I just finished putting together an advertisement for the next Diamond Previews Adult catalog. This ad was for my upcoming Striptease book (by the way, I’ll chat more about Striptease very soon!). I was quite pleased with it and it occurred to me that I’ve never really talked about the advertising side of things with you guys.
It’s funny you know – I love to design. That isn’t to say I think I’m any good at it, but I approach every piece with a lot of enthusiasm. Graphic Design and creating advertisements can be a blast and a great way to take a break from my drawing, but it can also be very stressful!
You can’t help but feel the pressure, because each piece you do has a lot riding on it. After all, you are trying to sell the product you’re advertising, and hopefully entice bookstores and readers to invest in that product.
Each ad we put together at Class Comics begins with the whole team sitting down and coming up with ideas – brainstorming! What do we want to say? What do we want to show? What don’t we want to show and keep a surprise for the readers?
We have to keep in mind what publication we are creating the ad for. What are its dimensions and specs, and just as importantly, what are its criteria. Though some publications are aimed at adult readers, like the Diamond Previews Adult Catalog for example, there is still a strict “no penis” policy. So each ad for Diamond needs to be approached very carefully. We constantly have to find creative new ways to hide our Boytoons’ bits, but still arouse interest.
Covers for the Previews Adult catalog are always such a pleasure, but sometimes need to be turned around on tight deadlines, so there is rarely time to create brand new artwork for them. For this latest one advertising Rapture #3, I had to resort to older images that could still promote the book, even if they did not feel all that new to me. But on some covers, like the one advertising Brother to Dragons, I’m lucky enough to get awesome new artwork from the series’ artist, just in time to compose the piece. In this case, Carlos García was sweet enough to work under the most impossible deadline and whip up these 2 gorgeous illustrations of Alai and Jiki!
Recently I had to create an ad for the Program of the HX Gay Erotic Expo held in New York. That was SUCH a blast. Their instructions to us: “Make it as explicit as you like”! WAH-HOO! Rarely do I get to haul out the big guns. It felt so nice to have the opportunity to put something together that did not hide any part of our Boytoons. It was tricky choosing the illustrations that went into the piece, but in the end, I think I got a fun cross-section of our books. Here we opted to let the images speak for themselves, using only a minimal amount of text.
In-house advertising, basically the ads we use on the Class Comics family of Blogs and Websites are obviously less restrictive about content. I can show as much penis as I want, but no matter what the purpose of an ad, I always try to abide by the following 3 rules…
1. Never lie! Don’t make bullshit up to sell a product. It’s perfectly fine to extol the virtues of a product, and the spin you give things is super important, but you’ll just piss off your readers if you promise stuff that isn’t part of the actual product!
2. Less is more! Don’t give everything away. People like to know what to expect from a book, but only to a degree! You want people to get excited about what you’re advertising, but you also don’t want to spoil the fun of actually reading the book! You want to give them the opportunity to be surprised and discover stuff too!
3. Give it everything you’ve got! And by that I mean, get as creative as you can. I swear, it makes a difference how invested you get in your advertising pieces. If it’s worth doing, its well worth doing right, and your fans and readers will appreciate that you hold them in high enough regard to give them the best teasers you possibly can!
Anyhoo, dear friends… I hope you’ve enjoyed this little tour of my advertising portfolio and my impressions of advertising and graphic design in general. I’ll see you all again very soon!
Hugz + Kisses,
All artwork and characters © Copyright 2008 Class Comics Inc. All rights reserved.