Today on the show we have Sean Izaakse (pronounced Issacs). Sean is the co-creator of Stray from Action Labs. He also drew on the Pathfinder series for Dynamite. Recently, he was hired for two issues on Thunderbolts from Marvel.
Even though the audio was janky, Sean was a fantastic guest. What I loved most about his interview is how he planned his career one step at a time with the end goal in mind. He knew he wanted to draw comics, but couldn’t make that happen while working a shitty job. So he made a plan to get a better job so he had more time for his art. That led him to become a graphic designer, which wasn’t his passion but still utilized his skill set.
What I wanted to crack with this interview was how he went from South Africa to Marvel. I am fascinated by people who can make it in the business from a remote location. Even though there is a comics scene in South Africa, it certainly it’s LA or New York. I love how Sean talked about growing his career over time. He talked about how your first 1,000 pages are shit and you have to get through them as fast as possible so that you can do good work.
I heard a similar statistic when I was coming up as a screenwriter. People told me the first ten scripts are garbage, so my goal became cranking out ten of my best scripts as quickly as possible. I don’t know if 1,000 pages is the right number for artists, but the 10 script mark was certainly the breaking point for me to learn what I was doing.
There is a concept of niceness that Sean brought up too that I want to touch on. Sean got his job on Thunderbolts from working with Jim Zub, who we just had on the show in the last interview. You can listen to that by clicking here.
He echoed what Jim talked about regarding niceness. Sean treated people like a human for a long time before he got his breaks, but because people wanted to work with him and he did good work, things started to happen for him. You never know where those breaks will come, and Sean talked about how editors from small projects went on to bigger companies, and thought of him because they liked working with him. I just can’t overstate how critical that is for your success. The old adage of nice, on time, and good has shifted. Now you have to be all three.
This was a fascinating look into an artist’s brain who knew where he wanted to be and plotted out how to get there. Hearing how Sean plotted from CD store to graphic designer, to Marvel was a joy to hear and I know you will get a ton out of it too.
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Enjoy the episode.