The Freelancer’s Folly

I‘ve been freelancing full time for seven months at this point and things have been progressing well even with bumps in the road here and there. I’ve done some great art for some excellent clients and some way or another I’ve made the rent every month; I’ve got nothing to complain about on that end.

However, recently I’ve been dealing with a lot of people contending that what I do isn’t a real job, isn’t worth as much to society as what the next person does, and it’s frustrating that this outdated, outmoded viewpoint on artists still exists in today’s world. While I was working for my previous jobs, going in nine-to-five and running the ratrace with a nice title like “Marketing Director” it was much easier for people to think what I did was a real job for adults but now that I’m on my own, hustling and working a hundred times harder to reach the same level of success without a cushy office title to fall back on it’s entirely different.

This is something that all artists deal with in one way or another. Sometimes their friends, sometimes their families, and more often than not prospective clients all take their turns taking potshots at the validity of their career choice and it can definitely take the wind out of your sails. Hell, I thought that I’d heard the last of this when I was in college from friends I had back in high school but it still rears it’s ugly head from time to time.

At the end of the day though, as someone on Twitter pointed out to me (shout outs to Dude2o!) this is born of an inherent jealousy. Turns out maybe your mom was right about all those other kids just being jealous – our career field has flexible work hours, self-motivated upward trajectory and to top it all off JOB SATISFACTION! That’s what’s missing in most peoples nine-to-five and that’s what sets people off on their insular little journey to sink your dreamboat.

We’re all just trying to keep a roof over our heads and the lights on. There’s no motivation to throw stones at one another that goes beyond the petty. The plumber, the gas station attendant, the artist, the lawyer, the doctor, the football playing king in space – without each and every one of these jobs and millions of others our society would be missing one of the key components that keep us all running the aforementioned ratrace. What we really should be doing is appreciating the hard work that goes into every job and the passion of the people behind them regardless of if it’s glamorous or if it’s a standard nine-to-five. We’d all be a lot happier in our own lane if we weren’t always trying to sabotage the next one.

I just thought I’d post these thoughts along with a nice collection of newer art pieces here to let you know that I’m still on my journey toward becoming an artist worth his salt and that there’s still some cool stuff coming from my janky old brain in the meantime. I’ll be back in half a year with another blog!

Adventures in Freelancing

Thanks to some corporate downsizing I was recently let go from my full time 9-to-5 job. It’s crazy how quickly you’ll gain the nerve to go full freelance when you have absolutely no choice in the matter hahaha. The craziest part about all of this is that I feel way better standing on my own two feet and working out of my own home than I have at any other point in my art career! There’s something very legitimizing as an artist to make a living entirely on your creative work without all the corporate BS taking up most of your time.

 

The flipside to this is that now I’m dependent on people either commissioning me for one-off work or contracting me for more longterm or ongoing creative work. This is where you come in, beautiful and intelligent reader! The chart above is my commission prices for one-off pieces but I’m available for ongoing creative work for different rates or even a percentage of profits if you’re producing something to sell – just contact me at pennington.jeff@gmail.com or on Twitter @_jeffpennington to discuss working together!

I have to admit, I have been relying on the kindness of strangers (and not-so-strangers) who love my work, my podcasts, my art, or my Twitter presence to commission me to keep me afloat. I can’t thank everyone who has commissioned me lately, or in the past, enough. You’re the reason why I’m enjoying my professional life so much these days for the first time in my career. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

Here’s some examples in a nice lil’ gallery of the commissions I’ve done thus far to finish out this mushy old blog:

  • Jeff Pennington

Comics, Commissions and Commiserations

With anything an artist sets out to do there’s going to be roadblocks. My main roadblock is my 9 to 5, which has little to do with art but thankfully has something to do with it or I’d have long since been living out of a knapsack and riding the rails with my fellow early 1900’s stereotypical hobos. 9 to 5 jobs are great for stable income but not so good for following your dreams.

I’ll include a couple of the pieces I’ve done at my day job without the logos here for posterity. Aaaanyway – I’m hoping to actually buckle down and do some comics from time to time amidst my commissioned work (which will be open for purchasing new pieces very soon) and my work-work. These will (hopefully) range from really simple gags to something more story-heavy and ongoing but we’ll see how that goes. I’ve been playing a lot of Mario Odyssey recently and this comic is the first to come plopping out of my brain afterwards:

Why isn’t Luigi in Super Mario Odyssey anyway?

I’m looking to put more effort into my future comics, gag or otherwise, since this one was made during my breaks at work over a day – about 45 minutes of work total from beginning to end.

Speaking of commissions! Keep your eyes peeled on my Twitter for the initial announcement and then following suit I’ll post a blog here with that info. Prices will be a little higher than last time due to the increase in demand and the fact I found out I was gettin’ kinda shafted but they won’t be changed much at all. Like always, I can draw whatever you want and I guarantee I’ll get it back to you ready to go within a week. This time I’ll even have an expanded list of the type of things I can do for you – which is exciting right?

Just contact me via e-mail at pennington.jeff@gmail.com or on twitter @_JeffPennington and we can discuss what you want, pricing, and the whole nine yards for commission work. I’m also available for ongoing projects, large workloads and contract work! Those prices will certainly be different than commissions, so shout at me.

As always, this blog will make me look like a giant ass in a month’s time, but these are my plans and I’m excited for them! I’ll also be doing a pretty huge revamp of my portfolio on this site in the coming weeks so please keep an eye on it. All of this work that’s currently being displayed is actually quite old so I’ve gotten a lot better since this. I hope.

Thanks for reading this very important update and give me your money for my art please, thank you.

Also tune in to M-Class Podcast, which is still going strong!

 

The March Towards Mediocrity

I‘ve never been the best at keeping to a timeline and the gap between my first post and this one is a good showcase of that. I just didn’t want to post here without having something specific to talk about and I feel like I kinda do now.

I’ve been making art for over 25 years at this point, having started as a little guy, and I always wondered exactly when I’d stop feeling like a mediocre wannabe artist and finally feel like an actual creator – a real life artist. After twenty five years of working on my craft either unskillfully swiping at the phantoms of the images I see in my head or actively training myself with techniques that actually do something to better an artist I’ve come to one painfully inescapable conclusion to that question – never.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, mind you and I’m not the only one who feels that way. As a matter of fact it seems like every artist I personally love that I get any one-on-one interaction with will admit to feeling like a bit of a phony calling themselves an artist. Whether it be a societal thing, or upbringing, or maybe just something intrinsic in creative people, I’ll never know, but we all seem to think we’re pretending to be great artists. That’s a bit frustrating to non-artists I hear.

Really, the crux of the problem starts as a kid I think. You spend a lot of time trying to get good and have the roadblock of starting at zero. So you try to get better. You don’t even consider yourself a student of art at that point, that comes later. And when it does come, that’s where we get stuck. You should always consider yourself a student – always learning new things and striving to become better – but we never allow ourselves to gain that new title we wanted – artist. Not really, anyway. People on the outside call us artists, creators, musicians, whatever else. But we don’t feel that way about ourselves. I certainly don’t feel that way.

I think the purpose of this post is just to remind myself, and other artists or creators who may be feeling similarly, that being your own toughest critic only helps you as a creator if you actively try to work on fixing those gaps you point out to yourself. You can never be an artist if you don’t allow yourself to be. If you don’t believe you’re one, why should anyone else? I spend a lot of time beating myself up over my perceived lack of ability and not enough time working on bringing that level of skill up to where I’ll be satisfied. Although, I’ll never be satisfied. Imagine that kind of frustration non-creator friends.

In news: I’ve picked up an Instagram page where I’ll be posting some behind-the-scenes sketches, doodles, and ideas as well as some candid photos and the like if anyone on the face of the planet would be interested in that. You can find me at instagram.com/heresjeff/?hl=en

 

 

Brave New World

My website has been pretty inactive for the past year or so as I’ve settled into my position as marketing director at Shield Construction but all that’s about to change. I’m going to start using this blog as a way to get my art and my thoughts out there instead of relying on Twitter and Tumblr to do it. Hopefully that way I can draw some attention to this site and away from places where you can see me using a lot of bad language and crass humor.

Right now I’m focusing a lot of time and effort onto the podcasts I co-host. Everyone on Earth has a podcast at this point, right? Might as well have two to make myself feel special.

M-Class Podcast is a Star Trek podcast starring myself and Josh Henderson of Continue? fame. We sit down and discuss a piece of Star Trek media from top to bottom with lots of toilet humor and insight.

Rider Club Radio is a tokusatsu podcast focusing on Kamen Rider specifically but we end up talking about a ton of other toku as well. It’s a weekly podcast where we discuss the newest episode of Kamen Rider and whatever else we feel like with a lot of toilet humor and insight. Notice a pattern?

I’ll have to update this website a bit more as time goes on, but for now you can keep up with me on twitter @_JeffPennington or on tumblr under the username JeffPennington.