Speaker: James Taylor of Rorshach Entertainment
by Georgia Ball
May 9, 2005

On April 16 Cartoonists Northwest welcomed comics publisher James Taylor as their April speaker. James focused on giving CNW members further insight into the process of getting a book published, distributed and sold nationally.

James Taylor began his career as a comic book inker in 1997. He founded Rorshach Entertainment in 2000 to help other talented comic artists overlooked by major pusblishers et their work distributed. At the end of 2003, Rorshach published its first comic Sprecken, a science-fiction cop story by local Lynnwood artist Brian Meredith. Their second book was published in 2004, and their most recent and best-selling book is the crime caper Grave Digger, formerly a webcomic.

Once material is ready to be made into a published comic, the book is sent to a distributor such as Diamond. The book has to be accepted by Diamond first, and recently they have become more choosy concerning accepted material. Once accepted, James recommends promoting the book until the Diamond catalog comes out six months later. The independent section of the catalog is competitive to Marvel and D.C.

Retailers then have to be convinced to order the comic through Diamond. Local shops do tend to support local artists, but a good way to get national attention is to advertise in the catalog. A color column generally costs around $750, and Diamond also charges for Retailers Lists. Another option is to send postcards via Diamond directly to the comic shops. You can also send out free copies for review to retailers. When Diamond has received their orders for the comic, the material is sent off to be printed. There are a number of inexpensive and reputable printers that specialize in comics, and many artists recommend printers in Canada for a lower price. After printing the books, the merchandise is shipped back to Diamond for distribution. Some other possible distributors include Cold Cut, Last Gasp, and Hobbies Hawaii.

James advises attending conventions to advertise your comic, an excellent avenue for spreading the word about your book to potential buyers, retailers and other creators. It's essential to be sociable, because you aren't just selling your book, you're selling yourself. Pick your conventions carefully he admonishes, since some are too far or too costly to be profitable for a published artist. San Diego Con, while the largest convention of the year and a sure way to get exposure, is also the most expensive to attend or have a booth at, and first time exhibitors typically receive the worst placement. Some viable options are conventions are APE in San Francisco and Wizard World Chicago Con, but Emerald City Con is particularly beneficial as a local event.

Sending out press releases is another important tool for the aspiring seller. Rorshach sends free copies of their books to reviewers for publicity purposes, some of which are online. Possible venues for review include Comic Book Resources by Steven Grant, Comixtreme.com by Andreas Speed and Sequential Tart.

Most of all, its essential to get your book in the hands of as many people as possible. That's more important in the long run than how much money the book makes in the short term. 

The National Caricaturist Network Convention 2005 II
by Elizabeth Pankey
May 17, 2005

Part Two of Two

Here I am again writing about the National Caricaturist Network. It has been awhile. Are you still curious about the celebrity who visited the working caricaturists at the Palace Station in Vegas? He is part of a magical duo. He doesn't speak during his performances. No, they don't work with lions, tigers or bears. His partner is taller with black hair and glasses. I spoke with this charming man as he walked into our large workroom. He says he chats a lot off stage. Yes, it was Teller of Penn & Teller.

Want to learn about exaggerating features from the masters of caricature? Want to learn about marketing yourself as a caricaturist/entertainer? Want to learn new ways of expressing yourself as an artist? Then come to the next NCN convention. The seminars offered are filled with tips and techniques in everything from basic caricature to extreme abstraction, from studio illustration to being the life of the party scene. The learning and sharing continues through the likeness and the newly revamped speed competitions. It is all about drawing, painting, or constructing caricatures of each other. I like watching the airbrush artists, but the fumes bother me. My time at this year's convention was spent experimenting with different techniques as I explored new faces and familiar faces. I tried to balance my choices between men and women.

The number of caricaturing styles increases with the NCN convention attendance each year. Though we can only show grayscale in the printed newsletter, I'm hoping our CNW website can show some of my photos of the varied styles in color. These photos are only to illustrate this article. The artists still own their copyrights. Please respect that when looking at this artwork. Thank you.

I'm also including a photo of Rhoda Grossman's "stylish" shoes worn at the NCN Banquet. Many caricaturists like to be flamboyant at the awards dinner. So if you come to next year's convention, bring a formal fashion to wear. It's all about STYLE and creating a memorable impression. Tom Richmond casually showed off his muscular body by wearing tight jeans and a form fitting T-shirt. Tom and Chris Rommel can bare their biceps anytime. Woo! Back to reality. Yes, I enjoy window-shopping. 


"Butt Faces" by Lar de Souza



"The Many Faces of Teresa Farrington"

P.S.: Thank you to everyone who has written to me about part one. Your positive feedback only serves to encourage me.

contact: Elizabeth Pankey