Monday, 12 October 2020
Artist and writer Tom Scioli (whose 'Jack Kirby - The Epic Life of the King of Comics' is out now!) has started a "Jacktober" variation on Inktober, with a new Jack Kirby drawing challenge every day. Lots of different artists, pro and amateur are joining in. A welcome diversion from the Covidcoaster. Click the hashtag #Jacktober to see all the efforts. Here are a few of mine....
For more see Twitter!
Friday, 28 August 2020
The "Anthological" and "Supercharge" comics by Mighty Good Friends are now out there in the real world. I coloured, formatted and lettered both of them, and designed a few of the logos. Thanks to Tim Pervious for sending me my comp copies!
Monday, 29 June 2020
- Go in with your eyes open, if you sign a contract, read it, make sure you know exactly what it is you are agreeing to. Even if you consider the person you are dealing with a friend closer than a brother, even if it is your brother, even if it’s your twin brother who pulled you from an icy lake when you were 6 and saved your life, get it all in writing. It’s like a pre-nup, it’s not very romantic, you might never need it, but it saves an awful lot of heartache if things do go wrong.
- Don’t lose sight of why you got into this world in the first place, you had an idea you were proud of, that you believed in, that excited you, don’t let someone else change it, exploit it or steal it just to make themselves some money. You will never make art that makes souls sing if you make it to get rich. You probably won’t get rich either. So go have some fun and instead of trying to make money, try to make something amazing.
Monday, 30 March 2020
Wednesday, 26 February 2020
Wednesday, 15 January 2020
I've been full-time Freelance now for 6 years. I do all sorts of nonsense, I work as a writer, artist, poet, comic colourist and letterer. I also give talks, readings and workshops at comic & literary conventions. I've written, illustrated and edited novels, comics, children's books, poetry, screenplays, book & album covers, wedding vows and eulogies.
It has many benefits, I have easily the best boss in the world, he's just a fantastic human being. Not only is he generous, warm hearted, kind, witty, handsome and the very picture of sartorial elegance, he let's me have days off whenever I want for the most frivolous of reasons. On the downside, the pay is sometimes appalling, the working conditions are cramped and my boss, for all his wonderful qualities, can also be a bit of an idiot, he lacks the material drive to really make money, often taking on low paid jobs because they "look like fun".
Like anything though, Freelancing has pros and cons, and on balance I enjoy a lot of the freedoms, both personally and artistically, that it affords me. I work longer hours and a lot harder than I ever did in more conventional jobs, but I'm happier, and you can't put a price on happiness, although it turns out the going rate for my happiness is often less than minimum wage.
I've got a lot better over the six years. I invoice people now, instead of just expecting them to remember to pay me. I get everything clearly in writing and agreed before starting any gig. I keep everything. I'm much more professional and only occasionally use words like "dude" and "matey" when addressing new clients. All these things make my life as a Freelancer easier.
The one thing that contributes most significantly to the difficulties of being Freelance is simple -
People. Don't. Always. Pay. You.
You agree a price, you do the work, they don't pay you. Not because of the quality of the work, they just disappear, avoid contact, never explain, never pay. It's more frustrating than trying to explain WhatsApp to a pensioner.
I'm not talking about one or twice a year, I have a spreadsheet now with over 50 unpaid jobs. And it's not just me, speaking to other Freelancers, many who are well known and successful, it's terrifyingly common to spend your time, blood, sweat and tears on a job, complete it, and then never get paid. It's slightly less common when working for larger clients and established companies, but it still happens with alarming regularity. Sometimes it's for work that the client never sees, sometimes they take the work and run, but it's common, it's regular and it's wrong.
So my spreadsheet of shame. It actually has 46 names on it, for 50 unpaid jobs, a few of them I actually did more work for before they paid me for the first jobs. I don't do that anymore. Should I name and shame? If it was a faceless company or corporation, I would, but these are people, and I worry they could have had technical problems, personal tragedy, or financial ruin, or worse. For all I know, some of them died while I was working for them, for many clients all I have is an email. So every 6 months I email everyone on the list, and I remind them what they owe me. Sometimes it works, so I keep at it.
Friends and fellow freelancers advise me to name and shame.
The oldest entry on my list is a job I did for a man I'm going to call James White, because that's his name, and his email that I've been sending 6 monthly reminders to since march 2016 is email@example.com. If anyone else fancies reminding James that he owes me money, please feel free. If you know James, show him this blog entry.
James, if you're reading this, I apologise if you’re dead, but otherwise, can you please pay me?
If you're reading this and you haven't paid me for work. I'm declaring an amnesty. Get in touch, either to pay me or to at least tell me what happened? I'd consider accepting a token payment if you have a genuine reason, actually I've already considered it, I'd definitely accept it, I'd bite your hand off. I have bills to pay and my daughter is getting married in 3 weeks. Talk to me.
If you're too shy, too ashamed or just too scared, then you can get me off your conscience by paying me here, now, think how much better you'll feel and I'll stop sending you those 6 monthly emails.
You can send me money at - Paypal.me/payrussp
Communication, open and honest, it's the best way to resolve these things. I'm a pretty reasonable guy, gullible even, just get in touch and talk to me.
And I should add, the majority of my clients are great, they pay me, some I consider my friends. So it's not all bad, but overall non-payment is a blight on the Freelance industry in general. Get everything in writing, agree amounts and get proper contact details before you do anything.
I am, of course, also open for any and all new work offers, convention appearances, weddings and bar mitzvahs. See examples below. Just not if you're still on the spreadsheet of shame.
John Watson's blog on "When collectors don't pay for commissions"
Writing Doozy's "12 Steps to Take If Your Freelance Client Doesn’t Pay You"
Russell Payne Work Examples-