That is what book three, four, and five all are, passion projects. I’m doing them more for me than for a target audience. It’s me flexing to show what I can do. And, if we’re being totally honest, the motivation behind books one and two are the same. These were made with great love and care. Firstly, to validate myself as an artist. Secondly, to set me free from the rat race and hurl me into a strata that would allow me to just plug away on art.
Well, guess what. Turns out the world doesn’t quiet work like that.
Been taking inventory of what I have done and what needs doing for book three. There’s still a lot of work there. I don’t know what part of me insists on some of the pieces being so huge, but there’s that part. It’s probably pride. Maybe with a dash of perfectionism. Probably both. Whatever the case may be, it’ll be more time. And a healthy amount.
I’ll be posting works in progress soon… They’re big pics.
As though I don’t have enough goddammed unfinished projects, I’ve been toying with the idea of making another easier smaller kids book for ages 3-7 maybe. One that deals less with overly cumbersome illustrations and poetry and more with the basics: letters, numbers, and shapes. And a second one on hygiene.
The logic goes, if I’m gonna self indulge on an overly crafted book for my pride, it’d probably be a good idea to put something out that’s more practical. That people and kids can use. And, on my side, get me refreshed and warmed up again on the designing aspect of book making.
No promises, mind ye. I’m way over stretched as is. I’ve gotta make sure I have a handle on the rest of business making. It can’t all be about making products. Gotta make a fan base, gotta advertise, gotta meet and greet. Gotta sell, sale, sail!
I can’t tell how much effort is to too much. The hazard there is burnout. I can’t tell how much is too little. The hazard being laziness. So I’m milling around somewhere in between. If I hazard a guess, it’s somewhere towards the lazy end of the spectrum. Of course, I’m known to be a cruel taskmaster to myself. Never enough never good enough. But when I pull my head out of my ass, I remember to keep things level.
Progress is still being made but there is a part of me that screams better, faster harder, more! I hate that part. I betcha it’s the neurotic part. That part is a mean sonofabitch.
Even after all that mental horseshit. Things are plugging along. The book as it is now, book 3 of illustrations and poems, is finished in a whole bunch of aspects. Those big pieces are gonna keep me busy, though. Estimates have me working on these for the rest of the year. But those estimates are real hard to measure.
Speaking of things I don’t know. Shows in the fall, will any be open? This covid stuff has been mean to everyone. Peering into a crystal ball and trying to read the future feels like folly. Who wants to recklessly wager a couple grand they cant afford on a show with low to no people. People who have already been hit hard financially by this whole thing.
I’m gonna sigh up anyhow. At least I can say I’m trying. San Fransisco in late September, Portland early November. A couple of smaller publisher showcases. More about that later.
So I guess until all this dithering settles, I’m best to focus on the things at hand. Book stuff in particular. I’ve got large paintings to fret over. Business stuff to attend to. A hard drive crash has robbed me of subject matter, thats a bother. A whole bunch of wriggly-piggly life tasks to wrestle with.And to top it all off, I’m pondering making a couple of smaller simpler books.
So the plate is full and ever filling.
In my humble opinion, probably the biggest and best means to build a business nowadays is to assemble the audience first then make a product. Me, I have the products first and an audience of two.
Hi, mom! Hi, Rachael!
Building an audience takes time and effort. If I recall correctly, it’s about two years before there is a consistent revenue stream; about four to five for a livable wage. Expect about a decade for oneself to get a reliable audience with which to draw a healthy income. Results may vary on a ton of factors. Work ethic, competition, how hungry the audience is for you product, advertising, luck, you name it.
I have an income. It ain’t much but it covers food and rent. This art project I’m working on. Well, I expect that to be a drain on income, too. Luckily, years and years of living as a starving artist has left me fiscally efficient with what dollars I come by. As responsible as a squirrel prepping for winter.
Things I’m a little less prepared for are recognizing opportunities… Risks, too.
First things first. Let’s establish a presence. I’m planning on about six months to get into fighting shape. In the mean time, practice will be done in all elements of the game; drawing from reference exercises, without reference exercises, color theory, composition, medium, etc. Writing, too.
It’s a lot and I do wonder if I’m up to the task. Let’s be honest. I’m scared. Fuck if I know what I’m doing. Fuck me if I haven’t been here before. Fuck me harder if I haven’t failed, quit, or been cheated, etc. Is this just part of my larger shittier cycle? Is doom peeking out at me from behind a corner waiting for just the right moment? Paranoia?
Whatever it is, I keep coming back. And at my advanced age, when measuring effort v payoff, I seriously doubt other options will be more fulfilling than this endeavor. I’m nigh certain all my chips on on this waiger. Lord knows, I’m putting in the work.
Which, when you think about it, is a huge risk.