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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is original comic art?

  • Every page ever printed from most comic books comes from a hand-drawn piece of artwork. Typically, the pages are drawn in a light, fine pencil and then inked over in dark India ink on an 11 x 17 inch Bristol board. Lettering and word bubbles are then added to the artwork, although for much of the last decade, this part of the process has been done digitally by most publishers. A black and white page, with or without lettering, is what we typically refer to as original comic book artwork.

  • Before the 2000s, a copy of the original artwork was colored by hand.  These are known as color guides (see What is a color guide?). Today, most comic book coloring is done digitally.

  • Today, it is customary for publishers to return the artwork to their artists (pencilers and inkers). This practice stemmed from contract negotiations with artists like Neal Adams in the 1970s.

  • Original comic art can also be more broadly defined to include items like printer's production proofs. For purposes of Sketch Maven, we do not refer to these when we speak of original comic art, nor do we currently allow their sale on our site.  Everything you see for sale on our site is a hand drawn piece of art!