Recently, I was the "celebrity judge" in the Knowhat2do comic book contest. I had the pleasure of reading through the submissions, giving feedback, and selecting my favorite. The winner of the competition sent me an email, thanking me for the feedback. He told me he wants to be a professional comic book writer/artist and asked for advice.
Thank you for your kind email. No worries. I'm not surprised you haven't heard of my work. While I'm a published comic book writer, my comics haven't been widely distributed. However, some of the local shops should have a copy of EMILY EDISON, KARMA INCORPORATED, or ASTRONAUT DAD laying around somewhere. This last year, I've been writing mostly for magazines and alt-weekly newspapers. Good luck in your aspirations to be a professional writer and artist. There are people who make a living at it. It's certainly a reasonable goal, if you work hard towards that end.
My advice is fairly simple. I don't know if it will be anything revolutionary. You need to pay attention in school and do well in your English and Art classes. I know too many writers who lack the basic ability to form sentences. Grammar is important, because it allows us to better craft sentences and thus organize our ideas. Writing is all about control. English class will improve your ability to express yourself clearly and effectively. I also know a lot of artists who cannot draw correctly in regards to anatomy and perspective. These skills are absolutely a must. All artists can draw their characters, but they avoid backgrounds. You should set yourself apart by being better than everyone else in drawing environments (backgrounds). If you can do this, your odds improve.
If it's possible, I'd also recommend attending college. Almost any university will offer writing and art classes. You will have the chance to further develop your talents. I would also recommend taking some business or entrepreneurial classes. The comic book is an art form, but it's also a business. In order to get your work out, many people need to self publish first. And in many instances, they find it is more profitable. If you take some business classes, you will be better prepared.
MAKING COMICS by Scott McCloud is required reading.
One last bit of advice, put together a good portfolio of your work. Take your work to comic book conventions, and ask editors and other artists for their honest feedback. Listen to them, and thank them for their help.
I hope this helps. Good luck.
So, what advice would you give? Feel free to post it in the comments section. Then, whenever we get the question, we can just direct them to this link. Genius!