Cartoon and Illustration

Now, the details (well, some of the details) and a long pep talk to myself

So for weeks now it seems I have been hinting at what is occupying my time lately, but didn’t want to get into details to much–at least not until the ink was dry on the contracts.

Of course there’s very little wet ink involved in my contracts anymore.  Most of them are signed digitally.  This sounds very advanced and I think it may even impress some people that I know how to do a “digital signature”.  But it was actually a necessity with some of the clients I work for who seem to need the finished work BEFORE the contract is finalized.  So I somehow figured out how to do this in Adobe Acrobat, and have only had to fix it once when somehow my computer “ate” the information (I think it was during an upgrade of Acrobat).

But that’s got nothing to do with the details.  The details are, that I’ve been signed to design elements for a new board game called “Kings of Israel”

Specifically I’ve been called on to make the game-board itself, building on the beta version to hopefully make the game play more compelling by giving it those little tweaks that will delight the eye in such a way that each time you play the game you’ll find something new to look at.

I’m also supposed to be working on a common element for some of the game cards–but for now we’re concentrating on the board itself–which actually contains many elements that will have to be combined to make the whole thing work.  It’s been fun so far (one whole day!) and the client, Lance Hill is a nice guy–who actually has a budget for this project.  (Some of you other clients out there could learn a thing or two from this fellow).

The other project’s contract is as good as signed, so I’ll talk a bit about it.  It’s a comic book called Spectra/Polaris, written by a fellow I’ve known for around ten years now, Brett Frankel.  He owns a comic shop called “House of Pop Culture” in the DC suburbs, and I first met him at Wizard World Chicago.

The show hadn’t even opened officially when Brett stepped across the aisle, smiled, shook my hand and then proceeded to buy a bunch of art from me.  What’s not to like?

Brett then commissioned me to draw a sketch of a character he’d created.  Then a few months later hired me to draw a whole issue of Spectra/Polaris for him.  We’ve had occasional other S/P related projects since that time (I did a logo, turn-arounds for two of the main characters)–but never got any further along with the story.

Now Brett and I are working toward making it a regular gig.  Or as regular as anything gets in this business.  I’m supposed to begin penciling a new issue sometime mid-February, with plans to continue after that issue is done.

Of course, there’s still the relaunch of DoorMan as a webcomic coming up sometime in the spring.  The good news is that is all “in the can” already, having been completed back in the 90s when Mike Leonard and I worked for Cult Press and Caliber Comics.  I’ve got all the old pages scanned, and aside from a lettering tweak and small correction here and there they’re ready to go.  Mike will be handling most of the logistics on that.

Game of Horror continues as well.  Author, Shane Berryhill and I (hopefully helped along  by costume designer, Kaysha Siemens) will be putting our shoulders to the wheel and trying to get group funding to complete the remaining 66 pages of story art.  So some time will have to be devoted to that soon.

To complicate matters more, I just got a note this morning from EGBA Originals out in LA.  I’ve been doing work for their line of custom invitations for several years now.  The owner of EGBA, Mo Taxon, has had a number of health issues recently, but seems to be getting back on his feet and has yet another project in the offing.  I can’t discuss those details as it’s still in negotiation phase, but it does give a better idea of the sort of schedule I may be facing over the coming months.

The thing is, for years I’ve operated on the idea that one good project at a time was all I should attempt to handle.  While many of my friends have been juggling multiple contracts simultaneously, and making a success of it by many standards.  I consoled myself by thinking things like, “well they’re more talented at juggling than I am,” and, “they’re doing single illustrations, while I’m engaged in telling long complicated stories.”

But the reality of this business (perhaps of any business) is that sometimes things simply fall apart.  When that has happened to me, I have often found myself scrambling around for work to fill in the schedule.  My friends and associates (as well as my circumstances over the last couple of years) have convinced me to try a bit of juggling.  That is, say “yes” to just about everything (within reason) and then let Providence work out the scheduling.

Much better than sitting around twiddling my thumbs when someone else’s schedule gets bogged down.  And such things will happen.  I think my problem has been that I have treated assignments as if they were events, rather than work-a-day challenges to be met.

Now I’m going to see about making a real living at this job.  It’s not like there’s anything standing in my way.  My family needs me to make money so we can pay the bills; I do have a unique skill set and people asking me to utilize it for their projects; and all other avenues for employment seem to have been cut off.  Might as well load up on jobs and see how things progress.


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