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The Climb

January 29, 2020: Marcus H. Roberts and I had been talking over our next inspirational article for ICC Magazine. Marcus and I were looking over so many artists at every level of the art of comics, every generation, dealing with a recent period of depression and discouragement. Some talk about giving up, in other cases you see an old artist’s fist rising out of a trash pile with the shout, “I ain’t dead yet!”
I sent out queries to other artists asking them if they’d like to take part in this article, got a few responses. Some of you chose to remain anonymous. Some of you I looked up, anyway, from the comics titles you told me about. I wanted to hear your stories. I wanted you to share your struggle. Being an artist is not generational. It is a time-honored legacy. It’s all about the climb.

Do you get discouraged in your dream to become an Indie comic artist? — Everyone, without fail, said, “Yes.”
Do you wish you had more resources or tutorials to help you become a better comic artist? — All but one said, “Yes”.
Do you feel you have a solid support base, or do you feel all alone? — 80% Response: “OMG, I’m all alone out here!”
Do you think you have it easier or harder than the generations of artists before you? — 90% Response: “Harder.”
Why? — “I think both actually. The internet has made it easier. But now the ocean of indie work all over the planet makes it very difficult to raise awareness especially without money to advertise even on a small level.”

“Because technology has enabled better exposure for my work and for my learning about comics and comics history.”

“Companies don’t seem to be willing to advertise in that format anymore. When I tried to jump start mine by using ads to cover print costs most businesses wanted free advertising even though it was ridiculously affordable. I also offered to advertise that I would come to their business on a Saturday and pass out some free copies and prints to help draw customers to both of us. It was pretty disappointing the way I was treated by many over the whole thing.”

“The older artists were visionaries and set standards. They competed but also allied during certain time frames. Their was no standard in the up & coming but more so a break the standard yet today it appears to be polar opposite. Creating the same stories with different faces and colours cause discouragement due to the comparison aspects that are really not constructive.”

Do you face cultural, racial, sexual orientation or gender bias? — Responses: 5 Cultural, 1 Racial
What personal issues or tragedies are you dealing with that drain your confidence? Can you share?* — “Recovering from pancreatic surgery. Trying to get myself back in order plus focusing on other business ventures.”

“First before this I do not feel I suffer from any bias even as a Hispanic person. I suffer from severe depression. And I also suffered Congestive Heart Failure a couple years ago which turned my life upside down. I have not been the same since. And I feel my work has suffered to some extent. Some days when it’s extremely difficult due to heath reasons I really want to quit.”

“Getting older, my fire isn’t as strong as it once was, and it seems the younger generation is blowing right past me.”

“I broke my drawing wrist a few years ago which hinders drawing at times. I lost all of my grandparents who were some of my biggest supporters. Working and trying to get a degree makes it hard to find time to write and draw.”

“The current generation relies more heavily on tech, rather then skill. I am not so in touch with the tech aspect, and personally use it only when essential.”

“I am a veteran with severe PTSD as my art helps to relieve internal turmoil. I am practically non-employable and being in a household of 6 (ages 3, 4, 12, 14 and my wife) it becomes rather difficult to contribute monetarily. Despite being a writer/artist, some stories should be told visibly with certain art styles. The visual aspect is directly a psychological trigger in accepting a story being told but prices for art, even within the indie realm, are made on a professional scale (i.e. $40-$100 a page). Its understandable on certain levels as the value of one’s work but collaboration is NOT commissioned for hire, its shared creation (Theologically speaking). I have been a visionary since I discovered the writing ability that I had and how well I do this craft (according to an instructor at a University Dr. Glenn Robert Swetman) I was in 10th grade then. Losing family members to age and sickness as well as friends to violence and sickness. A worldly issue by the way. My personal story is of love and loss, passion for the craft and visions for a future, death and destruction as well as pain and suffering. Deception and mistrust with theft accompanying it all. Its deep and it causes me personally to want to quit but I have a story to tell and I refuse to just give up. NOMADS: ‘anytime, anywhere'”

What are two of your proudest achievements to date? — “Working briefly as a storyboard artist and several other positions in the movie business for a few years was super fun and a big achievement for me. The second was the release of the first issue of my series Equinox. That was my first labor of love that I managed to complete and actually feel decent about. Everything has changed since then.”

“Recently having my comic featured on the The Duck Webcomic site. And in connection with that finishing my first 100 pages of said comic, titled Shrouded!”

“I was able to copyright my work. I filed 650 characters, 42 planets, 4 new galaxies I created. I went as far to create a basis for cities on the planets with environments and some basic info. My second would be the first time a kid drew one of my characters. Though I’ve never put any material out yet I do run characters by kids by drawing them on the chalkboard in my wife’s classroom from time to time (she’s a middle school art teacher lol). About the 2nd or 3rd one I drew she messaged me and said she had something for me. That evening she handed me a drawing a kid had done of the character I drew on the chalkboard. I felt like I won the lottery. I had created something that spoke to someone. I personally gave him a signed print of that character and a few others. That was a pretty cool experience.”

“My family, and what pieces of my stories that I do have ready and available.”

“Kickstarter and the new Demon Bitch book.” 😀

Step back, guys, take a look around. Look at how far you’ve come. There’s more to do. Let’s go!

Written by 

Pam Harrison is one of the first and best known CGI artists in Independent Comics. Her work with the historical fiction series House of the Muses earned her the 2008 Prism Comics Queer Press Grant for Outstanding Series, and she continues her storytelling in a gripping sci-fi space opera adventure, A Deviant Mind, that far transcends its original LGBT audience. Her work has also appeared in ALPHABET Anthology, Dark Mischief horror anthology, Voices Against Bullying and more. Her current series is the long-running scifi space opera A Deviant Mind, updating Sunday-Wednesday-Friday on http://adeviantmind.com/

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