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What have you to lose? For decades, illustration and comics were the outsiders of the art world. Snubbed by critics and avoided by galleries, it left artists in the West West – free from expectation or convention. But with their gradual acceptance over the last decade, has the spirit of risk taking and otherness been whitewashed by safety nets, copycats and autobiographical tales of mild woe? Jack Teagle, the creator behind Nobrow-published comics Fight! and

Jeff Job Hunter, explains why it’s important to always push for new ground. These days I see a lot of artists and creators borrowing similar symbols, styles and work methods – even themes in their work – and it can feel like an over saturation. Being aware of similar work is one thing, but feeling a need to fit into that world of design, comics and illustration is another. People should have as much fun as possible with what they create. Though things can feel hopeless when living in an economic downturn, where opportunities for artists can be scarce, it’s really the best time to experiment, explore and go wild with your work. After all… what have you got to lose? It’s important to push boundaries and see how far you can go. When artists are conservative with their work, it can stagnate. Often artists will try to aim for the easy money or what they think people would like to read or admire. But for self-preservation as an artist, you can’t think like that all the time. You have to adapt and evolve, and by taking chances you can open up new doors of what works. I don’t blame anyone for trying to make money, but while it’s important to stay connected and relevant to trends, it’s equally important to introduce an audience to new ideas and new ways of working… to set yourself apart from

your peers. Creators can unconsciously pick up on similar techniques and styles from other artists, and you can start to get very similar work in some cases. Branching out can help you to differentiate yourself from others. It can be frightening to venture into the unknown, but when you’re breaking new ground, people aren’t really going to know what to make of it. You have to persevere, have fun and play with what you’re doing. Words and pictures do not need to adhere to any preconceptions you may have of them as an art form. You do what feels right. A story can be non-linear and paced in non-conventional ways. Imagery doesn’t have to be photo-realistic, you can play with perspective, warp proportions, draw in a way that feels natural. There is a fear that budding artists and writers must conform to working in ways that have come before them. It’s important to understand that this isn’t the case. You can learn from what came before you, but you don’t have to perfectly replicate it. There are no rules. The road less travelled is rockier, but also ultimately much more rewarding. Always push yourself to try new things and never be content to settle for the status quo.

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Profile for OFF LIFE Comic

OFF LIFE 11  

Our brand new March/April ’15 issue is dripping in new blood! We’ve got comics from Box Brown – author of Andre the Giant: Life and Legend...

OFF LIFE 11  

Our brand new March/April ’15 issue is dripping in new blood! We’ve got comics from Box Brown – author of Andre the Giant: Life and Legend...

Profile for offlife
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