On my road to live my dream as a professional artist, I stop to take a look back. I have been making comics ever since 4th grade. I've sold comics at multiple conventions and have been on many stages to perform and two times it was in front of a crowd of over 10,000 people. So why, why am I just NOW starting to even gain a following...(and by following I mean that humbly as currently, I probably only have about 20-30 hardcore followers, but it grows everyday and I'm loving it!). The truth is I can blame myself for most of this if not ALL of this. I'm doing this for two reasons; 1. I don't want you to fall into the same traps that I did when I was younger and 2. Owning your mistakes allows you to take control of your life. If you know your caused the problems, then you know you can fix the problem. SO...I give you ways I f*cked my life:

1. Lack of Confidence
 When I was in 4th grade, I use to make comics with my best friend Robert. We would make them on copy paper and then sell them for a little bit of change to the students. One day, out of the blue Robert turned to me and told me "Your draws suck". Those words echoed throughout my head so much, I stopped working on comics. all together I doubted every drawing I made and only did doodles. I just wasn't feeling it anymore. It wasn't until I was doodling in 7th grade that my new and current best friend, Asim, picked me up from the ashes by praising my art and encouraging me to make comics again. 

Despite having a new drive to make comics, this also worked against me. Asim and I envisioned making our own comic company, but because I looked to him to instill confidence in me, I didn't make moves without him. To make my manga, I needed him to write the story for me. To start selling at conventions, I needed him to get the table. Now, I was suffering from a different lack in confidence. Rather than lacking the confidence in my ability (which was still shitty at the time), I lacked confidence to lead. This cost me a lot because I had been waiting for Asim to initiate all of opportunities for me to get out there. He is an amazing friend and great to work with, but we didn't continuously put our name out there on a consistent basis. We would go months, sometimes years before we resurfaced again. We never kept the fire going even after performing in front of 1,000s of people. 

Looking back, it wasn't fair of me to rely on Asim to carry us forward. It is too much of a burden and also it lead me to become anxious and frustrated when he was unable to move at the pace I wanted to. More importantly, I could have initiated a lot of the opportunities we had myself if only I believed I could do it.

   Too many younger artists I've seen just want to focus on the art. While building up your skill is definitely necessary, the truth is there are many many talented artists in the world that still don't reach the heights of popularity many us dream of. You're going to have to create your own opportunities and this means you'll need money! This just doesn't mean open up for commissions. You must get yourself at least part-time job. Suck it up and go to MCDonalds for a little while. In my situation, I worked at a movie theater. However, the money I made would be splurged on frivolous things; video games stuff, expensive dinners, alcohol, etc, etc. This caused many times for Asim to have to fill in expenses at on some of our events. You have to fund your dream to get somewhere! Marvel isn't going to knock down the door to get to the lot of you. You need to make your own way and it can be better that way to be honest. Think about it. All profits and control are yours for the taking.