A Creative Culture Where It Is Hard to Make a Living

The Socio-Economic Situation of Comics Authors and Illustrators in Belgium

in European Comic Art
Pascal LefèvreUniversity of Leuven pascal.lefevre@luca-arts.be

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Morgan Di SalviaUniversity of Brussels morgan@maisonculturellequaregnon.be

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On the initiative of the research office of the non-profit SMartBe Professional Association for Creative Professions, an exploratory survey into the current socio-economic circumstances of comics authors and illustrators in Belgium has been undertaken for the first time. The replies of 191 French-speaking and 72 Dutch-speaking artists to the online questionnaire have given an idea of the profile of comics authors and illustrators in Belgium (in terms of gender, age, place of residence, educational background), their professional activities and the type of publications in which their work appears, and their employment status and income. The results show that, in general, their monthly income falls below the Belgian median, and that many artists, particularly in the younger age range, are reliant on supplementing their earnings from other sources. A number of differences emerged between the situation of French-speaking and Dutch-speaking artists. The role of creative grants (especially subsidies from the government) is shown to be crucial.

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