I am blogging about trying to be a pro comic artist while working in Full-Time Employment. No one asked me to, but I’ve noticed the lack of blogs from people who balance comic creation around office work. In its absence, I’ve decided to try and fill that gap myself in the hopes that;
- At least one person working full time becomes inspired to do as much as they can in their spare time and;
- I improve the management of my own time to maximise my creative output.
Why Continue To Work Full-Time In An Unrelated Job Anyway?
It’s the feeling of guilt that I should be in the best job that my STEM degree allows me to do that has led me to where I am today. Also, the peace of mind that comes with financial security.
For me, the idea of creating something when I’m worrying about money is impossible. I enjoy using word-play and punny names in my writing, but it requires a brain free to run with the subconscious. As a sufferer of anxiety, if I’m worried about money there’ll be no spare resource for creativity. There’s rarely any resource for sound sleep!
You might be different, you might thrive under such pressure. I am not – in fact, to my detriment, I’m very risk-adverse.
For example; I’m currently selling the maisonette I no longer live in. This is down to two factors;
- House prices rising and falling – signifying a bubble that I expect is going to pop in the next few years, and;
- Being a landlord is stressful. Tenants are stressful. Dealing with a management agency is stressful. For my own mental health (see above) it’s in my best interests to let someone else be the landlord.
Finally, it’s like there’s little money in comics if you can be a regular Batman artist and worry about paying the bills. I’d need to build up a strong audience, and a Patreon balance, before I would think about quitting full-time work.
What I Currently Do To Be Creative
I use my free time to develop new skills, just like all those self-development articles advise.
On my commute to work, I study a little bit of basic Japanese (thanks, Duolingo). It used to stem from an obsession with Japan, but these days its a genuine fascination with the language. Maybe a dream of working with a Japanese publisher or animation house influences it too!
On the commute home, I generally read a couple of articles on Medium or on my phone. Sometimes I listen to some music. The walk home from the station is one of the rare times I let my brain do its own thing.
When I am finally home from work, I take some time to chill out with my partner and make some dinner. Finally, I pull out my laptop and get to work for a couple of hours until I am sleepy.
What Would I Like To Change?
I’d like to grow my network. Find some more comic artists in my position, and definitely find some local comic artists.
I’ve got a page from Facebook from my last attempt to make a local comics collective; named Panel Show! I struggled to get it kicked off because bookable spaces for creating was limited at the time. Recently, I’ve noticed that my city’s central library has an art room that looks bookable. It also seems to come with an event listing on the library’s website! There is Laydeez Do Comics, who host talks and panels. I should definitely keep up with local artist Una, who hosts plenty of comic workshops.
One of the skills I need to develop is relaxing without the need to be looking at a screen or listening to a podcast. It is a skill. I need to give my brain opportunities to do its crazy creative thinking thing.
I need to get my thoughts down more. Teachings, frustrations, mistakes; they all need recording. I could improve my creative process if I write it down. I’d like to contribute to the creative landscape. It’s not doing anyone any good to have it all stored up in my forgetful noggin, at any rate.
I also need to work in time to read more comics and graphic novels. I’m ashamed of how bad I am for consuming things by other artists. I spend too much time on Reddit, so I can switch that to comic sites like Comixology, and WebToon (by LINE). Suggestions for working with comic reading appreciated!
Finally, I need to get into a creative momentum. I need to find a rhythm that gets those comic pages scripted, drawn, and published online with consistency. I’d be daft to think I could build an audience without having anything to show them!
One Final Thought, For Now…
I really do hope that my blog helps someone. If it doesn’t, I hope it can be an entertaining record of one lady’s life creating comics, drawing stuff, and working.