Recently, comic artists who are active on television programs and YouTube have increased. This has made many people become interested in comic artists. But it poses a question. How much do ordinary comic artists earn in comparison to famous writers who often appear on air? Since the start of the comic, 'Yeol-hyeol-gang-ho' series, one of the long-lived comics from 1994, comic story writer Jeon Geuk-Jin has been writing for a long time for more than twenty years. Let's check out the secret of long-living and the situation of the current comic industry.
1. Please introduce yourself.
Beginning as a comic story writer since college, now I am writing 'Yeol-hyeol-gang-ho', 'Breaker', 'Trinity Wonder'.
2. What is the reason that you became a comic story writer?
I loved comics since childhood. When I was a university student, I went to the comic book club and thought, 'If I was a comic story writer, I would make a comic like this.' One day, my younger friend participated in a contest that was related to comics and received an award. Since then, we started writing, 'Yeol-hyeol-gang-ho'.
3. Where do you get inspiration for the story?
I think the creativity needed for inspiration of a story depends on a person's characteristics. I'm not sure about this, but I think that people’s common point for getting inspiration is to copy from other works, mix with other works, and add or change stories on the parts they want, and write their own stories like inventors.
4. What is the process of creating a work?
I first have a conversation and discuss with a pictorial writer about the storyline. Then we make the story into text when we agree with each other. After that, we make continuity of the comic's outline. After that, we try to perfect it by adding more detail through drawing and painting. Compared to this time-consuming process, many people may wonder how webtoons come out in a week. But don't worry, most writers are not burdened because they start writing after making about twenty episodes of the save manuscripts that are pre-written.
5. What were your most difficult and also proudest moments as a comic artist?
When you write a story for work, sometimes you can’t write what you want to write. But I feel most proud when I solve this difficult situation and make a comic that I like and readers also like.
6. Have you ever wondered about the cartoon characters moving on their own contrary to the will of the writer?
I get that feeling a lot. Each comic character has each personality. In the story, I have to move a character in this direction, but sometimes I get the feeling that the character doesn't want this with his or her personality. In that case, by changing the story and letting the character be according to its characteristics, the writing can be written better.
7. What is the revenue-generating structure in the industry?
In the past, the comic artist’s profits were disastrous until 2013. You could only managing to make a profit using the comic factory formula which is the multi-person process of printing a huge number of cartoons. Since 2013, however, profits have increased a lot from webtoon platform, where the writers get a fair amount of money by contents like previewing.
8. With the advent of the media era, how do you think is the prospect of comic books?
The comic book field seems hopeless. This is because people prefer webtoons to paper comic books. Of course, not many webtoons have been infiltrated in overseas markets so far. However, since Korea is currently forming a potential market in a foreign country under the name of K-toon, I believe that webtoons will soon be spread around the world.
9. How do you deal with a spoiler problem?
These days, there is a system on the site, so the comments with a spoiler about the next episode are handled by the “blinds”. And even if there is a spoiler, I wouldn't really care about it because I believe they want to see it with their own eyes.
10. What do you want to say to students who dream of becoming a comic artist?
I hope you don't try to become a comic artist by looking only at its outlook, such as dreaming of a comic artist with only rumors about earning lots of money. According to the webtoon market, 130,000 people challenged webtoons but only 500 of them can publish as formal Webtoons. The people who earn lots of money are only a small portion of these 500 people. So, I wish you to become a comic artist only do it if you can be satisfied with your creative life.
As such, comic artists are living in greater competition, like the 500 out of 130,000 figure mentioned. Nevertheless, a growing number of people are only thinking about the colorful lives of some famous writers and are challenging comics. Would you be happy to choose a job for external reasons? I don't think so. Through this article, I hope that it will be an opportunity to think about whether the job you want to do now is what you really want.
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