2017 has been a whirlwind of a year that I am really looking forward to ending.
In many ways it has been a really great year, with some fantastic career opportunities such as starting to work for Aspen Comics with covers for Fathom, Soulfire and Bubblegun.
I actually first spoke to Aspen back in 2015 when they were on tour with Supanova, they seemed keen to do something but that it might take a while to happen. Well, it took almost 2 years of radio silence for it to happen. I'll admit I was a little bummed about the silence for so long but they're very busy folks doing what they do, and who am I to pester them.
Patience is key, if I had persisted they would never have given me any work. I know that for a fact, pushy people are no fun. So I am glad I waited it out, and it was great to work on the covers that I have so far. :)
At the start of the year I also started to work for PlaidHad Games creating all the artwork for a new tabletop game; Crystal Clans.
This game has been keeping me extremely busy all year, with tight deadlines and challenging illustrations to create it has been a wild ride. I'm very thankful that Plaidhat have been the easiest and best clients I have had in my short 15 year freelance career.
The artwork briefs are to the point, but very interesting, as I am essentially creating fantasy characters for all of the playing cards. To date I will have created over 100 full colour illustrations for the game as well as assets and the huge board game to play upon.
As well, as this I have been continuing my Patreon page where I provide monthly content to amazing people who help support me in continuing to create art. I had a bit of a switch around on the page, and I no longer do video tutorials.
I tried, but I felt in the end I just wasn't comfortable and confident enough to produce something I felt was good enough. Maybe I'll come back to them one day.
So basically I changed it to focus on art and speed videos, we also introduced some physical monthly rewards, a full colour printing of the Digital sketchbook. Which is limited to about 40 each month and also extremely limited prints of whatever is new that month.
Most of this is put together brilliantly by Jamie, who hand stitches every book and packages everything beautifully for our patrons.
I've also been *trying* to work on my own sketches, art and world building for my stories any chance I have.
And on top of this we have conventions, we didn't do many this year, I think maybe 4?
It's always great to see old and new faces who enjoy and appreciate what I do. And I do sincerely thank you for your support at these shows!
And here is where I dwell on the negative of 2017. I'm going to be real with all of you.
I don't usually get too real about my personal life or the negative but I honestly just need to vent.
In 2015 we became guests with a convention, and it was the most wonderful experience, and each show we were invited too we had an even greater time, getting to know so many wonderful people involved with the show and made some great friends.
I'm not going to go into the details, but we were really looked after. The whole treatment basically. Flights, Accom, transport.
And then.. Nothing.
This stung really bad last year, as we just had the idea that we were being phased out, and shoved aside. And after being so welcomed with such great treatment, I was left feeling betrayed and more than anything just really confused?!
If I had done something wrong, I would honestly want to know as Jamie and I try to be the best we can be and professional at shows. If there was anything we did wrong, I would definitely take it in a good way if told and learn from it. But, no one has mentioned anything of the sort so the mystery remains.
But we soldiered on. We sucked up our pride and we booked our own tables, flights, etc to this same show in question. And the feeling was always there. Walking past the artist guests who we would previously be with at the show, and after the show at the hotel, and after parties and dinners. Awkward.
To make matters worse, shows have just become much more unreliable, we have had some absolute shockers the past couple of years.
I mean we had fabulous shows too, but there have been a couple where it really stung financially. Especially the one I just returned from, the Melbourne Tattoo Expo.
This is a show, where we used to be so busy, selling out of prints and books and coming home in a better financial position. Of course doing well at any show comes down to SO many factors it is just almost impossible to fixate bad sales on any one thing. Here is a short list to start with:
-Product on the table
-Your own attitude
I think all of those factors contributed in us essentially losing money on going to this interstate show.
And why am I writing about this one? Because we would have BET money that this would be a sell out show. Very confident, and that confidence was SHATTERED.
So, a downhill slide in terms of shows, but we really needed this one to be good, because just a month ago our house was robbed. And we lost a lot of money, and spent a-lot of money to regain our sense of safety at the home. I'm talking a loss of around $10,000. And now we are in the negative.
So this is why having a show we knew was going to do pretty well, having it fail miserably, was just another nail in my coffin.
Poor me right? I know some of you reading this might be laughing a little inside, we are known for doing really well at shows. So the tables always turn.
My depression has been creeping back this year too, throughout all of the ups and downs, it never really goes away. Always there lurking in the shadows. Pesky fucking demons.
If anyone actually knows me, you know that those demons are basically what I draw from to create my personal art. So thats really the only thing I can do. Anyway, my personal issues are a whole other blog post - I do try to contain my depression, and I don't push it on people, or really ever talk about it much, and I pride myself on dealing with it and how much a convention show drains me of all energy before the doors of the convention even open. You will never know how much of a zombie I feel like, and how hard it is to be at shows meeting so many people, even though I want to be there and I want to meet and talk to people, I love it, but my body and my mind wants to curl up and hide under the table. But I do my absolute best to hide that, and I hope it works.
So where to go from here?
Crystal Clans will be continuing as far as I currently know, which is going to be great. But I am dying to see the game finally released!
Patreon will continue, although I have some plans to possible shift it up again and refocus onto comic creating.
The comic covers I hope will continue, and I would love to do some work for other companies and titles. I would even love to knuckle down into some real sequential. That has been my on my to do list for so long, but life and jobs keep getting in the way.
So I should start to focus on making that a reality.
As for shows, I'll have to think it through. ..I think I can honestly say unless someone invites me to a show - I wont do them unless I have a couple of new books out, and revamped my entire brand.
If you read all of this, I'm sorry!
Please know that while a lot of this was negative, I still have so much positivity and so much to be thankful for, and I just need to kick myself up the butt and focus on being the most amazing person I can be. And try and be more thoughtful of others too.
Thank you for reading and supporting me.