Comic-Con does not end for portfolio reviewers

Comic-Con is not over for artists who did portfolio reviews

Comic-Con was over on Sunday. However, many attendees will continue to follow up on the portfolio reviews they received at the convention.

Comic-Con isn’t over for everyone

Comic-Con attracts thousands of pop culture enthusiasts who want to attend panels and shop for collectibles. The convention is also a place for artists to network and make deals.

Comic-Con 2022 Storm King

Storm King Comics’ Sandy Carpenter ran the booth. It looked casual with large black armchairs and a coffee table. There was a reason.

Comic-Con is not all bad. The publishers are here to make money. Our writers are setting up stories and other stuff for next year. We’re also hiring people. We also talk to our distributors. I am able to sign autographs for fans while I am here having business meetings all day. You want your company to be in the forefront of digital distribution, not behind it. Carpenter stated that Comic-Con is the place to be.

Tom Doherty is the editor-in-chief and publisher of Committed Comics. He said that Comic-Con gave him the opportunity to meet artists at portfolio reviews.

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Beth Accomando / KPBS

Comic-Con has designated a space in the Sails Pavilion as a place for portfolio reviews. July 22, 2022

Comic-Con had a special area for portfolio review in the Sails Pavilion. This allowed professionals such as Doherty, to sit down with artists for up to 30 minutes and look through their work. They also offered suggestions for how to improve and where to search for jobs.

Doherty said portfolio reviews give publishers the opportunity to see beyond what can be displayed digitally. “It’s great to actually connect with someone face to face and look at their stuff physically. It can help you point out things that could work in storytelling capacity or other facets.

It’s not always just a review.

Doherty stated that Committed Comics has hired a lot of people through portfolio reviews at Comic-Con. “Some of them have gone onto to be very successful in the comics industry. I have no doubt that they would have made a good job because they are exceptionally talented people. It’s nice to be able to say, “Oh yes, I had my hands on that art.”

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Julian Aguilera

A great example of Julian Aguilera’s pencil and ink work.

Julian Aguilera can be described as a penciller or inker, and a colorist.

“The penciller draws the actual drawing onto a piece paper. Then the inker goes over the pencils and the colorist actually colors the entire piece. “It’s sort of an assembly-line process,” Aguilera stated.

Aguilera, who had done portfolio reviews in the past was currently awaiting portfolio reviews from multiple companies at Comic-Con.

It’s the best way to get work, or criticism. There is a high chance that you will get work if you have an editor who likes your work. If an editor doesn’t like your work but appreciates the way that you ink and color, it can be a good thing to have a well-rounded view. So, I have gained some work but also learned a lot about how to improve my artwork,” Aguilera explained.

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Julian Aguilera

Julian Aguilera’s color mashup portrait of a Grogu–Loki.

Maximus Spragovsky also waited for portfolio reviews. As a business, he turns regular people into super-heroes. One publisher suggested creating a coffee table book from the photos and custom art during a portfolio review.


Carlos Castillo

Maximus Spragovsky photographs people and transforms them into superheroes.

Spragovsky is back for a second portfolio review this year.

“I love to see my art evolve each year because it shows how much my style has changed from the comic book to the more realistic. So it’s great to get professional feedback on my work,” Spragovsky stated.

Clover Press, San Diego’s publisher, is Hank Kanalz. He was impressed by the work of both Spragovsky & Aguilera.

It’s a great way to get a glimpse of the talent pool out there. It’s a great way to meet new artists and new talent. It’s impossible to predict when you might find your next artist. Kanalz explained that this is an excellent way to network with potential editors and publishers.

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Carlos Castillo / KPBS

Clover Press publisher Hank Kanalz was joined by Maximus Spragovsky the artist, on July 21.

Portfolio reviews at Comic-Con 20 years ago were more valuable than ever because they were the only way to have your work in front of publishers without having to travel to their offices. Today, artists can submit their work online. Kanalz prefers to have a personal connection with his work, as well as the digital.

Kanalz explained that between shows, people can email. Kanalz stated that this has been an effective way to speed up the process of finding new talent. It’s hard to beat the opportunity to meet and greet potential new artists in person. It’s great to get feedback in person from another person. They can help you identify the areas you should focus on, and tell you what’s working well.

Artists can benefit greatly from the process if they are open and willing to listen to the professionals.

“If I go down to talk with some of the most prominent comic book artists, they will tell me straight away: ‘I don’t know everything. I’m still learning. Doherty stated that artists who stop learning are not going to be able to continue their education. The best artists are open to criticism. But, at the same time, I don’t want to look at a portfolio and think, “That’s terrible!” or “That’s wrong.” If I am just mean to them or kill their dreams, that doesn’t help them.

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Beth Accomando

Maximus Spragovsky and Julian Aguilera, both artists, look at each others’ work while they wait for their portfolio reviews.

Sometimes, however, it can be difficult to hear criticism.

Aguilera stated, “In this industry, you need to have very thick skin.” “Some people will be openly honest with you. Some people might sugarcoat it, if you are at that level. It is best to just take notes, then come back next year to keep improving.

Spragovsky replied: “Good constructive critic is a great way learn. He [Kanalz]It was a great honor to be able to evaluate my work. It was fantastic. It was great. He gave me great advice. His suggestion was to make my characters stand out from the background. This will allow my characters to pop. This is pretty amazing.

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Beth Accomando

Alston Novak, Sarah Landauer and Committed Comics’ Tom Doherty give feedback at San Diego Comic-Con.

Alston Novak, Sarah Landauer and Doherty received the first pages from their comic “Glitch” for feedback.

Novak explained that the project is a collaboration between Sarah, who does the writing, and me, who did the art. They sat down together and received feedback about how the project was going and what could be improved. Novak also said that there are areas where we can do better. “It’s really useful to have that insight. It’s almost as if you were in a class with a teacher who can give feedback on what you need to improve.

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Alston Novak & Sarah Landauer

Detail taken from the “Glitch” comic by Alston Novak, Sarah Landauer.

Landauer offered a different perspective.

Landauer stated that it helped her in the scripting process by helping her understand the steps involved in translating words into visual media. “I think that I gained a lot insight into helping make things more dynamic and understanding how to distribute action on pages to hopefully make the artists’ and the letters’ job easier from my side.”

Doherty enjoys the fact that he doesn’t know what he will find when someone opens their portfolio.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen when the person sat down and said, ‘Here is it.’ They open it and find it either a treasure trove of wonderful things or a puzzle. I want the review to be geared towards what I am looking for. I want someone who is creatively driven. I was telling someone the other day down on the sales floor: ‘If you are only going to create because someone’s asking you to create, then I really don’t want to work with you’ — because for me this is totally a passion project so I need to make sure that the people I am working with have the same level of commitment and drive.”

Aguilera concluded his portfolio review with Doherty in a very positive manner.

Aguilera explained that Aguilera found something that he liked that was not on the pages I had brought. “He wanted something from my personal work (a horror-comic in the making). So I’m sending him a brief treatment of my work and hoping we can go from there. So I’m trying to improve. This is the most important thing. It’s important to follow up with everyone you talk to.

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