Are you Trying to Buy Your Way Into Comics?

Sometimes we think we can buy our way into comics. We think if we go to a great art school we will get the skills we need. We think if we buy the big computer, the fastest equipment, the newest software, we will be able to make the best comics. We think that we can’t do anything until we have the best idea possible. In reality, working with the tools we already have and keeping it the simplest we can, is best.

Eventually, after you have created some awesome unique work, you may learn that you require additional skills to help you accomplish what you need. At this point, you will know exactly what it is you need to learn. And you can seek out that exact piece of information. It won’t take years to learn that exact piece of information. It may only take a month or two to learn and another month or two to practice. Then you are right back in the game–CREATING!

Rarely. Rarely. Rarely. Rarely, will you use all the information you will get from a 4 year college degree or even an intense year at an art school, because when you get out, you will probably get a job, which you will need to learn specific tools for that job, which they won’t teach you in school anyway.

All the employer looks at is your heart, and your portfolio. Let’s say you are an artist right now. You have your portfolio, and you are going up and down the road looking for comic companies to get an entry level at just to “live the dream.” You’ll sweep the floors to even get a chance to look at some great artwork. You hope that one day the “bosses” will see your portflolio skills and put you on a project. Let me ask you. Is this your idea of living the dream? Is it really your dream?

I’ve been online for almost a year now. I’ve had several conversations with many artists on twitter. You know what the main problem they say is–even from people in the comic book business–“I hate my job. My life sucks. I can’t pay the rent. I can’t pay for college.” Why do we continue to throw ourselves in these situations? I’ll tell you why. Because when you have a gift–a creative urge–it has to be expressed. Creations have to manifest themselves. And you create them because you are true that expression.

Some people would like to create and they will love going to work on a project not knowing if they will be paid for it. Not knowing if there will be a job later down the road. Not knowing if they will be able to accomplish the job in the first place. They are stuck between kids, a wife, a job, friends, church, family problems. Where is the time to create? I’ll create when this happens, or when I just get this done. … I’m sorry, but you won’t. If the passion is not in you to be creating now, it won’t be there to create it later either.

Some people think they are preparing for their future by going to college, they are going to be somebody, they are going to be that person who will make it big in comics–after this. They think they are going to make big money eventually, I mean once I’m working for Pixar, Dreamworks, Marvel, DC, ______, (fill in the blank) all the hard work will be worth it. Right? And these people make a pretty good living. I know because I made a pretty good living, following the same logic. And I would still be doing it, if something inside me didn’t catch a bigger vision. Something that would allow me to create again. Something worth creating.

These first two people will always go looking for the next job. They will always be looking for the freelance job, they will always be looking for their stable income. Well, what I have to say to these people is, what happened to your creative spirit? What happened when you were 5 years old and you had a blank sheet of paper and some crayons? You remember when nobody told you what to draw. You remember when nobody told you what to write. What happened? Is it true? Did you truly grow up? I want to look deep into your eyes, smoosh your face all around and say “Oh, there you are, Peter.” (Reference Robin Williams in Hook)

Creatives are entrepreneurs. They are that rare breed. They create their own path. These first two people can go on their merry way, continuing to work the jobs for minimum wage, or pushing out products that will sit unopened in warehouses. I am going to appeal to my fellow creator who still has a dream. If there is any dreamers left out there, I can tell you, we are going to make history. I am so fed up with complacency. It has captured too many of us in its grasp. It has stolen our crayons and we want them back.

I don’t know about you, but I want to fight. I’m feeling a little scrappy, and I want to throw down. I’m hurt. I’m angry. and I’m not going to take this sitting down anymore. I’m tired of the lies I’ve told myself and I’m tired of great artists being run down in their prime. We had better start to change things around here pretty soon. And we had better start with our hearts.

If your heart is not too stone cold yet, write your dreams below. What is the way you dreamed your life to be?