Wednesday, January 28, 2009

New career choice....

So last Wednesday, Jan. 21, I became one of the statistics you read about in the news everyday. At least in our current national situation. I was layed-off from my day job. After almost 6 years at that particular company, the economic situation became such that several of us had to be let go.

By that evening, I began to realize what I wished to do with my life. Basically, do what I have been doing for the last 10-plus years of my life: Continue with all my creative endeavors and now work even harder.

I've been working in art departments for screen printing companies for years, both as production artist and some years ago, a stint as an Art Director. Since 1998, I began self-publishing my own comics, starting my imprint LOS COMEX and focusing on EL MUERTO in comics, mini-comics and zines. Using my evenings and weekends to work on the books, using weekends and vacation time to attend comic book festivals and signings. Basically I looked at it as working 2 jobs: My day job for the weekly salary and insurance, and my 'real' job as an artist, a creative entrepreneur. This 'real' job lead to many other creative endeavors.

Last weekend, with this new'unemployed' status, I made the decision to pursue avenues that will let me become a freelance instructor of cartooning/comic art classes. I certainly realize the very difficult situation the economy is in, but I can't sit here paralyzed by fear or insecurity. So with that goal in mind, I started revising my resume to focus on more teaching jobs.

I looked through my emails to help me track down the names of contacts and places I've spoken or taught at. As I looked back at the last 11 years (the time I started Los Comex), I came to a realization: Outside an 8 month stint in mid 2002-early 2003, I have been working a full-time job at two consecutive screen printing shops. 40 hours a week, Monday thru Friday. Well, in that time, this is what I have managed to do in my time away from the day job:

Started my self-publishing imprint with my own comic character which has included printing comic books, mini-comics, zines or other publications, exhibited at innumerous comic book conventions, book fairs, store signings, been a guest speaker at libraries and schools, have had my comic artwork displayed at various galleries and exhibits, created and taught a series of comic book workshops, have cultivated a small but wide-reaching fan base and readership across the U.S and even into Canada, Mexico, Greece, Russia, England and, as far as visitors to my website, tens of thousands around the world.

I've had a film made from my comic book, for which I was heavily involved as one of the filmmakers, even securing a cameo in the film, I've collaborated on an EL MUERTO appearance in a nationally syndicated newspaper strip, I've done a modest share of interviews in a variety of media and I've been fortunate to have met so many talented people along the way. Some have actually become very good friends.

I've stared podcasting two shows, have collaborated with other artists and friends on their own books, been involved with creating two art groups, often get asked for advice by others interested in DIY publishing, and many other creatively satisfying projects.

Many of these things aren't unique to me of course. And spread out over the span of a decade, many of these weren't sufficient enough to become my sole source of income (some not even being actual money-making enterprises). But these are my experiences, that I loved doing for the pure act of doing. And I've done all these while working a 40 hour-a-week job. So now I think about what I may be able to accomplish if I'm able to keep a steady yet flexible schedule as a freelance art instructor. It's extremely exciting thinking about the endless possibilities.

Like I said, I'm all to aware of the severely critical condition of our economy, and mind you, I live in California, where businesses are hurting and the state and local governments aren't in any better condition. But all I can do is take that same drive I've exhibited over the last 11 years and work to make my own future.

Monday, January 26, 2009

COMICS 101- A new workshop I'll be teaching!

I've put together a brand new one-day course in making comics!

I taught a series of workshops a few years ago, at the Pico Rivera Centre for the Arts, a local community center in my area. Those classes were fun to teach, and I always felt that my students got a lot out of it. Well, I want to jump back into teaching these workshops, but this time I wanted to create one that focused on the publishing end. The kids I used to teach were about Middle School age, so for them I wanted to delve into the nuts and bolts of creating a story and drawing a 4 page comic. And most workshops that I know of take that approach. But I want to see what type of interest we can generate with a class that actually motivates and educates young creators to at least explore the idea of printing their own work and finding ways to sell it.

This class is aimed at older teens and young adults, as they would be more likely to at least want to see their stories in print. The 3 hour length was arrived at for various factors, but I know I can give a concise presentation with that schedule. Distilling the amounts of experience I've accumulated over the years in self-publishing should provide the students with a good idea of what's involved with DIY publishing.

Of course, like any class I've started, this is a living experience. I would think that over time I will tinker with the structure and content of the class, finding the right approach that maximizes the student's experience. I really am concerned with providing valuable content, I want to make sure I'm not misusing the student's time, or mine.

The classes will be taught at the Digital Business & Design College, the same place from which I podcast my radio show, PLANET COMIC BOOK RADIO. Thanks to founder Enrique Diaz for the opportunity to present this! We're planning other classes as well, so I'm hoping for a good reception from students. For more info, and to sign up, click on this link!


We're back! THE CARTOONISTA'S first Live Art event of 2009 takes us back to GEEKS Comics in Whittier, CA! Our last appearance there was the toast of the town, and our pal Sal has asked us back.

For a good time, come on down to lovely Whittier and check out the swanky store that is GEEKS! And kick back and watch us CARTOONISTAS do what we do best: Make Art, Not War! Oh, and don't forget to bring a couple of bucks to buy some of our art. That's some stimulating bail-out we all wanna see!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

EL MUERTO by cartoonist Krishna Sadasivam

A friend of mine just sent me this....

After picking myself off the floor, I knew I had to share this. A really lovely interpretation of my signature character, El Muerto.

Krishna Sadasivam
, the artist responsible for the piece, is a web cartoonist who I 'met' last year via a couple of podcasts I listen to frequently, THE SEQUENTIAL ARTIST'S PUB and ART & STORY ALIVE! Krishna currently works on two weekly strips, PC WEENIES and UNCUBED THE COMIC (a heartfelt autiobiographical comic told through the eyes of 'an Indian guy called Krishna').

In the time I've got to know Krishna, I've been inspired by his high level of craftmanship, his creative output, and the professional and decent way he conducts himself as a creator and a person.

We had a long and thoughtful phone call earlier in the afternoon, trading stories on our plans and thoughts for our respective futures. He made the pin-up as an act of friendship, not to seek anything for it. But I not only wanted to share this pic with readers of this blog, but also wanted to let everyone know to check out his strips.

Thanks Krishha, I really enjoyed your El Muerto!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bionic sketching

Here's a sketch I did last week. Drawn with a plain old Bic pen.

I drew this after listening to a live podcast, The Mini Comics Dumptruck. The subject matter are from the 1970s SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN tv series. Drawing on the left is from a screen capture of the Bionic Bigfoot, played by wrestling legend Andre the Giant. The sketch on the right is the Robot (or Maskatron, as the action figure was called). The Robot was drawn with no reference.

Both characters were recently drawn by a fellow artist, Mark Rudolph, so I was inspired to take my own crack at drawing them. It's interesting for me to see the difference in a drawing I've done from looking at a reference image vs. one that I created only by my memory of the character. (Helps being such a geek for this stuff!)

Drawing with a ballpoint point offers a different experience, and final result, versus drawing with a marker, pencil or ink & brush. The way the pen point literally rolls over the surface of the paper is unique to the construction of the pen. I really like the idea that a simple pen and sheet of paper allows you to create some art. Total price about, I don't know, .65¢ ??


My first new show of the year! RAUL AGUIRRE JR., artist and animator-at-large! Tune in to PLANET COMIC BOOK RADIO today at 5pm (PT) and listen to the hijinks!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

MAN-SWAMP mini comic preview!

A page from my upcoming comic. All 16 pages of the book will be printed with the full pencils. I'm not inking or coloring this one. Just pure graphite!

Friday, January 02, 2009

2009, here I come!

I guess we can call this a New Year's Resolution...

This year, expect several comic books from me. Yeah, he said 'several'! Right off the bat, I have a brand new mini-comic I'm finishing this weekend called.... THE MAN-SWAMP! This was done as part of my participation in the Mini-Comics Dumptruck

Soon as that's done, I'm jumping right back to DEMOLITION DOVE. That's being published in the new imprint I've started with Ted Seko, XOMIX COMIX. And of course, there is the Part 2 for EL MUERTO: DEAD & CONFUSED that needs to get in people's hands ASAP!

That's a pretty full plate in addition to my other ongoing projects (The Cartoonistas, PLANET COMIC RADIO, JAVILAND podcast, etc!), but I promised myself that I was going to push any comic book to the forefront this year. I love doing all the other comic-related things, but the comics have to come first!

Hope all of you have a prosperous good year!