This watercolor of Sere was done back in the 1990’s. Kelly Freas style stars were added with colored pencil.
So let’s have some fun with math. An insurance agent calls me today to try to upsell me on my policy, which is for a $250,000 life insurance plan which expires about age 70, but pays me back my premium when I hit retirement, or can be borrowed against in an emergency.
For the bargain price of only $200 more per month, they are willing to go ahead and let me take that policy with no expiration date, which means that I would pay $200 more per month and someone could collect that whopping $250,000 insurance policy when I die all the way up to age 121, instead of the policy expiring at retirement.
I don’t know how they came up with that age 121, but whatevs.
So anyway, I thought about this for a nanosecond and said “Let me do the compound interest on this thing.”
So I did.
My $20,000 initial investment, with an additional $200 per month all the way until I’m 121 years old (it could happen) would only pay out $250,000 after I am dead, but if I put the same money into a compound interest bearing account at 8% for that same time period the money would be worth $13,242,359.11.
Even if I only live to about 85 years, I’d still make a whopping $784,000 on the same cash.
So I did the math real quick for the insurance lady and she got the message.
This weekend I will be appearing at the New Jersey Comic Expo! I will be on multiple panels and I will be speaking to some awesome and stupendous Girl Scouts!
And very pleased to see TROLL BRIDGE moved up the list this past week! A real honor, thank you so much!
I will be shipping all TROLL BRIDGE direct orders as soon as I get back next week. My copies from DARK HORSE just arrived this evening, not fast enough to get them out before I get on a plane.
However, if you order direct from me, WHILE SUPPLIES LAST Get at least three of the signed, limited edition prints shown here and a FREE comic book with every order!
WHILE SUPPLIES LAST! Get at least three of the signed, limited edition prints shown here and a FREE comic book with every order!
TROLL BRIDGE! Now a the New York Times bestseller!
Colleen Doran adapts Neil Gaiman’s tragic coming-of-age fantasy masterpiece!
When Jack was a young boy, his world was full of ghosts and ghouls, but one such monster–a ravenous and hideous troll–would haunt him long into manhood. As the beast sups upon a lifetime of Jack’s fear and regret, Jack must find the courage within himself to face the fiend once and for all! Hardcover 64 pages, Dark Horse Comics.
Some advice is better than others. And some advice was never meant to be good for you. Make Art. On Your Terms.
It is good to be forgiving. I am good friends now with people who, thirty years ago, told me I’d never make it. What they said stung at the time, but I do not resent them. They gave me an honest opinion that I was free to ignore.
I’m a little less forgiving of people who were saying this sort of thing recently. I could be here all day telling tales of pros who were saying I was done and should just quit. This as recently as three years ago. Puzzling, because my career was on a notable upswing after years of being unable to work full time due to chronic illness. A blogger with whom I haven’t spoken since gave me a big old lecture about how I was done, stick a fork in me.
My work doesn’t get so much coverage on her website anymore I’m told. Sucks to be wrong, I guess.
Another former Big Two staffer who really hated my stuff and decided to explain all things publishing to me at a book fair a few years ago, looked me up and down with scorn, sneering at me, my appearance and my work. She has hated women in comics like me since day one, declaring us “Not Real Women Cartoonists”. Two years later she was practically jumping over my table at a show and begging me to work for her small press with a big smile I’d never seen her direct at me before and a warm handshake. I said I’d think about it and thanked her for asking.
When you’re doing well, people come out of the woodwork. When you’re doing poorly, they gloat. That’s the way it is. I don’t mistake either type for friends, and I know how the game is played. I try not to internalize this stuff too much and make it about me, because it’s really not. I don’t know most of these people very well, and never will. I’m here to do my job, not play petty politics.
I think some people just don’t want you or your work around, and they tell you with their fake sincerity and sympathy that you should pack it in for your own good in hopes you will take their poisonous advice and give them what they wanted.
Since being told to pack it in three years ago, I’ve had two more books on the New York Times Bestseller list. I’ve got more work than I can handle. I’ve got publishers asking me to bring them my new projects. All of my projects.
Some advice is better than others. And some advice was never meant to be good for you.
My advice: run as far away from these people as you can. Live your life. Be happy. Make Art. On Your Terms.
Have a great day.
I think that’s pretty good advice for everybody.
I had a great conversation with a fellow artist the other day about how much we love our work and how we genuinely prefer to be working. I admitted that I found taking a vacation after just a couple of days genuinely uncomfortable. Sometimes I take a bit of work with me. My brain never stops churning. (Running joke: I relaxed once. It was awful.)
It drove home my belief that many people who do not have that kind of drive not only don’t get it but sometimes pathologize it, completely unable to understand why anyone would want to spend hours outside of a normal 8-hour workday working. We both agreed that our art can become a drudge at 3 AM, but a 10 hour day doesn’t phase us at all. And we would really rather be working. I feel driven to make art and to write, and I can’t think of any reason why I shouldn’t.
Also, when you’re not commuting, think of the 2 hours you would be getting ready for work and running back and forth to work as the time and stress sink hole the artist with a home studio never has to deal with. So I put in a ten hour day, and it’s not as harsh to me. People who work at home have unique stressors, but unless you’ve got a bad home environment (and I don’t) you’ve got a real advantage. But one of those great stressors is motivation, and the lack thereof that comes from NOT being in a structured work environment. If you can’t discipline yourself, everything can fall apart around you. Some people simply don’t have the internal drive to be their own boss. The art just never gets finished.
Sometimes you run into people who resent creators who manage to have a run of paying gigs or years of solid selling books. Some of them just don’t have the stamina for what we do. Physical stamina is required as well. But the mental chops required to do what we do for a long time can’t be understood by some people because they are just wired differently. I’m not sure it’s a focus you can learn.
It’s really hard to understand people who are wired differently. I’m never really going to understand people who think going to clubs and getting drunk with friends is fun, and they’re never going to understand why I think staying home on a Friday night and working on my art is fun. I don’t believe everyone who doesn’t have drive is just out partying all the time, but we all have different things we do. Some people watch a lot of television. Some people like to shop. Some people go to concerts. Or roller skate. Or play basketball. If I played a lot of basketball on weekends would that be a problem?
While discussing this a few days ago, Elizabeth Stewart brought up the excellent point that people who don’t like their work feel like work is a burden and “…it can be hard to understand when you see that joy to work in others.” I’ve run into people who scoff at focused creators and make weird sad noises and blog boohoo about how awful it is that such creators must not have any lives. People get really pissed off that they need to have day jobs they hate and that they can’t make comics/art pay, thinking they know about the private lives of people they don’t know very well and arrogantly declaring “They must not have any lives.” Just because all they see is our work that doesn’t mean we don’t have families and friends in the other 14 hours a day we’re not working.
Also, I think many people don’t realize that the drive exists before getting the work, and when you’re going head to head with some kid who is pulling 40 hours a week at art making before they get their first job, you’re up against someone who has jet propulsion while others are still trying to invent the wheel. That drive comes early, and it sometimes never goes away. It’s a huge advantage. Where does it come from? I don’t know. It’s not fair, but it’s an essential, and it will topple the talented, confound the uninitiated, and look like magic to others.
I’m not going to apologize for my focus and ability and I don’t think anyone should have to. No one feels the need to apologize for being smart and studying a lot, why should I apologize for making art a lot?
I don’t think any amount of explaining will get through to people who simply don’t get it. Either you have drive or you don’t. I feel a lot of sympathy for those who don’t and who want it. It must be like trying to see a color you simply can’t see.
I went for several years with chronic-illness induced brain fog, and I had a really hard time focusing and working. I sure know what it’s like not to be able to. It’s about the most awful feeling in the world for someone like me.
If you’ve never had drive, do you have any frame of reference for what you’re missing in the first place?
So, you know, maybe it is weird to want to sit around and draw comics for 10-15 hours a day.
Normal people are normal. Weirdos go places, baby.