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What's Old Is New Again...But BETTER!
Way back in 2002, and even a little bit before, I was an independent comic book artist making most of my bones through hustling my work at comic conventions and working on commissions. Though I had a full-time 9-5 gig and comics was pretty much my part-time job back then I could see that if I poured my heart and soul into this, kept my overhead low, and made smart decisions based on my observations of the comics market that I could make a living of it. At the very least stay afloat.
So, once my wife and I moved to Palmdale in 2012 and things didn’t work out like I’d hoped after my first gig at Marvel I went full blast into grinding with commissions and working the convention circuit! It might have started relatively slow like many new ventures often do, but things were moving along steadily. My business was mainly online commissions, about 4-10 a month, and tabling at about 8-13 conventions a year. Actual sequential comics work was my side gig, but it was ALWAYS the main goal. That’s why I continued to work on my own stuff and sent out samples when I could. Eventually regular comics work in addition to Hasbro and other smaller gigs overtook the commissions/convention hustle. It became too difficult to juggle so many responsibilities and I began phasing out commissions and other side gigs to try to keep up with the demands of the standard comic deadlines. Only doing them at shows or as needed to fill the space financially in between sequential gigs.
Fast-forward to today. I’m 10 years wiser, but now the reverse is happening! As I head back into independent comic-creator life I can no longer rely on regular paid work from publishers. I got a stark reminder of that today. It’s why I’m jumping back into the commissions side of the indie creator hustle two months before I initially planned to. No easing back into the waters this time! LOL! Quite honestly, I think it’s what I needed to do anyway. Commissions kept my work out on social media to be seen and shared regularly which helped me build the fan base I currently have while keeping my skills sharp and job pressure at a minimum. It also helps me fund my creator-owned projects without having to launch a Kickstarter every month! Total win if you ask me!
That said, starting today I’ll be taking on 15 commissions every month! With no deadlines looming and making my own schedule commissions are now the biggest part of my income while I work on my own stuff. Details and rates can be seen here: MONTHLY COMMISSIONS DETAILS