Comics Creators Network

A professional support network for all types of comics creators

Now that comics are an established artform and graphic novels an acceptable addition to any shelf, the number of creators working in the field has quite rightly multiplied and, naturally, they have questions. What are our rights? What terms can you ask for? What should you accept? What is 'industry standard' when the 'industry' only exists in air quotes?

The Comics Creators Network is a member-led online community that offers professional support for all types of comics creators and graphic novelists in the UK.

What can the Network do for me?

The Comics Creators Network was set up in 2020 to address challenges facing comics creators and advocate for better industry standards. 

The Network is run entirely online and members can connect with each other using a private Discord channel. Network members will also receive unlimited professional advice from our team of experts and free contract vetting as part of SoA membership – as well as member discounts, access to a free tax helpline from HW fisher, offers on specialist insurance and more.

We aim to:

  • Empower comics creators with practical advice on all professional areas
  • Develop professional practice with free events and webinars
  • Negotiate fairer terms and agreements with publishers
  • Advocate for better industry standards

This was my first SoA event and I was unsure what to expect. I loved it, I felt privileged to be among such knowledgeable and wise heads, and I was swept up in the enthusiasm of the contributors.

The last couple of years have been difficult, work-wise, and this one event did more for my morale than anything has in recent months. I feel like I am no longer floundering but moving forward, buoyed by the ideas and support I encountered at last night’s event.

What you can do for the Network

The Comics Creators Network is an active community of professional writers and illustrators working in the UK comics scene. To that end, we encourage you to take part in discussions and events with fellow Network members to share experiences and ideas that will help inform our lobbying and advocacy work. Join us on Discord to connect with Network members.

If you are a comics creator and not yet a member, you can join the Society of Authors using the code COMICS20 to receive 20% off membership. If you are already an SoA member and want to get involved, email [email protected].

Background image © deberarr

Meet the steering committee

The Comics Creators Network is run by a steering committee made up of six comics creators and specialists. The administration of the group is handled by the SoA’s Katharine King and Lisa Dowdeswell.

Nyla Ahmad 

Nyla Ahmad is Reading Communities Manager at Scottish Book Trust, leading on programming Book Week Scotland. Nyla was the inaugural awardee of Literature Alliance Scotland’s Next Level Award and currently serves on the Glasgow Zine Library board of trustees. She previously co-led the BHP Comics project, Full Colour, a mentoring programme for young comics creators from BAME backgrounds. She has also worked for the Glasgow Women’s Library on their museum access project, Equality in Progress. Nyla’s MPhil thesis examined South Asian and Muslim representation in comics. She served as chair of the Scottish Independent Comic Book Alliance Awards for three years.

Hannah Berry

Hannah Berry is a comics creator, cartoonist, writer, illustrator, and current UK Comics Laureate. She is the author of three highly acclaimed and occasionally award-winning graphic novels published by Jonathan Cape, and in 2018 was inducted as a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Dr Helen Kara

Dr Helen Kara is an independent researcher, scholar and author who creates and promotes the use of comics to support teaching and research in academia.

Simon Moreton

Simon Moreton is an artist and author. He draws and writes about everyday life, memory, identity, and our relationship to the histories of the places we live in. As well as being a committed self-publisher, his comics have been published by Avery Hill, Uncivilized, Kilgore Books, and Retrofit. His latest book, WHERE?, was published by Little Toller in 2021, and is about his father’s death and his childhood in the Shropshire countryside. He is Associate Professor of Creative Economies at UWE Bristol, working to support equitable futures for cultural and creative work.

Alice Nuttall

Alice Nuttall is an indie comics creator, and writer of three webcomics, Footloose, Cherry, and Black Market Magic, co-created with artist Emily Brady. She is an admin for The CVA, an online group supporting UK-based indie comics creators, and a regular attendee at comic conventions around the UK.

Woodrow Phoenix

Woodrow Phoenix is a writer, artist, and graphic designer based in London and Cambridge. His work has appeared in national UK newspapers, in magazines and comics across Europe, the USA and Japan, and in television projects for Walt Disney and Cartoon Network. His most recent book, Crash Course, was published in August 2020.

Zara Slattery

Zara Slattery is a graphic novelist, illustrator and tutor, and author of the award-winning graphic memoir, Coma. She collaborates with writers and organisations in creating work on issues around the environment, identity, health and disability, and was recently the disability consultant for Canterbury Cathedral’s Miracle Windows comics project. She’s currently working on the medieval eco-fable, Sweeney’s Progress, with writer Gregory Norminton.

Brush Up! event series

Throughout 2021, the Comics Creators Network is running an online series of events – Brush Up! – in collaboration with The Cartoon Museum, that aim to demystify the publishing process and offer advice and transparency around promoting your work, getting paid and where to find support.

Missed any of our online events so far? Catch up on our Vimeo channel below.

  • Brush Up! #1 – Staying in Character: How to Protect Your Comics Characters – Watch here
  • Brush Up! #2 – Funding for Comics Creators – Watch here
  • Brush Up! #3 – What’s the Deal? Contracts, Negotiation and Publishing Deals – Watch here
  • Brush Up! #4 – Getting the Word Out – Watch here
  • SoA @ Home: Industry Insider – Comics Creators and the Global Pandemic – Watch here
  • SoA @ Home: Afternoon Tea with Kieron Gillen – Watch here

Our aims

Making comics requires a unique set of skills, and the comics medium itself is unlike any other. Historically, there has been little to no negotiation of creators' fees and rights, especially when working on licensed properties or material originated by the publisher. However, some things are the same no matter which area of publishing you are in: you deserve to be paid fairly, to own what you invent and to control what happens to it. The Society of Authors and the Comics Creators Network is here to help its members and to advocate for better industry standards. Industry standards, without the air quotes.

According to the UK Comics Creators Survey, which surveyed more than 600 comics creators in April/May 2020, more than half of comics creators earn nothing – or less than £100 a year from comics – and 36% have been asked to sign away their intellectual rights as part of a contract. Only 18% of creators made money through work for hire – but it is the most valuable income source.

Below you’ll find a set of useful links and resources for comics creators. If you have suggestions, email [email protected].

  • The Association of Comics Creators (AoCC)
    The AoCC is dedicated to fostering a comics culture that supports and uplifts comics creators. It provides a central point of contract for comics professionals and non-professionals alike to connect.
  • Let’s Fix Comics (Nov 2020)
    A write-up and breakdown of the UK Comics Creators Survey 2020 follow-up discussion of events, written by Katriona Chapman. Download and read here
  • Working Well: Good Mental Health and Creative Freelancers
    A free resource developed by the Society of Authors, the Association of Illustrators and the Association of Photographers with practical strategies to help improve your wellbeing. Download and read here
  • The Illustrated Freelancer’s Guide
    A practical resource developed by Creative Scotland to fill an information gap for creative freelancers to understand their rights and best practices in avoiding and addressing difficult situations. Download and read here
  • Mental Health for Creative Freelancers
    Launched in November 2022 at Thought Bubble, Mental Health for Creative Freelancers is a collection of 11 stories written by Edward Ross, each illustrated by a different artist in their own style. It tackles everyday challenges that will be familiar to anyone working freelance in creative fields, including money, rejection, imposter syndrome, working alone, performance anxiety and social media. The artists include Norm Konyu, Simone Lia, Shazleen Khan, Hannah Berry and Graham Joh. Woodrow Phoenix edited and art directed the book to produce a beautiful publication with a focused, accessible voice. Download and read here