Robot 6

The artist/writer division of labor

Jim Munroe, writer of the graphic novel Sword of My Mouth, kept track of the time he and artist Shannon Gerard put into the project. Not surprisingly, the scales don’t balance:

Sword of My Mouth

Sword of My Mouth

So here’s a breakdown of how much time we each spent working on the book.

Jim’s hours: 283.8 (writing: 23%, revisions and editing: 16%, publicity: 20%, publishing business: 38%)

Shannon’s hours: 1000+ (drawing)

So basically, Shannon put in 80% of the time even considering I took on publicity and publishing roles. (If I was just doing the writing, it would have been closer to a 90/10% split.)

We’re dividing the money we make 80/20%, but it still feels weird. I mean, I knew it took a long time to draw, but it really takes a long time to draw. This wonky division of labour is something to keep in mind when if you’re ever approaching someone to draw a comic. Even if you’re a slow writer and they’re a fast drawer, you’re still asking them to spend much more time realizing something than you spent creating it. What are you bringing to the project beyond amazing ideas and sparkling prose?



My artist just sent me this. It’s like when my wife sent me a link to an article on the challenges of being a woman in a patriarchal society.

So now I have to feel guilty about being, white, male, middle class AND a comic writer?

Joking of course. I know I’ve got it made. Now both of you, get back to work!

I slave over a hot drawing tablet all day, Jake, and this is the thanks I get! When was the last time you even mentioned how nice I look… I mean how nice my art looks?

Look baby, you know how stressful my day job is. Last thing on my mind when I get home and start writing is how nice your colouring is.

By the way, I’ve heard you’ve been messing around with Joe Lansdale behind my back. What’s so special about Joe Fucking Lansdale anyway? If you know what’s good for you you’ll stay well away from Mr. Lansdale and finish working on Temple like a good like art droid.


Fine. Enjoy your soup. Sorry it’s saltier than usual.

Makes complete sense, especially when you look at the workload of artists and writers. Writers: Around 4 or 5 books a month. Artists: 1 book every six weeks.

So writers get paid less per project; they can take on more projects. All balances out.

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