So for the last few weeks I've been submitting entries to the comic book site Comics Should Be Good. They have a weekly feature there called The Line It Is Drawn, where several artists all draw a piece according to the same general theme. They have an open slot for a new artist right now, so I've been submitting pieces as a tryout. The theme for this week was "Comic Cover Homages" and one of the readers had the inspired suggestion of a cover homage of TINTIN IN TIBET using the characters from WATCHMEN.
It was GREAT fun to do, as I'm a massive fan of both comics. WATCHMEN blew me away when I first read it back in the 80s, and reading Hergé's TINTIN books as a kid helped inspired me to become a cartoonist in the first place. It was a neat challenge to reinterpret Dave Gibbons' character designs in Hergé's style, and I'm very happy with how it turned out, in both concept & execution.
I submitted the piece this Tuesday evening before the midnight deadline, and it went up Thursday afternoon, where it was very well-received by the folks on the Comics Should Be Good! site. I soon posted it over here on my Deviant Art page as well. I wound up with a little unexpected free time Thursday night, so, as a lark, I sent a link to the Deviant Art page over to Dave Gibbons on Facebook. I'm sure he's inundated with correspondence on there (So much so that's he's long past his friend limit on the site), so I wouldn't have been surprised if I never heard back from him. So imagine my elation when I got up this Friday morning to read this message from the man himself:
"That's great, John! I've tweeted a link..."
WOW!! So not only had Dave Gibbons taken the time to look at the link & respond to me, but he also SHARED THE LINK WITH ALL OF HIS FOLLOWERS ON TWITTER!! That's a pretty cool way to start your day. To say that this response was more than I expected would be an understatement. I don't have the words to say how gratifying it is to know that one of creators who's inspired me in my art career looked at my work, liked it, and thought it was worth sharing with the world at large. As my friend Rob Kelly put it while explaining it to my non-comic book reading sister, "It's like if John was a musician and he covered a Simon & Garfunkel song, and then one of S&G said publicly how good it was."
All day, I've had a quote from Conan O'Brien running through my head: "Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen." I've let my art career fall by the wayside for the last few years after a few too many disappointments about my lack of progress. But now I'm trying again. If you had told me a week ago that Dave Gibbons would be sharing a link to my work with his 10,782 followers on Twitter, I'd have thought you were crazy. But it happened. I've got the increased page views today to prove it. And I got a positive endorsement from an artist that I admire. And the encouragement I need to keep going and see where my art can lead me.
So now, the next time I EVER get discouraged about my art or where my art career is going, all I have to do is remember one thing:
DAVE GIBBONS LIKES MY WORK.