When you’re a creator, you have to find and nurture your voice. It doesn’t matter what it is that you do—your voice will shine through, if you do this long enough.
Now, some things are going to be more hidden. If you’re a letterer, your voice will shine through, but it will be relegated to the background. Even though your job is the third most important (behind the artist and writer—whom I listed in alphabetical order, not in true order of importance), when done correctly, your job is about whispering extremely softly, not shouting. Not like the rest of the team.
But once your voice is developing, or already developed (and if you’re new, then it isn’t developed—trust me), then you have a decision to make.
What are you going to do?
It isn’t as simple a question as it sounds.
Some of you are bound and determined to make comics that no one will read—and then get upset that no one is reading your books.
I remember coming across an artist a few years ago who wanted to do a comic with graffiti-inspired art. The problem with “classic” graffiti-style art is that it is very difficult to parse. There is a lot of energy in the style, but it is also challenging to immediately understand what was going on. This isn’t a book that would make its money back if it were ever produced.
Some creators aren’t really looking for mainstream success. They just want to make their book, and they’re satisfied if they’re able to sell 50 copies. And that’s okay. But a decision was made, and that decision quite often has to do with the subject matter of the book and the art that graced it.
Your voice, and what you do with it, will affect your book. Want to create a comic about a black man railing against the white machine? You can do that, but you have to understand that it might not sell well. Want to do a book about a well-known band and have their backing? You can do that, too—just understand that it might not sell well. (I love Prince, and I have ideas about how to make a book about him, but it doesn’t mean it would sell—and he has a small but dedicated following.)
Decide what you’re going to do with your voice. It will affect all of the stories you tell.