I’m not sure how long you’ve been following me, but before I was writing books to scare the crap out of you, I was a cartoonist.
Cartooning actually led me back into writing, which is a kind of a cool story.
I started a comic strip back in 1999 or 2000, back in the early early days of online comics, and built a decent following over the years.
I poured my heart into the comic strip, but in order to do so, I had to neglect the writing I’d been doing prior to that. But comics gave me something I’d never had as a writer — an audience. And more importantly, an audience who actually loved what I was creating!
Creatively, it was one of the most thrilling times of my life.
But drawing comics wasn’t paying the bills.
Only a few comics, the big ones like PVP and Penny Arcade were killing it at the time. Most other strips were labors of love. (Not to say the artists of PVP and Penny Arcade didn’t have a love for their art — you don’t last thing long in the business without loving what you’re doing.) But most artists struggled to maintain day jobs and their drawing gigs.
I was working an accounts receivable/ then credit manager job at the time which was sucking my soul dry, and then I’d come home and spend three hours a night drawing a comic. At the height of the comic’s popularity, I think it had around 2,000 daily readers, but it made me practically no money.
A local newspaper found me via the comic strip I was doing and I wound up getting a job at the paper as an editorial cartoonist. And then I landed a reporting gig there, which lasted three years until the housing bubble burst and the paper folded. But during that time, I learned more about writing than I ever did on my own. Writing thousands of words to a deadline has a sink or swim sort of teaching to it.
But working at the paper, and the long hours involved, left me with precious little time to draw. When I lost my job at the paper, the last thing in the world I could justify was drawing comics. I needed to hustle to find work.
So I told myself once I was working steadily, I’d find my way back to drawing.
In 2011, Sean Platt and I began writing serialized fiction and publishing it on Amazon. It was a gamble, as very few people were doing serials at the time (and nobody I know of was doing it like us), but we were able to find and build an audience of people who love our stuff.
I’m now in another of the most creatively thrilling times of my life. And this time, I’m actually making a living at building worlds!
And lately, I’ve been feeling the itch to get back to illustration.
And here’s the main reason…
My son is becoming an avid reader. He loves reading. And I love watching him read — especially when something makes him laugh.
And I sooooo want to make a book he can read.
So I’m going to try and have the best of both worlds — writing my serialized dark fiction, and drawing something my son will read. Given that Sean is also a great children’s writer, you can probably count on us teaming up not just for the scary stuff, but also the stuff you can show your kids.
So as I dip my feet back in the ink, I’ll post stuff here from time to time to share the journey.