Getting Back Up

Once when I spoke to a graduating class at an art college, I was introduced with a “highlight reel” of my art career. When I got up to speak, I first spoke about the fact that our highlight reel does not represent an artistic life. When they introduce me, they don’t say ” And for two years he slept on friends couches and ate Top Ramen with ketchup because he was so broke”.

That’s as much an artists life as the successes. For every “hit” there are probably 10 to 20 misses. Or more. The proposal above was a pitch that didn’t meet anyone’s needs at the time. I don’t like calling them failures. Because it may get a re-birth at some point, or pieces of it will get used in another property. Or you don’t hear much about the 30 or so comic strip submissions I made in the late 70’s and 80’s. Comic strip syndicates asked for 6 weeks worth of finished daily strips (36 strips) and six sunday strips. But out of that work, I learned more and more about character, and gags, and story. And submitting and not letting it get to you if it’s rejected. ( Still working on that one).

It’s funny that at times I’ll submit something, a book project or series idea and say “This is perfect for them” and it doesn’t fly. And then when I pitched Rocko, I thought “They will never go for this” but they did. I learned that if its “perfect”for them, they probably have 100 submissions just like it. It’s better to go in the opposite direction!

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