Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Cartoon Roughs

"If you send in pencil roughs and we like the idea," so says a solicitation for Boy's Life, "you will be contacted to do a finish."

"Once these roughs have been approved (and any changes made) I finally get to colour the story," says my friend, illustrator Patricia Storms in this interview at Sandbox World. (Patricia says "colour" on account of she's a Canadian.)

What are "roughs?"

A rough is a pencilled cartoon on inexpensive paper.

How rough is a rough?

A rough should be clear enough for someone to tell what's going on. It's OK for people to see construction lines.

But I do not advise sending a rough. Not to an editor who doesn't know who you are. Even if that editor asks for roughs.

I advise to send finished cartoons that show you at your best.

I've done this ever since sending out my first batch of cartoons. That way, when they do buy from you, then you just send them a print out of the cartoon (or email them a hi res version).

One problem (especially at Bauer Publications) is that the people who edit cartoons tend to change, and you'll sooner or later get someone who doesn't know your work at all. That's when sending something that is finished really helps.

My thanks for Chris over at the Andertalk Forum for bringing up this question.


Mark Anderson said...

Yeah, I think the big days of sending roughs ended before I even started cartooning.

I think working on spec for so long is one of those things that's hard to get past initially, but there's no way around it.

If you want people to start buying your stuff, it had better look really good.

Mr. Karswell said...

Call me old school but I still like to see a rough from a new potential artist. I feel like I learn more about the way they approach and process a cover job and whether or not they're actually going to work out before wasting their time with a fully finished piece.

Rod McKie said...

However, Playboy, HBR and TNYKR are happy to look at roughs and, whilst I'm sure all 3 would suggest changes in a finished drawing they like, they see more potential for changes in the rough. That's just idle speculation on my part, not inside info'. I must be honest, I really like messing around with pencil again.

Also, bear in mind the 'rough' is itself a printed copy, not the actual pencil drawing, and usually pretty close to a finish.

Mark Anderson said...

I'm all about conservation of time and energy. I do the ink and shade and then, if no one buys it, up on the site to be sold to someone else later on.

No fuss, no muss, and only a little extra work.

Mike Lynch said...

>If you want people to start buying your stuff, it had better look really good.

That's pretty much my entire blog entry boiled down!

Karswell, I wish there were more like you.

Rod, I agree that a rough should be pretty close to a finish.