COMMON QUESTIONS & WHAT NOT
What kind of materials do you use?
For commercial work: I work up a drawing to a certain level. Scan it in, and then proceed to color it using Photoshop, Manga Studio & Painter. These programs give me a consistent print every time instead of having to scan in a painting and tweak the color till it sort of looks close.
For gallery / personal work: I like working in acrylics mostly. Right now it feels cleaner than using oils which tend to fly everywhere. I paint very fast and I like the cure rate of acrylics. Lately I've been favoring wood panel over canvas. I'm happier with the blending on the wood.
WHAT DO YOU CHARGE? DO you want to collaborate on a book?
Under no condition do I do work on spec. I love charity but I feel like dangling of the 'exposure' is a cop-out. I love what I do but art is work and I expect to be paid for my time.
Design work is hourly. Illustration is by piece & first time rights only. For publishing, I'm trying to get away from the common 'advance' deal in comics and I'm more apt to go the page rate/ royalty route. Feel free to contact me if you have something and we'll talk.
Currently, I'm only looking to collaborate on a book if you have a publisher attached already. Pitches are a weird thing. Sometimes an editor will either like the story but not the artist or vice versa.
Would you speak at my group (or school)?
Yes, I do do speaking engagements once in a while if asked and I can squeeze it in between studio time & clients. Why not? Introverts need to get out in the sunlight sometimes. Right?
WOULD YOU COME TO MY CONVENTION?
Short answer- sure, if you comp me a table. The other factor in that is if it is not within a tri-state area (or shorter than a day's drive from Columbus), I'll need you to also throw in a comped hotel room. I'm able to hit anywhere from Maryland to Chicago within a day. What almost killed me was a drive to Heroescon (Charlotte, NC) immediately after the show. The other scenario would be if the publisher is able to work out some kind of arrangements. There were a couple of launches in San Diego I missed because the publisher/studio wouldn't pay to fly the talent to the con (or hotel either) which was unfortunate. It seemed to work out anyway.
I've never done a show in Canada, which now would be problematic given the current political climate with artists.
WOULD YOU PUBLISH ME? where do you get your stuff printed?
A weird one but I get asked this once in a while. (It's trending less now at mainstream shows.) The short answer is sorry but no, I do self-publish short runs of my work but not for anyone else. Printing I shop around. Paying for saddle stitching is a waste of money and doing it myself doesn't affect my book sales one bit. If you buy cover stock and keep it air tight, it will save you on an upcharge. Local printers sometimes do competitive bidding but you're playing with fire. Usually that winds up killing the cheaper printer in the long run. Fortunately I haven't had to do a Kickstarter yet.
HOW DO I GET INTO COMICS?
This is the worst question in that there is no pat answer for it. Any creative pursuit isn't like applying to work at Walgreens, everyone has a completely different breakout story. What I will tell you is two things: one is you do not need to go to school for comics (and or illustration) and two, you need the 'hustle'. Do I regret going to art school? No, but it comes down to a great portfolio, hustling for work and a business sense. Take some software and business courses at a community college. That costs money. Everything else can be on the cheap- keep a sketchbook, draw from life and hit your local library every day. To do comics, all you need is to draw/write the comics, run off a few copies or put them on the web and keep at it. Show or share it (online) with your friends, family and strangers and get feedback. Best thing you could do.
Webcomics offer the best crack at a big audience that might not have access to a comic shop.
I'd also advise that you diversify what niche you earn your money from. I've seen friends who had a nice run in comics and then it dries up and their done with the professional art thing.
THE PAINTING... WHAT UP WITH DAT?
I don't like typing out grand statements about my personal work. I leave it up to the viewer to decide what they see because often the viewer and I experience the work differently. Bringing each others experiences and memory into the interpretation. I will talk a bit more about where my head is at and my background. I grew up on a farm in the rural isolated hellscape that is Kenton, Ohio. I was surrounded by decaying things as my family's farm has existed for well over a century. Things that belong in a museum: giant moth eaten radio's from the early part of the 20th century, horse drawn wagon's, milk jugs, and other rusted out farm equipment. (FYI for you pickers, most of the good stuff was sold off to help out my grandfather as his health was failing.) You experience life and death on a daily basis walking around the space.
That's what fascinates me- memory, time and history. I obsess over echoes written through ancient passages and new research in quantum theory. The parallels between the two are beginning to cross streams. What was fringe is now slowly becoming science fact.
Often when I'm working, I'm not really thinking but letting my subconscious flow onto the page or canvas.There's less of a concern about reality/figuration and more about shapes and uncovering what lies underneath.
WHEN DID YOU START DRAWING?
As soon as I could hold a crayon.Mostly really awful comics, He-Man and other pop culture type things. Typical 80's stuff. I didn't get a half serious art class till high school. Even then I'm still not sure my art teacher knew what to do with me. She was super supportive and left me on my own often in the art room. If I didn't have artists in the family that helped aid my case for art as a viable career, I'd probably be some sad bastard working in a Honda plant today.
DO YOU DO WEBSITES?
That is the one thing that is outside of my skillset currently. I know almost enough to get my website going but my knowledge is limited. I can work up page flow/layout but when it comes to coding and CSS, I have a lot to learn. I wouldn't mind partnering up with someone who does know but web design is not something I'm actively pursuing on a solo basis. I've hit a wall with my webcomics portal at the moment.
ORIGINAL ART PRICING?
It doesn't happen that often but since I'm dipping my toe more in the gallery side of things, I get asked about pricing original pieces. There's what I want to make off of a piece and then there's the gallery commission. The gallery commission can vary wildly between 20 to 50% of the piece. So my pricing is simple. I figure out how much I want to make. (Mostly time plus materials. Size plays into it.)- the core cost. Then the price can either go up a little or double depending on what the gallery or group wants to take on commission. Unsold pieces from a show may appear to dip in price once they come back to me. It's simply knocking off what would be the gallery take on the piece. I don't think any artist should get dinged for this. It's simply economics. I gave that gallery a shot and the piece didn't find a home. Simple as that.