Monday, November 28, 2011


If you have a passion for drawing - whether it’s manga, cartoons, comics, or the human figure, then you’ve found the Blog that’s written just for you.  Every week, I’ll discuss tips on drawing; offer my analysis and predictions about the rapid changes in the publishing industry; offer advice on how to become a published artist; and, of course, give brief updates on my books. So make this a regular stop as you surf the Blog-O-Sphere. No reservations required.

 Maybe you've noticed; but ebooks are soaring as a percentage of overall book sales, from what used to be less than 5% a few years ago, to what many pros, who analyze the publishing industry, believe will be 80% in 3-5 years. One notable exception to this trend is the genre of heavily illustrated books, which include art books, art instruction books (from yours truly!), and specialty books. Their sales, in print, are healthy; but ebook versions, as a sector of the market, have been very sluggish to date.

Although I agree with the experts that ebooks will ultimately - and soon - vastly outsell books in print, I've also recently come to the conclusion that illustrated books may remain popular in print, at least for a decade, if not more. Nonetheless, we are sure to see serious challenges to the popularity of  illustrated books in print, as ebooks are developed that offer a multitude of entertaining and useful visual bells & whistles to each title.

And yet...

There's something about illustrations in print. Art is a very primitive thing, an atavism wedged deeply into the fiber of the human psyche. Anthropologists recognize cave paintings that go back to the dawn of the species. There is an immediacy to seeing art as a physical medium, rather than in a virtual world.  Consider what recently happened to the field of drawing, as an analogy: When computer drawing tablets became highly developed, and then ubiquitous, there was the concern, and the prediction, among many illustrators, that hand-drawing was quickly becoming obsolete, and that we were ushering in a new generation of "click and drag artists," instead of people with real drawing skills.

So what happened? To everyone's surprise, drawing freehand became more popular than ever. It's almost as if there were a push-back from artists, who craved the purity of drawing. Crafts, too, became more popular. Although it's true that many artists do, now, draw on the computer, very few comic, cartoon, or manga artists do vector art. The vast majority of artists who create illustrations on the computer choose to do so freehand, on a computer tablet, with a stylus. But even a larger percentage of professional artists, in my experience, draw freehand on paper, and then do their corrections on the computer.

A similar scenario may be playing out in the parallel field of illustrated art books. When someone picks up one of my Howe-To-Draw books, they want to simply open the book, and refer to it while they draw on paper. The interactivity comes from their drawing experience, and not from any extra buttons or menu options from an electronic reading device.

So where does this leave the manga artists, cartoonist or comic book artists, who wants to self-publish? What are the pros and cons of self-publishing as an ebook versus a printed book - or in both mediums simultaneously?

You'll have to come back to read my next blog for the answer! (I hope you do!)



You can reach Chris by sending an email from the “contact” option on this website. Chris reads all of his emails, responds to everyone, and never uses a “form” email.  Due to his busy schedule, please be a little patient when awaiting his response.


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