Chamber door…

The Crow
Fan art by John Chalos featuring Eric Draven, a character from The Crow by James O’Barr.

“…suddenly there came a tapping, as of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.” ~ Edgar Allan Poe (The Raven, 1845)

Breaking into any industry in a meaningful way is tough but breaking into a creative industry starts being tough long before you get your foot in the door. I’ve been preparing to break into the comic book industry for many years and it’s been an odyssey.

It can take decades to develop the necessary skills, and progress them to the professional level, for even a single craft or trade in your chosen field of the arts. Early on, I made the decision to learn more than one skill set so my journey to knock on that front door has been especially long. When the door finally opens, I may seem like an overnight success story but I’ll have been honing my craft in the wilderness for decades.

I have developed the skill. But, I’m still not yet ready to walk through that front door. First, I have to produce something. I have to finance the time away from my day job that it will take to produce something. That’s the struggle now.

My goal has never been to work for Marvel, DC or any of the large corporations. My goal has never been to freelance for an independent writer, illustrating his or her stories for a page rate. I’d like to write and draw my own creator-owned comics for one of the large independent comic book publishing companies (Image Comics, Dark Horse Comics, etc.). Barring that, I’d either like to publish my stories at a small press company or self-publish.

I’ll definitely need to work with other creators to accomplish many of my ultimate goals but the whole attraction of this career path, for me, has been the idea of someday getting to create my very own artwork for my very own stories. Doing so meant developing prowess in multiple skill sets thus decades of preparation but I believe it’s all been worth it. I’ve journeyed through the wilderness. I’m ready to produce.

I can write and draw my own graphic novels. I can write and draw my own comic books. I can write and draw my own cartoons, comic strips and web comics. I can draw large pieces of fine art. I’m a writer. I’m a pencil artist. I’m an inker. I’m a painter and a colorist. I’m a letterer. I can produce traditional art and digital art. I can create raster art graphics and vector art logos. I can format books for print. I can do all of this at the professional level. I just have to prove it.

I have to prove it one project at a time.

If I get lucky, one of my first projects will be a big success and finance the others. If I’m not especially lucky, I will toil away on nights and weekends trying to complete another project then another and another in spite of my day job and the struggles of this world.

Either way, someday, I’ll come knocking on that front door. Once I get my foot in that door, the next adventure begins.

John Chalos

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