Friday, March 9, 2012

A Huge Personal "Thank You"!

Hey, all.

Last Saturday, while still a work day, as been one of self-reflection for me. Exactly one year ago from then, I was informed that I was being let go from my part-time job. After working in an office setting for two years and change, I downgraded to part-time, and worked from home for this company, so that I could pursue art full time simultaneously. It was my stable source of income while I worked to make contacts and get paid work otherwise. The day came that I lost that steady income, and had to rely on my art to propel me forward. That isn't to say that it's impossible to juggle both regular part time jobs and an art career, because plenty of artists have to do it, but the nature of the work I constantly take on are temporary full-time projects. Sketch cards typically have a very short window to work before the deadline arrives, and they don't allow very much downtime, no less time to work a second job. Projects like these are the reason I relied on that job from home to get by financially.

Anyway, March 3rd 2011 came at me, and suddenly, that financial stability was gone. It was a pivotal moment for me, because that was the moment I had to decide how serious I was about this career. I could search for more financial stability, or I could plow even harder through this art stuff as a real job. The consequences were sink or swim if I chose the latter. I posted a journal right here on DeviantArt explaining my situation, and to my great joy, got PUMMELED with commissions. It was an overwhelming experience, to say the least, to see that so many of you believed in me and were willing to help in a time of need. So many of you at that time saw value in my work. A time of fear and uncertainly quickly became a source of strength and encouragement. You guys came to my rescue and renewed my resolve to make this career continue to be a reality. Your commissions payed my bills, but more importantly, your support kept me hungry. I am a better artist today because of you.

Since then, I've had a few big gigs that really helped me get by, but it's you guys who have kept me afloat between each of those bigger jobs. You've bought return cards, bought my self-published book, raised my morale by taking part in my contests, continued to commission me, thrown countless encouraging words at me, and most importantly to me, have become friends. I've said it before, but anytime I feel a sense of achievement in my work, or land a new and exciting gig that not many people can say they've been able to do, I consider them OUR victory, not mine.

So technically I've been freelancing for over a year, but March 3rd 2011 marked the moment I had to look at my work and decide if it was worth the hard journey of making it as an artist in this uncertain economy. I'm still struggling, still working every day, still learning, and still fighting...but I made the first year. I can't tell you what that means to me. It's a scary thing to not know your place in the world, but it's even scarier to know your place but might not be able to have the chance to get to it. Thanks to you guys (and a few lucky breaks), I live to fight another day towards my place in this world, and from the bottom of my heart, I send you guys all my love, gratitude, and best wishes.

If you have a a goal, work towards it until you achieve it. If you get knocked down, see it as an opportunity to take a different approach. If you work hard, are kind to others, and never stop trying, you'll get to where you belong.

All the best,
- Joe

P.S. For anyone interested in commissioning me, I'm absolutely still open. You can see my rates at the following journal.

And I also have a small amount of return cards from my Galaxy 7 cards left.

Thanks for looking!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Baby Leah

Hey, guys!

So these are 9 of the 18 cards I did for a very important art auction. For those of you unfamiliar with Baby Leah, she's a tyke that's been dealt a pretty rough hand, but has been a tough little cookie through it. In addition, there's been a HUGE outpouring all over the world to help Leah's family get through these tough times. To quote Lesley Farquhar's Flickr:

"We call her "Princess Leah". She suffers from a mitochondrial disease that has never been seen before, it took over 8 months to diagnose. She suffers from cataracts, seizures, has difficulty breathing, and spends much of her time sleeping. And yet, Princess Leah captured the hearts of Star Wars fans around the world, who are helping with her struggle to find a cure, and help her to live."

Anyway, I did these 18 sketch cards to hopefully raise a solid amount of green for her. If you want to know more about her and her fight, visit her blog.

For anyone interested in the auction, feel free to contact me, and I'll let you know what details I have!

And just in case you were wondering who any of them were:

Echo, Commander Fox, Boss
Commander Jet, Captain Rex, Commander Gree
501st Trooper, Commander Bly, Senate Shock Trooper

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Constructive Vs. Destructive Criticism

Okay, sorry for not being around the last few weeks -- it's been BUSY! I'm gonna be posting the next few days to make up for it, though!

Anyway, I wanted to bring a great article written by a friend of mine to your attention, because it's something I've been picking up on myself.

Melissa Zayas is one of the most talented individuals I had the pleasure of meeting at the School of Visual Arts. She's a fantastic draftsman (is draftswoman a word?), a wizard with inking, and is some kind of witch when it comes to capturing the essence of specific time periods, because you'd think she lived through them herself. Long story short: Melissa knows her stuff.

She put together this blog post (and I'm gonna say it right now, YES, I am TOTALLY promoting myself because I get a mention in it, but this is a bigger issue than me) about the way people criticize online. Now, I am EXTREMELY fortunate to have so many awesome people following my work. Most of you guys send me lots of awesome positive comments, and those of you that see things worth criticizing ALWAYS do so in a very civilized, respectful, and helpful manner...

But there's always that ONE GUY. You know the one. That one in every 500 comments I receive, the dude who doesn't know how to approach someone to tell them "hey, you drew this leg really weird, here's what you should do." I see this a lot on other people's DA accounts too, and it's the huge problem of anonymity on the internet. People act like pricks because there are no consequences.

ANYWAY, enough from me. Melissa said it a lot better. Go check out her journal and weigh in. While you're there, check out her work and leave her some love. And hey, it's her birthday tomorrow! Wish her a happy one! You can also go see the actual blog post itself here.