2012: A career retrocspect

3 Dec

Well, it might be several weeks early, but oh well.  I thought I’d mention and few highs and lows of 2012.  A general summery of the year that was.

2012.  Wow.  What a roller coaster ride.  (No, I didn’t ride any actual roller coasters, although I wish I would’ve.)

Well, let’s see.  I’ll start at the beginning of the year since, well, any retrospect does that (I guess).  I had the year start off very optimistic.  There were a few things shakin’.  I just sold my first greeting cards to NobleWorks Inc., Break of Day was still syndicated online and was printed daily in the paper.  Other than that though….not too much going on.  I guess I was really banking on greeting cards at the start of 2012.  I got the obsession to really “go at it” and try for a modest living with card companies.  So, I started pitching ideas almost everywhere.  I knew Break of Day really wasn’t going to do much more than keep-on-keeping-on because no newspapers were buying new comics and there’s really only so much it can do as a syndicated feature online.  Had to find another way to bring home the bacon.

At any rate, there wasn’t much further success at the time of selling cards early on.  So, I scratched my head and tried to come up with a new gimmick.  Wallah!  I had it.  I was going to start selling my illustrations to publishers.  Become an illustrator along with everything else.

As productive of a little fellow as I was, I bought the Artist and Writers books and books on standards and practices of being an illustrator.  You know, the stuff I didn’t know about.  I really had to brush up.

I printed up tons of postcards and sent them out to numerous publishers across the good ol’ U.S of A.  I had a portfolio site (which is still my mediocre portfolio site).  I thought “Sweet.  This is it!”

Then I noticed something.  The phone, like, never rang.  Publishers didn’t exactly seek me out.  I wasn’t a ‘hot’ item.

This was a bit discouraging, but I’ve learned since then that there are several factors for failure.  For one, I wasn’t that persistent.  I just pushed out my postcards thinking that was it.  Plus, my website (portfolio site) sucked.  It still sucks, actually.  So, I need to really change it.  And probably in 2013, you’ll see a major change with it.  Even though currently I’m not exactly after illustration jobs.  BUT, I still want to do more illustrations in the future.  So, new site?  Yes, I need that.

And the year rolls into about spring.

I get a phone call!  What do you know…I sold a new card!  This time to a new company, Smart Alex.

I get all excited and once again try to ‘make it’ selling cards.  Well, to make a long story short, I’m still selling cards.  Not exactly enough to retire on, but I’ve got my groove on a bit with this market.  Let’s just say there are more to come.

I was still flat broke.  Things weren’t adding up.

That’s when I thought of a new area to explore:  pet illustrations.

I contacted SPCA Tampa Bay about maybe partnering up.  And amazingly, after a meeting and some ideas, they wanted to help me out.  I started to attend pet events and did a presentation – and even got my own section in their store.  Cool.  I liked this.  This could be my consistent income…maybe.

Well, as the pet illustrations have turned out, I’m still doing them.  It has been extremely slow with sales – until recently.  The holidays have really revved things up a bit.  And I enjoy doing them.  I’ll honestly say now that my prices will go up substantially after the holidays, because I have other work.  But for now, they are very fairly priced and I donate 20% of the profits to animal rescue and shelters.  At any rate, I want to continue to do them – just not depend on them for income.  And I think my prices are too cheap, so again, they will be going up.

So, summer hits.

Everything is kinda at a stand still.  One cool thing was George Takei from Star Trek shared one of my comics on his Facebook page in front of his 3 million plus fans.  It was pretty awesome.  What did it do?  Well, not much.  It’s not like I get royalties each time someone re-post it.  But, being exposed to those kind of numbers is a nice treat.  I wrote all about it HERE.

Listen, I had some very hard times in 2012.  I’ve felt like a loser I don’t know how many times.  It’s tough when you’re digging under your couch for change for lunch.  Then I started thinking about how I barely passed high school, basically flunked out of college and my job capabilities for anything but art and cartooning were basically nil.  Damn this artist passion!

But, don’t let me get you down.

Things sometimes have a way of timing out.  Plus, nobody likes a guy that feels sorry for himself.  And I’m not that guy.  It does get tough though when all of your friends are buying houses, cars, horses and going on vacation and you’re the only guy that can barely even go out for a beer.  (Ugh…I’m so sick of being the broke friend.)

Let’s just fast-forward to the end of this year.

Have things turned around?  Have things gotten better?  Okay, I’m obviously not a millionaire.  I’m not out buying cars and houses – and especially not horses.  Things though getting better?  Well, yes.

The end of this year several exciting things have happened.  For one, my series with comedian, Tommy Blaze, called Knocking on Heaven’s Door (KOHD) has been picked up by a publisher.  We’re having the series appear online and we have all the contracts and legal stuff done.  The book is awesome (though it’s not out yet) and there are probably more to come.  Look for this all to interestingly play out in 2013.

Also, I’ve been picked up in new publications.  This year, I’ve had cartoons in City Dog Magazine and I just found out that Parade Magazine wants cartoons.  In fact, they bought one already.  I’ll let you know when that’s out.  Parade is in just about every Sunday newspaper out there.

And MAD Magazine continues to be a constant enjoyment when I get something in there.  Man, it’s tough to get a sale for MAD.  But, when I do….

So, the year end issue I have two comics in (of MAD).  I’ll let you know on here when it’s out.

As mentioned, the pet illustrations really picked up recently, too.  I’m happy with the sales and the customers seem quite satisfied.

To sum up 2012 – well – I can’t complain.  As you noticed, I didn’t go into details about personal life or anything.  This was basically just about business.  2012 started like a freight train and ended up going too quick down the mainline, but in a good way.  I like trains, so I thought that was a good analogy.

I’ll try to post updates as they happen.  And maybe next time I’ll fill you in about some low-lights of other things of 2012.  Like, when my toes got stomped on by accident during my birthday.  Yes, that is a story.



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