Lots going on, with some projects for clients on the tail-end of completion, Project Rebuild in full swing, and working on other projects both in terms of on-line content and for hardcopy books and comics. While this week seemed full on the onset, the load is already beginning to lighten due to tying up some things yesterday. I figured out on the weekend why things have seemed hectic: Project Rebirth. When Project Rebirth started in the fall, it was a project that had a lot of moving parts and a lot of little tasks associated with it so each day I was doing a plethora of things to get my career running again. Now, and I’m fairly sure I’ve previously mentioned, my workflow is shifting to fewer things in the day because those fewer things take more time. In the end, this switch-up in working is a welcome one because I nearly crashed prior to the Holidays with juggling so many things.
Anyway, adjustments made. Focus change pleasant.
Speaking of focus and zeroing in, today I posted a couple of pages to Patreon of pencils from Secret Project No. 3, showing what these things look like before they’re ever printed in comic book form. Go here to check it out and read past patron-only blog posts, essays, a serial novel, and more.
Drawing and making comics was how I stumbled my way into the book industry. It’s a long story and one I’ll be sharing in my upcoming memoir. I’ve made it my goal to draw regularly in 2020 and get back to my comic-making roots. The picture above is from an old sketchbook, circa 1999. At this point in my life, all that mattered in terms of career aim was making comics.
Here are some quotes for my fellow artists to ponder:
“I cannot rest, I must draw, however poor the result, and when I have a bad time come over me it is a stronger desire than ever.” – Beatrix Potter
This is true. I find I’m the most inspired to write or draw when I’ve hit a hard time. It’s a way to deal with what’s going on and get out on paper all that it is making me feel. This has also led to some strange, and sometimes even dark, drawings.
“In drawing, nothing is better than the first attempt.” – Pablo Picasso
There’s something raw about a first effort. That might go without saying, but a first try carries with it a lot of heart because if one is gung-ho about drawing a specific thing, that passionate thrust carries through into the drawing and makes it come alive in its own way, even if the drawing isn’t that great. A second attempt, as per my experience, seems to lack the same heart as the first and looks flat even if it’s technically correct. This is why I don’t agree with comic makers going back and redoing earlier work or pages. Artistic expression is a journey and there’s something to be said about looking back on earlier work and seeing where you were in that journey and what you were feeling at the time. It’s even better when someone from the outside sees it and knows where you came from and where you presently are at. This applies to early writing work, too.
“Perspective is the rein and rudder of painting.” – Leonardo da Vinci
This is true and, admittedly, a weaker area for me. I can do perspective when it comes to inorganic objects, but ensuring your character is 3D takes a lot of practice and is something I’m working on.
In the end, the new 2020 art journey is going to be a good one and I look forward to sharing more art with you when it’s ready. In the meantime, please head on over to my art page to see what’s there.
Lastly, on a side note, a new chapter of Gigantigator Death Machine was uploaded to Patreon this morning. In this chapter, those who are left desperately wish the gator will just plain go away. Head on over and get reading for just a buck. Thanks.
With winter in full swing and the temperature plummeting, I’m hunkered down in the bunker here at the Central getting things done. If you follow my newsletter, you know I had to do a bunch of work before I could work. This was the fall and early winter. Now I’m in a position to work on Project Rebuild and get my other ducks in a row.
There’s something magical about settling in with your work. Something comforting, alluring, and satisfying. It’s one of those things that you could put into words if you really tried—but defining it would take away its power. Instead, I’m opting to just enjoy the feeling, revel in it, and get things done.
Today, the drawing phase of Secret Project No. 3 begins!
This is a horror comic that I showed a very brief glimpse of on my Patreon’s behind-the-scenes tier. I haven’t really mentioned it here on the blog but it’s a project I’ve been sitting on for a decent chunk of time (two years, maybe?). A few pages are finished but the strips inside are not. Time to get the whole thing done and published. Since it’s a full-sized issue, and considering the time it takes to make comics, this won’t be available until early next year.
With 2020 right around the corner and taking into account my overall plan regarding the “things I need to finish” from Project Rebirth, it’s time to get my butt in gear and get this particular project complete. (See this blog entry regarding what “things I need to finish” is all about.)
A title is still being settled upon. I will share it with you once I figure out what it is.
With 2020 around the corner, it’s time for me to visit my freelancing Artwork and Publishing Services Rates again and adjust things for the New Year.
The following rates will be effective on January 1, 2020. If you book me before January 1, I will honor my old rates so this is a chance to book me now even if your project won’t be ready to go until early in the New Year.
The formula for the list below is Old Rate > New Rate
All rates are in US funds.
Editing (which is a full edit that covers everything from copy editing to proofreading):
Short stories (1,000 – 7,000 words): 1¢ per word > 1.5¢ per word
Novelettes (7,001 – 15,000 words): $250 > $275
Novellas (15,001 – 40,000 words): $325 > $350
Short novels (40,001 – 60,000): $425 > $450
Novels (60,001 – 80,000 words): $500 > $525
Blockbusters (80,001 – 120,000): $625 > $650
Doorstops (120,000+): inquire for quote
Paperback formatting – $200 > $225
eBook formatting – $150 > $175
Paperback and eBook formatting bundle – $325 > $375
Book Cover Design (includes the paperback and eBook files):
Using stock art/photos/art you acquired elsewhere: $275US or $350CAN > $300US or $400CAN
A note on stock photos: I do my best to seek out stock photos that are free for commercial use, however, sometimes the perfect photo needs to be purchased. Responsibility of cost for the purchased photo is the client’s. All proposed purchases are cleared with the client first.
NEW – Using my original art created for the project’s cover (which includes the use of the art plus all the design that goes into a stock photo cover): $500US or $675CAN
NEW – Artwork Commissions
Penciled only: $150 (for up to two figures; additional figures $20 each)
Inked: $200 (for up to two figures; additional figures $30 each)
Colored (digital or traditional media, depending on the piece): $350 (for up to two figures; additional figures $40 each)
Custom Artwork: If your project doesn’t fit the above commission guidelines, inquire anyway and we’ll figure out something that works for both of us.
This morning I scanned all my Inktober 2019 drawings into the computer and got them ready for a video and for three collages. These will be showcased on the blog once they are ready. The collages will also be showcased on social media. I just need to get some music together for the video.
Full transparency: I’ve never deliberately looked up blog topics (so far as I can recall) but for fun, this morning I decided to do that and see what’s currently out there for blogging ideas. “The Toughest Part About Being a . . .” prompt was something I came across and, maybe because I’m still groggy, resonated with me the most this fine winter morning.
So that said, here is the toughest part about being a writer/artist as per how I feel at the moment I’m writing this:
When people ask what I do for a living and I tell them I write stories and draw, I’m met with two general responses: “Oh man, that’s so cool!” or, “That’s nice. Maybe one day you’ll get a real job instead of playing all day.” The latter isn’t explicitly stated but is certainly implied by tone, facial expression, and body language, all with an air of disappointment.
The first crowd is, of course, the most pleasant to deal with. Their eyes light up and they smile and are genuinely happy for me. They often become my readers and usually follow up with me the next time I see them and ask how things are going and if I’m still doing it (the “still doing it” part hinting they understand it’s an unstable job but they have my back and are in my corner even if my answer is “No”).
The second crowd is the one I don’t understand. The general formula for a working adult is you get out of bed, go to work, come home, eat dinner, then get on with your evening, which may or may not include doing more work. That’s the formula I’ve lived by my entire working life–whether working in the arts or elsewhere–and the formula every working adult I know follows. The only difference is I work from home. So when I “go to work,” my commute is measured in hallways and staircases as I make my way down to the Central’s bunker to get started. I work all day–and get paid for it–turn the computer off, then reverse my commute and wind up back upstairs with the rest of the household. But mention you write stories and draw pictures for a living and suddenly you don’t have a real job (see the “On Freelancing for a Living (This is a Job)” blog post). Upon thinking about it, it’s not even the working from home part that seems to rub people the wrong way (though this can happen). It’s the specific what I do for a living. I’ve seen firsthand where others who work from home who don’t write stories and draw pictures are met with a metaphorical handshake. Me? It’s a metaphorical hands-in-their-pockets.
There is a disconnect that happens–usually with the older generation(s)–where, in the old days, work was something you left the house for and something you didn’t always enjoy. Work was actual work, like a chore, or work was something that demanded such a hard effort that every day ended the same when one came home: a collapse on the couch from mental and/or physical exhaustion. I believe the disconnect also happens because a lot of people tend to forget the entertainment they consume had to be created by somebody. Those books you read? Somebody took a lot of time writing them. Those comics you love? A group of people had to spend a lot of time writing, drawing, coloring, lettering, and printing them. Those movies you go to every Friday night? A whole slew of people had to go somewhere to play dress-up and pretend for a camera to tell you a story. That video game? Tons of people. Tons of artists. Even the very computer or smartphone this entry is being read on was dreamed up and sketched out by people who went to work. Somebody had to write all the code used in that phone. Somebody had to draw all those app icons. Somebody had to make science fiction science fact. Oh, and they got paid to do it because they need food and shelter, too.
Why is my job not normally respectable? Is it the non-steady paycheck? Is it the fact I like it? Is it because I’d rather spend a third of every day enjoying myself versus dragging myself through the motions? Is it because I made up my mind and chose what I was going to do with the old statement that you can either work towards making your own dreams come true or you can work for someone else to make their dreams come true?
Why does a lawyer get the handshake and I don’t? Why does a doctor? Or an accountant? Or a factory worker or a mechanic? Their job puts food on the table and keeps a roof over their loved ones’ heads just like mine does. My income goes towards food and bills, getting stuff for the kids and gas in the car. It buys Christmas presents and pays for date nights. It funds life just like their job funds life.
I work. You work. We all work.
And like I posted to social media forever ago, I want to repeat here: Everything is art. Every. Single. Thing. Creation is God’s canvas and nature is His painting. The stuff humans have made? It’s all based on someone dreaming and asking themselves, “What if . . .?” Then writing it down and drawing it out. Designing your couch is an art form. Writing the code for your car’s computer is an art form. Coming up with how to safely make a handheld drill is an art form. And so on.
Everything is art.
In the end, I’ve learned to live with the hits and learned my career choice will be frowned upon by others. But there are also others who don’t frown and instead smile. Those are the people who give respect. The others? I’ll still respect their work because they are my fellow human beings, and perhaps one day I’ll get the same occupational respect in return.
Author’s note: This article isn’t about complaining. It’s pointing out a disconnect that some people seem to have and is hopefully encouraging to those who might be in the same boat.