December 13th, 2007

The Zombie

Would I "draw anything for five bucks?" Hmm...

December 12 -  Still running late.  I have so many little commissions that need to be done before Christmas, and so little time to do them.  I'm not complaining...or, if I were, I'd be complaining about my inability to say "no."  When someone asks me to draw something, I just feel obligated to do it, if I can.  I have refused a few jobs, I suppose.  Most of those were turned down because of time constraints, but I have also refused art work because of degree of difficulty, inappropriate "fit" with my style/experience, and even on moral grounds (you wouldn't believe the stuff that people want to have drawn...I still have nightmares about some of the offers I rejected).  Seldom do I take a pass on a project for monetary reasons.  Money is nice, and I like to get paid, but I'm more concerned that the final product be something in which I might take some pride.  As I've said before, I don't have any kids (at least not yet), so my artwork, as simple and often pathetic as it has been, is as close to a "legacy" as I might leave to the future.  It may be conceited, but I really do imagine some future someone extrapolating my personality and life from something I've created, so I want it all to fit into a sort of set of parameters that I believe define who I am.  Well, they may be less "who I am" than they are "who I want people to think I am."  I guess that's true of all of us, in a way.  When we speak, or otherwise interact, we are attempting to put forth an image of what we'd like people to think about who we are...all the while hoping to conceal some of what we really are.  Of course, even that "hidden self" is open to interpretation, which is probably why we don't want it interpreted.  For example, people might misconstrue my dislike of dogs as a character flaw, when it's really just that I prefer cats to stupid, slobbery, destructive biting-machines.  So (other than here, in the seldom read WOMP-Blog) I keep that opinion to myself, resulting in three dog drawing commissions this week alone.  If I had a business card that said "John Mundt, Esquire - Cartoonist, Dog Hater," I might not have gotten those jobs.  So, my artistic "legacy" will (deceptively?) include numerous depictions of dogs, in spite of who I really am.  Still, I'd rather have a record that includes the occasional dog than some of the bizarre junk that I could have been drawing.  The whole thing reminds me of an early Tim Seeley "appearance" at WizardWorld Chicago.  He and I were booth buddies (I had no need for an entire eight foot table, and he had no means to afford any table, so we split it).  Desperate to attract fan attention and work, he posted a sign (which I still have, somewhere in the vast WOMP vaults) that offered that he would "draw anything for five bucks" (it may have actually been ten or fifteen dollars - I can't remember anymore - but you get the point).  And, oh yes, he got many very, very strange requests...which shall here remain both nameless and left to your own twisted imagination.  He did made a small pile of cash, but, as he showed me a nearly-completed, truly bizarre and disturbing commission from late in the day, he wondered whether he'd sold his soul in the process.  For Tim, though, I'd have to say "no."  He wanted to be that on-the-edge, punk-hipster comic book guy, known for having a wild side.  That's Tim...or the "Tim" that he wanted people to see.  It was one of the tools he used to tell the kinds of stories he wanted to tell, setting people up for the surprise that he is really a thoughtful, hopeless romantic at heart.  But it's not me.  No, money is seldom a problem with my potential commissions, but trying to stay within my carefully crafted "John Mundt, Esquire" parameters can be.  That having been said, once Christmastime passes, and art requests become scarce, I may get Tim's WizardWorld sign out of storage.  Hmm.  Well, here's your Just One NASCAR Legend With The Same Name as a Cowboy Comic Book Character of The Day - Bill Elliott!