Pen & Ink, Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Various other computer programs
Q. When did you discover that you had a passion for graphic design?
A. Graphic design is just one part of my business, which is called CHEESY GRAPHICS. I'm a trained illustrator with a degree from the Art Inst. of Boston. Drawing comics & illustrations is my main gig, and my #1 passion in Art. I discovered computers in the mid-nineties, and started scanning & manipulating my hand drawn artwork shortly thereafter. Graphic design is sort of a natural outcropping of the knowledge I gained just by messing around with with the various programs I used to color & manipulate my artwork. Now the design stuff pulls in some money for me, and it makes me like one-man art department because I can provide the client with everything they need from hand drawn art to design, layout, and more recently web design.
Q. What is the market like?
A. The comic book market is pretty messed up right now. Especially the undergrounds, which are my niche. The American underground publishers are dwindling rapidly. (Kitchen Sink just went out of business last year, after 30 years of publishing. Luckily, I haven't limited myself to this market, and can bring in money providing a variety of services to my clients, which range from national magazines to local shops & businesses. Every one needs art, right?
Q. What is a typical day at work for you?
A.I log on & drink my coffee while I check my e-mail, send out my world famous Picture of the Day, and update my web site. I try to get all of that taken care of before 9:00 AM, so that I can get a jump on the rest of the world. Then, I sometimes will make a list of "things I have to do today," such as drawing for a client, a new page for my site, phone calls, etc. I work at home, seven days a week, & I love it. My hours can range from four to fifteen per day depending on how much work I have to do, and how much energy I have to put into it.
Q. Do you have a studio or workspace?
A. I have an office in my house which has my computer, scanner, printer, but I draw comics in my living room in front of the TV! I watch (or at least listen to) soap operas, cartoons, videos C-Span, whatever. It helps to keep me from getting bored, which can happen when you work alone all day.
Q. How do you promote, market or publicize your services?
A. Picture of the Day is one way I do this. ( Your readers can read the FAQ for Picture of the Day at my web site.) It keeps my artwork in the face of a couple hundred folks every day. Plus, I do interviews such as this one every chance I get, and I actively search for like minded people on the web to link with & cross-promote with. I hand out business cards to every one I bump into, and I will pass by no opportunity to hype my services to a stranger! I also volunteer for certain causes that I think will help to spread my name around. I'll offer to do all of their layout & design for a certain period of time if I can put my name on all the material I work on. It's one of the best ways to meet new clients & promote myself.
Q. Where do you see yourself in five years?
A. That's a toughie! I'd like to be doing more or less exactly what I am doing right now, but I would like to be making more money at it!
Q. What advice would you give to aspiring graphic designers?
A. I'm not just being coy when I say that I'm truly not in any position to give advice to anyone. My lifestyle is tailor made for me, and wouldn't suit a lot of people. Not much money, not much structure, but loads of freedom.