Guest Column | How promising does a career in comic industry look? – Rajeev Tamhankar

TBS Planet founder Rajeev Tamhankar
Comics industry for the early part of this decade wasn’t growing and hence the artists were also reluctant to choose this as a career option. However, the later half of this decade looks quite promising as several new companies have cropped up. Few comic companies have raised funding rounds as well. The artist now can choose to freelance or join a studio or even consider starting his or her own entrepreneurial venture. This, thus makes for an interesting option. Indian parents are currently not very supportive for career in arts. Engineering, medical or civil services are the only prominent career choices according to them. And this is primarily because of the safety in job opportunities as per them. But times are changing. Several art initiatives are becoming big, several startups are cropping up and this is expected to change their willingness as well. Various institutes now offer degrees in creative writing, illustrations and designing and not specifically in comic art form. NID, IDC- IIT Bombay, Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath are some of the good design colleges to mention a few. National Institute of Design Ahmedabad and Bangalore are also really good colleges offering design related courses. I’m also fond of the ELM Project by Ashoka University which takes top students across disciplines for liberal arts degrees. In writing, several courses abroad are quite popular as well. The era for art has begun. Today, even most popular websites pay attention to aesthetics and design. This looks promising for artists. Also, content industry is becoming ripe. Many investors and several big companies are exploring talent who can develop content for India. Given the Indian population, we have too many consumers and in too many languages. So even regional literature holds prominence. This is exciting and opens doors for many Indie artists who were unable to showcase their talent earlier. In today’s digital era, they are just one-click away to showcase their work to the world. The Indian market is currently unable to compensate fresh talent as their foreign counterparts. But this is the case with several other sectors including IT, banking, finance, marketing. It takes around three to four years to make a mark in the industry. The reason is that an artist roughly takes three months to finish one comic. So by three to four years, he gets ample time to work on different projects, different art forms and even with different publishers. However for external fan following, it takes more than just art. It requires popularity of the character among the masses. Several great artists who are popular in the industry are unknown to comic fans because their characters don’t get as much successful. Here are few tips that I’d like to put forward to the enthusiasts: For Writers: If you are interested in writing for comic books (or even otherwise for creative careers), you should definitely have your own blog or website. Publish some articles/works there. Do approach potential partners and offer to write for them. These could be publishers, entrepreneurs, blogging websites etc and get your work out for the world to see. Once you start getting noticed, build on it. Develop your own social media pages and start building your fanbase. And always remember, a good illustrator or a designer can do a good comic. Three specific ones are:-  1) Write on current subjects or trending topics. Make your opinion heard. 2) Participate in writing contests to see where you stand. 3) Never be discouraged. Writing is a subjective taste. So you will always have friends who like your stuff and also always have friends who will hate it. You just have to keep becoming a better version of yourself. For Artists: In today’s era, an Instagram page is a must for you. A Facebook page is added advantage. Three key tips for you. 1) Keep posting new stuff regularly. 2) Diversify so you can push yourself to uncharted art forms and unearth your potential. 3) Don’t take comments personally. Neither take praise to your head or criticism to your heart. Be aware of hashtags. Follow other pages relevant to your art forms and keep your eyes open for any special events and meetups coming up. Finally, I would also like to add that art according to me is an entrepreneurial industry today. Be it a writer or an artist, it has become very important for him/her to showcase his or her work. It is always good to learn a bit about marketing and sales as well. You never know, you may land your first contract with a good publisher (even international) as well. (This article has been contributed by TBS Planet founder Rajeev Tamhankar and does not necessarily subscribe to these views).