Thursday, July 5, 2012

It's No Cake Walk

After a virtual four-year hiatus from creating comics, there are elements of the indy comic schtick I had forgotten about, or had relegated to the dungeon of my mind.  I prefer to think (like most) that making indy comics is all about sitting at my drawing board, listening to rock music, with an assortment of pens and pencils close at hand. 

Often with no shirt on!

Oh, and I get to Twitter like ALL day, like Rob Liefeld and Gail Simone!

Yeah, something like that.

Here's the reality - I have a full time job well beyond the normal 40-hour work week.  When I come home I've got a wonderful family to greet me and for me to lead.  The dog needs walking.  House stuff needs doing.  I spend some time with God, and I have a ministry that I work on at least 1-2 hours a day via email.

So let's figure, conservatively, I have now accounted for about 15 hours of my day.  Add seven for sleeping, and I've got two hours left each day.  Well, that's plenty, isn't it?  It is if you can bypass TV (which I largely do) and gaming (which I have entirely).

Now let's get into the reality of how that time gets spent.

To get the book finished, I had to learn Illustrator to letter the pages and, once they were done, I had to re-letter the pages thanks to some very good advice I received.  Then the pages needed to be prepped in Acrobat into a nice neat PDF file complete with crop marks.  News flash: I have NO IDEA now to do this stuff.  So, much of my time is taken up learning about computer programs and pre-flight lingo, and not pencil and ink stuff.

Now that the book's out, we need to get the word out, so I'm working with my Public Relations Manager (that's me) to write the press releases and get it out there and gather the reviews.  Fortunately, I've gotten some help from my friend Paul Castiglia in this department, but I still need to ensure that the right things are said and that the book is marketed in the best way possible, so people will give it a shot.  Interviews and questionnaires become the norm for a time, hosting chat sessions... no, no paparazzi. 

The website needs to be built and updated and maintained by my Web Development Director (that's me).  Last night we ran into some hitches getting the preview pages of Colossians onto the site, so we had to call tech support (me and Google).  Books need to be delivered to local shops via courier (me) and copies need to move through our mailroom (me). Trading cards are being designed (me) and on the job training with the Adobe Suite is ongoing.  T-shirt designs too!

Comic shows are coming up, so sketch cards are being prepared by my production team (me).  The shows need to be booked (by me) and paid for (me again) and staffed (okay, fortunately I always seem to have a comrade more than willing to join me on these adventures). 

The script for issue 2 needs a couple of final pages due to a change made in issue 3, and, by the way, the script for issue 3 is also underway.  And since I've written three issues for three different artists, the style and the pace for each is quite different.

Recently, my church discovered, "Hey, Joe can draw!"  And suddenly I've got lots of requests to help develop Sunday School posters and church fliers.  I also get requests to work on other books ("Just a page or seven") that are tough to say no to.

And, when all that's done, I can do some inking for issue 2.

Not that I'm complaining, mind you.  All that stuff above that I get to do (well, MOST of it) I really enjoy.  I enjoy learning and stretching and growing.  I enjoy doodling and tweaking and interacting with fans and creative people.  The whole process is endlessly fascinating to me.  I just wish there were more hours in the day, or more Joe's to get it all done.

Some would say "My plate is too full."  I say, "I'm at all all you can eat buffet!"

And that is a glimpse into the life of an indy comic creator.

And no, I haven't even begun to Tweet.