I draw comics, horror and sci fi subjects in pen and ink, Ive done work for game publishers, had my artwork in a movie (Zero Charisma) and self published 3 comic books and 2 art books and successfully ran 5 kickstarters to support my projects. You can see my art at www.jasonlenox.com @lenoxartist www.facebook.com/jasonlenoxillustrator

My Proof: I posted a tweet at my official account @Lenoxartist https://twitter.com/LenoxArtist/status/465315753588047873

Comments: 66 • Responses: 35  • Date: 

fockface4 karma

Can you draw something cool for us?

JLenoxIllustrator3 karma

Working on something in the next few days, Ill link it up when it's done!

JLenoxIllustrator3 karma

Hey everyone for my first AMA- this is really awesome! Keep it up!

High_Hulud2 karma

The biggest thing holding me back is the unsteadiness of my hands. Any advice in that regard?

I often think, I can't be the only one who has dealt with this, and I don't feel it's something that should hold me back... but it does. I get especially anxious about it when I watch artists do sketches at cons, and their movements are so smooth and assured.

JLenoxIllustrator2 karma

Sounds like an issue of confidence- , more practice would be the solution.

Valve002 karma

When did you decide you wanted to be a freelance illustrator? And how did you get your start?

JLenoxIllustrator2 karma

When I realized in 2011 that I was an artist that wasn't doing what I was supposed to be doing (making artwork!) and I needed to get off my ass and draw.

The big break I got back into it was doing the promo art for Zero Charisma the movie in 2012, then I started talking to writers, making short comics, and self publishing them and getting freelance work and doing cons.

Why did I get back into it 1- getting on social media in 2010 caused me to see my peer group making awesome stuff, I hadnt been in contact with many of these people, so I was embarrassed, having lunch with some of these people in 2011 was also an eye opener when they asked me why I wasnt making artwork 2- having a new child in 2012 made me focus on telling a child to do your best, but what example was I setting by being an artist not making art 3- two of my favorite artists (Music) Dimebag Darrell and (Comedy) died in their 30's. I wish they had been able to make more work, and they both inspire me as artist/creators. This caused some self introspection to say "I am the age they were at, wouldnt they want to create if they had more time- so why am I sitting on the sidelines?"

Sort of meta-philosophical, but that is the big and small picture of me being a freelance/self publishing guy since 2011.

Bat_turd2 karma

How much can a freelance illustrator hope to earn if they put in the effort?

JLenoxIllustrator2 karma

zero to six figures, Ive seen people at all levels on that front. Some people are part time like me, and some are full time, so the goals can vary along with the results.

Bat_turd2 karma

I notice that you said below about being less interested in the business-side of things -- is it possible for a savvy illustartor to create characters or ip and run with it to make millions? Do you know of anyone who has done this?

Cool ama. :)

JLenoxIllustrator1 karma

It's possible, but not likely that it will have the level of success you are describing. As for who did that- the Image founders all did to one degree or another. I go into it wanting to make some money, but Im more interested in my vision getting created for myself and the fans, if it only goes to a limited group, Im ok with that if I can make what I want. If it goes farther - bonus. To expect a new IP by an indie freelance guy to make millions by that person, of if that is the sole reason to do a project= one thing- Disappointment.

Dr-AculaMD2 karma

When you say six figures, how deep in are you talking?

JLenoxIllustrator1 karma

I dont really have an exact answer, just an educated speculation based on evidence from listening and watching people that are in freelance and doing well. It isnt like pro sports where everyone has a listed salary.

NorbitGorbit2 karma

Do you think the explosion of low cost creative services is diluting the market?

In your opinion, what are respectable rates per hour for: -novice (marginally more skill than the client) -amateur (good, but only draws well subjects that they like) -pro (depends on it to earn living)

JLenoxIllustrator2 karma

Yes- there are alot of issues with companies outsourcing to artists in other countries who work for alot less, but in many cases the quality seems less, at least from what I have seen.

On the rates- it's all over the place, so Ill guess on your question novice $5 dollars per hour amateur $10-$12 dollars per hour (and I see quite a few of these type of artists where they learn to draw one thing and just roll with it over and over- for example they can draw My Little Pony and cater to that fan base, so it can be lucrative) Pros- $20-$100/hour

For me since this is not my primary income, I shift between more money oriented projects (fan art and commissions) to my own artistic visions (original comics) which don't pay as well, but build reputation and a fan base and I want to do my characters. Some artists avoid this and focus on cash only, and there is nothing wrong with that, but I want to create original ideas, so I'm more of an artist than a businessman when it comes to that, at least in the short term. If an original idea hits, then you really have something worth the long work to make it happen. When I draw Harley Quinn, it makes cash, but it is creatively doing very little for my personal brand, it just markets DC's intellectual property. Think of it (freelance artist) as being a band that plays covers to get you interested in hearing their originals, and the hits pay the fees and bills to get you out there to promote your own vision hoping that one day people cover your songs.

One final money note, I hit a high for one piece of original artwork, I was paid $1000 for an original commission of Aliens Colonial Marines- I had about 40 hours in this project, and I sell it as a print now since the original is out the door to my client. http://www.jasonlenox.com/2014/03/aliens-overrun-colonial-marine-checkpoint-pinup-final-inks/

TaoIsTheAntiChrist2 karma

[deleted]

JLenoxIllustrator1 karma

Study anatomy and perspective. And attend figure drawing if time and money allows for your cousin. A great book to get started with is "FIGURE DRAWING FOR ALL IT'S WORTH" by Andrew Loomis. Linked here http://www.amazon.com/Figure-Drawing-All-Its-Worth/dp/0857680986

And for freelancing- hit up digitalwebbing.com on the collaboration forums and paid forums, a good place to start to meet people for small jobs.

StormyJMaster2 karma

I have to ask this-- Marvel or DC? Also, I'll be attending Wizard World Philadelphia, as well!

JLenoxIllustrator2 karma

I loved Marvel as a kid- 80's to mid 90's however, Marvel sort of lost me at some point, and now it seems to be obsessed with new #1's. I love the DC animated shows and movies, never really got into the books outside of some of the classics- TDK, All Star Superman, Crisis in 1986 etc. I really enjoy Manga (HSOTD, Jormungand, Gantz) and a few Image and Dark Horse books right now. Mostly I really enjoy finding artists self publishing their own visions, it's really more fun than most large publishers if you appreciate comics as an artform. See you at WW Philly!

jet_bunny2 karma

Thanks for doing this ama, your work is great!

My question is, how do you deal with those unmotivated periods that everyone gets in to? I have recently gone from drawing up to 6 hours a day, to struggling to get my pens out at least once a day and I am looking for a way to help get motivated again.

JLenoxIllustrator1 karma

Find direction, and make a list of what you are going to make, like a schedule. I have one that has the next 10 pages/pinups that I will be doing. I try to draw for at least 15 minutes a day at a minimum, just to "draw" and keep completing projects, dont keep starting and not finishing them. Also doing cons and networking with other artists keeps me competitive, when you see great work, use it to get inspired, not jealous. Thanks for the kind words Jet!

jet_bunny2 karma

Thank you for the solid advice!

JLenoxIllustrator1 karma

namaste- bring your port to Philly Id love to see it!

TristanCorb2 karma

What's your favourite picture/drawing you've done, and can you post a picture of it?

JLenoxIllustrator4 karma

I think the illustration I did of the mutating dog from "The Thing" was my fave for now. Here is a link to it http://www.jasonlenox.com/2014/02/the-thing-1982-dog-thing-pinup-final-inks/

Why-?

1 I hate when people draw characters from films and they just copy a photo from the film, this is an original take on the topic.

2 I went 100% on level of detail

3 Fun perspective over Kurt Russell's Beard

4 Love the dog mutating.

Cambo_18882 karma

Is there one particular comic/project that would be a dream for you to work on?

JLenoxIllustrator3 karma

Slaine from 2000AD or Judge Dredd. Id love to do a cover or pinup for them.

costumedork2 karma

Hey Jason, it's costume maker Sean Bradley! Glad to see you doing an AMA! This is your second year doing Wizard World Philly, right? What do you like and dislike about the experience? Do you have any tips for someone who has never had an Artist Alley booth at WW? Keep up the great work buddy! :) Bonus: here's a pic of all of us at your booth last year: http://i.imgur.com/4pA4G6P.jpg

JLenoxIllustrator2 karma

What I didnt like- It's a union workers venue- so things like you have to use their uncomfortable chairs and you cant bring your own are annoying- they have to set up their union issued chairs for you.

What I liked- Wizard takes care of us as artists and they get people in the door, and I love the fans! You can have fun and make money at a WW show if you know what to do , which leads us to...

Advice on AA for new people at a show of this size- dont do a big con until you see what is going on- I did cons for a year before I did WW Philly last year, and built up to it- in experience/ portfolio, inventory, and # of items to sell. Also I built up my show gear/signage, show pitch(how do you talk to people for days about the same thing-you!), pricing levels and marketing, of course I'm always improving in all of those areas hopefully, but work out the kinks on a smaller less expensive venue- I started at a one day comic con in Scranton PA, which I still do, but it was a great starter event. So when I got to WWP last year- being next to Tommy Castillo, Bob Layton and Jim Calafiore wasnt as intimidating as it might have been. It was kind of scary, but I made money, and had a great time and really connected with alot of fans- despite having some real pros as competition on that area around me for four days. I came away thinking "I can at least hang with this level of competition where we are all working to get the same fan dollar in sales, and make money" and for my first really big show, that was a huge accomplishment. All of that did come from taking the time to build to the minila level of proficiency to make that happen. And one side note- I went to NYCC 2012 and walked around to get my level of knowledge on running a big show booth up to par, as well as tons of folio critiques so I felt comfortable my booth and work was up to the minimal level of "par" to be in a large venue event with world class competition in 2013, a year later in 2014 I know I have a better portfolio, marketing/signage, larger and better fanbase (and a commission and original art buying fanbase as well), larger inventory and a better overall knowledge of the scene so I cant wait for this June to see how it goes. So noobs, be humble and do your research and some small cons and level up to this size show, you can do it!

IPostAlotbot3 karma

I noticed that you mentioned an alot, JLenoxIllustrator.

Here's a picture of one for you: http://i.imgur.com/kTKRLlk.gif



Hate me? Love me? Respond with an angry/loving comment! I read them all!

In case you're really dense and don't get the joke, 'alot' isn't a word.

JLenoxIllustrator2 karma

YOU GOT ME!

Oolonggi2 karma

Your mastery of indian ink is divine! Any tips for an illustration student about to graduate?

JLenoxIllustrator2 karma

Find what works for you and master it completely. I love the medium of pen and ink, so Ive been striving for a mastery of it for the last 3 years after a lifetime of playing with it. And on top of that to find my own unique style in that medium that stands out and gives a vision to my voice. Whatever that medium is for you, embrace it, learn it, find a peer group- find the best gear- for me KOH I NOOR Rapidiographs and Blue Line Brand Board and own it completely, become the person people look to for that medium and style. Technical pens are not popular, so I stand out even more in that respect. Also, I love my colorists that color for me, but I dont even want to dabble in that, I know my limits and I let them be the experts in that, I'll stick to what I love and what I am best at (and working to keep getting better at daily!)

Oolonggi2 karma

Thank you so much!

JLenoxIllustrator1 karma

You are welcome, hope it helps!

NorbitGorbit2 karma

who is the most underrated illustrator in your opinion working today?

JLenoxIllustrator1 karma

My answer to that is European artist Russ Nicholson, I was remiss in not listing him as one of my favorite artists, he is in that group as well- but this guy is a master of masters at pen and ink, and his style is gorgeous. I fell in love with his work in 2nd grade with his work in the Fighting Fantasy Books in about 1982. I introduced myself to him on twitter about a year ago, and he was kind enough to do the back cover for my Painted Ladies of San Quentin black and white comic. He has also given me a freelance lead for some work in 2015, and is an all around gentleman. Look him up online http://russnicholson.blogspot.com/

Back_Away_Slowly2 karma

What are your best survival tips?

JLenoxIllustrator2 karma

For drawing or surviving WW Philly?

Back_Away_Slowly2 karma

Just plain old surviving.

JLenoxIllustrator1 karma

Take 15 minutes before you go anywhere to plan out what you need, and save 10% of your income in case of an emergency. Become less tech dependent and learn to do things without electronics.

Weathercock2 karma

Any tips for someone wanting to start out as a freelancer? Especially about getting in touch with people and actually finding work.

JLenoxIllustrator5 karma

Build up a portfolio and get it critiqued by people that are above you skill wise- Listen and follow their direction, but get multiple critiques. If three people tell you the same thing example:"you cant draw hands well" focus on that and get better at it. A huge mistake from newbies is to overestimate their skill level - be humble and listen to those portfolio critiques. Then network and get out and be seen at shows and cons. Freelancing is hard, and may not pay very well. I do this on the side, and I have a full time job that pays the bills. I know two people that freelance artwork full time and seem financially well to do, alot of the people I know that are in it without a "regular" job tend to struggle a bit, so prepare for that eventuality if you go that way.

IPostAlotbot2 karma

I noticed that you mentioned an alot, JLenoxIllustrator.

Here's a picture of one for you: http://i.imgur.com/kTKRLlk.gif



Hate me? Love me? Respond with an angry/loving comment! I read them all!

In case you're really dense and don't get the joke, 'alot' isn't a word.

JLenoxIllustrator3 karma

Guilty as charged!

[deleted]2 karma

[deleted]

JLenoxIllustrator2 karma

(sigh) oh well, I did. And wow, are you super active on Reddit!

Calvin-Hobbes2 karma

Who is your favorite illustrator? Which comics are your current favoutites? What are you currently working on? BTW big fan, thanks for the AmA

JLenoxIllustrator1 karma

Answer #1- Juan Gimenez, Yukito Kishiro and Alain Voss- look them all up- amazing work, and not well known in the USA.

Answer #2- Gantz, Battle Angel Alita, Conan from Dark Horse, Jormungand, High School of the Dead, Manhattan Projects, Hellboy, Attack on Titan, 2000AD's Judge Dredd reprints and Dorohedoro.

Answer #3- My next comic project "Lords of the Cosmos" - stay tuned on that one. Imagine He-Man facing a scenario like "Watchmen".

I love my fans, and if you are happy then I am making good artwork. I am always humbled to hear those words- hope to see you soon at a con! And you are welcome for the AMA, thanks for this idea go to my booth helper for WW Philly - Stephanie Yakir.

StuartHardwick2 karma

Hey Jason, I just met a bunch of illustrators at the Writers and Illustrators of the Future awards in April. They were all soooo young and so talented. Did you ever enter/win a big contest like that? If not, what was your break or entree into the profession?

JLenoxIllustrator1 karma

I was admitted to the Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Arts in 1992 for Gifted Children. I think what I got out of that was that I had elite level talent and how to deal with it. All that being said, I didnt go to college for art, I got a "real" job, and stopped drawing shortly after college in 1997-1998 and didnt pick it back up until 2011 and I struggled getting back into it cold with no direction (when I quit, I had no direction which was probably why I stopped) when I got a second big break in life doing some artwork for the film "Zero Charisma" in 2012. I'll address that in another question that is an unplanned follow up about second acts in life and remembering that you never really change much from what you are. I'm a pen and ink artist, and I think I forgot that, or tried to hide from it for a long time.

PatrickSprayze2 karma

Why are there so many nonamer illustrators on the bill for Philly Comicon that nobody gives a shit about?

JLenoxIllustrator1 karma

Hard to answer on that one. You'll have to go to the event and ask them personally!

SinceItsDefaultNow2 karma

Hey Jason, when it comes to choosing your medium: analog or digital, and why?

JLenoxIllustrator2 karma

Analog- I dont like separation from my hand to the surface Im working on. I also dont think that digital can capture the hand made quality of traditional physical media. I sound like an old man screaming "get off my lawn" but i love the boards I work on and the archaic nature of my gravity fed drafting pens...and seeing the micro imperfections that come from hand to pen to board as a thing of unique beauty. Now my colorists work digitally when they color my work, and I appreciate it, but I really choose to stay in my analog realm, for better or worse!

SinceItsDefaultNow2 karma

Thanks for the response!

JLenoxIllustrator1 karma

you are welcome!

MEMEMASTER20012 karma

do u draw dank memes

JLenoxIllustrator1 karma

no idea what that is. Tell me more.

JLenoxIllustrator1 karma

So are any of you actually going to WIZARD WORLD PHILADELPHIA? I just got my table assignment E-16 on artist alley.

JLenoxIllustrator1 karma

Anybody else before I take a bow off this online stage?

JLenoxIllustrator1 karma

Awesome first AMA day for this thread- keep it up everyone and spread the word!

Redditor314851 karma

Are your related to Lenox Bone China Company in any way?

JLenoxIllustrator1 karma

not a connection there.

JLenoxIllustrator1 karma

Going once, Going twice- any more questions from the audience?