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A Day in the Life of a Comic Creator

Author: Mike Gagnon
Email: mike@mikegagnon.ca
Website: http://www.hammercomics.com/
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Wow, so how do I describe a day in my life? What is a typical day? Every day is different; I’m working on new things, talking to different people. That’s exactly why I work as a freelance artist and writer, I need a fast paced, ever changing work environment. Every day is different and that’s why I love it. If I work on the same project for too long it gets boring, I lose my passion and I struggle to finish it.

People tell me I’m living the dream, but they don’t understand the industry or the work environment. They think what I’m doing is easy. While I can’t argue with the fact that I am living my dream, this is far from easy. This level of freedom, to set your own schedule and work from home for clients around the world, comes with a fairly high level of stress.

Generally, for all the amazing improvements that technology has brought to the publishing industry, it’s major downfall is creating an environment where people have come to expect things instantly. This creates a demand with many clients for unrealistically short deadlines. Factor in friends and family who think you have the easiest job in the world, call or drop by all the time, expecting you to be able to drop what you’re doing and finish it later because “your job is so easy”. It’s a recipe for stress with a side of mental disorder.

People think that I can roll out of the sack any time I want and just leisurely type away at my laptop, sipping away at a tasty beverage while sitting in front of my TV, watching “The Inbetweeners” or “It’s Always Sunny in Philidelphia”.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Especially if you are successful. The more successful you are, the more time your day to day business operation takes every day and the less time you have to complete the creative work.

On my average day:

6:30 am – I wake up having to pee. Then I can’t get back to sleep because I’m thinking about all the work I have to do that day, messages I have to send, e-mail responses I’m behind on, etc.

7:30 am – I give up on trying to go back to sleep. I go to the home office to work, TV will distract me too much. Also my girlfriend won’t be awake for another hour, and I don’t want to wake her too early. Never, never wake her too early. Ever. If I’m lucky I’ll remember to do half the stuff that has been swimming around in my head, keeping me awake for the last hour. So I settle in and get to work, starting out with just checking my emails, catching up on messages, job bidding, contract offers, job postings, more e-mails and touching base with clients on work in progress.

9 am – My girlfriend and I have breakfast!

9:30 am – Back to work. If I’m incredibly lucky, I got all the messages done that I NEEDED to do that day. Not all the messages, just the ones I needed to do. If I’m lucky. At this point I can actually settle into the creative work. This is what I love, this is why I do it. Some days I’m writing a humorous script for an animated commercial, some days I’m drawing a quirky comic strip about a cartoon pug, some days I’m coloring some amazing comic books, like ComixTribe’s “The Standard”. It could be anything really, but every day is different, and this is what I love.

12:00 – Lunch! With my girlfriend!

12:30 pm – Back at it again. When I return I quickly peruse my messages and reply to the ones that are most urgent and need me to respond or communicate.

1:00 pm – Back to the amazing creative work. If I have two equally important freelance gigs this is where I would switch up and work on a different job. Sometimes splitting days in half on important gigs like this is helpful to prevent anything from becoming too monotonous.

3:30 pm – I’ll be stiff as at this point. Time to get up and walk around, stretch the legs. Grab a snack and a drink.

3:40 pm – Back to work, focusing hard on whatever script needs to be written or page drawn.

4:00 pm – Girlfriend interrupts with a cute puppy video on youtube. Then a kitty video. Then a monkey getting drunk….this goes on until I have to kick her out of the office. And I get back to work.

4:30 pm – Time to stop shutting out my girlfriend and spend some time with family. We plan make and eat supper together, talk about life etc.

5:30 pm – I sneak in some more work time.

6:00 pm – As exciting as this work is, there’s a lot of sitting involved. This could cause a sedentary lifestyle and leads to the “fat comic geek” stereo type. Most days I use this time to move around and be active, taking part in kickboxing classes and other martial arts. Some days I swill skip kickboxing and use this time to conduct business meetings, private art lessons, or make a weak attempt at being a stand-up comedian at a local open mic.

8:30 pm – Unless I went out to an open mic, this is when we settle back in at home. I’ll probably get a phone call from a friend or family member and my girlfriend and I will settle in and watch a movie or TV show.

9:30 pm – Yep I have grabbed my laptop and I’m working on e-mails or messages again that I forgot earlier in the day and checking Facebook.

10:30 pm - I get off the computer and focus on whatever show we are watching again.

11:30 pm - time for sleep!

Lather, rinse repeat and that’s an average day in my life as a comic creator!



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