Friday, February 27, 2004

The Announcement You've Been Waiting For...

• Posted at 10:25 PM · LINK

Hardly Working

Every day or so, someone sends me a link to a website on which they display cartooning or other creative work they've done. They are not, they say, getting any or enough work. Could I please look at their samples and tell them if they're wasting their time pursuing a career as a writer or artist? And of course, could I suggest anywhere they might sell some of their work?

To the latter, the answer is almost always no. I just don't know of very many places these days that are looking for writers or artists. Everyone I know who hires or buys at all has more submissions than they can handle. And of course, the fact that I might like the work doesn't mean anyone else will. So I usually wind up writing a reply that reads...well, like this one I just wrote to someone who sent me a link to a website that displays their cartooning that no one is buying...

There are two aspects to what you're asking me. One is whether the work is any good. I liked what I saw on your site very much but I'm afraid that doesn't mean a lot in terms of you selling it.

I know a lot of very talented artists who aren't getting much work, including many who once did. It's a sad fact of life that in a field like this, there are only so many openings. If a given company needs 10 good artists and 25 good artists apply, 15 good artists get turned away. Those 15 aren't necessarily doing anything wrong except to try and sell their wares in an oversaturated market.

I believe it's important in this world for everyone, even an artist, to have some measure of financial stability. Perhaps to attain it, you might have to modify your short-term goal. It may seem like giving up or being untrue to your muse to look to non-artistic sources of income, and you may even be able to tread water for a while longer. But the work of a creative individual flows in many ways from his or her life, and if that life involves constantly worrying about the Visa bill, that will eventually destroy something. To artists or writers living on the edge, I sometimes suggest finding something steady to pay the rent, getting a little cash in the bank and then perhaps returning to writing or drawing as time permits. Monetary desperation is just plain bad for the soul, especially when one gets beyond the "young beginner" stage of one's life.

I never tell anyone to give it up but I also never assure them that it's merely a matter of time before the world discovers the wonderment of what they create. The world isn't that perceptive and sometimes it isn't even a matter of talent but of the right talent in the right place at the right time. Persistence up to a point is an admirable quality but at some point, it can become a matter of investing too much of your future in a risky proposition.

• Posted at 10:23 PM · LINK

Rudy LaPick, R.I.P.

Longtime Archie inker Rudy LaPick died this morning, and I'm afraid I don't have more details about his career or passing than that. I know he worked for Timely Comics in the late forties and then went over to Archie where he may have set the industry record for most pages inked. Jim Amash did an interview with him in Alter Ego #22 but I can't get to my copy right now to get more info. I just wanted to note the loss of an artist who quietly produced so much work, and who did it so well that most of the Archie artists asked to have him embellish their pencil art. Never met the man but I sure respect the output.

• Posted at 8:15 PM · LINK

They Don't Make 'Em Like That Anymore

Hometown Favorites is a neat online store that can often sell you food items that are not presently available in your area. Of special interest is this list they've posted of items that customers have requested but which are no longer manufactured. It confims for me that I will never again enjoy Pepperidge Farms Nassau cookies, Adams Sour Orange Gum, Betty Crocker Boston Cream Pie, Chef Boyardee Spaghetti Sauce with Mushrooms, Libby's Tomato Juice or several other items that were once essential parts of my weekly consumption. If you still have fond memories of something that came in a package or can and which you haven't tasted in years and it isn't on that list, they may be able to find a case of it for you. If nothing else, check out that list and see how many items prompt you to say, "Hey, I remember that."

• Posted at 12:14 AM · LINK

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