I'M WINNING THOUGH!!! WHY!?

     My last two blog entries, I focused on how much of a fuck up I've been over the past years. In short, the two main things were that I was lazy and not confident in myself or my ability. I've been told by a few people that I was too hard on myself, but it needs to be done. Not to just me, BUT TO YOU AS WELL! You need to be honest with yourself and realize most of your problems are brought on by yourself! By owning up to how you could have changed the outcome of a certain situation, you start feeling empowered. If you can make the mess, you can find a way to undo the mess. At most, you can control your response to things that you feel are out of your control. Who likes walking around feeling miserable and helpless? Unless you're some type of damaged person, I know you sure the hell don't.

    Just because I did mess up in my life over the years, I'm still in a great position in life where I can still pursue my passion. I will go over some things that help me to succeed despite my mistakes. This is for the younger children so they can learn possibly what things to do if they have at a couple of years where they slack off. Hey! I get it! You only live once and you want to have fun. Trust me, I did do that a lot (which is what my previous blogs were about). Even if you slack off though, doing these things will help you still be able to chase your dreams.

1. SEPARATE FROM PEOPLE
     Let me just start by saying I have an amazing family that I love dearly. I have a wonderful mom who I considered a best friend and two wonderful dads (a step father who raised me since I was 3 and my biological father who has always stayed in my life). I have wonderful friends that I've know going on 20 years of my life, BUT LIVING IN ISOLATION IS A BLESSING. Now, I know this might be hard to do for younger kids, but I would say find a local Starbucks or somewhere to sit and do your artwork. There's nothing more annoying than when your in the groove of doing your art and your family keep calling you every second to take out the trash or wash dishes, or drive mom to the grocery store. Your friends will distract you to no end with goofiness. Even when you are working on a project together, they will distract you! You need the time away from people to get your ideas done quicker and more skillfully. Lucky for me, I live alone and I'm out of school. My friends have their families and/or don't live close enough to just walk to so easily anymore. 

2. STOPPED LISTENING TO HATERS
    The fact that you state "I don't give a fuck" doesn't stop you from "giving a fuck" People want to be acknowledge by others and care. This is why we have things like instagram where their are dozens of booty models. This is why facebook is one of the top sources for information on other people. This is why we brag about how many followers we have online. You ever notice though, you'll see 1,000s of nice comments, but respond to the one negative one? Don't lie. We all do it and hold onto that shit. When you see your friends, you're going to tell them about that hating bitch, not the 5 nice things that came before it. We all want some form of validation and at times this may stop us from moving forward with our work. In my last blog, I talked about how my friend at the time told me how my drawings sucked. At that age, it stopped me from going for my dreams. Words definitely can hit you hard.

    I think this more comes with age then any simple solution. As in the case with the Joker "some people just want to watch the world burn". You learn over life that keeping yourself in a safe space and trying to avoid cruel people or offensive statements is not a possibility. The world doesn't act or respond in the same way that you would like them to. We are all humans with differing views on life. There will always be a clash of thoughts. I'm not going to act like there aren't things that still offend me when I read them or hear them just because I'm in my early 30s, but I can say I don't give as much weight to it as I once did. I grit my teeth and still throw my projects, art, articles, and videos out into the world. Sometimes, people get value from it and sometimes they don't. However, at least I can be satisfied knowing I made an effort towards my goals.

These are just surface level things, but I will be going deeper into reasons in the next part of this blog. 

I F*CKED MY LIFE pt.2

I will continue from where I left of yesterday and continue to squash my own balls. Why? Are you a masochist, Frae? i know that's what you're asking and my answer to that is...only on days that end in "Y". However, there is a greater reason I'm doing this. It is to let you all know that you have power in yourself to do great things. By owning what you've done to put yourself in a situation, you gain the power to understand you can change your situation. You won't feel like your life is completely out of your hands! The other reason is very simple; I DON'T WANT YOU TO MAKE THESE SAME MISTAKES. I love to get more independent artists out there in the world especially minorities. We don't have to keep expecting these companies to do things for us when we have buying power and our own community that can support us. Not to say "exclude" anyone from anything, but rather I want people to do more for themselves and stop relying on others (like I relied on Asim in the previous blog). You have the brains. You have the ideas. you have the talent. Just go out and do it and do it BIG! Now...let's continue. Why I f*cked myself...

  3. LAZY, LAZY, LAZY
    I say this a lot. I wasted the majority of my 20s. It wasn't because I was from some conservative family and I became a wild child once I got to college. I mean...I did go wild at times, but my parents weren't really strict. In fact, I was kind of a goodie, goodie nerd until I turned 21. Now, I'm a nerd with attitude. But, I can recall wasting my time and putting off focusing on art. I wanted to go party or i wanted to go sleep with women, or get drunk, or whatever. Even when i had downtime, I would spend it playing mostly eating pizza and playing video games the whole night. I wouldn't touch any art stuff for weeks and weeks on end. Even after I would sell stuff at a convention, I wouldn't make any effort to have a follow up with customers. I figured "I put the work out there. Shit will just fall in my lap" VERY WRONG THINKING. "Anything worth having is worth fighting for". I didn't have the fight in me at the time and didn't give a crap about where I was going in the future. My laziness has cost me getting into an art college that intern directly for Disney and having any networking contacts in art after college. Don't focus too much on the "play hard" without remembering to "work hard" as well. 

4. REBOOT AFTER REBOOT
     There is this guy named Brion Foulke who does a comic called Flipside (it's really good check it out here). I remember seeing his work when I sold at my first convention over 10 years ago. At the time, he had I think 3 or 4 volumes already done of his comic. I remember being amazed and inspired. I would go home and work on my work, but keep restarting over and over. Then, I would make a new story and try to do that on TOP of the original story. In fact, Endlocke is a rebooted version of Deadlock, the graphic novel that I was selling in the past. THIS STORY IS TECHNICALLY 15+ YEARS OLD, but I kept restarting it. If I had just kept going with it, I could be travelling all across the country right now selling my 9 volumes of my original work like Brion is doing now. You think there isn't some things he regrets in his stories? However, he kept pushing forward and is able to live his dreams now. I don't know a single artists who thinks their artwork is perfect! I was foolish to believe that i would obtain perfection so I should keep starting over. Embrace your flaws. Learn from them and continue to improve as you go along. It's what makes a lot fans become fans as they get to grow along side you. 

   Those are the 4 main reasons I'm not as big as i could have been. NOTICE. Please take notice not one of these reasons involved MY RACE. If you're looking for me to push the "black narrative", I will never do that as most of it wants us to stay in a victim mentality. THERE IS NO REASON YOU CAN'T SUCCEED. Just because others might not give you the opportunities you want doesn't mean you don't or won't get the opportunities! Especially in this day and age where you can crowdfund, do patron, and contact many independent publishers to get your work out there. You are just as smart. Just as capable and just as talented to forge your own way. I hope this was helpful in some sort of way. I'm know people are probably thinking "Man, he acts like he just a royal fuck up!"...not so fast. Heh Heh. I have done some good that helped neutralize these problems and even put me ahead of people that are my age. However, I'll leave the ball stroking for another blog.

I F*CKED MY LIFE (PART 1)

    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.

2. NOT USING MONEY WISELY
   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.

TO BE CONTINUED

WHAT THE HELL IS DPI and how does it f*ck up things!

Just imagine you are creating a beautiful piece of digital artwork and want to sell it at a convention. You upload it to vistaprint or cafe press or whichever online printer and eagerly wait for you work to come in the mail. Finally, the big day comes and you have your awesome piece of work you spent hours and hours on. You open the package and...WTF!? YOUR PICTURE IS BLURRY AS CRAP! You could have sworn your image size was correct for the print. So what the hell went wrong? 

Glad you asked! It's probably because of one reason. You didn't check your DPI settings! What is that you ask? Glad you asked. D.P.I. stands for dots per inches. This means for every inch on your computer monitor, there is a number of pixels or dots presented in the image on the screen. This might explain it better:

Each line between the inch represents 1dpi.

Each line between the inch
represents 1dpi.

As you can see between the inch, there are lines. Each line would be a representation of 1 dpi. So for the ruler above, this would be 25dpi at the top and 16dpi at the bottom. THESE ARE GOD AWFUL DPI SETTINGS by the way. Don't EVER make an image this small.

Even though you can make your DPI any amount, there are 2 common ones that you need to know about. 72dpi and 300dpi. 72dpi is small and great for saving file size. They are usually the images that you would post online or if you ever right clicked and download an image off a website, this is usually the size they are. However, these are NOT to be used for printing. 

See the images above? The one on the left is 72dpi. Would you want to use that as your print? OH COURSE NOT! You need the image to your right! That is 300dpi. This is the preferred dpi for all printers and the safest one to use to get a clear image. Now, you can go above 300 dpi, but the human eye won't really know the difference. It'll still look just as clear and at that point, you're just making your files bigger for no reason. 

So now that you know, you won't have any problems getting your clear prints back. Now go! GO MAKE MORE ART! Do my bidding!! MUaauahahahahuauahaahaha.a....--cough-cough-

 

So You're Gearing Up to Sell @ a Convention!? WONDERFUL! PT.1

Oh, boy! You've gotten your art together and/or your original manga series! Now, it's time to take yourself to the next level and ACTUALLY MAKE SOME MONEY!!!! I've done this convention thing a couple of times myself. I've done otakon twice, awesome con, baltimore comic con, and even faerie con.

IT IS EXTREMELY FUN challenging yourself to sell products and meeting so many new people. However, it is EXTREMELY DIFFICULT TO GET ATTENTION AND SALES. This entry should give you a couple of things to think about as you pave the road which will be a full fledged art career. 

1. PACK YOUR STUFF AWAY THE NIGHT BEFORE
Trust me! Get all your products and signs together the NIGHT before! The next morning you will be running around, trying to get showers, eat breakfasts, getting gas, and doing other things. The last thing you want is to get to your venue and then realize you left your major product at home. At least move all of your stuff next to your door. Some things to check off your list; change (some $1s, $5s, and coins), credit card reader for your phone (SO IMPORTANT!!), tape, your charger, receipt book, paper clips, and other things.

2. GET YOUR TABLE ASAP!!
Those tables go by extremely quick! Every aspiring artist and their moma wants a table at the conventions! This is even more important if you are going to a smaller convention like Faerie Con or something. The smaller conventions have lower priced tables. The lower the price, the quicker it will go!

3. GO IMMEDIATELY TO YOUR TABLE!
You need to get to your table immediately! Start setting up so you know exactly how you want to present everything. There is nothing more unprofessional than people waiting for you to get your shit together and you telling them to hold on you'll be done in a minute. If you have extra time, check your supplies. There are some supplies you might not have thought about. Take this time to also see who is around you and build friends. They may be able to help you when you're missing supplies in the heat of battle such as pens or tape or anything.   

4. GO DEALER'S ROOM INSTEAD
If you have a good amount of artwork, you might want to set up in the Dealer's Room instead. People generally see the artist alley as a bunch of amateurs. The Dealer's Room is filled with industry professionals so people tend to see it as more of a professional setting. Having your work there instead subconsciously will make you seem more professional. This leads me to #5.

5. TALK TO EVERYONE!!!!
You never know what kind of valuable information you will get from other people or what kind of new friends you'll meet! Whether your near your table, walking around, or taking a piss (well maybe not the bathroom) TALK TO EVERYONE!! I can't tell you how many people I talked to and mentioned my table who became customers for me. Don't be afraid to speak with people!! The industry professionals actually are very friendly (which is why you might want to get into the dealer's room instead).

10665170_838174846192605_238932256645175116_n.jpg

6. STOCK SMALL
This is a mistake that I made the 1st convention at Otakon. My thinking was "if there are over 30,000 people here! Surely pushing 200 copies of my original manga wouldn't be a problem!"WRONG. WRONG WRONG WRONG. It's going to take more than pretty artwork to make people stop and even look at your stuff or even buy it! So it's best to think small. Our next outing, we only brought 30 copies of the manga AND THEY SOLD OUT! You know how good it makes you feel when you get to tell people it's SOLD OUT! It triggers in their mind that they missed out on something extremely popular which leads me to my last point for this entry....

7. HAVE A FOLLOW UP
You sold out of our main product!?! WONDERFUL! But you still got more con LEFT! People are going to still want your products or want to stay connected for your future products. YOU'RE GOING TO WANT THIS AS WELL!! So, make sure you have business cards with your e-mail, a website, amazon store, twitter, instagram...ANYTHING THAT CAN LINK THEM TO YOU!! This simple fact is one that I ignored so many times and then I would wonder like a dumb ass why I wasn't getting any traction from all the work I was doing. You need a follow up so you can stay fresh in people's mind. 

There are even more tips I want to give, but this is getting kind of long!! lol I will be making another list of tips shortly to go with this one so comeback shortly!
-Frae