I– like many illustrators– keep a day job.
We're mostly a bunch of working-class jabroni's who beat the creative anvil on our nights and weekends. It's not the robust industry it once was. Maybe a guy like me would have had a desk in the offices of a newpaper 20 years ago, but that time has passed. So I push lead and sling ink between shifts, mostly for love of the art but it also pulls in some extra scratch. That's called the American dream, babe.
But there is something better on the horizon. It's called Transmedia, and it's going to be bigger than Beetle Bailey.
But that's not what this illustration is about. This illustration is about The SandCastle Center For Fractured Tea Cups, Saucers & China (also known as TSCCFFTCSC or "the 'Castle"). For the better part of a decade, TSCCFFTCSC was my day job. I rode the L Taraval out to the intersection of California and the Pacific and put in a day's work, patiently sifting through San Francisco's discarded dishware. For 10 years I would glue handles back on teacups, paint over chips in saucers, and unbend tiny spoons.
And on the 11th day of the #IllustrationADay challenge, I was on my way to do just that when I got a very important phone call. I'd pulled a few threads on job opportunities a few weeks earlier and suddenly a chance turned into an opportunity.
In order to bring that opportunity to fruition, I would need to reshuffle my schedule a bit. As a freelance artist/blogger, that happens often. But this time, it would mean the end of the day job.
I had my sketchbook in my backpack that day (as I do most days) so I started working on this illustration during my commute. I doodled it out through out my shift. I kept my news a secret that day (I was still waiting to cross some t's and dot some i's) and I didn't mention to any of my friends or co-workers that my 10 year tenure was coming to and end. On the train ride home, I tried to think of some really profound little pearls of wisdom I could put on this piece. I labored over it a bit, but ultimately I obeyed a strong inner command to just get it over with. So I finished the piece, only half committed to the text. But it works (mostly).
The next day, I hopped back on the L Taraval and made the same trip the 'Castle that I'd made so many times before. I sat down with my boss– a dapper young lady who made habit of wearing to work a tuxedo with full top and tail– and gave her my two weeks notice.
For the next few days I used up some sick time, caught up on NetFlix (Jessica Jones and F is For Family are both amazing) and didn't draw at all.
After 11 days, the most spectacular streak in CheckThisOutBabe history has come to an end.
So is that it?
Is 11 days the best I can do? Or is giving up drawing forever the best that I can do? And what if I fail? And nobody likes me? And what if none of this is even real... if everything that I think of as my life is actually just the elaborate effect of a spectacular new drug, and it's about to wear off and I'll wake up in some other reality with only a memory of the #IllustrationADay challenge, rapidly fading...