The more time I've spent drawing for money (that's the dream, right?) the less time I've had to draw for myself. Associating sitting down with pens and pencils has become tied to deadlines, promotion, marketing, profits, gimmicks, and a lot of looking outward for approval instead of inward for inspiration. I'm grateful for all the work I've been able to make for money, though. Each piece has either taught me something or improved my drawing technique a little. A lot of times freelance work forces me to push my own creative boundaries.
At the end of last year, right after the election, I realized sitting in my studio plotting ways to monetize my art was not what I wanted to be doing with my life. The comics I had planned and scripts saved on my laptop seemed irrelevant. I had no desire to start political cartooning. No desire to have my own fresh take on horrible events or to defend myself online to anonymous abuse.
So inspired by my sister's new teaching job and degree, I decided to apply to grad school to become an art teacher. Instead of relating to adults with static digital imagery (does art even exist offline anymore?) I could try to help the post-Trump generations become creative, critical thinkers. Maybe even move to a Red state to do it. Probably not.
As most of you know I taught ESL for 5 years in Japan and really loved it. There was always something missing there, though. The students were great but that could never be my career. I am embarrassed by how long it has taken me to connect the dots and put together teaching and art. I was always told public school art teacher is an impossible job to land. Only one art teacher per school, if that. But compared to making a living as a freelance illustrator / Uber driver, I'm sure it's not that hard.
I was accepted into Portland State's graduate teaching program and will begin classes and student teaching in the summer. I'm excited to renew my enthusiasm for all kinds of art through the process of teaching. Using real paints and brushes and not thinking about time vs. profit feels like a real luxury right now. Then there are the summers off and time to keep growing as an artist myself (and sleep in so much).
So, all this is to say I'm going to shut down the ol' Patreon account. The goals I had when I started it are no longer in the front of my mind. The big long comic still exists, and will keep growing and maybe someday see the light of day, but I'm not going to push it out prematurely for profit or exposure. I will still be taking commissions though because how the hell else am I gunna pay for all this grad school? So paper doll your mom for mother's day and pet portrait your pet for its birthday. If you don't want to delete your pledge I will close this account down in June once school starts. Thank you all so much for the financial help over the last year. I don't deserve it but I appreciate it.