Image from Tonoharu: Part One
At the end of 2006, I returned from Japan exhausted, unemployed & heartbroken. It wasn’t a very auspicious start to 2007, but I decided to make the best of my total lack of attachments with an experiment.
For the whole of 2007, I would remain willfully unemployed. I wouldn’t devote the slighted effort to a job hunt, or an apartment search, or anything else that a responsible twenty-nine year old in my situation would do. Instead, I would swallow my pride and hole up in my parents’ basement, and devote myself completely to my calling of drawing comics.
My hope was to somehow turn full-time cartooning a financially self-sustaining endeavor. I wasn’t sure if that was possible, but thought a year would be enough time to at least give me some idea. If things seemed to be going well at the end of 2007, I’d continue pursuing comics. If things looked less promising, I’d consider a different path.
So as 2007 came to a close this week, I took stock of where my little experiment has left me.
As I had predicted, my cartooning has failed to operate in the black during these twelve months. I’ve taken in about $20 selling a few copies of my 2003 comic Young Men of a Certain Mind, but unfortunately my living expenses for the year were just a tad higher than that.
And as always seems to be the case, progress on my comic was much slower than I’d projected. I’d hoped to be almost done with Tonoharu: Part Two by now, instead I’m only about an 1/8th of the way through it.
But 2007 wasn’t a total wash. I finished the first part of the Tonoharu story, and secured a grant to publish it. I applied for and have been provisionally accepted for a scholarship to study calligraphy in Japan (I won’t start celebrating until I receive unqualified acceptance, but so far so good).
Additionally, I’ve researched and started the process of self-publishing my book, created a business identity and website, created and religiously updated this blog, written press releases, done promotion, secured distribution, etc., etc….
Things could be better, natch, but I’ve decided that things seem promising enough to give all this cartooning nonsense at least one more year.
In terms of the ubiquitous New Year’s Resolutions, I’d like to take in enough money to at least “break even” for the year of 2008. I should have copies of my book next month, so I’ll have a good ten months to sell it to the service of that resolution. At the same time, I’d also like to maintain a good balance between time spent on art and time spent on business (hopefully heavier on the latter than the former). We’ll see how it goes.
The old blog will continue to cover all this nonsense in excruciating detail every Friday, so do check back. And Happy New Year.