FANTASTIC FOUR Artist Raises Big Money for How-To Book

 

There are a lot of aspiring comic book creators out there. This isn't a shocking revelation if you've ever been to a comic book convention, or just interacted with comic book fans for any extended period of time.

So it's not surprising that a Kickstarter-funded how-to-draw book by a popular Marvel artist would do well. But few, including those involved, could predict just how well: At press time, I Draw Comics has raised more than $205 thousand against its original $10,000 goal, more than other hugely successful comics-related Kickstarters like Womanthology, Sullivan's Sluggers and Zenescope's Grimm Fairy Tales Animated Series. And that's with five days left to go.

 

"I can't even comprehend what's happening anymore," Ryan Stegman, current Fantastic Four artist and one-half of the I Draw Comics team, told Newsarama. "Before it started, I kept getting nervous. I said, "Are you sure we can't ask for like, $8,000? It's going to be really embarrassing when we don't make that goal. And then we made it in 24 hours."

I Draw Comics is a collaboration between Stegman and his childhood friend Matt Marrocco. After bonding in middle school over a shared passion for drawing and comic books, Marrocco became an industrial designer in the consumer electronics industry and Stegman a comic book artist, whose credits include Marvel books Scarlet Spider, Fear Itself: Hulk vs. Dracula and She-Hulks.

 

The instructional book is inspired by an earlier project by Marrocco, called "I Draw Cars." They share a common Moleskine-like design, the tagline "there is no substitute for practice" and the key feature of instructing users to draw directly in the book over multiple templates; acting as both "sketchbook and reference guide."

When Marrocco first approached Stegman to see if he would be interested in doing a comic book version of "I Draw Cars," the artist was initially hesitant due to his busy schedule (along with being a full-time comic book artist, he's the father of a one-and-a-half year-old son), but became convinced that it would be an effective educational tool.

"When he showed me 'I Draw Cars,' my attitude wasn't, 'That would work for comics,'" Stegman said. "It was, 'that is something that I wish I would have had for drawing human figures and perspective when I was younger.'"

Matt Marrocco, left, and

Ryan Stegman.

Stegman calls himself a "nerd" for how-to-draw books — citing works by Andrew Loomis, Glenn Vilppu, George Bridgman and John Buscema's famous How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way — which helped convince him that he could make his own, despite being a relative newcomer in the comic book industry.

"I'm obviously still learning, I'm definitely not a master," Stegman said. "But I have such a wealth of knowledge on these how-to books, and I know what's helped me to get where I'm at. That helped me make the decision, because immediately I had ideas of what I could do, and I think all the exercises that I have in the book will be very helpful."

 

Through their various levels of pledges and incentives, Stegman and Marrocco have already sold more than 5,000 copies of I Draw Comics. Their plans don't end there, as they're looking to get the book sold at retailers, and potentially used as part of the curriculum of college-level illustration classes.

Stegman's day job, of course, continues — he jokes that between his Marvel work, I Draw Comics and family life, he's lost touch with everything else — though his Fantastic Four stint ends in October, and his next project has yet to be announced. But news should be coming in the near future.

"I know that I'm working on something, and that it's awesome, and that it should be announced relatively soon," he said. 

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