The truth is out there....and it is terrorfing.

You cannot win.....SUBMIT OR DIE.

I've just spent the day at the national gallery. The UK's premier gallery of fine art.

I met old friends by Rubens, Rembrandt, Monet and their ilk and it reminded me of a vexing problem.

As of today there are only three (four if you count orbital comics revolving gallery space) which celebrate the work of UK illustrators/comic illustrators/cartoonists.

I find myself asking a very simple question: Why?

Why is it that, to date, there exists no permanent gallery on the scale of any of the major "art" galleries in the UK anywhere in the UK that proudly display and celebrate contemporary illustrators?

(Lets not splitting hairs. Whether you draw comics, cartoons, do concept work for video games/films or storyboard for a living, you ARE an illustrator. So from this point onwards I intend to us the word "illustrator" as an umbrella term. Strength in numbers as it were)

Is it that we English have such little respect-and maybe an unnatural fear-of excellence that our only alternative is to celebrate mediocrity?

Do we judge excellence by what wins x-factor and British got talent? Where is our artistic pride? Are our only successful exports the empty thoughtlessness of Emin and Hurst?

Why not the draftmanship (draftpersonship?) and ability of "illustrators such and Sean Phillips, Posy Simmonds, Quentin Blake(sp?), Bryan Hitch, Simon Bisley, Jim Holdaway, John M Burns, Frank Hampton, Jim Burns, Sarah Mclntrye, Anthony Browne, Alan Davis, Nathan Fox, Beatrix Potter?

Why is this the case?

What is the solution?
It occurs to me that the only way that I can have complete control over my finished novel is to publish it myself. After a long hard think about the difficulties involved with self publishing, I've decided that it's the only avenue available to me.

The notion that will be able to have my well designed, and hopefully, well illustrated/written and designed novel be immediately snapped up by a publisher is a long shot at best and a fantasy at worst.

No, self publishing it is. Understand that this is not a decision I take lightly, as one need only type "self publishing" into their search engine to read about the difficulties involved in such an enterprise. But it has as many benefits as it has hardships.

Christ in heaven i really do enjoy making life difficult for myself don't I?

On another note, I've decided to return to university. What that you heard to cry? Wasn't i sworn off the whole UK art education experience after the debacle that was Southampton Solent university?

Well, just hold your horses for a second and I'll explain.

I'm planning to study for an MA (Master of Arts) degree in illustration. My reasons are both two fold

First, I've had always planned to teach illustration at some point in the future. I've always wanted to pass on my skills and experience to the next generation of British illustrators. To be one of the good guys who shepherd young student illustrator in the direction they want to go and help educated then about the history of their profession. Also I want to remind or rather educate students that working for free or being preyed upon my unscrupulous clients who believe they can with a wink and a smile trick students into believing that in an age of tlumbr, print on demand, blogs and facebook, that producing work for free equals publicity is bullshit of the highest order.

Yeeees sir, people will look at them images you've generated off your own back and have not been paid for and think "Hmm. What a nice image. I wonder what else he/shes has done?"

And how is that going to help you pay your rent? How is that going to help you put food on your table? The people who perpetuate that lie can afford to pay you and wouldn't do their job for free for even one second. Indeed, they would bitch about how much they get paid and want more.

You, a poor student, should a freebie for a major publisher/client who can afford to pay you?! FUCK NO!!

Jesus H fucking Christ, it makes me murderously angry that people still believe and perpetuate that crock of shit. Fuckers.

I'm ranting, aren't I? Moving on.....


Secondly, having a job will help feed me and keep a roof over my head whiles i work on my novel/graphic novels and self publish them. I believe Jeff Smith, Craig Thompson, Alison Bechdel amongst many others took this route. Not that teaching route, but doing freelance illustration to pay for their graphic novel projects.

Unfortunately, at least in the United Kingdom, in order to teach at university level, you have to hold a MA in your chose profession. So, in the next two years i have to save £4,500 in order to pay for my tuition fees. And i need to actively start building a portfolio of work. Something that should have slowly building over the second i set foot in Norwich. Le sigh.

As i said, I really enjoy creating work for myself.

More later.
If you want to become something. If you want to do something with your life other than just exist. If you want to be creative. If you want to be successful. You will be tested.

G-d/the universe/fate/life will test you to see how determined you are to be want you want to be. Life will throw you curve balls to test you resolve. Obsticals will be put in your path to block your progress. Shit will happen.

All of these designed to test you. To make you into the person you want to become.

It has always been thus.

And it always will be.

And you have two simple choices:

Either suck it up, accept it and deal with it.

Or abandon your dreams.

The balls in your darling.

Everyone you admire and respect whose life and or work inspires you to better yourself, EVERY SINGLE ONE has been through what your going through.

The question is and always has been thus: How badly do you want it?

Good night my brothers and sisters. And spare a thought/prayer for our brothers and sisters in Egypt and everywhere in the middle east.



March 2015

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