Some weeks ago, a tweet from Jamie McKelvie, artist on the tremendously popular series The Wicked + The Divine and Phonogram, caught my eye. Writing about the physical difficulties of a heavy drawing schedule, McKelvie said he felt he could keep drawing for only 15 more years. Just a few tweets away on my timeline, graphic novelist Faith Erin Hicks, author of Friends with Boys, Superhero Girl, and The Nameless City, commented that a full day of drawing had left her with sore wrists.
Being a comic book artist is a physically taxing job. Long hours sitting at the literal drawing board (whether drawing on paper or digitally) can strain muscles in the back, neck, and shoulders; repetitive motions inflame tendons in the arms. Combine this demanding work with the life of a freelancer, which, in the United States, does not come with any form of health care, and you’ll realize that many comics artists are living one injury away from economic disaster. An injury will not only cost money to treat, it will also cost time as it heals --- time that could be spent drawing --- resulting in lost income.