After my last post, the one about the DINK show in Denver last April, I kind of went into radio silence mode. That show wasn't the best for me and, while I enjoyed it and loved the way it felt, it cost me too much money to attend and I was left wondering if I was even on the right path anymore.
I had one other show to attend last summer, the big Denver Comic Con in June. I've attended that show since its beginning in 2012 and have always had a good time. But I also always spent more money to attend the show than I made and I wondered if I would ever break even much less make a profit. Leaving the lucrative world of illustrating children's books in order to follow my dream of doing my own books was starting to feel like a stupid idea.
But, still, it was a dream I had to follow and see it through.
For this last Denver Comic Con I knew I had amassed enough work with my OilCan Drive project to collect it all into one big fat book. I figured if anything was going to help me break even it would be doing a book like this.
I compiled all of my work and slowly started putting it together. I broke the book up into chapters based on when I had drawn each story. I wrote introductions and added in the 24 Hour Comics I had done as well. Before I knew it I had already surpassed the 220 page limit the printer had set for a collected book. I still had a large number of pages from my sketchbook so I decided, screw it, let's do a second book!
Putting the books together was no easy task. The printer had a limit on how big the interior files could be and it was hard to get my files under that limit. With almost every page being a high resolution image I learned FAR too much about how to compress a file in Adobe Acrobat and definitely stumbled along the way. Files were rejected for days on end and I never thought I would get the books done in time for the convention. At one point I became so frustrated and depressed that I started day drinking while at lunch with friends. "I didn't know you could drink at an Einstein's Bagel shop," one of my friends said. As I sipped on my cup I answered, "I can drink anywhere they have fountain drinks and I have my bottle of Jack Daniels." So, yeah, good times.
But, finally, after many attempts, the files were accepted and the books went to press.
What I ended up with was a 220 page collected book of all of my OilCan Drive comic stories and a 110 page sister book comprised of a ton of sketches and artwork I had done while doing those stories. It made for a nice set and I was very proud of how they came out.
I hit the 2016 Denver Comic Con with these two new books in hand as well as my previous books and a new printing of OilCan Drive Track Three. I had a number in my head that I needed to hit to break even. It would cover the cost of the table, the travel, and all of my printing expenses. The problem was that the number was higher than any amount I had ever made at the convention with OilCan Drive. Still, my fingers were crossed.
In the end, with these new collected books, I surpassed that number in my head. I made twice as much as I needed to break even and almost three times as much as I'd ever made at that convention.
So, maybe this dream isn't quite dead yet. And, after taking a few months off from OilCan Drive, I am ready to start it up again. Maybe it's heroic, maybe it's a fool's quest, I don't know. But it's mine. And, for now, that's enough.
You can purchase the OilCan Drive "Into The Zone" collected book on Amazon HERE and the OilCan Drive "Through the Goggles" behind the scenes sketchbook on Amazon HERE.
I'm back! It's time to get this train rolling again!