Fair enough. I assume you mean when I started Dresden Codak? I’ll break down the honest-to-goodness process of the early comics:
- Draw comics in mechanical pencil on the back of my statistics homework (never turned in) and then ink on top of that with a micron pen.
- Sneak into the Honors College study room (from which I was expelled for poor grades) and use their scanner.
- Use a mouse and a bootleg copy of Photoshop 7 to color the pages.
- Upload it to my site, which at the time was flat HTML that I’d written from scratch.
And that’s it!
reblogging this for the reminder that grades and a college degree are by no means the be-all end-all of life.
There’s some truth to this. I’d like to share some further biographical information:
I’m a college dropout. In 2006 I left school after a little over four years because I kept changing majors (physics, anthropology, computer science, then art) and it had reached a point where it was difficult for me to afford to keep going to school (I was paying my own way with various jobs).
The reason I had kept changing majors was because I was terrified that I’d picked the “wrong” career, with most of those academic decisions based around what careers seemed prestigious. I wanted to be an engineer because I liked the idea of being an engineer, then a programmer because I liked the idea of being a programmer, but I was never happy doing any of these things, and it showed. I’d always been groomed to be a good student, and for most of my career I was good at doing what I was told.
I’d always been creative, doing little projects on the side. I wrote a sci-fi novel when I was 19 (never shared it), some poems in physics class, and even some fake news stories about Popeye before I was kicked off the university paper. I also made films with friends for many years. I was told these were “good hobbies,” that once I became a respected and financially stable engineer/programmer/scientist, that I could then do what made me happy on the side. A nervous breakdown during my college career, however, made it clear that “waiting to be happy” was a psychologically unstable strategy. I couldn’t wait for someone else to grant me permission to do what I wanted with my life.
So, in 2005, during a statistics class that I would eventually fail, I started drawing Dresden Codak. I hadn’t seriously drawn in many years, but it’s something you don’t totally lose. They were pretty bad drawings, but I didn’t care. I enjoyed it and decided that doing what I really liked to do now was better than hoping I could do it later. I wasn’t looking for a career at the time, I just realized how much I loved making comics and knew that I should do whatever I could to keep making them. It took about a year for me to decided that being a cartoonist was what I really wanted. I changed my major to art briefly, but eventually accepted that paying for a degree wasn’t something that was going to help me at that point.
After that, in 2006, I took a chance and dropped out. I worked an office job full time during the day while drawing Dresden Codak full time at night. I slept about 3 hours a night, but it didn’t matter. I was doing what I wanted, and it kept me going. Then, toward the end of 2007 I found out, through Topatoco, that I had enough readers to justify selling some merchandise. To my genuine surprise, as soon as we put the store up, I was making more money than my office job (which I promptly quit). From there I packed up, moved out of Alabama and never looked back.
Dresden Codak has been my full-time job ever since. It’s let me travel the country and meet amazing people while making a pretty comfortable living, but most importantly I get to do what I enjoy more than anything else. Ever since, I make all of my life decisions based on maximizing what I really want to do, and so far it’s served me well.
Don’t interpret this as an anti-education/college story or anything like that. I just think often we expect success if we do X, Y and Z, when in reality such a thing can’t be reliably handed to you by an authority. Start doing what you want to do now, because life’s far too short to wait around to be happy.
This weekend I did a stupid and terrible thing. For a full explanation, all you have to do is search for “gunnerkrigg” right here on Tumblr to see that I essentially threw away 8 years or so of work by being an idiot on Twitter. It’s better to leave the description of events to external sources,…
I can’t pretend to know the whole story, this is the first I’m hearing of it, but I will say this:
You went 8 years without fucking up and saying something stupid on the internet, I think that’s a world record. Take the hit, apologize as many times as it takes, and let people take the time to realize you’re not an asshole. Your fans still love you and your work, don’t let one misstep ruin things for your readers and yourself.
There has been a lot of interest in those pantheon guys recently! I’m in the middle of several other projects and it’s not likely this story’s going to find itself made into a proper book any time soon, but I wrote out a few general introductions to these characters.
This story’s been following me around in one form or another since I was about 15, and while it’s extremely close and dear to me, I’m pretty certain that it also retains its heart of a kid’s childish fantasy of flawed gods and celestial war. Is that positive or negative? Don’t answer that question.
Here’s our protagonist:
I’ve been following Yuko’s work for about 10 years and have only seen little bits and pieces of the pantheon. Love seeing real info on stories that have mostly been alluded to.
My favorite nut artisans
It really said “Q’s Nuts”, but I though they were missing out on a golden opportunity.
My super late, non entry for Goblin Week.
Line work done in Manga Studio, and the rest in Photoshop. I’ve always heard people say that inking was so much better in Manga Studio, but was never really sure what they meant. But after trying it, I 100% agree. Not sure what specifically is different, but so far, I really like it.
So, you put your Windows computer to sleep for the night. You come back the next day all eager to wake it up and put it right to work on that thing you’ve been working on and ….
Oh no - you’ve seemed to have lost all pressure sensitivity and high resolution pen tracking! Well, you figure,…
I know there’s a lot more I could have covered but with tumblr’s image limit and my own need to get back on personal projects and packing my room up, I stuck to the ABCs of understanding artists and not being a total douche.
Hope this helps a little.
Reblog for a chance to win a free brush set!
Hello, Digital Artists - my sampler pack has now been updated in my main shop so that it is consistent with my Creative Market offering. This set contains 8 of my best brushes from my larger sets to give people a really good sampling of what my brushes can do. For only $4, you can have 8 powerful natural media brushes: pencil, inks, gouache, watercolor, and oils. These brushes have been changing the way over 8000 digital artists around the world draw and paint - join the crowd!
Thanks for your support, and as always, I will select three random Tumblr users who reblog this post and award them a free set.
And speakin of FREE, remember: I have three fantastic ‘pay what you want’ brushes in the shop right now - Pastel Palooza, Wet & Wild Watercolor, and Mr. Natural (a wonderful inking brush). Check them out!
Happy drawing and happy painting, everybody.