I thought I'd post a bit about where I currently find myself and why I love it despite the overwhelming frustration that comes with it. My schedule is probably the oddest it's been. In order to save money and justify cartooning we chose to take our three year old out of daycare so I could care for him during the day. I was careful not to announce this at the time so that people wouldn't tell me it was impossible to look after a child and do full time work as well. Lately I'm finding it important to avoid being told something can't be done.
So, I often get up by 6 or so and try to start working immediately. I find it helps to have a project that you can just pick up and start running with at any time. Then my three year old wakes up and the great balancing act begins.
One of the best parts of this life is I'm always dying to get back to drawing but without the mental exhaustion that comes with working a menial job. When I work in retail or wherever I'm just tired and worn out all the time. Looking after my son for about 8 hours every day doesn't leave me worn down, not usually. There are bad days. Awful days. But even awful days with my son beats awful days in retail by a very long shot.
I still work while I'm looking after Henry. But not as much, his needs come first. Since I'm doing Marrowbones all digitally and my Cintiq is all tucked away in a far corner of the house I can't do much with it during the day. Instead I either work on Maddy Kettle on the dining room table or sketch on my iPad.
Three days a week I take Henry to a a drop in center where there are lots of kids. It's mostly moms and grandmothers, occasionally another dad will show up but not often. I grew up with mostly women so this kind of situation doesn't bother me. And artists fit in everywhere. I think so, anyway.
And then comes the weekend! The best time! My wife teaches so she is home all weekend and I work like mad. And love every second if it.
So, my current output looks like this: a page of Maddy penciled every day and a whole page of Marrowbones finished every day. Roughly. Maddy during the day and Marrowbones at night. And i do one Saturday Morning Webtoon a week. And honestly, I don't feel stressed or that I don't have enough time, for the most part.
The big things for me are; having a family makes things better. Working creatively and having responsibilities to other people just seems ideal to me. It makes my art better, I learn things from my family, I'm encouraged by them and nurtured by them. If I didn't have a family I know I'd do less work. I found the most passion and drive after meeting my wife and it's no coincidence.
And secondly, I'm doing work I want to do. I'm telling stories by drawing pictures and I'm able to choose the exact stories I want to tell. This is incredibly important to me.
Some things I should add. I don't go out much. Hardly ever. I've never had a drivers license. Other than very occasionally seeing friends there's nothing I want to do. My recreation time is devoted almost entirely to reading, books and comics. I read a lot and think it's a really important aspect of a creative life. To give you a sense if how rarely I go out, since moving to Toronto three years ago I've gone to the ballet once, went to one Wilco concert seen 2 movies at the theater and the handful of times I've net friends for coffee I've always combined it with work related errands. That might strike you as weird but I've found it necessary to do what I do.
I rarely play video games. I think video games are really cool and almost research for visual artists. But I just don't play them a lot. I'd rather read or draw or hang out with Henry or Julie. This is more of a personal thing.
I don't drink much. I've never been a big drinker. It might be because of all the warnings I've gotten about alcoholics in my family, but I don't really enjoy drinking that much. When I was finishing art school I worked at a wine store. I think working with wine and being able to drink very expensive bottles gave me an appreciation of drinking that has nothing to do with being drunk.
I try and stay healthy. I really need to work at this but I do what I can do. I make sure I eat enough, drink enough water and I try and sleep 7 hours every night. I have issues with anxiety so it's essential I don't wear myself down. I'm useless if I'm mentally unwell. I really don't want to have to take time off because I'm frazzled. I want to take time off because I deserve it.