The Lovely Anna Speaks

September 4th, 2008 | Posted in General

The Lovely Anna

My husband Tom asked me to do him a favor.

This is not unusual, most days, at least once, I get a request for a favor. Usually it’s to help with paper work, run to the bank or post office, or deliver supplies to one of our booths. Being that I can’t draw or even ink the boxes for his MAD pages, (Yes, this was attempted and I failed miserably) I try to help out where and when I can. Anything so that he can keep working on the deadline. Today’s favor had to do with The MAD Blog. He is trying to finish up a big MAD job, and doesn’t have time to write any meaningful posts right now, so he asked: “Can you write a post about being married to a freelancer? You’ll be my first ‘guest blogger’. Go ahead and make fun of me.” So…

Hi! My name is The Lovely Anna, and I am the wife of a freelance illustrator (Insert Hi Lovely Anna! here). No, there is no support group for spouses of freelance illustrators, or bloggers, or foundation board members, or computer nerds, or caricature artists. There isn’t even one for spouses of members of “The Usual Gang of Idiots”. Even if there was, I probably wouldn’t join. I would get so co-dependent. I would spend all my free time trying to save all the poor women whose husbands are always at their drawing boards, because they can’t say no when the phone rings. I would be trying to help them figure out the best way to get Dr. Martin’s India Ink out of studio carpets. I would have to make a website, listing all of the best hotels in the world with bathrooms big enough to ink in during the middle of the night while the rest of the family sleeps. I would have to help them with meal preparations, making sure that they can find good recipes for things that can be re-heated when it takes FOREVER for their artist in residence to come to the dinner table. These poor women! Someone has to help them! How can they be expected to live like this?? Oh, wait… I live like this. Yeah, I’m not good at support groups, I always try to save every body else from my everyday life.

What is it like to be married to a freelance artist?

  • Pro: He is always at home.
  • Con: He is always at home.
  • Pro: He sets his own hours.
  • Con: His hours are 24/7.
  • Pro: He is very creative and humorous.
  • Con: He thinks he is funny.
  • Pro: He is so talented, his phone rings off the hook.
  • Con: He answers every call.
  • Pro: He was there for every first step, first word, dance recital, baseball game, concert and taught all the kids how to ride their bikes.
  • Cons: None

Tom is a workaholic. He loves to draw. He loves his computer, and was born to blog. He spends more time in his studio than out. At times, he has problems with time management, but shutting off the phone and turning off the computer usually puts him back on course. He has never missed a deadline, even when it meant missing sleep. Our house is so far from the norm, but it’s all we know. We have been married 20 years this month, and I have always been lucky enough to be a stay at home mom. Tom has always had something on the drawing board, or was working at one of the parks to make sure we have everything we need and I was able to be home with the kids. Tom has learned to block out the everyday events happening upstairs, and I have learned to pretend that he is not home. We check in with each other many times a day, and sometimes even sneak away for a lunch together.

I would recommend marrying a freelance illustrator to anyone lucky enough to fall in love with one.

It’s worked for me so far.

The Lovely Anna is the long suffering wife of Tom and mother of four… five if you count Elizabeth twice. She graciously agreed to write this guest blog post to spare readers another appearance of the “Dreaded Deadline Demon” and Tom didn’t even have to bring up the afore mentioned “trying to ink the word ballon boxes on a MAD job” incident to guilt her into it.


  1. cedricstudio says:

    Terrific post! My wife will get a kick out of it.

    Great caricature too, by the way. I always find it hard to draw people I know well, because I lose objectivity as to what they really look like. But you pulled it off beautifully.

  2. yondaime_kazekage says:

    wow, it’s the lovely anna herself :D. maam, both of you complete each others. my wife shouldnt read this :)) she also always complaining, about how much time i spend on computers and works.

  3. Trevour says:

    Thanks Anna (and Tom!) for this very amusing post. I will also have to share this with my wife!

  4. pmcmicheal says:

    WOW….This is an awesome illustration of your wife! I have a different problem, My wife Hates anything I do that takes my attention away from her! and she doesn’t care for my art that much either ( for this reason ). 99% of the drawings on my blog were done during my lunch breaks at work ( my 40 hour a week job ).
    Thanks for this wonderful post Anna!

  5. meredithd says:

    Great post, Anna! I am both a developing artist and the wife of a work-at-home engineer, and I can definitely sympathize with some of your challenges. I’ve been making art from home, but now that full-time school is approaching for my son, I’m feeling internal pressure to “be useful” and go get a “real job” even though I don’t have to, financially speaking. Any advice?

  6. Hamiltoons says:

    thanks Lovely Anna! My wife tolerates my being on the ‘puter and drawing board. I learned many years ago to temper that time with a fair share of flowers, dinners and wifey time. I’m sure that when I become as busy as Tom that She’ll need your “support group.”

  7. SteveH says:

    Anna, you should post more often! My wonderful wife has given up her day job to be my financial Director (hahaha… sounds impressive huh?), and help me with the books, I would rather be drawing or blogging! So I can really appreciate the strength and support as well as love from the spouse to the artist as my wife has always been my hero. Tom is very very lucky to have you!

  8. Tom says:

    Hamiltoons: I am not too good at flowers, but I make up for it in diamonds and trips to Paris.

  9. cvanoni says:

    A wonderful post, Anna!

    My wife Jennifer an I have had our own awkward moment when I was behind a deadline. She inevitably asked, “is there anything I can do to help?” And I asked her to try and digitally ‘ink’ some of the more straight forward panels. It went awry of course and in the end I think I was simply attracted to the idea of dragging her into my world and making her enjoy the things I enjoy.
    Since that debacle, Jen has been a total sweetie by doing TONS of proofreading, lettering and scheduling for me. All free of charge! (Aside from the occasional meal when the stars align and our schedules meet.) Also, she just plain puts up with me and all the goofy things that come with me trying to freelance.

    A tip of the glass to you, Anna!

    – Corbett

  10. Bucky says:

    Tom, how great to hear from your better half, ha.___Seriously though, I appreciate everything Anna had to share. I will be sharing her insights with my long suffering wife, enduring 23+ years of my freelancing. Fortunately for me, my wife is not into diamonds and jewelry…and I can afford the chocolate and licorice it takes to keep her happy 🙂
    Wonderful post! Thanks, Anna. Thanks, Tom.

  11. Chimbles says:

    Hi Lovely Anna!

    Thank Tom for me for stopping by and leaving a lengthy comment. Thanks Tom, much appreciated!

  12. anne says:

    Anna – How DID you get the india ink out of the carpet?!! Ours is still there and the carpet is white! Loved your post – been there, done that! Is 2 of us enough for an official support group?

    Anne Hambrock

  13. annarichmond says:

    Wow! Thanks to all who took the time to comment on my guest post. I guess there may be a need for a support group, or at least a gathering for a few drinks at the next get together. Maybe a spouses “workshop” at the next convention. It can be located in the bar!

    Anne- the ink never gets out completely, it always seems to grow back, but my favorite is Spot-Shot (It has alcohol in it to dilute the ink) and then a water and vinegar mix. Put a white cloth on the saturated spot and place something heavy- like books, on top (put plastic between the cloth and books). The cloth will absorb the color from the stain. With a white carpet, I would try the Clorex bleach pen. If all else fails, put a rug over it! And I have learned from our daughter Elizabeth, not to even try to remove a blue ink stain. I have never been able to get them out of anything.

    Meredith- You have to do what is right in your heart. If you enjoy being at home and are getting fulfilled with what you are doing, that’s all you can ask for. My best girl friend needs to work and be out of the house for her sanity, and I have never felt the need to go back out there, I feel “useful” here at home. It really is an individual choice. I would continue to develop your art at home, using your extra time while your child is at school to finish projects and make new contacts. If you find that you are bored and need a bigger outlet, than look outside the house for something more fulfilling.

    Bucky- Every wife is into diamonds! But I like chocolate, too! You’re a good man to keep her happy.

    Hamiltoons- Tom’s right, I learned a long time ago how to buy my own flowers! By the way, Sam’s Club gives you the best bang for your buck. 2 dozen roses are usually only around $15.00.

    Thanks everyone, this was fun!


  14. Mugshotz says:

    I think I’m going to forward this post to my girlfriend. She has one of those 9-5 jobs and gets frustrated when I have to work on weekends or evenings.

    But having the flexible freelancers schedule does have it’s benefits too. She does sometimes have the time to travel with me when I have some out of state jobs. This of course makes my traveling much more enjoyable.

  15. […] Ever wondered what it would be like to be married to a professional artist? […]


New profile pic courtesy of my self-caricature for the Scott Maiko penned article “Gotcha! Mug Shots of Common (but Despicable) Criminals” from MAD 550

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