to some kind of weird font set thingee, that would be able to replace words or short cuts, (for example LOL and all the smileys, with icons or pictures).

If this was really easy to do (not just to implement, but wasy to use and customise) I think we could see a lot of people currently using the internet extremely textually start thinking and working with pictures as well.

(I've just realised that this is more of an 'art' post rather than a commerce one)

I have no idea how to make money out of such a system, if it took off people would replicate the system and set up a free version straight away. Selling 'image font sets' - maybe, but the same again, they'd be very easy to rip off, and I doub't anyone would pay for them - no one pays for frills.
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marekj
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2001 1:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually translating some text into an image is already working with Frontier. I am hositing radioPossibility.com. Each site is a personal weblog. You can difiny a glossary of keywords that get turned into either links or images.
For example I will type Marek in weblog then it will show Marek in a rendered page but if I enclose it in quotes like this: "Marek" then it trigger a script on the server to replace it with whatever I defined. it can be an img tag or a hyperlink tag... You can try it at soapbox.radioPossibility.com. Type "This is a Manila Site" (inlcuding the quotes) and post a message and it will turn into an image.

Talking about skins for weblogs. You can create some and any Frontier server can host them so any weblogger can change skins on their weblog . We can chat some more about that. -- the next thought is that you can create a skin that has some personal touch and when people use it on their weblogs others may be interested to visit your site to ask you to build them an original skin just for their site.
CraigBurton.com has that as well as doc.weblogs.com and scripting.com as well



[ This Message was edited by: marekj on 2001-11-21 12:48 ]
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KarlZimmerman
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2001 2:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

On 2001-09-03 18:26, lylebclarke wrote:
... If this was really easy to do (not just to implement, but wasy to use and customise)...

Is "wasy" an intentional contraction of "way-easy" ? I like it...

On "professional" vs. "professionalism"; well, one would THINK that "professionals" have a Darwinian tendency toward "professionalism", but by the same token, one would have expected the MAC to beat the PC...

... and that's one other difference between the "pro" and the "amateur"; the "pro" MUST market himself successfully to survive as a "pro".

[ This Message was edited by: KarlZimmerman on 2001-12-28 13:14 ]
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gazorenzoku
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2002 10:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like to think of comics creators in terms of "serious" and "not serious" (and everything in between). In my opinion, serious creators just plain have to create. A real creator will go insane if they don't create. Whether they are making money doing it or scribbling frantically on the mental ward wall, you are dealing with a serious artist. Not to say that a "not serious" creator can't create good stuff... it just isn't as .... urgent... as a person who is being held captive by a creative mission...

maybe "urgent" isn't the best word... but words like "good" or "intense" don't have the nuance that I wanted...

Also, you may not like a "serious artist's" work... so personal taste has little to do with it. I guess it could be defined in terms of passion.

The great thing about this is that any one with an ample amount of passion can be confident that they are where they need to be, doing what they need to be doing. It is only a matter of finding a way to pay bills in the easiest way and still alow plenty of time to create. If that means becoming a so-called professional, that is great AS LONG AS IT DOESN'T INTERFERE WITH YOUR VISION. If you let your vision fall away, then what do you have? Sure, you can tell people that you make money making comics, and all the nerds and geeks will be impresed (and all the people with "hard working jobs" will think you are an idiot).... If that is the goal, count me out!!

The whole mind set of pitting professionals against non professionals is a little off skew. Within both catagories exist "serious" and "not serious" artists, and within those subcatagories exist artists that you might or might not like.

That is the way I see it...

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gazorenzoku
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2002 10:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

... and that's one other difference between the "pro" and the "amateur"; the "pro" MUST market himself successfully to survive as a "pro".


Marketing always gets a bad image, and there are really good reasons for that. But it can be a positive experience as well. I mean, if you have a product that you enjoyed creating, and you think other people will enjoy experiencing it, wouldn't it give you a great deal of personal satisfaction to help those people find their way to your product?

The negative aspect of marketing comes into play when one of those vital elements in the link is destroyed. Either you didn't enjoy making the product or you don't really think other people will like it (or you don't care if they do or don't).

I love marketing my web site. Looking at my site is free, so I don't feel bad about taking money (though micropayments might change all that). I really put myself into my art, and I get a big thrill when other people look at it. And marketing gives me a chance to visit other peoples' sites and see lots of interesting stuff.

A professional comic artist has the chance to really do something positive when they market themselves. If you are selling a piece of your soul, a precious bit of vision, then there could be nothing better for you and for the world to market it by harnessing more creative energy to create posters, advertisements, and such. If you are selling an image, then it is pure power lust or money lust.

Booksignings, lectures, tables at conventions... I haven't done any of these things, but it all seems right to me if the product is a reflection of the artist's spirit...

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[ This Message was edited by: gazorenzoku on 2002-01-17 21:17 ]
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InkAddict
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PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2002 12:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

actually, i have to add (much to my shame, though ) that quality and the artist's vision don't have to go hand in hand:

In Belgium, we have a non-conformist cartoonist called "Jeroom" (here are some images for those who understand a little dutch, but beware they're copyrighted and these images are "illegal" scans)
http://www.nofx.com/cgi-bin/forum/topic.cgi?forum=13&topic=784

He draws quite badly, and admits it, but his cartoons are hilariously funny:

a cartoon series (ratman), about a guy with a rat in his face, who doesn't know it's there (at the end of the series the rat starts rotting), and another one about a guy with an ass as big as his body,... i know it's all in bad taste, but a lot of people really laugh their heads off with it!

It IS quality, appreciated by many, and not mainstream at all, so not even commercially exploited.

The point is: in every interview the guy says (and i know people that know him) "I'm not an artist and have no view whatsoever, i do what i do best, and it isn't much, but i get paid for it."

He goes on about how he would prefer not having to draw at all, not feeling any need...

The disappointing fact is: QUALITY has nothing to do with being an ARTIST !!!

of course when they go hand in hand, you may expect some of the greatest works ever made, but let's face it: beauty is in the eye of the beholder, not in the eye of the creator.

Hope no-one will kill himself over this
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japanimationfist
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PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2002 5:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Going back to the beginning of this thread, I tend to agree with Max, that if there is a distinction to be made, it is a distinction based on who is getting paid money for their work. I think all discussion of quality really comes outside the whole professional/amateur debate, because some people get paid big bucks for crap, while other people do brilliant work and give it away.

When I was making the rounds of the local creative writing courses, and filling notebooks with whatever was in my head, my aspiration was not to become a professional writer (you can;t control someone else's decision to pay you for a thing), but merely an "established" writer, and I think that if you have a good look around there are plenty of "established web-cartoonists, who are doing good to brilliant work ou there. They are by no means professionals (unless you count the occasional t-shirt sale), but they have a fan base, and some small amount of recognition. That recognition, and the body of work that they create may one day help them to become a professional, but it might not, and I am sure that there are a few who don't really care one way or another (while others care very much).

The question is, is there really such a thing as a professional web-cartoonist rigth now? Could we consider the folks at Modern Tales to be professionals because they are receiving some sort of dividend for their work? What kind of criteria will we use to evaluate here, so that we know when someone has gone pro? Scott Kurtz seems to be a fequent example here. Scott is well-established, and he may evenbe paying some of his bills, but no one pays for the webcomic (advertising maybe), so is he a professional?

I think Gaz (hope you don't mind the abbreviation) had it right when he wrote:
Quote:
I like to think of comics creators in terms of "serious" and "not serious" (and everything in between). In my opinion, serious creators just plain have to create. A real creator will go insane if they don't create. Whether they are making money doing it or scribbling frantically on the mental ward wall, you are dealing with a serious artist. Not to say that a "not serious" creator can't create good stuff... it just isn't as .... urgent... as a person who is being held captive by a creative mission.

I read the pro vs. amateur rant mentioned at the beginning of the thread, but in the end I think that's a silly way to look at the work being done in comics, and webcomics. There are boat loads of crap out there, some really well drawn and thoughful comics, and a few brilliant gems. It's the same anywhere. Money does not always equal quality, as I think Yingo made clear. It's a question of passion, and vision. I'll let you know if I have either in a few weeks.
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japanimationfist
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PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2002 5:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, and talent. I forgot to mention talent. No promises there though.
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