So... Many... Artists

I recently decided to try and find a better and more reliable artist to draw the submission package for my graphic novel. So, I put an ad up on Digital Webbing's classifieds section.

The response was insane. I ended up with a couple of dozen artists sending me samples, and only managed to stem the tide after I struck a deal with the one I considered most suitable and hurriedly asked the site to remove the ad.

Originally, a couple of months back when I used their 'Help Wanted' forum instead of the classifieds, I only had one guy reply. So, I had no idea that there were so many talented artists up for grabs. A lot of the samples I got sent were really good.

Granted, the artists know what their services are worth and charge accordingly, but seeing that this kind of talent is available to me fills me with a lot more confidence. Not that I expect hiring a better artist will cause publishers to swarm me with offers, but at least this way if the work gets rejected I know it will be entirely down to my idea and writing, and that I ensured it had the best possible chance.

I'll have to see how the new guy works out, of course, but in principle I feel more optimistic.

On a side note, with so many good artists out there, no one will miss one or two... I figure that I might try eating some artist brains to see if I can gain their talents and become self-sufficient.

congrats IBI!

Be sure to remember us lowly geeks on the GG when you make it big.

Yeah and us artists on the GG too points to self

"I figure that I might try eating some artist brains to see if I can gain
their talents and become self-sufficient."

You'll also become a flake and spend more time playing video games
than working.

Heh. They probably had it facing out because the cover looks so cool.

So, out of all the artists who contacted me I just had to pick the scammer.

He provided pencils of the first three pages, so I didn't suspect anything was wrong. The work was good quality.

The problem? This guy - Josh Hoopes - has been going around and hiring other artists to do the work for him. He then claims the work as his own, passes it on to his customers, and doesn't pay the real artists.

Turns out that he's been pulling this scam on a lot of people.

I opened up a dispute with Paypal, but they won't do anything about this kind of fraud (other than make a note of it on his account).

I'm willing to accept the loss as a learning experience and an indication that I should have investigated him better before hiring him (turns out that the samples he sent me in response to my ad were likewise all stolen from various places). However, I wish I could find the real artist who drew the pages (see below), so that I could compensate them for their stolen time. No sense in both of us getting ripped off.

The scammer is mentioned in the current "Lying in the Gutters" (link).

One of the other people he tried to defraud has this address for him.

Josh Hoopes

3314 May Street

Sacramento

Ca 95838

916-9292-7422

Not sure if that will turn out to be accurate, but I guess it might potentially be useful information to have...

On the downside, I now have to find another artist for the project. This time I'll make sure I check up on him properly.

Jihad Squad 1

Jihad Squad 2

Jihad Squad

Holy shit, that guy's good.

There's probably a page set up to post his fraud art on, so you can find the real artist. He'll probably charge an arm and a leg though.

I've posted the pics on Digital Webbing, and I've sent an email to the "Lying in the Gutters" author, to see if he would add them to the ones he's already placed in the article.

That's one of the shittier parts of trying to break in to comics. Just about everybody has a story where they've been burned like that.

I refuse to do any indie type of work without getting at least half up front. I sort of got into a little bit of a beef with another colorist about it. I did a fill in issue of this Image book and posted some samples on Gutterzombie. One of the regular colorist's friends made some sort of comment about good luck getting paid. When I responded that I was smart enough to get paid up front, the other colorist got pissed off at me for some reason.

I know some of you here are aspiring artists. If your doing work for an indie, make sure you get at least half up front. If they offer to pay you on the back end or try to get you to do something for free (so you can get a credit in a book), tell them to kiss your ass, unless you really enjoy working for free.

Yeah, I completely agree. Obviously it worked out badly for me here because I got screwed over, but in principle I fully accept the idea of paying the artist 50% up front.

I wouldn't expect an artist to spend hours working on my stuff without knowing if they will be paid or not.

yeah, your situation is unique. You went in trying to do the right thing, and you and the artist both ended up getting screwed over by a scammer.

Good advice guys. Sucks you got scammed IBI the artist is pro level too. Hope it works out,Digital webbing has a lot of talented guys. If you really cant find anyone i'll offer to do it for free,just for the experience of getting a book out. I cant promise that guys level of expertise though.

Hope it all works out

Thanks. I certainly appreciate the offer.

I'm in contact with one of the artists Josh Hoopes scammed. Through the author of the "Lying in the Gutters" column he managed to find the place which bought the pages he inked. He got in touch with them, and the studio involved (turns out the studio bought the art from Josh, then in turn sold it to the publisher). The people he spoke to were shocked to hear that they had been scammed, and will hopefully help us bust him.

It seems that Josh Hoopes is trying to fight to the bitter end there, still claiming to them that he did the work. However, the real artist is sending proof - so he should get nailed.

For my part, I told Josh that I would give him a chance to refund my money before I took official action against him. He gave in, and claims that he will do so. However, he sent me an email saying that Paypal have placed limitations on his account, and he won't be able to send it for a couple of days. I'm not going to hold my breath, but at least he's stopped trying to bullshit me about the work really being his.

I put up a new ad, and apart from the guys who backed away from the project when they saw the script, things have been going well.

I'm trying to choose between four guys whose art I like better than the other stuff I got sent. Plus all of them have seen the script and said they have no problem working on it.

Since the stuff they showed me is posted in their publically accessible galleries, I figure I'll link them here in case anyone wants to offer any suggestions.

http://marcelinoiii.deviantart.com/gallery/ (check out the Mini-Bat pages)

http://www.comicspace.com/pow_rodrix/comics.php?action=gallery&comic_id=18168

http://www.comicspace.com/empro/comics.php?action=gallery&comic_id=3991 (when I wrote the script I did sort of have an Invader Zim art style in my head, but I'm not sure if this would be as effective)

http://www.sanupawaka.blogspot.com/

I think most of those are fairly amateurish. The last 2 are the best, with the Invader Zim style one being the best.

The last one isn't terrible, but they guy isn't great at gesture drawing. Most of the figures in that are too static for my tastes.

Thank you for the feedback.

I'm trying to decide whether the Invader Zim style would work for me, or whether the bottom one would be more suited to the script.

I guess I didn't really consider the static thing when I first looked at those pictures, but looking at them now I see what you mean.

Personally I would go with the bottom one he does draw like Keanu Reeves acts but he has the fundementals down like anatomy and his backgrounds are pretty good and the work is clean.

I would also consider the Invader Zim one as another style option the others arent at a high enough level yet for what you're looking for imo.

TTT.

I'm looking to do exactly the same thing you are doing!

Thanks for the advice, RedDragonUK.

In the end I went with the Invader Zim guy. Partially because I figured I'd go with the style, and in part because his English - although not perfect - was a lot better than the other guy's. I felt that communicating with him would be a lot smoother, making it easier to knock around ideas and explain stuff.

On a side note, the four artists are all from different foreign countries (Singapore, Brazil, Poland, and Indonesia respectively). Got to love the internet age. Twenty-five years ago I guess someone in my position would have to trawl through the local opium dens or something to find an artist.

I'm looking to do exactly the same thing you are doing!

Cool. As a complete novice who has read comics since he was a kid but never really paid much attention to the creative process behind them, trying to get this graphic novel done has been an interesting experience.

IBI: I'll have plenty of questions for you in the future, but thanks for the great resource listing on there as well!

I had an artist from the Philippines lined up, but he bailed on me.