Using the Blog more, and Social Media Less

I have issues with social media, from an illustrator perspective, which you can read about in this article I wrote for the AOI a couple of weeks ago. It's a necessary evil to me, rather than something I relish. But it is necessary, as in this day and age it's my shop window. So, I'm not going to go deleting all my accounts. Yet. 

One thing I am going to do is use this blog more.

As it's mine-all-mine, I'll post whatever it is I feel like posting and I might be able to offer some insight into what it's like as a pro commercial artist & author. So, to that end, here are my first random musings...

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I came across this great quote from the amazing writer Warren Ellis (in fact it was his blog, Morning, Computer, that inspired me to make posts like this myself) and it is this:

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I really think this hits the nail on the head. There was an interesting debate on Twitter about it with fellow illustrator & story-maker Nashatobi (check out his Patreon) who felt that we should take the audience into account, and try to create a story to appeal to people, rather than just ourselves. But I disagree. If you try and create things you think other people will like, you'll fall short. You have to create things you are passionate about yourself. That passion will shine through, and has a much better chance of attracting people than second guessing their tastes. It's a 'build it and they will come' scenario. So - make what you love, the rest will follow. I think anyway. Two sides to every coin. 

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I'm reading Dune again. It's my third time reading it (I love it - true genius) but, shamefully, I've never read the sequels. But I will after this. I did this image of Paul at the beginning of the year, and I'd love to do illustrations for the whole book - so I'm reading it this time with that in mind. But I give myself so many personal projects, I wonder if I'll ever get around to it. 

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I am at the moment in one of those periods where I have almost too much on. But, while I often think I'd love a clear schedule and room to breath, in fact I tend to make better work under pressure. I always do this to myself - take on tons of work - and I think I do it on purpose, because while it might be stressful, my subconscious knows it will bring the best out in me. So I am my own worst enemy and best mentor all in one. Here's what I'm working on:

Three new DVD covers for Arrow (these ones are all involving stills instead of illustrations)

Lots of book covers. One for Harper Collins, one for Penguin, one for Scholastic, one for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and now booked in two for Simon & Schuster. 

A screen print of an imaginary cover for Stanislaw Lem - The Futurological Congress. I've been at this for months, only able to snatch time on it. Which is frustrating, as of all my projects, this is the one I want to do most. It's for a commissioner I've wanted to work for for years, and a subject I love. Need to make some proper time for it this week. 

A poster for Taxi Driver for a gallery in LA, and a poster for Belleville Rendezvous (as my alter-ego Ignatius Fitzpatrick) for the same gallery. 

Content for my Endling Patreon 

Oh and being a parent, husband etc.

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Film recommendation - A Prayer Before Dawn. Amazing, harrowing (not for the feint of heart) true story about a heroin addict in the worst Bangkok prison who finds redemption in Muay Thai.

Music Recommendation - What ever you're into - music is subjective. 

Podcast recommendation - Everyone should listen to The Blindboy Boatclub Podcast 

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That's it for now, more random musing to come in time... 

 

Using Patreon for The Endling

I've been curious about using Patreon for a while now. The prospect of earning a little on personal projects, allowing a little less time on client jobs (or at least removing the need to take on too many) is naturally very enticing. In fact, I went as far as setting one up a few months ago - but it was unfocused. I was looking for patronage which would allow me to work on anything that popped into my head - a bit of a gamble for Patrons for sure! So I got rid.. 

But, the thought of using it for something useful was still there. I thought I could use it more as a Kickstarter-style crowd funder for my graphic novel project, The Endling. In return for a small contribution (1 tier - pay what you like, from $1 a month), patrons could get a front row seat as I build the project more or less from the ground up. I could share the process not only from an art perspective, but also the story development itself. So, I've gone and done it. 

This is a project I'm extremely passionate about. In fact, it's just the opening gambit of a concept that will, all going well, stretch beyond the graphic novel to novels and, hopefully, much more. The central conceit allows me a practically limitless sandbox to play in, all within the same story world. I can have any setting I want, because it's all based on multiple universe theory and the infinite variations of our reality that lie therein.. 

If you'd like to help with the project, I am of course always grateful for new patrons! And I will do my very best to make it worthwhile for those kind folks who part with their hard-earned money... 

Become a Patron for The Endling