Monthly Review

So many exciting things have happened since I have decided to officially become an artist full time. Sure it’s only a month but it’s the little steps that lead to the final goal. I guess we will call this blog: “The First Month’s Review”.

 

I am glad that the 90 days 90 voices crew has gotten back to me after a while and we will be continuing our graphic journalism project. 90 Days 90 Voices is a journalist project centering on immigrants and refugees who were impacted by the 90day travel ban. Especially in today’s political climate- the story of an immigrant trying to receive asylum is a narrative that needs to be told and I am thrilled to be a part of it. I always have believed that this project was important and I know that this comic will be very impactful.

 

In other news, I have been experiencing an increase in clients which is fantastic. Many people are coming to me for many different projects and so far I have had complete customer satisfaction. From custom commissions and selling prints I have finally been working as an artist and bringing in some money.

 

Now, like most artists, I need to expand my fan and clientele base. Those of you who have started following me, you are amazing and I am very grateful. That being said, I need to start thinking in terms of thousands of followers online and several different revenue streams in order to be successful. Now, I’m sure u didn’t start to read this thinking I was going to be bitchin about money problems, and I am not, I’m simply tracking my progress and leaving room for improvement when it comes to the business aspects.

 

Let’s see, what else? Ahhh the web comic will be coming out soon. All I need to do is set up the website and once that is launched I will give you guys a heads up as to where you can find Dime Store Heroes as well as what day out of the week you can catch new pages. Also, I want to say that I still have opportunities for commissions and you can contact me if you are interested.

 

Remember, it's you- the fans- that keep a roof over my head and food in my belly and I thank you.

 

My Process

My process is um… unconventional. I mean, sure I go through the whole pencilining, inking, coloring, word balloon process that most comic book artist do. But when it comes to the usual procedure, my technique is mostly self-taught with a combination of traditional and digital techniques that I have learned over the years. With my tablet, the only thing I love in this world- ahem…. I mean other than friends.... um and family and other humans- I guess. Anyway, with my tablet and my drawing program (Autodesk) I can use traditional methods using digital tools. Not only can I stream-line the process but also not stray too far away from the traditional ink line drawing of comics.

I always start with a sketch that allows me to find out how I want to frame the composition as well as map out proper proportions. After that I can get into the nitty-gritty details. I love details. Although I have a very exaggerated and cartoony style I include textures and specific design choices to give my work a sense of realism. I always felt that art should be objective in some way so the viewer knows what they are looking at but have the right amount of exaggeration to allow for personal subjectivity. Although this is my opinion, I feel that all art should have that element of subjectivity. Exaggeration and abstraction are good but, considering art history, everything after the American Abstract Expressionism movement- I'm lookin’ at you Jackson Pollack you son of a bitch- is way too out there for me.

Regardless, the last thing in my process is bright vibrant colors. I don't have as much experience with colors than I do black and white ink drawings but with my development over the past few years I have developed a coloring style all my own. Early on I fall in love with the outrageous colors you see in comics and I strive for that. Using unique color pallets as well as illustrating the hues with brush strokes as opposed to the tools used in Photoshop, the way most colorists do Don’t get me wrong, I still use Photoshop but talk about draining your creativity, yeesh.

Well anyway that was me answering your questions about how I do what I do, no matter how vaguely it might have been and whether or not you asked. But I am sure that you wanted to know if you got this far in the blog and if you have, thanks for reading and…..

you just lost the game.

The First Web Comic: Dime Store Heroes

The last few days have been quite exciting.

After working on our own comics for the better part of three years, me and my writer: Kyle McNulty are going to be publishing our first web comic. Not knowing much on how to make a comic book professionally, as well as only having the two of us to work on the project, him and I had to do extensive research and  learn many-a-lessons through experience to accomplish our goal. After creating our own fictional universe, creating original characters, writing all the drafts of the script, and illustrating 36 pages of story we are on the final steps before launch.

We have been working and learning for a long time and I know that we have the chops to take this project to the public and have an entertaining story for all to enjoy.

It is called Dime Store Heroes and it tells the story of four friends who are less than admirable who aren't afraid to cheat and lie a bit to get ahead in life. All shack up in the same house they get by with odd-jobs, thievery and selling pot until the life they live comes collapsing around them, literally. After a monstrously clandestine experiment goes wrong underneath a prison, a massive explosion sends particles of irradiated matter all across the city of Chicago and gives certain people super human abilities. As a giant piece of irradiated machinery traps them all in the basement of their house, the four are exposed to the equipment giving them all unique abilities. Once rescued, they are experimented on, studied all while being monitored by the evil corporation who owned the prison lab. They are eventually released where they are free to cause mischief and mayhem.

Our project aims to tell a different story about super heroes and get rid of the super- exploring how super powers would be used if only for selfish gain, vandalism and chaos.

This being a fun concept, I hope it gives us the amount of exposure necessary to establish us in the comic book community because we have many stories that we want to tell. Especially now, we have taught ourselves and learned so much that our next project will be even better than out web comic debut.

What is Best In Life?

I had an epiphany the other day- I couldn’t take my life any more. I mean, not in the sense where I can’t embrace the reality that I live in- well, maybe my reality is slightly different than others, maybe we all live in our own realities….no Jon, this is not a philosophy blog- get back on track.

Okay, so I have been studying art forever, over fifteen years, and I have always wanted to be a professional illustrator but the opportunity never presented itself. I blamed everything- society, America, lack of opportunity, the art industry, myself, it didn’t matter. In the end it was deeper than that- I was sick and needed to get treatment- because when you got a condition you need to take your medicine. It got to the point where I could continue in the direction of becoming a working class man and use my body at an hourly rate to make a living- this was the solid option, the safest- or change my path and take a chance on achieving my dreams. I knew that I would never be happy in a 9 to 5 job and I spent too much time studying art and practicing my craft to simply give up.

And it was as simple as that. Continue with the day job and crush my soul underneath the weight of conformity and monotony or take the risk and project myself into the life I want. Sure, it is a high-risk/ high-reward kind of situation but to be honest, if I don’t do this and become the artist that I want to be I won’t have many reasons to go on living. Now I know that sounds depressing but because of my condition I can’t help but go into dark places and when you got a condition, you gotta take your medicine.

Now I am not just spinning my wheels here, I have organized all my work, completed my portfolio, written an artist statement, created a website, revamped my social media pages, studied marketing strategies, learned how to utilize social media, completed all my previous projects and I am ready to launch a web comic soon that is also turned into a podcast. I still have a long way to go but I have renewed confidence that I can embrace the challenges ahead.

It’ll take a while to get to where I want to be so I need to focus on exposure and creating a fan base. In that way I can start making some serious headway on generating a comfortable living wage.