Pitching is a big part of being a Freelance artist. If you can’t successfully pitch an idea you won’t get any work! Pitches vary from a script to a short synopsis, a black & white rough drawing to a fully realised piece. It really depends on what you’re pitching, and who you’re pitching it to.
Some artists like to fully visualise their pitch, others will just send a simple pencil sketch. Since I mainly work in puzzles (and have done so many before) I can usually pitch a puzzle page with a two or three line synopsis followed, upon commission, by a full script – yes, they’re scripted! Hard to believe, I know.
If you want to pitch to The Beano, (and you can – it’s open to anyone), I’d advise sending a sample of your idea alongside your pitch, with a synopsis of further strips you envision doing. Don’t be discouraged if they turn it down either, just keep pitching until they get tired of you and just say yes to shut you up! I’ve repitched some ideas 3 or 4 times before they’ve been accepted.
Here is the first strip I ever sent The Dandy, it was called Andy Social and was based around social networks. It features myself and fellow Dandy artist Andy Fanton, they say draw what you know. It was based loosely on a strip I used to do online, but crucially I forgot to make it in any way amusing.
The next strip I sent was an Easter strip, which I think was called Easter Enders. Again, it’s not really funny. The bird in the strip resembles Mr Peepers from my distinctly non-child friendly webcomic, Ray The Otter.
After sending a bit more artwork I decided to stop drawing the pitch and just send ideas, I was working 2 jobs and didn’t have the time to fully realise every idea. I asked The Dandy to pick the ideas they liked and I’d draw the sample from that. As you would expect, it took me a while to successfully pitch my first strip and to be honest I can’t remember where the idea for it came from, I think it was one of those “That’s funny, that would make a good comic strip” things you say to a friend. I pitched as part of this list of pitches:
Street Dance Lance: Step Up/Got To Dance inspired strip chronicling the misadventures of a clumsy street dancer attempting to hit the big time.
Shane The Sheep: Shaun’s brother, and literally the black sheep of the family. Shane didn’t go to drama school and is fed up with people asking about his famous brother.
A Bear Behind: Kind of like the Phantom Pharter strip, but with a mooning bear forever ruining people’s holiday snaps etc
Dentist The Menace: Pretty self explanatory.
The Prince Of Fails: The adventures of the accident prone heir to the throne.
Justin Beaver: The hit singing sensation of the forest just wants to be left alone, but his fans won’t let him. Trampling through the woods and wrecking his peace and quiet in all manner of stupid ways.
Pineapple Dance Studios: Fruit-based reality show with terrible puns such as Fruity Spence.
Astonishingly, they weren’t interested in a fruit-based reality show, but Justin Beaver was initially chosen for a sample strip. It was (amazingly) picked up and ran for 10 weeks. I say amazingly, because looking back on it the first strip is very badly drawn. I hadn’t been drawing for a few years and had clearly forgotten how to use a pen.
A Bear Behind was also on the list. It was repitched again with sample artwork at their request and became a mini-strip, running for 12 weeks. It is one of my favourite series of strips I’ve ever drawn.
Tomorrow I’ll post a list of my rejected pitches. It might be part 1 of 37, there are A LOT!