Sequential Underground #64 – Day Job

Sequential Underground

How do you continue creating comics when you have a day job? It’s not impossible. In fact, almost every self-publisher struggles with the balance between what they have to do — hold down a job — and what they want to do — make comics.

Brandon Williams made Dedford Tales a webcomic because of his day job. At work, he was exposed to webcomics more than ever before (Shadoweyes was his gateway comic). With the money he earned, he bought a domain and some web space.

Shawn Atkins has recently picked up a 9-to-5 job to cover the bills and get benefits for his family. After years of living the dream and being a full-time artist, he’s struggling to adapt to his new lifestyle.

As a response to all of the time Shawn has to spend on the bus or in the car going to-and-from work, he’s started sketching sci-fi pinups.

Brandon’s currently hunting for a new day job even though all he wants to do is make comics. And Shawn is trying to keep up with all of his webcomics and art obligations while juggling a new job and a baby on the way.

Will Brandon be able to land a dream job that generates income while giving him the freedom to create? Can Shawn find just the right balance between being a cubicle monkey and a comics creator? Nick Marino asks the tough questions and explores the day job conundrum on this episode of Sequential Underground.

8 Responses to “Sequential Underground #64 – Day Job”


  1. 1 Brian John Mitchell

    Great idea for an episode. If you one day want to an episode with the problems of not having a day job, let me know! Not having that structure & stability can be worse than spending 40 hours doing something you don’t want. Or you know, figuring out that you work 4000 hours a year only making 2 bucks an hour.

    My Comicspace experience was it was really cool until they did this massive site redesign & it just was impossible to find anything. I think to this day half of my collaborators I met during the six months that site kicked ass.

  2. 2 ross

    really great episode!! i loved hearing about Brandon’s crazy IT job.

    i never had a Comicspace page! i remember seeing friends’ pages and it looked almost exactly like Myspace except comics-oriented. it doesn’t seem like the site is even there anymore, it seems to be replaced by some kind of store… i wonder what happened…

  3. 3 nick marino

    hahaha we should do a whole ComicSpace retrospective episode!!!!

    @Brian: Yeah, I could easily talk for an hour about the problems of not having a day job… but at the same time, I don’t wanna complain about it because as little income as I generate and as frustrating as it can be sometimes, it’s definitely better than having to go to a place you hate for five days a week.

    The thing we didn’t discuss that much in this episode is how mentally and physically exhausting it can be just working an office job. The last thing you wanna do is do more work when you get home. It would take me until 9 or 10 at night to get started sometimes because I’d just want to relax and get in the right place mentally before I started working on comics or podcasts.

    @Ross: I’d get emails from ComicSpace occasionally as it transformed. Looking back through my email, apparently I signed up for ComicSpace at the end of 2006. They introduced webcomics hosting in Feb 2007. I know in 2009 or 2010 that they switched over to a blog-based format. But it was too late by then. Everyone had jumped ship to Twitter and Facebook. I was on the site as recently as last year, and still getting blog moderation emails from them in August, so I guess the store-only thing must be pretty new.

  4. AudioShocker Shoutouts!

    The Illiterate Badger webcomics


  5. 4 Brian John Mitchell

    Yeah, when I worked an office job as a CAD operator as a kid, I couldn’t work at all on anything & I eventually quit the job because I couldn’t handle that everyone else was 20 years older & I feared becoming one of them. It still might’ve been the best job I ever had.
    When I worked retail I would have memo pads & would write stories during my breaks & any down time & everyone there would joke that I was some kind of scholar, which was nice in a way.
    Working my physical labor job at the airport was awesome because the job was basically 20 minutes of working as hard & fast as you can followed by 20 minutes of downtime all day long. So the 20 minutes of work I’d be just working on a story in my head & then write it down in the downtime. Eventually it got to the point at that job where I’d bring in my laptop & do the work at almost the same speed as if I was dedicated to it & it was as if I was getting paid to work on my art/music! It’s a job I think about going back to, but I hear that the shitty co-workers stayed & the good ones left & so there isn’t the downtime there used to be.

    I guess part of why I liked ComicSpace was it worked like MySpace & I was pretty savvy with that platform. I guess there redesign is pretty much at the time there was the MySpace exodus & it made the whole site useless. Though even before the re-design it got kinda weird when it used to seem like half the content was first five pages of a Marvel/DC book instead of indie stuff.

  6. 5 Brandon!

    @Ross tip of the iceberg man, that IT job was fucking nuts!

    @Nick oh dang we should have talked more about the energy suck the 9-5 or in my case the 730-330 job can have. I was always mentally drained and emotionally down, we had to cart computers around so I was physically drained too. At the end of the day I would get a huge boost of energy the second fresh air hit my face and I was out of that corporate hell hole… Only to have my second wind used up trying to drive home.
    I only did that job for two years, if I had gone another 2 Im would have mentally snapped and probably killed myself… No joke.

  7. 6 nick marino

    @Brian: That airport job wounds sweet. I liked pizza delivery for similar reasons, because there’s just as much downtime as work time. But my job that gave me the most time to work on art — my last office job — was just too soul crushing. I think more physical jobs with less responsibility are easier to tolerate than shit where you have to sit at a desk and take blame for bad decisions your bosses make.

    @Brandon: EGADS!! Mentally snapped? Damn.

    The best job I ever had in terms of schedule was a receptionist job where I worked from 9-2 every day. After work, I still had tons of time and energy! I could go make music or party or go on dates with Stique or go to a second job or whatever. The pay sucked but the hours were wonderful.

  8. AudioShocker Shoutouts!

    Dinogeddon webcomics


  9. 7 Smars

    sigh… the dreaded day job.
    i’ll be honest… i can’t do it anymore.
    i spent 6 years working a full time job and doing my comics on the side, and while it let me afford to go all over the country to different conventions, i didn’t have enough time to commit to comics and making people more aware of them and bringing it to a point where the comics became the full time job.
    i just can’t do it anymore… it bothers the hell out of me trying to think of working a non art job.
    i wish i could get the comics to actually sell, but seems like most of everyone out there just wants to take and not give back you know?
    and the digital thing is on the fence with a lot of people and it’s got me to the point that i’m actually PRINTING books again just to get people to spend some money on my work.
    if not the comics directly, something related to them.
    but nope… i dunno’ what it is.
    so i’m also trying desperately to get publishers to look at some of my proposals.

    i’m at the end of my rope, i’m literally sleeping on my family’s living room floor. heh. it sucks.

    man… i wish i could have been on this episode, i’m right there in that circle with you guys. same scenarios. but i would’ve just wined the whole time. no need for that haha.

    the thing ultimately is
    i just don’t want to work for anyone else.
    :/

    i think tho… i need a marketing/business manager or something.
    shit dude… i think that’s what we ALL need.
    we need like a Robert Khoo you know? like the guy who came in and really helped the penny arcade guys take off.

  10. 8 nick marino

    @Smars: Yeah, it sucks that you’re crashing on the floor at your family’s place just so you can keep making awesome comics. But typically it’s those type of risks that pay off the biggest. IT’LL PAY OFF, MAN!!!!!!!!

    I would think you could just take Goblyn, in the format that it’s in, and pitch it to a publisher. They’d be thrilled!! I mean, it’s already volumes deep into a fascinating fantasy story. That’s like money in the bank for them. They don’t have to pay for the labor and it’s already there, ready to rock.

    I’m not familiar with Robert Khoo. <5 mins later> OKAY! I looked him up. He must be fucking brilliant because I read some of the Penny Arcade comics that he was featured in and they’re terrible!!! If he could make these guys that popular with that content, he must be a fucking magician.

  1. 1 The Comics Podcast Network » Sequential Underground #64
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