• Ralph Ellis Miley said:
    I graduated from college with a degree in illustration. However, when I tried to break into the comic book field, it didn't happen. I came to the conclusion that I wasn't good enough, so I became a secondary school art teacher.

    And that doesn't devalue you as a person one iota, Ralph, as you well know. Your identity is in Jesus Christ, not in gifts and talents, and the fact that you use your knowledge of comics as a platform to share Christ at these conventions is commendable, and it is evident by the fruit of your efforts that God is with you.
  • I graduated from college with a degree in illustration. However, when I tried to break into the comic book field, it didn't happen. I came to the conclusion that I wasn't good enough, so I became a secondary school art teacher. It was the will of the Lord and I've been teaching for 30 years. It has provided a steady income for my family and I'm thankful. Yet, I still enjoy comics, so I purchased books that would help me improve my craft, with no delusions that I would ever become a pro. I am still involved in comics and loving it. If you enjoy drawing comics, then you draw. You've already stated you're not going to quit your job in service to our country and that is a wise decision. I would encourage you to continue to post your work so that we see your growth, and give you sound counsel.
  • I could have gone the same route by not stating the obvious (like everyone else), and by just trying to be 'positive' but it's a passive form of lying. I bear no malice towards Michael, and I believe everyone agrees that his response to me was truly courteous, humble, and gracious.

    Sorry, Steve Shipley, but if someone asks for a critique here, and if I have time and energy to give one, I will. "Open rebuke is better than secret love."

    Hobbies are fine, but I've been involved with Christian comics for eleven years thus far, and have seen a LOT of deluded Christian fanboys (no, I'm not calling Michael one; not at all)---some on this board and formerly on other boards---who actually think they're going to compete with secular professionals. It's a pathetic joke. Let's be realistic. What God calls for, He provides for. Natural talents are evidenced at an early age, by and large, and are carefully cultivated with a lot of hard work. There are no shortcuts. Spiritual gifts are another matter, and can come at any stage of surrender in a believer's life---but drawing skills are not listed among them in 1 Corinthians 12 & 14 or Romans 12.

    My critiques are remarkably kind and restrained, compared to say, Neal Adams. I give a professional assessment that is designed to cultivate talent where it is discernible, or to suggest another route of endeavor if it's not. There's no "holier than thou" in that. On this board, there are probably about ten people whose work meets professional standards, and the rest, quite far short of it. This is reality. If we can face up to look in the mirror, assess the situation, then we can move forward accordingly. I've seen a lot of wounded egos over the years amongst the Christian comic fan community when God didn't "come through" for his/her pet project---usually the Gospel polluted with some vain conceit in an intentional mixture of flesh/spirit that cancels out the very Life that the project, on some level, set out to proclaim.

    You'd be very wise to consider what I say, and to weigh it in prayer. "Ye are not your own; ye are bought with a price." "Make the most of the time, for the days are evil." Most amateurs who have wasted GOD'S time with Christian comics that BORE NO FRUIT were not called to do so in the first place. Step over to the almost-dead christian-comics group and I'll walk you through HUNDREDS of examples. Wasted effort, in-fighting, inferior product, and NO SOULS WON TO CHRIST, and some of the fans even fell away, renouncing Him as Lord and Saviour. What a tragedy---and the devil loves it.

    Time is short, and Christ is coming soon.

    Alec Stevens
  • Actually, I've been following this thread with interest and have been quite impressed with the Christian love being shown, well up to Alec's posting. Some of the best artists ( in all fields ) have been called "no-talents" before they became famous. Your comments to Micheal come off as "holier than thou". "I'm the a great artist and teacher of artists, and you are not worthy to pick up a pen!"/
    Sorry, Alec, but anyone can draw. Not everyone does it for money, but a lot of us do it for fun. Someday, Micheal may surprise you, maybe not; but that is no reason to shoot him down. I would rather read his comics than most of the so called professionals anyday. He is not an ego maniac like most pros and he's enjoying his hobby and I feel that.
    If the rest of us want to help him improve a lttle, what is that to you? WWJD?
    Micheal, Alec does not speak for me, or most of us here. Keep drawing! keep creating. Keep having fun! I'm looking forward to seeing you move forward. I am no better than you. You may teach me something. In fact, I think you already have!
    If I can be of any assistance to you, write to me anytime, Bro. My prayers are with you!
    And I pray for Alec, as well.
  • Alec,

    I thank you for that honest assessment of my work. I assure you I have no unrealistic ambitions of being a professional comic artist. Would I like to be? Sure, who wouldn't like to draw for a living. Do I realize that is not within the scope of my abilities? Yes, I do. I draw for my own personal enjoyment. But I still want to improve, so I wish to hear feedback/criticism/suggestions. "How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way" is a book I wanted when I was a kid, so if I buy it and it helps me improve a little, I'll be happy. "Making Comics" is a book I would have enjoyed regardless of if I was working on a comic or not, so no loss. As I said, my main goal is to complete at least one issue for POD for my son, but I do want it to be the best that I can possibly do.

    I hope I don't come off as defensive or sound offended in any way. I do welcome your honest opinions, that's why I posted this. I just wanted to make clear that I have no unrealistic expectations of becoming a professional comic artist. I'll keep my Army job - regular pay is better than no pay :) .
  • Michael, since you asked for criticism, I'll give it to you straight (no one else did): your work looks like an eight year old did it. I wouldn't know where to begin to start, and at such a late age, I'm not sure it's worth investing in. I say this, being a professional illustrator and comics artist since 1985, and a college art instructor at the Kubert School since 1992 (having trained thousands of students, some of whom are industry professionals).

    As Christians, the temptation is for everyone to avoid being 'negative' by giving all this encouragement to "read this book" and "study that," but one needs to have an inkling of talent to begin with. I could study basketball, beginning now, and decades later will not meet professional standards (let alone be another Michael Jordan). It's just not my area of gifting. I love good cooking, but I am not a good cook! Others make it look so easy. On my best day I would never step up to compete in a bodybuilding contest, except as comic relief!

    I'm glad you're drawing something for your son, and may God truly bless you in this, but I've just read a lot of very unrealistic "advice" from others to you. It's like a cancer patient asking several doctors what to do, and they give him all this uplifting counsel on how to improve his hygiene, some tips on fitness, and what vitamins to take. I believe that's the "elephant" Buzz was referring to.

    I don't want to be the 'bad guy,' but somebody has to be the voice of reason here.

    Regarding your camouflage, if you were/are in the military, thank you for your valued service to your country. It is greatly appreciated and respected.

    Kind regards in Christ Jesus,

  • Buzz Dixon said:
    Sorry to arrive late to the party, I had to step around a large elephant in the middle of the room
  • It is good to see you invest your time and effort to your craft. You will find that Scott McCloud's book is an outstanding resource. You're only on page 40. Wait until you read the rest of it. The Marvel book will also be an excellent addition to your library.
  • Glad you enjoy it Micheal! Use everything you learn in Making Comics in your work the best you can!
  • Based on everyone's recommendations, I found a copy of Scott McCloud's "Making Comics" during a family trip over the weekend. I'm only about 40 pages in and there's already a wealth of information there. Thanks for the recommendation guys. Next I'll have to look for the Marvel book.

    As an aside - A comic book about how to make comics? Genius!
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