Look, we play guitar-based music. In the grand scheme of things on a global scale, we’re dinosaurs. I make figurative art. In contemporary times on the grand scale of things, I’m a dinosaur. Some people and I think a greater proportion of people think that there’s nothing really new that you can say with guitar-based music and/or figurative art. It’s my express idea that you can. You just have to approach it from a singular perspective, and that is that there is an audience for art that is personal. That’s why I think that style, genre, accessibility at the end of the day doesn’t really – none of those things are first and foremost on my scale of importance. What I like to hear and see and experience is personality because that’s the one thing that can be unique with everything that we make.
Quick sketch of Dora from my book Suicide Sisters
Done in Sketchbook Pro.
Anonymous asked: In your opinion, does a writer have to be 'in print' on actual paper, and have an editor, in order to be considered a 'professional'? I was reliably informed by someone close to me who shall get a slap when I next see them, that having five e-books with five star reviews and receiving regular royalties means that I'm still not a 'professional' because I self publish. Thoughts on this lesson in author snobbery?
This caused me more thought than I thought it would. My initial urge was just to go “Of course you are. People should grow the fuck up.” but then I got thinking about it hard and tried to work out where the line actually was.
Because I didn’t consider myself a professional when I made my zines and sold them, for example. The moment when I first felt able to use the phrase pro-comics-writer was when I sold my first script to a company.
(Same with my journalism. The idea that someone would be willing to pay me to do something was very important to me, for all sorts of reasons to do with my background. If someone’s willing to pay you to do it for them, like a proper job, it’s a proper job, and you’re professional.)
Of course, I’m also aware this is all kinds of bullshit mixed in there, and this is coloured by someone who first wrote professionally in 1995 for magazines, and had his first pro comic work in… 2002? 2003? These are long ago, before it was possible to self-publish in the exact way you do now.Things change. Context changes.
(Self-publishing in comics is also different thing - there’s never been a scarlet letter there, and some of the greatest works in the medium have been self-published ones, for the simple reason that the publishers wouldn’t publish anything like that so the only reason the work got out there was people choose to do it themselves. We still have that lineage here.)
I suppose the real question is why that person feels the need to police the phrase “professional” like they are doing? And, to flip it around, when we live in the world we do, why you feel the need to use the label “professional” about yourself?
Now, as I say above, I felt the latter urge myself (though never the former), but the “Why” is still interesting? What does “professional” even matter? I suspect it’s partially to do with our impostor syndrome. Having a label to apply to yourself can make yourself feel a little more secure in yourself.
(I mean this as a purely natural thing, btw. Writers tend to be insecure. Well, people tend to be insecure, but writers are just louder about it.)
Which, I guess, leads to me thinking that it’s just a distraction. Professional doesn’t matter at all. The question is whether someone in writing is good or not. I’d rather be a good amateur writer than a shitty professional writer. Only the work matters, and we shouldn’t get distracted from that intellectually.
Of course, someone invested enough in making someone else feel bad by saying they’re not a professional can go fuck themselves.
That was a ramble. I may be dodging clearing up T-shirts off the bedroom floor.
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