This site is a collection of my art, and as is clear from the lack of posting lately, I haven’t been doing a whole lot of art. It’s a feeling that’s been building for a long time, but more and more, I’ve come to the realization that I’m just not where I want to be at this point of my creative career.
After more than thirty-five years of working on comic books, nobody really knows who I am in that field. Everybody knows all of the characters and stories I grew up reading now, but very few people are buying and reading new comics. I can’t get a paying gig to save my life these days. I think my style is really clean and detailed, and I can work fast when I need to and am properly motiveated (paid). At one of the last shows I did, I was told I have a “wonderful 90’s style.” It was meant as a compliment, but from an editorial standpoint, I’m a relic that is no longer worthy of giving an assignment to.
A few years ago, I inked quite a few sample pages on request from Marvel and others, and never got a single response. That was probably the most demoralizing thing for me. I see others at conventions that did a pretty large amount of work in the past that are no longer booking art gigs. It’s sad that the people that created all of these characters and stories over the decades have no security or stable income from the business they built. I make a few bucks at shows here and there, but it’s barely worth the time and effort to make the trip. I have a dat gig that I love, and I get more security and stability from that than anything else.
A few years ago, I got into a mode where I said yes to every opportunity that presented inself to me, and I let the river of life take me where it felt like going. I went out on my own for business, played bass guitar in a live band, and took some leadership roles in a few organizations I was involved with. I was a leaf on the wind and I had a lot of fun for a while.
At some point, I landed on the ground, and my gut feeling has become the opposite of what it was back then. I’m stepping back from a lot of things and taking time to figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life. The situation with Covid has made it pretty easy, as a lot of the things I used to do just aren’t safe right now.
I boxed up all of my comics stuff and put it away. I even took my art down off of the walls, as it’s just a painful reminder that no matter how much I love the comics business, it just doesn’t love me back. I’ve stopped doing all outside commercial work, and just focus on my day gig as my main priority. I cancelled the few appearances I had lined up in the comic months and dropped out of a collaborative project, as I felt like it needed someone with the passion to do it justice.
I’ve been in this spot before. After the crash of the comics industry in the 90s, I went back to working elsewhere and didn’t do anything else for years. It wasn’t until I was asked to do a local show by a promoter that I realized how much I missed it. I certainly have accomplishments. I self-published quite a few books of my own that I wrote and illustrated. I did successful Kickstarters. Maybe this is for good, or maybe I just meed some time off to reflect and get inspired again. I never say never.
This is not a bad position to be in. For the first time in a long time, I’m just enjoying having weekends off without commitments. My wife and I are spending more time talking and figuring out what we want to do together in the years to come. Sometimes, just saying NO can be a liberating force.
Next up in this series, I’ll talk about drones, music and where I see myself over the next few years.