The Neil Gaiman graphic novel I am working on, TROLL BRIDGE, will be completed in the company of Georgette Heyer. Lots and lots of Georgette Heyer.

My work output is very good over the last year, as I am in much-improved health. I am putting in more hours at the drawing board than I have in a decade.

Long hours at the drawing board have two great challenges for this cartoonist: physical fitness and crushing boredom.

As much as I love my work, it can get tedious bounded by the same walls for months at a time. It’s difficult to concentrate on television shows when painting, music doesn’t engage me enough, and so I turn to audiobooks.

I used to buy them on cd’s, and wore headphones for hours and hours (which hurts quite a bit after awhile, and they could be ridiculously expensive!) but now I have an account. It allows me to buy one audiobook per month for about $14.95. They also offer extra books at the rate of 3 for $11.95 each. It’s a great deal, and much cheaper than buying them on cd. The books are on my computer or ipod, and I listen to them without headphones.

I get so much more work done while listening to entertaining books, I can hardly believe it. And I find myself trying out books I probably would never have bought otherwise. I love that allows you to test the narrator before you buy: some narrators are dead awful, and I have some books I’ve simply been unable to finish because the reader either has a grating voice or performs poorly. Now I always test the narrators.

I drew most of the Book of Lost Souls graphic novel for J Michael Straczynski while listening to the Harry Potter series. And I drew Amazing Fantastic Incredible Stan Lee while listening to most of the Diana Gabaldon Outlander novels. What a contrast, I must say! I particularly enjoy Gabaldon’s Lord John books, though I suppose I’m in the minority there.

I don’t read nearly as many books as I used to because I have to preserve my eyes for work, but I experience many books a month now because of

Right now I’m on a Georgette Heyer kick, and am finishing off a very good biography Georgette Heyer: Biography of a Bestseller, too. I almost didn’t buy it as some readers claimed that Heyer’s life was too dull to make a good book. Can’t disagree more. It is full of interesting information about her professional life, work habits, and her research techniques. I suppose some readers are looking for lurid personal details, but she didn’t lead a lurid life. Just goes to show that being a great author doesn’t mean you have to swing from chandeliers. It means you have to sit your butt down in a chair and do the work!

So, for the price of a few coffees a month, I get many hours of interesting entertainment and inspiration. If you haven’t tried be assured it’s a great deal and a wonderful compliment to the working artist life.

Here are several books I enjoyed listening to on Audible.