Sunday Mailbag: Work and Travel?

December 4th, 2016 | Posted in Mailbag

Sunday Mailbag!

Q: You seem to constantly be traveling… when do you get any work done?

A: I know, it seems like I am never at home, doesn’t it? Comic Cons, the occasional speaking engagement, the NCS Reubens, etc… it also seems to me like I’m never home.

It’s a challenge to juggle everything, that’s for sure. I try very hard to get work done to a point where I either do not need to bring any with me, or need just a little bit of time on a trip to do some work to keep from falling too far behind. For example, I had to pull several 18-20 hour days in the studio prior to leaving on this trip to wrap up a Marlin illustration, the front/back cover art for another MAD book (to be announced soon), finish the book’s pencils plus do a personal project before I could get on the plane overseas. Even so, I brought some book work with me… and I got my next assignment for an ongoing spot illustration job I will now have to get the pencils done for and to them while I’m on the road.

I am not complaining. I’m a freelancer and will never complain about having work. Ever. I’m lucky to stay busy enough for this to be a problem, and I know it… believe me.

The truth is I have had to stop accepting many of the offers I get to speak at events or schools or appear at smaller conventions around the country. It is all becoming a bit too much and I need to string several months with little travel together between now and April in order to get several big jobs done. Even beyond that I am going to try to cut back to just the major comic cons I usually do, and a few other trips like the Reubens and our usual fall family vacation in Orlando, etc. I am planning on doing five or six traveling workshops in 2017, so that is a long weekend trip every other month as it is. Still a lot of travel.

What’s painful is when you get a call for a good paying job with a short deadline right before you leave on some trip. That happened to me this last week. I had to turn it down, and that is never a good feeling. Jobs are not easy to come by, especially from new clients that might then end up being a long term source of work. However it’s much worse to try and take on a job knowing you will not be able to do your best work or, even worse, not meet deadlines.

Thanks to Ed Steckley for the question. If you have a question you want answered for the mailbag about cartooning, illustration, MAD Magazine, caricature or similar, e-mail me your questions and I’ll try and answer them here!

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