A Day In The Life Of A Cartoonist

HEY HEY HEY: Go check out my Patreon. Fancy Patrons got to see some of the work in progress on this very comic as I was making it.

I’ve been drawing this 18 panel behemoth for a week solid. I guess panel 19 should be, “Oh and I guess draw this one comic for 6 hours a day, 4 days straight or whatever I suppose.”

I’ve had this idea in the back of my mind for a while and really I’ve just been working up the nerve to START creating something this big. Recently I was approached by Autodesk, the makers of Sketchbook Pro and asked to partner with them to show off the new version of their drawing software. I figured this comic idea, which was completely out of my comfort zone, would be a great way to showcase using a new piece of software, that was also completely out of my comfort zone. I wanted it to look different from my normal stuff, so I thought it best to remove all of the tools and muscle memories that allow me to easily create my “normal stuff.” There was a learning curve, but I soon adapted to Sketchbook Pro’s interface and I was pretty impressed with some of the tools it offered that were catered specifically to drawing. I know that sounds like an odd compliment for a DRAWING application, but I’ve made over 1000 comics using a professional photo editing suite (Photoshop CS through CS6) that ALSO happens to allow drawing.

I’m working with Autodesk to produce a video about my experiences with Sketchbook Pro and the creating of this comic. It will hopefully be available for you to view early next year.

DID YOU GET YOUR HOGWARTS LETTER YET?! Check out these Harry Potter inspired owl post earrings and necklaces my wife made:

harry potter owl post letter necklace earrings etsy

This comic is also a further commentary on what it’s like to run a (very) small business. As I mentioned in the previous comic’s post, I had to stop everything for three weeks while I frantically built a new online store and merch fulfillment operation from scratch. There’s so much about the business of creating things and putting them on the Internet that has NOTHING AT ALL TO DO WITH CREATING THINGS or putting them on the Internet. When you are known for one specific type of output, it can seem like 75% of the work you do (the stuff that goes unseen) goes completely unappreciated. One of my goals for 2015 is to talk more about The Experiment and what the ACTUAL BUSINESS of making comics (or music or games or whatever) is like vs. what it may seem to be like to the casual observer. I hope to speak with other creators in similar situations and figure out a way to present our shared experiences to other potential makers, doers and Experimenters. It seems like we all just sort of flop around, making a thousand mistakes and figuring things out as we go. If there was a way I could help a fellow artist get their art out there AND make a living from it without making, let’s say, 500 of the 1000 most common mistakes, I think that’s a project worth pursuing. I’ll talk more about that project next year when I have a better idea of what shape it will take.

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36 Comments

  1. Joel, I think you might need some more coffee. You're not at the "I'M TASTING COLORS! THIS GREEN IS DELICIOUS!" stage yet today. Also, I can't hear your heart pounding from down here in Houston yet. 🙂

  2. The slur on Google+ is dreadfully misinformed, and rather offensive. Just because it doesn't work like FarceBORG doesn't mean it's "deserted".

    • Let me rephrase: "If you are trying to make a thing and get people you don't already know to notice it and come back to your website and interact with you and possibly support you financially… you can ignore Google+."

      And honestly, why would you be offended if I think a particular social network is of no use to me. It's a tool that I don't see a use for. You're free to happily keep using it.

      • Actually G+ is a great tool for getting people you don't know to interact with you and possibly support you financially, you just have to put time and effort in to it. The good thing about the time and effort of G+ is it pays far higher ROI than FB, Twitter, or your own site.

  3. Something I'm kind of curious about– which usually takes longer, writing a comic or drawing it? (Or at least, I assume there's some kind of outline that you write before drawing it.)

    • There's no right answer, but more often than not the writing is quicker just because of the mechanics involved. Writing out an idea can take seconds, minutes or hours. Drawing an entire comic is going to take as long as that takes regardless of how inspired you are.

      This particular comic I wrote on the fly. I made an outline of what each panel would be, drew them over about 4 days, then as I was placing them all how I wanted them and piecing the whole thing together, I decided to write some more interesting words than, "Reply to emails."

      I also find it depends on the artist. Some can draw entire 5 panel comics in under an hour but struggle with dialog. I'm pretty comfortable with creating funny turns of phrase, so I think the writing comes to be more easily.

  4. I mean really!?!? How many times can Jay change his story?!?!? The cell towers, the phone records, the impossibility of the time line!?!?! I mean com'on!!!

    PS. The last coffee panel could totally be a t-shirt

    • I believe Jay knows who actually killed Hae and he was threatened by that person to implicate Adnan and himself. Otherwise I can't figure out why he'd admit to helping to burry a body. I also don't think Adnan is being 100% honest.

      None of this matters, however, since the state obviously didn't have enough concrete evidence to put Adnan away for the rest of his life.

  5. this reminds me of Matthias Google IRL video

    Markiplier:Sharing your address with your fans on Google plus
    Matthias:NOOOObodys on Google Plus…

  6. Dude. There are definitely people on Google+. A lot of people actually. I think the exposure isn't as broad unless it's a thing about phones though. lolz

  7. I just read all of the comics on here. They're all pretty great. I especially loved the bear. Such awesome.
    Love your work, man! =-)

  8. just wanted to say the strip look good. I don't know if it is the line work or the color scheme, but it look softer then usual?

    • The linework and color were done in a different program than I'm used to so everything SHOULD look pretty different. Glad you liked it.

  9. The truth in this comic hurts. I'm not a cartoonist, I'm an author and assistant to other authors, but I started my own version of The Experiment back in March, and so very much of my day revolves around everything but writing my own stuff it is scary. I put in far more hours than I ever did at a corporate job, and on things I'd never imagined having to deal with before taking the leap into self-employment (and can we all just agree how much taxes as a self-employed person SUCK!). It's more rewarding work by far, but it isn't easy.

    I appreciate how transparent you are about the business side of being an artist/creative and endeavoring to make a living with your art. It's refreshing to see. Keep up the great work!

    • I've often said, "My dream is to JUST drawing comics for a living and having everything else taken care of for me." But the closer I've gotten to that "dream" (having merch fulfillment companies and other people handling my convention appearances) to more control I have to give up. The more control I give up, the less happy I am with how things turn out in the end.

  10. Wow, coffee. I wish I could drink coffee. It would make my life so much easier. See (cue violins,) I process caffeine so quickly that 10 minutes after a cup, I crash. Hard. It's not pretty. (OK, you can stop those violins. My sleep-deprived mind can't handle them.)

    As a member of your enlightened Internet, I commend your decision to continue doing what you want instead of working that soul sucking job that unfortunately pays the bills but wouldn't you love to strangle those sales people they're so loud and obnoxious and don't care that you're still working hard… But I digress (sorry, hard week.) I look forward to your updates and understand when things don't happen as you'd like! Please keep this up as long as you can – even anal-retentive people such as myself can slowly realize that, to get what you need (fulfillment in your work?) you may have give up something you want (control.)

    And I actually sang, well tried to sing, the alt words to "A Day in the Life". Very nice!

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