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Advice to Aspiring Comic Book Writers and Artists by Top Cow’s Matt Hawkins

To go along with the Top Cow Talent Hunt, we asked President/COO Matt Hawkins to give us a punch list of suggestions to those submitting their work for consideration. Here are Matt’s bullets:


Writers need to be able to convey mood, tone and character and do so very quickly.

1) The art tells it’s own story don’t use the dialogue and narrative to repeat what’s in the art. Use that to tell more.

2) Don’t overcomplicate. Especially when you’re starting out.

3) Have someone edit you. Very important, you get too close to stuff and you can’t see the forest for the trees.

4) Write what you know and especially what you want to know. Research makes a dull story interesting. If you write what you want to learn about it’s a nice win win for you and keeps you motivated.

5) Keep a writing schedule. Find times that you can block out to write and write during those times.

6) Writer’s block is bullshit. Just write something, anything. You can always go back and change it later.


I’m not an artist so I don’t review that many artist portfolios but things I’ll say are important are:

1) Do sequential work like comic book pages and especially a series of pages that connect. If you do a bunch of random pinup shots I don’t even save the submission.

2) Know where your light source is coming from in each panel. And sometimes use more than one.

3) Do forced angle shots and show us you can do foreshortening.

4) Vary your character sizes.

5) Be good.

You can tweet with Matt at @topcowmatt

The Rules and Requirements (PDF)

Submission Form (PDF)