“Today, in our field, there is so much talent and recognition that we are reaching a saturation point. An artist should no longer strive only for breathtaking craftsmanship; he should, instead, try to help us live better, either by dressing the wounds that are constantly being opened by society, or by offering solutions to get us out of the mess we’re in…But it’s going to be difficult and we have a lot of work to do.” - Jean 'Moebius' Giraud
Monday, July 28, 2008
"THE OLDER I GET...." SDCC 08_update
Before I get started - Yes, this is the same image I put up here a while ago that I said I'd never finish because it got way out of hand. Well, I lied and I finished it because a couple of weeks beforehand, Mr. Scott Dunbier asked if there was anything I could contribute for the COMIC BOOK LEGAL DEFENSE FUND's auction at this year's SDCC show. I told him I'd be able to give him something and this image was that something. Anyhoo... one bad turkey and cranberry sandwich later (Friday night SUCKED), I was a day behind in getting this to Scott and it didn't make it on time. I have it here now for your viewing pleasure. I'll do another one for him later on at some other auction event - I promise.
On to what I was saying.
The older I get, the more of these shows I do, the more I realize how much I've missed the point.
"Where's your latest sketchbook?"
That was the typical question I'd get from more people than I can count and my answer would always be the same. "No sketchbook this year, but I do have this new handy-dandy auction book blah, blah, blah..."
Then on the drive home, I asked myself if that's all that show is good for - do I just go there to sell sketchbooks? I obviously perpetuate that concept if that's what people are expecting and I'm sure the hundreds of other people who are doing THE SAME EXACT THING must help with that status quo. And this isn't speaking about anyone in specific, but when the hell did this become a sketchbook show? And when did the mandate come down that these sketchbooks had to have enough production value that would warrant an ACTUAL BOOK (but doesn't do that at all) become the expected product? Have you seen some of these things? Hard cover (a HARD COVER?!? WTF?!?) and full color, 24+ pages.... and for what? For a glimpse of what the artist has in his/her actual sketchbook? His style? His progress and work habits? What is THAT?!? You're getting a "behind-the-scenes" with no actual *SCENE*! It's NOTHING! And for a glimpse of this nothing, you are going to pay $30 some odd?!?
"That's outrageous," I thought to myself!
I then realized that most of the outrage, the disgust I was feeling - most of the guilt I was experiencing was all internal. How does that saying go? Point a finger at someone and three fingers back at yourself? The fact of the matter is, *I* make crap sketchbooks. *I* charge that sort of money. *I* help perpetuate this brand promoting the supplemental material for NOTHING. *I* complain that SDCC is less of a comicbook show year after year and yet show up with no comicbook to sell. *I* am the most hypocritical and most guilty. I'm most ashamed, in all honesty, of myself.
Again, I am not speaking ill of anyone in specific that may have had their sketchbooks to sell this year. If that's how they wish to conduct themselves, then certainly, by all means - they are within their right. As I've already said, all the criticism above is actually internal - it's about me feeling like I'm not doing enough with myself and these comicbook shows.
That said - No more sketchbooks from me.
Not to say they were in any high demand or anything, but from this Comic Con to the next one in 2009 I'm going to concentrate on getting actual product on my table instead of just hype. No more fluff. No more bullsh*t, incestuous, self-promotional material. No more, "...yeah, those images are from a project/graphic novel/animated series I'm working on and I'm gonna get to it/finish it some day." Enough of that crap.
From here on down, I'll just do books. Actual finished books and projects. I hope that things will line up correctly and I'll be able to do multiple projects back to back to back and if I am so lucky that I actually do something long term and if those projects happen to be noteworthy enough to actually warrant an actual "Making of... " or a section for supplemental material then that's when you'll see it. Outside of that, I'd like to thank you all for your support and to ask you for more of your patience - projects are forthcoming. "The End League" is one, "[JUMP]" is the other.
What prompted me to jump on this sopadbox and make such a strong (and quitepossibly finaicially suicidal) decision, you ask? It was someone at this past weekend's show asking, "Where's your latest sketchbook?" And it was when I answered, "No sketchbook this year, but I do have this new handy-dandy auction book blah, blah, blah..." And that's really the point of a sketchbook, yeah?
Blah, blah, blah? Well...to me it is, anyway.
Thanks ANDY KUHN for manning your table at the IMAGE COMICS booth and pushing your books (actual comicbooks at a comicbook show - holy mackerel). Thanks BECKY CLOONAN for showing me that hard work and some good ol' fashioned elbow grease pays off in the end (congrats on the hardware, girlie - you and the boys truly deserve it). Thanks JASON PEARSON (and the kind folks over at 12 GAUGE COMICS for taking me in for the weekend - Keven you're a true gentleman) for talking shop with me and reminding me that it's all about storytelling. Thanks MIKE MIGNOLA and DAVE STEWART for giving me the time of day and for setting the bar. And thanks to everyone who talked to me about your books when I walked through small and independent press. It was an honor to spend the weekend with all of you. And best of all, it was a learning experience. And you can never have too many of those, in my opinion.
Oh, and if you wanna see sketches from me, you can still come to this here blog - and I won't even charge you a dime. Thanks for reading.
PS - A big helping of "Thank You" goes out to the people who dropped by the booth this year. I owe you all a bundle and I promise to do better for you really soon.
at 6:15 PM