Why I'm Not Drawing Comic Books

By | Sunday, June 19, 2011 Leave a Comment
When I was a kid, my dad was a busy guy. He held a regular job as a school teacher and did a lot of magic shows during the summer and winter breaks. For a while he also taught graduate classes at a nearby university, and he was program director (I think that was his title) for a "College for Kids" program at the community college. In his free time, he did illustrations for several (20-ish?) magic books and wrote a few books of his own, ranging in topics from early childhood education to writing/using contracts to creating themed magic shows. He's also written articles and columns for about a dozen different magic magazines, and had software review columns in some early Macintosh newsletters. Oh, yeah, and he helped Mom raise my brother and me.

Part of that was that he liked to keep busy. (His uncle-in-law advised him when he retired from teaching that the key to a happy retirement was keeping three "projects" going at all times. Mom laughed and said she wished he could cut back to three!) But part of it was that he wanted to provide for his family by bringing in as much income as he could.

In recent years, I've noticed that I've picked up in Dad's footsteps in many ways by having several projects going on simultaneously. You know all that stuff I talk about here on my blog? All that comic related stuff? That's in addition to a full-time day job. And in just the past couple of days, I've come up with two more project leads that I've done some talking with folks on. Maybe nothing will come of either of them; the lead I got about a week and a half ago looks like it's fizzled out. But that's not the point. The point is that I am, as a rule, always working on several projects simultaneously.

My reasoning is a little different, though, I think. Where Dad was looking to improve the family's security by improving our current finances, I'm a bit more inclined to be improving my security by improving my future finances. That is, I'm not so much concerned about the income I'm generating now (though I do appreciate it!) but I'm more concerned about my continued ability to have an income in the future. I'm doing a decent job working and earning money right now, but what will my situation look like in ten or twenty years? Can I keep doing what I'm doing or, functionally, will that job no longer exist? So I work on developing my skills in as many areas as I can (both mentally and physically) so that I will always have the flexibility to keep working.

One of the things my parents instilled in me was a deep appreciation of learning. Keeping myself open to new ideas and approaches, and being able to take those in and be reflective enough to figure out which would work best. I usually joke that I first got into graphic design because I wanted to do something art-related, and that was the only path for which I didn't come up with a reason for eliminating. There is a semblance of truth to that, but had I not spent time investigating other options using the tools Dad and Mom gave me, I don't know that I would've been able to make that decision. I would've done something stupid like try to become a comic book artist.

(Note: being a comic book artist is NOT a stupid profession. My attempting to be a comic book artist is just a stupid idea.)

So, thanks, Dad, for helping me have the wherewithall to not try to be a comic book artist. I suspect that would've led to a world of hurt, and resulted in me living in your basement.
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