This was my first real commission, a cover for a book published by a law firm here in Chicago. I asked for $600 bucks and expected them to come back with half that. But they agreed! It never hurts to ask.
I didn't really think I could draw back then (still don't, sometimes.) I wasn't drawing consistently which is very bad for confidence. I sweated over every damn pen line and was so nervous about screwing something up that I did the figures separately and photoshopped them together. It's not a very good way to work.
Later I did drawings for a flash animated music video. It was a good excuse to work out some depth and composition problems.
Afterwards we decided to come up with an idea for an animated cartoon. I tried my hand at character design. This is me trying to be Alex Toth and failing. The lines are dead dead DEAD!
I put a lot of work and time into this project. I came up with script ideas and everything. It wasn't a very original concept but I felt like I was doing some real work! I'm, like, a production designer dood!
Unfortunately the people I was working with had terrible follow through. All that time and hard work down the shitter. This made me very very angry.
Ok, maybe not THAT angry. But I was disappointed and this fed into my overall feelings of alienation and gloominess. Nobody likes hand drawn stuff anymore. Nobody seems to care very deeply about craftsmanship. Nobody takes projects seriously unless they're getting paid or laid or both. Blah blah blah.
So I left for India, land of a thousand religions. Maybe there I would find some sort of answer to my vexing spiritual problems!
God, what a beautiful country.
One really good thing about taking extended trips in foreign lands is that you learn what you miss and what you don't. Old habits and ways of thinking that dull routine have cemented in place fall away, and given the whole day from sun-up to sun-down to do what you will, without any sense of obligation, it's very easy to see where your natural impulses lie. I did not have any major spiritual revelations in India, but I did learn two things:
1. I have this weird compulsion to put marks on paper.
2. I really missed the Great American Sense of Humor
When I got back to the States last August I discoved John K. and Eddie Fitzgerald had started these amazing blogs about cartooning. There is a whole community of people out there who LOVE and MISS the old days of goofy hand-drawn 2D cartooning. There's an underground revolution going on! I want to be part of it!
It's time to get serious. Drawing is hard work!
Ok here's the first piece of real animation I ever did from a couple years ago.