Sep 2, 04:04 PM · Conflict of Interests
Here’s the thing…
We had some good Indian food tonight, and on the way home, we decided to hit the bookstore. One would think that you would see me in the graphic novel section, or the writing section, or the graphic design section, but you would be wrong. I always, always, always head right to the computer books, specifically the web techie books.
This really bothers me.
First off, web books are freaking expensive and they are nearly irrelevant in two years. Secondly, why I am trying to force myself to spend time on technology that I don’t even use at work (I’ve had a huge interest in PHP lately now that I have Mac OS X, but we use BEA/JSP tech at work). Thirdly, why the heck am I not getting a comic book?
This drives me batty. Nuts, even. I feel like I have to constantly keep up with stuff that I have a slight interest in, just in case. I am not a web developer, really. I am a web designer, as in I make it look cool, organized and usable, I don’t make it do financial transactions or speak to different interfaces. I make it standard, I mark it up right, I don’t connect it to a database (although I can in a pinch). I honestly do love learning new things, and once you’ve messed around with HTML and web stuff for as long as I have, I think you tend to want to move towards making your sites do more functionally.
However, I keep wondering to myself, why do I keep wanting to learn about this stuff when I barely have time to do comics? I want to do comics, I really do. I’ve taken steps to alleviate some of my web tech jones. I vowed never to buy a tech book unless I really need it, and to use other people’s technology for my own purposes, i.e. my website and this mini-site. So far, that works, because I get to spend more time creating comics. The question still though is, why don’t I spend time/money on comic books, whether for instruction or for studying?
Maybe what it comes down to is that comics don’t make any money for me yet. That pisses me off sometimes, because I’ve turned down freelance design or other projects simply from a lack of time from working on Golden Boy. I know that design can pay. I know that if I learned more web dev skills, I become more marketable, and that means more money. What I don’t know is if comics will pay, and after being unemployed twice in the downturn, I don’t know if I want to run through that anxious uncertainty again. This is the maddening, sob-to-yourself-in-traffic bitch of it all. It makes me so angry. Also, in all honesty, I don’t know for sure how much longer web design is going to be around as it is today. Companies are developing standards-compliant tools that connect to a database with a mouse click, effectively erasing a need to know good code. It makes sense to me to know a little about a lot of this stuff, so far as I know good design.
As far as making a living on comics, well, we’ll just have to see how it all shakes out.
All I know is life without comics is not worth living, to me. So, the rest of it will have to work itself out. If comics has to be a night thing, so be it. But the coolest thing in the world would be to introduce myself as a comics creator. When my friends introduce me to others, that’s what they say.
I still tell people that I am a web designer.
With all the great comments I received from other creators in Chicago, you would think I would feel like one, but I don’t quite. I hope that after I finish Golden Boy, I will.