I gave it an honest shot this year. For the first and only time in my life, I was a freelance artist as my primary job. I had no idea what I was doing and hadn't even been in a regular job market for a number of years. This required so much learning on the fly that I really struggled for a few months to decode how looking for jobs in the freelance market worked.
In that time, I did figure it out. I figured out how to find jobs in my wheelhouse, how to do jobs that weren't, and how to spot the Crypto Bros and NFT scams that tried to disguise themselves as regular work-for-hire gigs. I learned how to build a better portfolio, I learned how to create my own work that could be used to highlight what I did well. I learned how to sort out what I wanted to do and aim myself at that corner of the marketplace.
And I did land some jobs... I landed some really good gigs, one of which is still going... but I couldn't sustain enough consistent work. It looked for a short time like things were taking off and building, but then it made a sharp left... as it is apt to do.
Point being, I'm going back to a day job... I have to. I took some big gambles with my family's savings and finances and, to state it simply: they did not pay off.
I don't begrudge my situation. I don't hate that I have to go take a day job. There's no shame in that, I'm not too good for that, and I'm happy to go find some stability and a fresh start. Everything I did this year, I did with the full support and encouragement of my wife, Christy, who really pushed me to try and convinced me that this was a great time to try. I really am lucky, not only to have had this time to devote to full time art and comics work, but to have had people in my corner like her, like my friends who I could message and lean on, like my siblings and family members who reassured me that I wasn't crazy for trying.
I learned a lot about how to shake the trees for art jobs, how to build relationships, and how to find that spots in the industry that are right for me... I even learned how to learn, so I can keep finding new avenues. I learned what I don't want to do and where I do want to focus my efforts moving forward. I found insight in how to balance my time doing art for hire to pay bills and personal projects I want to do on spec and hope to sell.
I'm going back to a day job with new perspective, new knowledge, and a lot of positives under my belt...
But still... there's that one voice. The voice that says I failed. The voice that says I wasn't good enough. The voice that says it's all a pipe dream that I wasted my time with.
That's what this comic is about. It's about silencing that inner voice (for those of you who don't know, Darwin is my comic alter ego who displays some of the worst sides of me) and pushing foward... the comic seems like a downer, but it's me exorcising that voice.
I go to work tomorrow. I'll not be wearing a suit, but I will be happy to leave that naysaying voice behind me and start my next chapter.
If you'd like a PDF download of this comic, you can get it for free HERE