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As some of you may know, this weekend I made a nearly a thousand mile round trip to New York City to attend the New York Comic Con. I didn’t have a table, but I did walk around the con, battle through wave after wave of oncoming nerds, stand in long looong lines to speak with publishing editors, network with some very talented artists, and spent both time with old friends and more money than I would have liked but still less than I expected I would.
However, my good friend Dirk Shearer had a table and I occasionally hung out with him and helped sell his artwork. It was while I was hanging out with Dirk, watching him craft his masterful scratchboard illustrations, that I came to a sudden realization.
I need to start drawing again. More so, I want to start drawing again.
It’s been quite a long time since I’ve done any serious artwork on a regular basis — I ended up stopping a few years ago because of equal parts early onset arthritis and the fact that absolutely no one was buying or even looking at my work — and I kinda miss it.
I made it a point of studying Dirk’s business model this weekend.
While he and I may not use the same illustration styles — he works primarily with scratchboard and I stipple — our end products are fairly similar. Dirk works small — most of his scratchboards are around 3″ x 6″ — so he can finish a complete illustration in six to ten hours. I always worked bigger — around 9″ x 12″ — and it would take me, on average, anywhere between 75 and 100 hours to finish one illustration.
Another problem with my stippling was that I couldn’t really sell anything because no one would pay more than $50 to $75 for a piece. That’s less that a dollar an hour for all my work. But Dirk makes more money off of one piece of art by selling his original scratchboards and more affordable prints of those same illustrations.
And, because Dirk has a great business plan and is insanely talented, he was making money hand over fist this weekend and ended up making back most of the money he spend on his trip.
Like I said, I have a lot to learn.
I spent much of the long ride back from New York thinking about future projects — my novels, more Skottie Rocket stories, another OGN or two, some children’s books and comics, webcomics — but I kept coming back to drawing.
Over the past few days, I’ve planned my own similar business strategies including selling original work, prints, sketchcards, a few secret projects I’ll tell you about later, and even starting an Etsy account for selling work in between cons.
“That’s all well and good,” you say. “But what’s that got to do with ME???“
Calm down, Narcississy. I’m gettin’ to that.
So if I’m going to start drarwin’ again, I’m going to need something to draw. And, since y’all are my main audience — if not consumer — I want to know: What do you want to see me draw? I’m planning on drawing stipple portraits of television and movie characters, musicians, some comic book characters, celebrities, and the like. But what I want to know from you is whose portraits should I draw?
Feel free to leave a comment below, shoot me an email, or hit me up on any number of those anti-social network dealies.
The only thing I’m drawin’ right now is flies,