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-

 

Gearing Up For Selling @ a Con pt 2

Couple of days ago, I was giving you some tips to help you as you go along your journey to making a living off your artwork. I still have more tips to hit you with, so let's get back into it!!

8. DOUBLE UP ON YOUR SMALLER ITEMS
Stickers, buttons, pins, and bookmarks will sell like hot cakes because they are cheap to produce and are inexpensive to the customer (usually no more than a buck! Sometimes 2 for a buck). Double your supply of these because those dollars that you get for these will add up quick. THESE SMALL ITEMS ARE THINGS YOU DO NOT WANT TO SELL OUT OF. PERIOD.

9. GIVE THAT FREE SH*T
You need to have a plethora of free items where they can just walk by and take it. People will blow by you constantly whether they are rushing to catch that cosplayer for a picture, going to an event, or just walking through. They may not buy from you the first day, but people will definitely take anything that is free. In fact, a lot will quietly walk up to your table, take the free stuff, and then scurry off without engaging you. It happens, but they will check you out later so it's all good. The two staples are flyers and business cards, but be creative! If you can make little origami figures or small prints or balloons or anything like that, DO IT! Just make sure you have your information of it somewhere (an instagram, a facebook, preferably a website).

10. DO LIKE POWERLINE'S SONG SAYS
STAND OUT!! ABOVE THE CROWD! You need to make your pressence known! Our first year, my friend brought his DJ equipment and did a live gig at our table while we sold items. We had people coming up to us every 5 minutes on the first day just to be there and dance. Many people became customers that first day. Well imagine the shock when we noticed that the following day, there were other people playing music from radios. Flash foreward to the next year and there were a couple of people who had TURNTABLES THEMSELVES. My suggestion on this is tread lightly with neutral music (no hardcore rap or loud heavy metal) and start on the lower side volume wise. You can't go wrong with techno, video game music, and definitely anime themes. Luckily, we played the right mix of things that the security even told us to turn our music up some! Other ideas to help you stand out are raffles where you give away some of your products, live acoustic show, mystery boxes...the possibility are endless!!

We needed one table just for his gear. 

We needed one table just for his gear. 

11. WHEN IN DOUBT, FAN BOY (OR GIRL) IT OUT
There is a debate about whether people should do fanart or not. MY ANSWER. YES! YES! and more YES! Look! It's HARD to come in as a newbie with no fanbase and then try to sell your original product. Not that it can't be done. It's just harder and you'll hurt your pockets way more. People will be more likely to drop 10 bucks on your original 6-7 hour poster of All Might vs Broli then 10 bucks on that completely new manga that no one has a clue about. The appeal of fanart is that they WANT THAT ORIGINAL ONE OF A KIND ARTWORK OF THEIR FAVORITE CHARACTERS. They could go into wal-mart and get the Avenger's poster or they can get this original sick art of The Avenger's taking on Bleach Shinigami's. So, while I will never say fill your whole stock with fanart, a couple of pieces will go a long way for your sales.

12. RELAX AND ENJOY YOURSELF
One thing people will do is get so wrapped up on sales and making their money back, they won't enjoy the actual experience. YOU'RE GONNA TAKE A HIT IN YOUR WALLET NO MATTER WHAT. It's rare for people to get out there and just sell out their whole inventory even for some of the artists who are already established as well. So just have fun above all! Make friends. Stop people just for cosplay pictures! It doesn't have to be for a sale (though it might lead to one). Also, the more fun you're having at your table, the more people want to be a part of that fun (hence why playing music works so well).

I think this is all I have for you for now! I might do a part three if I think of anything else. lol. Whather this was helpful or not, DO NOT STOP GOING FOR YOUR DREAMS! I've seen countless people give up because it didn't go so well their first outting. Especially, my people who want to do manga style art. THIS APPLIES TO EVERYONE THOUGH!! DOING POORLY DOESN'T MEAN YOU GO HOME WITH YOUR TAILS BETWEEN YOUR LEGS AND CRY YOURSELF TO SLEEP IN A FETAL POSITION. You access and restrategize for next year.

Oh! That's another tip!! Every night after the convention, I would jot down notes about the progress of the day - good or bad, things that I noticed, connections I made, anything that had an impact on the day! Then, I would take all my notes and talk to my team and go over our failures, successes and ways to do even better next time.  

GOOD LUCK EVERYONE! Thanks for reading all of this and come back for more interesting blogs and read my series Endlocke that is on this site too.