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A Comics Giant Returns to Kickstarter

Artist extraordinaire Frank Cho has returned to Kickstarter with ”Drawing Beautiful Women: The Frank Cho Method” (NSFWish depending on your employer’s sensibilities).  And this time, the book is included in the reward tiers!

Peek below the fold to find out more.

Frank Cho, the talented artist behind Liberty Meadows (not my cuppa) and a number of lovely runs for Marvel (more my speed) is funding an art book/how-to-draw guide with an aim “to give the beginning artist, along with the most advanced professional, all the tools and knowledge to draw beautiful women.”  Critically, the project description promises that the book ”will include nude artistic drawings of attractive women.”  Color me sold! (So you don’t get the wrong impression, that was facetious, bee tee dubs…)

Cho, who has made a strong career by expertly crafting the kinds of drawings that most adolescent boys attempt mastery of at some point in their young lives, is a fabulously talented artist—a modern Frazetta—and I can see this kind of style guide being extremely desirable among the peoples what desire it.  However, unlike Wednesday’s comic, which came to Kickstarter whole and ready to go, this project seems to be geared towards funding Frank’s time.  To quote John Fleskes, Cho’s publishing partner:

“Personal projects such as this are simply not possible without the help of Kickstarter supporters. A book as involved as this one, where Frank will need months of studio time to focus properly on the writing and artwork, will mean that he cannot take on very much paid work to supplement his income during its creation. To this end, we are looking to the public for help to make this dream project, which Frank Cho hopes will give back to his fellow artists and admirers by sharing his process and will serve as an art collection in its own right.”

I understand that Cho is a professional and that time is money, but I can’t help but feel that a professional leveraging Kickstarter to pay for their time flies in the face of the system’s purpose.  There was a time when an upfront investment of time into a product was rewarded by the sales that followed.  For better or worse, Kickstarter is enabling creators to have their cake and eat it to, by subsidizing their time and affording them a product that they can market through traditional channels for continuing returns.

While I have no problem with artists and creators earning a living, I can’t help but feel that this framing edges closer to “fund my life” than “fund my cool thing,“ and that’s just not alright in my book.  I realize I may put myself in a minority with this position, but when it comes to Kickstarting a creative project, the very last thing that should be remunerated is the creator’s time—that’s what nights and weekends are for.  Printing costs, shipping costs, 3rd party inputs—these are fundable commodities.  And if your Kickstarter funds blow all your costs out of the water, then sure, draw a bonus.  But I have zero interest in funding someone’s time.

If Cho can’t set aside time around “paid work” to get this done, then maybe it doesn’t need doing.

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This entry was posted by Chris Avery.

2 thoughts on “A Comics Giant Returns to Kickstarter

  1. Personally, I don’t have a problem with Cho funding his own drawing time, since it’s Cho’s actual job. It’s not like some accountant wanting to quit his job so he can live his dream of becoming a video game programmer. Let me throw these two hypotheticals out there:

    1. Someone puts up a Kickstarter for a graphic novel. Part of the Kickstarter funds go towards paying an artist to draw it.

    2. Someone puts up a Kickstarter for a graphic novel. Park of the Kicstarter funds go towards paying an artist to draw it, but that artist is also the person who created the project.

    How are these two all that different?

    • Hi Brian, thanks for posting.

      I see them as significantly different. In the first case, you have a creator investing in a skill set they do not have. In the second case, you have a creator assigning their personal time a value and asking backers to pay their salary. That is where I have an issue.

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