My watercolour painting Etsy shop is back open for the holidays!
My watercolour painting Etsy shop is back open for the holidays!
What they don’t teach you in school…
When you’re a young kid and you draw and have a passion for art, it’s realistic that you’ll end up going to school for art. In my case I didn’t want to do anything else. All I wanted to do was draw. I had a particular fondness for comic books and so that’s what I drew. I dabbled in other mediums from time to time and enjoyed sculpting and painting, but as far as I was concerned I was going to be a professional comic artist.
I graduated high school and went immediately into a 3 year technical program at my local college. It seemed fitting that I would truly begin my art education and would leave math and science behind me for good! But having grown up poor and not knowing anything about how to make a living in the real world, I continued my pursuit of being a comic book pro. Nothing else mattered.
I continued learning about art and it’s many facilities while in school as that’s what the program was about. Giving young artists the basics about art. We covered everything from cartooning, fine art, architecture, 3D, sculpting, and so on. Some of the things we learned were extensive, while others only briefly touched upon as an assignment. Overall they designed the program to show what art could be and to help others decide what kind of artist they wanted to be. I had already decided long before entering the program at 18 what I wanted to do with my art.
By the time I graduated, 4 years later (taking a year off to attend an instructional comic art program) I had no idea what I was doing or how I would make any money being an artist. Not to mention that at 22, unless you are a complete savant and have studied art your entire life, chances are that being thrust into the world of getting a job doing “art” would turn out to be incredibly hard. This they do not tell you in school…
But I persisted and found myself the very “lucky” opportunity to paint dinosaur stickers for a childrens game and book publishing house. They paid me 6 dollars a sticker and I made a whopping 1 dollar an hour doing so. At that price I had signed a 10 page contract… This was my first forray into being paid as an artist. Warning bells should have sounded at that time. But being eager, young and stupid when it came to the business of art, I thought it very normal as I really had no idea what to expect. I couldn’t pay my rent, but at least I had a job.
Unfortunately this is the problem with art school. They don’t teach you any of the other important stuff that comes with being a freelance artist. How to make a living. Nope. Not on the schedule. So after a little while of giving art a go, I had to take on real world jobs. And since my education was in art, all I could get were cashier jobs. I did this for the next 6 years all the while taking on art jobs here and there and learning how to be a better business person as I went along.
Being a freelance artist is hard enough, but trying to be a freelance comic artist without any idea of how to run yourself as a business is near impossible. And honestly, I don’t begrudge having learned everything I have gone through (success, failure, eviction, success,) in the last 8 years since graduating. It would have been great to learn a little something about the real world before being thrust into it, but that’s not how it worked out for me.
I’ve been working steady now since February actually living off of my art and that feels amazing. But it took a while to get here. It makes me want to change the way we teach art in schools. I think about this a lot actually. Being an artist isn’t enough anymore (was it ever?). You have to understand how to sell yourself and be an entrepreneur all while developing your skills as an artist. Budgeting is a crucial part of freelance. They don’t teach you that in school either. But in order to be able to make ends meet, one truly needs to know this! But that’s life right? Learn as you go.
But I guess we all have to make our own path, we all have to figure out how to do what we need to do to survive. And perhaps that can’t be taught in school. So to end this little rant, I’ll say this. If you’re young and you love art and making art, do whatever you can to learn and grow as an artist! Take a business course, learn from your peers, or whomever you can about what it takes to be an artist in the real world. Learn design and typography! Graphic design has saved my butt on numerous occasions and I never in a million years growing up thought that I would get into that. But I had to and I’m a much more diverse artist now because of it. There’s always going to be people you know who need business cards, pamphlets, etc. Don’t limit what you know by assuming you can just stick to one area of art. Over the last 8 years I’ve been a painter, Landscape artist (the kind that draws the plans) graphic designer, comic book colorist, printer, comic book penciller, movie prop assistant (I made the mould for Jake Gyllenhaal in source code.) Watercolorist, and now sculptor. Trying new things is key.
I’m saying this to those artists who don’t have rich parents. I’m saying this to the artists out there who have to immediately fend for themselves and make money to survive as freelance artists, fine artists, comic artists etc. Follow your passion because one day it will work out for you. Be patient and learn. Getting a day job is not a bad thing if it will help you to do what you love.
As for me, I’m currently happily working on the oddest series of game design characters I couldn’t even have come up with in a Dali inspired dream. But it’s good and I love it! I’ve got projects going on the side in the comic book world along with a new website I can’t talk about. I’ve also begun sculpting again. The future is bright and following your dreams will always be worth it.
And here’s my first fine art sculpture I’ve ever attempted. It’s a work in progress as I only began yesterday. But it’ll be nice when done. :) Following my passion has never let me down.
It’s the weekend, which means the personal sketchbook art is flowing. Have a great weekend everybody!
I’ve got three things I’ve got to get turned in today, two kids to get fed and dressed and a bag to pack and a flight to catch, so I can’t respond to this the way I’d like, but I’m putting it here so I don’t forget.
I also need to let my temper subside a bit. If I were to reply right now I’d resort to name-calling and insults and we all know there’s no ground to be gained there.
Instead, when I’m not shaking anymore, I’ll recount my career trajectory AGAIN. [Magazine writer/research assistant—>comic reviewer—>7 years adapting manga into English—>anthology shorts—>co-writing gigs—>one-shots—>minis—->ongoings]
Maybe I’ll get Alejandro Arbona to attest—AGAIN!—that I was blind-submitted for my first gig at Marvel. I’ll offer that if you’re looking for Men to Credit for My Career, you should look first to Neil Gaiman, Warren Ellis, Peter Rose, Steve Niles and Jamie Rich — all of whom were responsible for making introductions or getting me chances to submit my work well before Matt Fraction had any pull in the industry. (I’ll also state in no uncertain terms that I wasn’t sleeping with any of those men, because I know, dear Anon, that is your next assumption.) Or Brian Bendis, who had championed my work in a way I will never be able to adequately thank him for. (Ditto Steve Wacker.)
(Also not sleeping with Brian or Steve, just so we’re clear.)
Maybe I’ll ponder why it isn’t Fraction who’s considered to have benefited from nepotism. After all, more than 10 years ago now, Matt Fraction was my plus one to Joe Quesada’s 40th birthday party and it was me who sent copies of Last of the Independents to Joe and Axel. I mean, clearly, it was those gestures that got Fraction his career — certainly not the merit of his work, right? I mean, come on — those Hawkeye Eisner noms are part mine, right?
(I can’t imagine how sick Fraction must be of hearing me tell that story. But I bet it’s not half as sick of it as I am.)
(The first person I met in the industry was Wil Rosado. Through him, the first editors I met were Andy Ball, who’s since moved on, and Joey Cavalieri. Just in case anybody wants to make a chart. This would be… maybe 4 years before I met Fraction, Gillen, Ellis, McKelvie et al on the WEF.)
Okay, deep breath.
Bendis is going to tell me that I shouldn’t acknowledge this, that I’m feeling trolls, but here’s the pickle: people deny that this happens. We’re told that the insults to our dignity working women face are in our imagination, that it’s a thing of sexy Mad Men past. It’s WOMEN who make this a thing, right? (Hysterical, don’t you know.) We’re to the point where I meet young women who won’t identify as feminists because the struggle is over and it’s only a thing if you make it one.
It’s not a natural assumption to leap to the conclusion that I got my job because of my marriage. It’s the product of deeply-ingrained sexist thinking. I can name for you a half a dozen men who did, in fact, get their first big two gigs because of who they knew and their dignity and their qualifications have never been called into question. I’m lucky if I go a week.
I was recently directed to a post on a snake pit of a message board (what was I thinking, even going to look?) by a man I’d known as long as I’d known my husband, a man I’d met at the same time—a man who had felt free to ask professional favors of me on multiple occasions—who was lamenting how “easily” I’d gotten to where I was because of Fraction. When friends of mine pointed him to my CV, he half-apologized because he had no idea. Apparently he thought Marvel—a publicly-owned company—was in the habit of handing out gigs to freelancer’s wives just for kicks. Then he threw up the bit about it being a natural assumption.
I would say simply ‘fuck that guy’ and chalk it up to his not being half as smart as he thinks he is, but here’s the thing:
That guy has daughters.
For them, and for my daughter and for your daughter, I am going to occasionally shine a light on these things… even though it both enrages and embarrasses me.
I don’t know if it’s the right call, but I know that ‘ignore it and it’ll go away’ isn’t working.
I need to figure out a way to contain my outrage enough to talk about it in a way that doesn’t attack, but invites dudes like Anon to rethink their ‘natural assumptions’ without setting myself up as an uppity bitch that they’re invested in proving wrong.
I… I clearly don’t know how to do that right now. But I’m going to figure it out.
Right now, the kids need breakfast and my son has questions about the xenomorph that can’t wait another second.
Holy fucking Christ people, stop this thing, stop it, stop.
It’s absurd that men are still doing this and will continue to do this to women. No Kelly Sue should NOT have to defend herself, but she doesn’t really have a choice when nothing seems to be changing and assholes like this ANON loser keep doing the dumbass thing of being sexist shitheads. Reblogging because there’s something wrong with the world and pushing it under the carpet won’t fix it. but maybe, letting others know this shit happens on a daily basis will potentially solve the problem one day.
Falling to your death like a BOSS.
It really bugs me that he’s going head first rather than spreading out his arms and legs or using his cape for a little wind resistance.
Batman is a dick. He choses to fall as fast as he can because he expects to be saved.
The true story of Robot-Boy. Story and Art by Joël J. Séguin.
Follow Robot-Boy’s adventures in this new weekly comic blog!
This is my cat Gargantua. He’s sometimes called Dorkis, Space Captain, Sporks, Sporkis, Ganks, Cat, Girly Meow, among other derogatory names which should not be displayed on Tumblr…
Early Man of Steel Screening - By Kyle Butler