Cartoon and Illustration

the Fame Game

So, it’s interesting to find myself touted as “famous” in various venues lately.  I suppose it’s so in a limited sense.  I have got 30+ years of credits in comic books and illustration, true.  I can generally go to almost any comicbook convention and ask for guest status (I may not get it, but I can ask without massive shame).

“Guest Status” is a variable term.  Minimally that means I can either get a guest pass for free.  For San Diego, I have gotten a free pass, rather than paying the $150 or whatever they charge people in general, a.k.a. “fans”.  At other shows I can expect a pass and a table space for free.  This is helpful when trying to make money selling prints, contributor copies of books I’ve drawn, character sketches, and original art.  Still other shows guest status means that they’ll pay for a hotel room, table space, and a free pass–to do all of the above without losing money on anything but gas and food for the weekend.

The latter version of the term has been (thankfully) happening more lately.  Still not making that much money.

There’s a better version of “guest status”, wherein they fly you to the show, pay you to be there, give you hotel, table, food, etc.  I have yet to attain such status, and have my doubts that I ever will.  But I’ve been surprised before, so who knows?

I’ve done several shows with guest status lately.  Lost money on one show, did okay on another (didn’t lose money, maybe made a little).  


But now we get into the strange area that is the past several weeks and the next few coming.  I’ve been asked to participate in the local “artists invitational” show held by my hometown arts council.  It’s a true honor to be asked and I’ve got 6 pages of comics hanging in a show that includes all sorts of locals, both native and retirees to the area.  So if you find yourself in Waynesville, NC tomorrow evening (or over the next couple of weeks) Gallery 86 on Main Street is hosting the event–and the reception is tomorrow night 6-9 pm.  I’ll be there attempting to look cool, but frankly, it’s really not my element.  Comics is a strange hybrid–to commercial artists it’s kind of a fine arts thing, while fine artists look at it as terribly commercial.  So even getting wall space at this event is a moral victory of sorts.  

(I will say that the artists who set up the show are not snobbish at all, great folks, but there’s no telling what kind of crowd will show up for the reception.  There may be all sorts of pretentiousness, there may not–we’ll see).

As if that were not enough to potentially swell the head, I’ve been asked to come to Knoxville on Saturday and kick off the start of their local cartoonists group.  I’ve been pushing for this to happen for years, but it’s finally coming together and I consider it one of my crowning achievements since taking over the chairmanship of the Southeast Chapter of the National Cartoonists Society.  I was just going to show up but they gave me star billing along with Charlie Daniel who draws for the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

I’m really not a big shot.  I don’t consider myself a big shot.  I’ll begin to believe that perhaps I am a big shot when I can pay my smart phone bill without breaking a sweat.  No, check that, when I can book a flight to an important event and not have to put my entire life in hock to do so.

So, it is possible that fame is not all it’s cracked up to be.  It hasn’t yet made my bills any easier to pay–in fact it often takes bread OFF my table.  I keep hearing that it’s all part of the process, but really haven’t seen the results yet.  Just keep praying I’ll be able to play this game and remain humble and helpful to others.  I soooo do not want to get a swelled head, I just want the money 😉Image


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