I've drawn comics for a while, some have been published. I'm happy about this, I reached dreams.
But those comic projects were meant to entertain readers only. I reached a point where I'd like my writing and art to primarily help people by sending out a valuable Christian message, one that glorifies our Lord Jesus Christ and helps readers find Him (non believers) or get closer to Him (believers).
I am currently working on a Christian comic book called SEGUNDO. Planned as a 7 issue mini series, it is a good vs. evil fiction Christian story where the heroes are men of God, angels and the Lord of lord Jesus Christ Himself, and the villains are men of Satan, demons, fallen angels, the Beast and Lucifer.
It isn't all fiction; the story will be based on (and include) Bible scripture. Some parts will be based on true life stories. And finally, the story will include real people, refer to real world problems, and be set in real world locations.
> You could see samples in my SEGUNDO photo album.
I feel a pure desire to work on this project, and see to its successful end as a valuable professional Christian material.
I have been working on this project since the end of last year. From idea conception to writing the plot and the script, to designing the characters and drawing the actual pages. And I have hired a talented colorist for her beautiful color renditions.
Four more pages and I finish drawing issue 1. Most pages are colored. Then I will finalize the script and (me or someone else), edit the script, letter the issue, draw the cover, get it painted, fill the counter cover space and empty pages with ads, articles, info, special material, etc. to wrap the issue, get it published (on the web and / or print), and market it successfully.
This would wrap issue 1. And then do the same for six more issues.
It's A LOT of work but worth it.
I wish I could snap my fingers and get it all done and distributed. But this I can't.
I can ONLY do all of this on my FREE TIME which is little because of my many acquired responsibilities.
The one responsibility that uses most of my time is my FULL TIME "day" job. I am grateful for it; I like it and it allows me to support my family.
But I wish I could trade that job with my ARTIST career so I can finish the Christian project sooner by devoting more time to it (drawing), and finding a capable team so I don't have to do it all and the end result is better (thanks to delegating some tasks to more talented individuals).
How could I trade jobs AND continue to support my family AND don't leave my employer/clients empty handed?
Here's a list I put together quickly with options:
(a) Win the LOTTERY.
(b) Making enough money as an ARTIST.
(c) Get a LOAN
(d) Get SPONSORS
(e) Get DONATIONS (money or work)
(f) Becoming a non-sleeping machine
What are your thoughts? Would you like to help?
Option F; become a non-sleeping machine, is definitely the way to go, it works for me.
Option B is good too. Seriously, a lot of guys in the industry do the hard yards starting out by doing exactly what you're doing; working in their spare time (or sleep time) on the side to create stuff until it starts paying enough for them to leave their day jobs, if it ever does.
I have the same problem as you, in that I have a family to support. It's easier to do it when you're young and single, because you can live off less money, and have more free time, and not many people are going to feel neglected if you work 24/6 to get things done. Married people find it harder. I've questioned professionals who are full-time comic artists, and a lot of them still don't have a solution, most of them say they are still working their butts off 7 days a week to meet deadlines and support the family. As you well know, it's an industry that requires a huge amount of passion and discipline in order to succeed.
A few years ago I considered going for it as far as becoming a full-time comic creator, but after weighing up the pro's and cons as a family man, I decided it was much better for my family if I kept my day job and did the occasional comic on the side in my spare time. We sacrifice for our families.
All that being said, doesn't mean you can't pull it off. If you have a patient and understanding wife who supports you, and if you are a fast artist who doesn't need much sleep, or even if you just have a burning passion that won't be quenched, go for it! The only ones who succeed are the ones who try.
It can be done, especially if it's from God.
Hey, option D sounds good too; sponsors. Have you got any rich friends who love comics? Can I have their email address? ;)
I have known many men who sacrificed their families for ministry...the results were not glorifying to them or God. God-family-ministry, and that's scriptural(1Cor7:1-4). Major decisions are made with wife, and occasionally kids, taking part; it can make your splash into ministry slower, but your family will be empowered and edified as they work out life's tough decisions with you.
I have a compromise idea that works well for people that excel in short bursts of creativity: the dedicated hour a day. Basically you sanctify (set apart) one hour a day, in agreement with your family (and sometimes your employer) to have one hour a day undisturbed. This could be adapted to your work and your home-life( maybe no hours some days and two hours others) but you know that time is guaranteed for you project. I knew a published author (28 novels) who wrote entire novels during her lunch hours, and found she was far less efficient when she took off entire days to write. This method also allowed me to write a 400 page novel without impacting my family or work...but I was willing to take a long time to complete it.
God's blessings on your efforts and your family.
some good food for thought there. great to hear some 'real' input. I've been totally on my own with these issues for a long time and havn't felt that anyone really gets the issues. It's great to hear that other people have been through it
Thanks everyone for your valuable, valuable comments :)
It's clear to me that I need to work harder, get others involved to help out (I cannot do it all and nothing good comes out without team work), and don't make my family or clients victims, since running the extra long mile is MY cross not theirs.
My experience was working as a penciler in the comic book field for ten years. I can tell you it is very difficult to make a living drawing comics, unless you are on one of the big selling comics like X-men (but even sales for those books have suffered, since when I was in the field).
I found comics to be a lot of hours and little pay. There came a point when I was getting married and having children that I was faced with the reality that I was going to be struggling for the rest of my life. I asked myself, do I want to be sixty years old with no retirement and savings, fighting for job after job for meager pay? No way.
I also found that drawing comics too much, was making me get tired of them. It's like riding a roller-coaster at a theme park. It's fun to do, but not everyday for twelve hours a day. You can start to get sick of it.
On top of that I was maturing spiritually and rediscovering my Christian faith. I no longer fit with the atheist characters I was drawing. The comics where getting less and less innocent. I really begin to hate the industry that I used to love.
So, I went into advertising and that has worked out much better. I can bring in an adequate income and still have a life. Plus, because I no longer make a living in comics I can do any story that I want and have complete creative freedom (that begins to mean a lot as you get older). If I feel like drawing cool cars someday, I can. If I want to talk about Jesus I have total freedom to do that too.
The great thing is I'm finding I like comics again as I used to. Even the secular comics don't bug me as much. Looking back though I still feel used by the comic book industry, and resent having my values compromised as they were.
Working long hours sitting still drawing can be stressful and physically unhealthy. When your young you can do it, but as you get a little older it begins to take it's toll. It becomes more and more difficult to put those long hours in.
The lack of adequate pay can be very stressful too. It's tough on marriages. You don't need to be rich, but when you don't have enough money (or time) to do anything, it's zero fun.
Nowadays I work for my creative freedom. I want to do stories that are meaningful. I don't want to do just another escapist power fantasy.
Hopefully we Christians will be able to develop a market for Christian comics. If that's the case, then it could be worth it to struggle financially a little, or put in those long hours.
@Dan, thanks for sharing your experience. We see eye to eye. I'll see my project to completion in time without compromising my family's (and mine) time and quality of living (which I earned it through heavy "weight lifting" in life). I'll share progress with CASS and hopefully others facing the same struggle will benefit from this discussion and get their good comics done in the name of Christ.
Very good topic. Yeah our family is our first ministry. That's to be our main focus as artist. Because our wives needs to be happy, and when those who we minister to with our comics see our wives and children they are going to see what type of people/men we really are. When others come and speak with our wives they'll have nothing but smiles and good things to say about us. I know the bible says something about if you want God to answer prayer then tend to your wife first. If you have beef with your wife then prayers won't get answered.
(F) sounds good to me. The thing is..... that the rain falls on the just and unjust.... the rain falls on Donald Trump and you, and I know "The Donald" had to hustle to get where he is now. Little sleep and long hours. If "he" had to do it then we have to do it too. If we want to be successful then we have to work hard for it.
Lamentations 3:27, 28
It is good for someone to work hard
while he is young.
He should sit alone and be quiet;
the Lord has given him hard work to do.
It's very challenging to balance it all. But continue to take it one step at a time. We christians are a lot of the times the turtles that win the race. LOL. But in the end it pays off. And if it makes you feel any better you are a lot closer to your goal than I am at mine.
My wife gave me a good speech recently when I was feeling this same way. She said "that each thing done is working towards a greater goal, that I learned from everything that I've done in the past. And it's making me into a better artist."
There are so many things that God wants to teach us before we make it, things that transform our thinking, and I believe once we learn those things. We will have a greater appreciation for the blessings that he has in store for us. Our dreams and our goals are the things that we hope for.... that we trust God for. That hope is what keeps us young, and keeps us focused, and also keeps us having the right attitude while we wait for His promises to come to pass.
Last thing, another friend told me that we as christians have to learn to enjoy the moment, like we can have our goals and dreams and we can focus on the future, but don't let that be the only cause for happiness. Because at the end of the day what if we die never achieving our goals, then that means we were never happy. So we have to learn to be happy with the simple things as we wait on those things that we long for. Any way hope something I said contributed to the already good advice on this topic. Later.
Great post! I get these same feelings from time to time. I’ve been working on my graphic novel for 4 years, got all 153 pages penciled and 18 of those inked, colored, and lettered. Often times I feel like it’s taking too long, but I remind myself that as long as I stay diligent it will be completed in God’s time and we all know that God is ALWAYS on time, so I continue to work on MY patience.
You guys nailed it, God, Family, Ministry, it’s important to keep that in order. I try to listen for my wife and kids. If I hear “daddy you’re always drawing” I’ll cut it back a bit and make a conscious effort to spend more time with the fam. Right now, I get about 1 page done per week…that’s inking, coloring and lettering, then on to the next page.
I just try to stay diligent while developing my patience. If I know that I’m putting as much time in as I can according to Christian family order, even if it’s only 15 minutes on some days, then I’m OK.
Christopher, David, thanks for jumping in and sharing your valuable thoughts and experiences :) We're in agreement.