How long should it take an artist to finish an issue of my comic?

Comic timelines

Now that you have gone through the concept page, it's time to start making issues!

By the way, if you haven't gone through the concept phase with your artist, I strongly recommend it (more info).

Mainstream pay vs. indie pay

From doing research online, I figured out if you are paying mainstream rates, you should probably expect your artist to finish an issue a month (roughly 25 pages).

However, if you are like me, you most likely fall into the category where you are paying something around indie rates. In that case, you should expect an issue finished every two months (ink and color).

You can add another week or so for letters, but for the art, expect two months. (By the way, you should include that in your contract.)

For more details on pay rates, check out my post on the subject.

First issue vs. subsequent issues

One caveat... the first issue will take much longer and that is ok.

When I first started out, I expected every issue would take two months. After all, that is the timeline I agreed on with my artist.

However, the first issue is different because there are still a lot of things you (the writer) and the artist are figuring out:

  • Workflow with each other
  • Right color palette
  • Character/scene design
  • Storyboarding
  • Etc.

But I followed your advice and did a concept phase, shouldn't this have prevented all this stuff?

Yes and no.

It certainly will reduce A LOT of the back-and-forth on character/scene design, but there are some minor things the artist won't see until he/she draws the first issue.

He/She may also not be satisfied with the color scheme or some character design aspects and want to improve them.

Halfwing issue #1 ended up taking about ~150 days (5 months), and that doesn't include some minor changes made at the end. That isn't because the artist was slacking off, it's because he was making it better and figuring out the best design for the characters and world to make later issues much faster (and better).

We were most of the way there with the concept phase, but issue #1 is almost like a concept phase 1.1 to get the comic perfect.

If you don't know this going in, you might get stressed out thinking all the issues will take that long. Don't worry, they won't.

The first one always takes the longest. After that, things work into a flow and I can say that all the issues after our first issue of halfwing were delivered very close to the two month mark.

Don't take it from me though. Jim Zub (popular comic writer) outline his thoughts on the subject here which is basically be patient with the first issue. Worry about getting it the best it could be, not how quickly it gets finished.

So, there you go. Expect an artist to take about 2 months per issue. Just factor in the first issue will take a bit longer.


P.S. - If this helped, please support me by reading my free webcomic halfwing, thanks!


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