I apologize for being rather distant on here recently. Several months ago I promised I’d try (“try” being the key word) to write here in a more frequent manner. I had a nice streak going there for awhile, but – life once again got in the way.
Recently I’ve found myself again trying to do too much and really my focus has been a bit off. And hey, that’s life.
I’m still cranking out the regular cartoons, still doing custom work and have been teaching a lot of paint & sip events.
I’ll be honest though, cartooning has been a pretty big disappointment this summer for me.
I’ve found my work stolen and used more than purchased off my new website. I send everyone an invoice when caught, but it’s been discouraging seeing all my efforts just being yanked. And this day and age, really the ONLY sure way to make money creating gag cartoons is licensing them for use (and the occasional publications). So, I see my work all over the place and I haven’t made a cent off a lot of it (sigh). I tell these people, if you owned a t-shirt shop, I wouldn’t just walk in and take your t-shirts (unless I was looking for a trip to jail for the evening).
On an up-note, I signed a greeting card contract today with a major company (that I’ve worked with before). That being said, to make great money off that, I’d have to sell GOBS of cards. Like, trainloads worth. But hey, that could happen. At least people can’t steal greeting cards as easily off the shelves as my images on the internet.
With a daughter on the way, stuff needs to pan out better financially.
I’ve been teaching a lot, as I mentioned. And I’m launching my own paint and sip venue here in the Dayton area called Painting Around Dayton with a business partner. I’m excited about it and it DOES help fund those stolen cartoons. Definitely new for me. But, I enjoy getting out, meeting people and I think they have a good time with me trying to tell jokes (on stage, sometimes they fall quite flat….trust me) while showing them how to paint. So the painting side of things this summer has been great!
But, deep down, I feel a bit beaten down in the cartooning world.
That’s kind of wiped my motivation to write much here, because most of these post revolve around cartooning – my BIGGEST passion (well, work-wise).
That being said, I’m hoping my website (and other sources for licensing my work) quits getting material stolen from it and more folks actually buy the products for use. Over time, I believe that will develop. Heck, Nate Fakes Cartoons doesn’t even show up on google yet, so the honest people can’t really find me anyway. That all takes time. But, when searching for ‘cartoons’ or ‘comics’ – boy, I’d love to have my neck out there. I know a lot of business comes that way.
I’m working on my graphic novel(s)….still. But, those I can’t really look at as a financial investment. Yes, I hope they can churn a profit, but it’s more for the wanting to do them.
And projects like Knocking On Heaven’s Door – a collaborated cartoon series created way back in 2008 – hasn’t gone as far as we (my writer for it and I) have hoped. The books sold great – and then we stopped making it and I think there were some missed opportunities. But, the funny thing about this series is it tends to resurface. I think there’s something down the line for this at some point. Wait and see.
Technically Speaking, a series I developed at the beginning of the year, also didn’t pan out time-wise or financially. I created that for syndicates, and they enjoyed it. But it was ultimately rejected. I enjoyed making it, but I have no time to keep it going without a financial gain.
So, what’s my point?
Listen, I do cartooning and art because I LOVE it and you’re supposed to do what you love, right? Also, I know how to hold a pen. But, I’m also realistic about outcomes of stuff I produce. I think anyone that produces comics wants them to ultimately make a bit of money. And I have. I’m not being greedy, but I do need more. Again, the family is growing and times are tough. This IS my business and industry. Not a hobby.
What it boils down to is, I’m trying to make good decisions on where to invest my time.
Painting Around Dayton is cool because it’s a live event and it sells. But, for cartooning, well….
I still have good things like I’m in some newspapers everyday, do have the occasional MAD Magazine or other magazine cartoon published, get custom work and actually DO license out the work (yes, it’s not ALL stolen).
I’m hoping a lot of elements of what I do change though. I don’t mind my work being out there for free, either. I post on Facebook daily and my daily work is available for no cost almost anywhere (I love it when my work is shared – with a source of where it came from, of course). But, I still see my cartoons show up on websites and more. It’s theft if it’s on a published site, newsletter, book, etc. without permission or by licensing it. And it’s not an innocent crime considering how strapped I am on this end. That hurts when I try to find quarters for toll roads.
The light at the end of the tunnel is I’ve been here before. I think every artist/creator has. I’ve never been wealthy off of what I do, but I do have good – and bad – months. This summer just happens to stink.
Usually when I get in a somewhat funk over my cartooning, something turns around (again, I signed a new greeting card contract today). I just gotta be patient and keep on cranking out things.
So, I know I’ve been slacking with post (including my whacky “Week-In-Reviews”), but until I get the business side of cartooning on a better track, it’s hard to find much great news in the biz to report. BUT, I’m sure I can write about an awesome pizza I had the other night or some unsettling mosquito bite. SOMETHING. I’ll try. Promise.
Writing sometimes helps me come up with answers, so there you go. That’s a start. And summer is coming to a close soon.
Cheers to fall!