At London’s MCM Expo I was able to sit down with artist Verity Glass to discus her outlook on the British Comic Industry and her life as an artist.
I have tried to give a multifaceted look at the world of the British comic book industry over the course of the last few weeks. I have interviewed writers, artists and editors from the independent scene who have all chosen to focus on the world of comic books. However, for a lot of artists and writers working in the industry, comic books are just one string to their creative bow. One such artist is Verity Glass, across the course of her career she has worked with Titan Comics, Professor Elemental and Disconnected Press, both as a cover artist and an interior artist. Verity has also worked on gaming concepts, illustrations and many other projects which has given her a wealth of experience both with the artistic and comic book community. Going into my interview with her I wished get more information on what life is like for an artist trying to eke out a living in the industry.
PL: Would you say that the British Comic Book Industry is growing?
VG: Absolutely, I mean, it started off in the seventies more or less so it has had a long time to grow but it is certainly becoming much more mainstreaming and accepted now. Obviously that means there’s a lot more people trying to break in an indy market, let alone the mainstream market. So, it has grown but it’s also become a lot more competitive.
PL: How crucial would you say the MCM Comic village and events like Thought Bubble are to you as a creator?
VG: Absolutely crucial. It’s how I make about half my income and how I get a lot of my work. These events are perfect for networking and making contacts.
PL: Would you say there is a sense of community between the artists and the writers at those events?
VG: In terms of the comic village, it’s most artists are writers and most artists are writers. In that sense there is a good sense of comradery because everyone has a little bit of experience. Yeah, there’s a lot of love between writers and artists. You get a lot of offers for collaboration at these events, you get a lot of work and you get a lot of people coming up and talking to you about your own stuff.
PL: Do you think it’s possible for an artist to make a living off their own art now with the help of tools such as social media and the large number of conventions out there?
VG: It’s possible, but if you were to succeed you would be in the minority. So I do, but I live extremely frugally and so do most of the other self-supported artist I know. Unless you get incredibly lucky and are talented enough to get picked up by a big label at an event like MCM or Thought Bubble it is tough but possible.
PL: How important would you say social media is for you as an artist?
VG: Crucial. For advertising the stuff you have done and the stuff you are going to do thinks like Patreon and Kickstarter are vital. Getting known as well as actually producing art is about 60% of the battle towards getting established and making a living.
PL: If someone read this article and were inspired to start out as an artist working with the British comic book industry, what would be your advice on day one for them?
VG: Get a website. Get on as many social media platforms as possible. Get to as many conventions as you can and get your work known. Talk to people who are there and try to be nice. I think more than any of that, if you’re a horrible person people will not want to work with you.
PL: Is there any work you have produced recently that you would like to tell our readers about?
VG: I’ve done a story with an upcoming satire periodical called ‘Save Our Souls’ they are on twitter (@SaveOurSoulsmag) but yeah that’s my next big release.
How can you get involved?
If you’re looking to get into the British comic book industry it is worth picking up ‘Save Our Souls’ in December as it is showcasing a lot of the talent in the industry at the moment.