What’s the difference between a deep dish pizza and an artist?
The pizza can feed a family! Har Har, Right?
If you’re a young artist, you probably won’t find that joke all that funny.
Since it is hard enough for young comic book artists it was my intention with this the opening column on my blog that I would strive to be positive, and write a feel good piece, but I also know that you can’t be of any use to young artists if you are less than truthful with them, so let me start with this statement—
If you want to draw comics, there is a fifty fifty chance that you’re crazy.
I don’t mean crazy like you hear voices telling you to go see an Amy Schmur movie, but crazy like you think you’re gonna be a comic artist and still be able to live like a reasonably successful adult. The problem is, is that if you’re not at least a little bit off center, you should get yourself a real job and content yourself with being a patron of the arts because if you’re not doing laps in the deep end, you’ll never stick with being an artist.
So if you are a few crayons short of twelve pack and you insist on being an artist, I’m going to offer you some advice on how to keep you from having to hunt for half-eaten sandwiches in dumpsters like all of your family and friends are predicting.
First off, let’s be honest— friends and the near and dear who offer dire predictions for a bleak future to their young, wannabe cartoonist are going to prove more accurate than all the high hopes effervescing in the hearts of those starry-eyes artists. So what is going to spare you, a starry-eyed artist, from a tragic future where you’re battling hobos for a cardboard box after losing your burger flipping job to a robot—talent?
Not likely, at least not by itself.
Talent without desire is nothing but a tragic waste—so, is desire the key then?
A mad, burning desire is one of the two necessary mindsets you’ll need—the other is smarts. By smarts, I don’t mean a 3+SD IQ, though that, like talent doesn’t hurt. Rather I mean, do you think you’re smart?
Because thinking you’re smart means, you’re going to act like you’re smart—so if one of this kind of phrases crosses your mind—unchallenged—there’s a good chance you’re not smart enough.
‘I can’t run my website.’
‘I’m no good at talking to clients.’
‘I don’t care about business I just want to draw.’
If this is you, and you’re not stuffed to the gills with talent, you should be looking for a different occupation.
Being a successful cartoonist means being good a whole host of things other than your art, do you think you’re sharp enough to handle them? Are you smart?
Now you’re thinking, all your friends say you’re nuts, so the crazy part you’ve got covered, and you know, at least, that you’re smarter than most of the people you hang out with. And even if the odds say you’ll likely end up begging for quarters on street corners you’re still loopy enough to be gung-ho enough to take a shot at being a comic artist, so—what do you do now?
Well, return for part two, and I’ll let you know.