Conventions & Signings
I’m coming to see you at a convention or signing – what will and won’t you sign?
I will sign anything that I have drawn or has my name on it, which is usually comics. I won’t sign Rick and Morty merchandise of any kind so please leave that at home.
Do you charge for autographs?
If you’re visiting me at a convention and purchase an item directly from me then I will sign and draw on the item for free. If you’ve purchased an item from elsewhere I usually charge a small fee.
I have a comic that I would love signed – can I post it to you?
I don’t accept items in the post from fans sorry! Please see me at a convention or signing to get your items signed.
I run a shop or a convention and would love to host a signing with you, would you like to attend?
Maybe! Please email me firstname.lastname@example.org to enquire about appearances.
What Do You Use To Draw?
I used to draw on bristol board with a selection of brush pens and fine liners but now I draw the majority of my work on an iPad Pro using the app Clip Studio.
Commissions & Sketch Covers
Can I order a bespoke commission from you?
Commissions will open in the near future however I will not draw any “real” people – so for example members of your family or friends. I’m much happier and comfortable drawing fictional characters in my own style.
I’ve seen some of your sketch covers and would love to commission one.
That’s great! Sketch Covers will be on sale in the near future. Please follow me on social media to see when they’re available (I’m @marcellerby on most platforms).
Can I Buy One Of Your Comics?
You sure can! You can order items directly via my online shop.
How Did You Break Into Comics?
I studied BA Illustration at UCA and during the course I got into drawing comics in a big way – I was looking at artists like Craig Thompson, Jeffrey Brown, Paul Pope, Bryan O’Malley, Corey Lewis and was really inspired to give it a shot (my results were terrible). During that time I made contacts online via online message boards (remember them?) and started putting my work on LiveJournal (remember that?!) which got the attention of readers, fellow cartoonists and most importantly editors. I was then offered some work with Oni Press around 2004 and have been working in the industry ever since.
What about Rick and Morty? How did you get that job?
I draw quite similar to the R&M style and as I had worked with the publishers of the comic (Oni Press) before they asked me and I immediately said yes.
What advice would you give trying to break into the industry today?
It’s a completely different industry as to when I broke in but my advice to those who want to work in comics is to make comics! They don’t have to be long, start small with some short one page strips and work your way up to say a 4-10 page story then a 20-30 page story, etc. Practice drawing as much as you can, don’t stress about getting a gig out of the gate, take day jobs, fit comic work in part time, just do as much work as you can on your terms. Don’t just draw fanart, make your own characters, study backgrounds, work on your figures – take life drawing classes. Post work online, not only on social media but make sure to have a portfolio website where you can show your work off. Include your contact information in all of your social media profiles and website.
The best place to meet editors is at conventions, so search for a big convention near you and see if any publishers are attending and offering portfolio sessions. Check if publishers have a submission guide online and follow that, even if it means posting to a mysterious Facebook group you’d be surprised how often that works.
You don’t also have to work for a publisher in order to make a living from comics. Many people make a good income from webcomics, self publishing, crowdfunding and attending conventions. A publishing contract is not the only game in town anymore.
If you’re looking for much more detailed advice on how to break in or how the comic industry works then I really recommend the Graphic Novel TK podcast where they cover each and every part of the comic industry bit by bit. From publishing to printing to design to retail, it’s a fascinating look at this weird-ass medium.