At least one day off from the Day Job a week, I pack up the art stuff and set up camp at my favorite coffee shop, Cafe di Luna. There is great coffee, eclectic background music, and the art and books of local creators lining the side tables and walls. (If you’re in Harrisburg, PA, stop in!) I’ve even got a Favorite Cushy Chair, within easy reach of the mobile art kit (and the coffee cup).
There’s a side table by the entrance, where the proprietor (the effervescent Ambreen) allows the aforementioned artists to leave business cards. In a really ballsy move, at risk to my very life, I snuck some of our cards into the mix, in addition to a copy of Issue One. I barely escaped with my life.
One day I was sitting in the FCC, detailing Dr Buzzar’s gills, when Ambreen glanced at my picture, her eyes wide. She ran over to the side table, grabbed the Issue One lying there, and came at me.
I was ready to meet my proverbial maker (a Cartoonist, no doubt) when she handed me a pen and asked for me to autograph Issue One! Eek!
Since then, I have gone from the quiet guy drawing in the corner, to “the guy who does the Amphibimen comic.” The artists, photographers, sculptors, musicians, and sundry creative types have accepted me as part of the group. (Discussing composition with Steve, an excellent photographer, and self-promoting with Loren, a musician/talent promoter/writer, was both informative and FUN!)
It’s a wonderful feeling to have support from fellow artists, especially after years of sitting alone in my room, pencilling frogs. And even when I’m away from my fellow ‘Luna-Tics,’ I’ve developed on line friendships with other cartoonists, writers, and artists, all of whom help to keep the creative juices flowing. (This is where I thank Adam Guringo, Trystan Kurt Nielsen, Matt Herring, and the people at M3, Company Man, Our Friend The Atom Comics, and Three Guys Making Comics.)
I think the point of this is to encourage nascent creative types to network. Even if it’s not with others working in the same genre as yours, just the existence of a support group can really make a difference. This is even more critical if you’re just starting out. Talking with others who have ‘been there, done that’ can help you navigate the rough parts. (And there are ALWAYS rough parts.)
Find your home! A coffee shop, a social network, someplace where you can be you, the Artist. We’re all waiting to see what you come up with!
“J.F.B.” – K. Torp