Comics is a LIFESTYLE.
It’s not a job, or a career, or even a hobby. A LIFESTYLE. I say that because when the editors come ‘a callin’ it’s time for you to drop everything and get the work done. Sure, sometimes a schedule can be worked out and adhered to, but for the most part it’s a go, go, go kind of thing. But most of all everything else in your life STOPS and you have to do the job at hand to achieve what is needed for the job.
And that puts a strain on everything else in your life. EVERYTHING. Relationships especially. IF you have any, because believe me, it strains those to the breaking point.
So don’t think it’s all parades and high-fives in comics. There are no rock stars anymore, and there won’t be again, not like those 7 guys back in the ’90’s that shook up the industry. Nope. It’s a 24/7 grind that requires focus and determination.
I say all of this because the biggest kicker I’ve come to learn over the last couple of years is that inking, in particular, is NOT a career. Comics, if you do most of the work, say a penciler that inks their own work, or a comic strip artist that does everything, they can make it. Barely, but they can make it. Inking alone? Nope. Not if you have any, before-said relationships. I came into this backwards, I got married and started a family before I got into comics. This is actually the opposite way to come into working in comics. The best way to get into comics, if this is what you really want to do, establish yourself and start earning a regular income, then start a family. Coming in from the backdoor, so to speak, I still have to work at my ‘regular’ job for a steady income and there’s really no way I can ever leave that. Inking just doesn’t cover it.
SO, if there just so happens to be an up-and-comer that reads this (I doubt it) I’m just being as honest as I can. I REALLY do LOVE doing this. Inking is what I think about MOST of the time. I wake up wanting to get to my drawing board as soon as possible. I LOVE INKING. I love COMICS. I don’t want this to be a downer, on the contrary, before you get into anything you should really examine it to make sure it’s really what you want to do. Like I said before, if this is what you really want to do. That’s the question you have to ask yourself.
Over and over again.
Years ago I met Bob Schreck. I wanted him to see my portfolio, he had just started at DC at the time, and he started going through it and he says to me; “So, what do you want to do with your life?” That really shook me. Because I’d never thought about it.
Now I do. Every damn day.
So to any one reading this, if you see me at a convention and want me to look through your stuff this is what you’ll get;
“What do you want to do with your life?”