The most basic basics:
All submissions should be addressed to:
2600 South Road – Suite 44-242
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
A Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope or an email address (preferred) is necessary for a response. (Outside the U.S., enclose international reply coupons.) We do not respond to submissions without a S.A.S.E. or an email address. Put your name and address on every page of your submission. No phone calls please. If you want your entire submission returned you must include an envelope large enough with sufficient postage, or your submission will be discarded. (For international mailings, it won’t work if you put your country’s postage on the return envelope!)
The short form:
We’re not looking for anything other than Elfquest. If you show us that you can do what our current writers and artists do, even better than they can do it, then we want to talk with you. It doesn’t help at all if you send samples of work that is not Elfquest; it may be wonderful writing or art, but it won’t tell us that you understand what Elfquest is all about.
Keep in mind that as of February 1999 we stopped publishing a monthly comic book, in order to concentrate on the release of volumes in the Elfquest Reader’s Collection series. These were (mostly) single story-thread books ranging in length from about 160 to 240 pages, dealing with existing characters, in a canonical manner. Other volumes contained collections of short stories ranging in length from 8 to 32 pages each. Then, in 2003, we licensed publication of Elfquest material to DC Comics. Since they they have been issuing the classic stories in manga-format and Archive format, as well as releasing new material by Wendy Pini. For the time being, that’s the material they want to work with.
Something else to keep in mind, however: As we strive to keep Elfquest.comfresh and up-to-date, we may also consider a section devoted to online comics as well as fan art and fan fiction. Since the logistics of showcasing something online are vastly different from those involved in print publication, we may be able to consider more varied types of stories than we or DC would for print.
Your proposal should be no longer than one or two pages; if you can’t condense the “meat” of the story into that length, then the story is not yet well thought out. Proposals should be typewritten and double-spaced on 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper. We are looking for writers who can work within the Elfquest universe, with established characters, and we are looking for people who know the craft of telling a comic-book story well. We are not looking for generic fantasy or superhero or role-playing scenario stories with Elfquest names stuck on. We will consider both Elfquest stories created from “whole cloth” and adaptations of existing Elfquest prose stories. It is your ability that will determine the decision, not the source of the material.
We want to know how you would interpret Elfquest. Look at what we already publish and give us your individual take on what you see. Send photocopies of original illustrations. Never send originals. Include at least two multiple-panel story pages and one splash page for consideration.
(“What’s a splash page?” you may be asking at this point. A splash page is a page that contains a single large panel of art, to make a “splash” or impression. Usually, a splash page is the first page of a comic, though it may be used as well within the body of the story for impact.)
If you want to send graphics files via email: We do accept attachments of JPEG files, but please keep them under 250k each in size, and if you’re going to send several files, attach them in groups of 3 or 4 per each email letter. We don’t yet have high-speed internet access available here at Warp, unfortunately, so large files take an unholy amount of time to download.
For comic book artists: Pencillers, you need to be able to lay out a page so that the story flows from left to right and top to bottom in a pleasing and compelling way. Inkers should include copies of the pencilled art they have inked. Colorists/painters should enclose printed samples of their work, color photocopies, or photos up to 8″ x 10″ in size. Please do not send slides or transparencies as these are difficult to evaluate. Letterers, please send only samples of comic-book style lettering (dialog, italic, bold, sound effects, etc.). Do not send samples of other types of lettering as this will not show how you would letter in comic-book format.
For illustrators: As we move toward the addition of illustrated story books/novels to our publishing line, we’re also looking for good single-page illustrations, in both color and black and white. Show us what you can do. For guidance, look both to what we’ve published in the past and to what other publishers of illustrated fiction and children’s books are doing now.
A “recommended reading” list will be found at the end of the questions.
Questions we most often are asked
Q. How can I apply as a staff artist or writer at Warp Graphics?
A. We do not employ any staff writers or artists. All of the art you see in our comics and books is done by freelance artists working through the mail or via the internet. The only way to get an assignment from Warp is through mailed submissions. And again, right now DC Comics is only using Wendy art.
Q. Can I come to your office to visit and show you my portfolio?
A. We’re very busy here, and due to the large number of such requests that we get, we regret that we cannot individually view portfolios. Only mailed submissions are acceptable.
Q. I’ve heard that submissions are handled with higher priority if addressed to a specific person. Who should I address my work to?
A. All submissions should be addressed to the Submissions Editor. There is no trick for “getting ahead in line” or getting priority; we view all submissions equally. (But be sure to reread the cautions at the start of this page, regarding response time and replies.)
Q. Should I call to verify that my submission was received, or to check on its progress?
A. Please do not call to check on your submission. If you follow the guidelines when sending your submission and include an email address, you will receive a response within a couple of weeks. If you wish, you can send your submission via certified mail, return receipt requested to verify that it was delivered.
Q. Do you actually look at every submission you get?
A. Yes, of course – if we didn’t, we might overlook a true find. We open and individually evaluate each submission that we receive. We also try to respond to every submission (see above). Unfortunately, due to volume, we must often use a form letter rather than a personal response.
Q. Can I submit my artwork via email?
A. In general, we discourage submission of works via email for the following reason: Artwork scans, if they are at all detailed, tend to be very large. Almost always, downloading these files takes an excessive amount of time (and really torques Ye Editor). If you can arrange it so that no individual file (in JPEG format) is larger than 100-200k in file size, and if you’re not sending more than 4-5 files at once, then we can accept email submissions. Otherwise, we prefer that you send hardcopies of submissions, and include a S.A.S.E. or an email address for our reply.
Q. Can I send you my work for a critique?
A. No. There’s simply not enough time.
Q. What are you looking for in a submission?
A. The very best you have to offer, with relevance to what Warp Graphics publishes: stories about the world of Elfquest. You may send a masterpiece of a painting and say you want to be an inker, but this will not show us your skill as a comic book inker. You may send us a prize winning short story to show us that you are a great writer, but that does not show us how you would handle a comic book script. On the other hand, you may send us the perfect submission for our needs, except that we’re booked for the next six or twelve months. If this is the case, we will send you a letter saying that we are keeping your work on file. Always feel free to resubmit every six months or so to keep us up to date.
Q. Do you have any samples of work that you can send me to give me an idea of what you’re looking for?
A. The best samples we can show you are what we’ve already published. You’ll see that we’re not necessarily looking for one “house style,” but we are looking for quality. The characters must be recognizable as individual characters, even if they don’t look as if they’re “drawn by Wendy.” They must be convincing on the page. Be honest with yourself. If you believe that your work is as good as what we already publish, we want to hear from you.
Q. Realistically, what percentage of submissions actually lead to assignments?
A. It’s a small number. As in any business, there are always more freelancers who want work than there is work available. And lately, with the upheavals in the comics industry, there are a lot of former staff or freelance artists looking for jobs.
Q. Where can I get copyright information?
A. Call the U.S. Copyright Office in Washington D.C. at (202) 479-0700; they have pamphlets you can get free.
The United States Copyright Office web site is a treasure trove of information. It has all the information you need to keep your intellectual property safe. Start with copyright basics, frequently asked questions, and registration procedures. You can search registration documents, study copyright law, and print out the appropriate forms. If you really get hooked, you can thumb through the office’s information circulars. It’s all a service of the Library of Congress.
Also, the books The Writer’s Market and The Artist’s Market (on the recommended reading list below) have basic copyright information.
Finally, please don’t be discouraged if Warp Graphics cannot use your work at this time. Keep on working, improving, learning, and submitting. Try other publishers. Resubmit to us every six months to keep us up to date on your work. Remember: Creators are the fuel of the comics industry.
The following books may be available at larger bookstores, in the “Art” or “Graphics” sections. You might also try Bud Plant Comic Art, which boasts a huge catalog of offerings covering all aspects of comic, graphic, and fine art. This list is merely a sampling of titles; there are many other excellent reference books for the artistic basics of drawing that you’ll need to know: anatomy, light and shadow, perspective, and composition, just to name a few. Do a web search with keywords like “comic book drawing” or “comic book writing” and see what comes up.
Comics and Sequential Art and Graphic Storytelling, both by Will Eisner.
How to Draw Comics The Marvel Way by Stan Lee and John Buscema.
How to Draw and Sell Comic Strips For Newspapers and Comic Books by Alan McKenzie.
The Art of Comic Book Inking by Gary Martin with Steve Rude.
Drawing Dynamic Comics by Andy Smith.
Drawing Power, volume One by Bart Sears.
Writer’s Market and Artist’s and Graphic Designer’s Market. Both updated annually.