November 16, 2013

sbosma asked: Hey Dusty -- This is sort of a shitty question, but do you have any larger aspirations for yourself as a cartoonist or comics-maker? I love your diary strips, and the short comics, and the tiny drawings, but is there something you're itching to do that you're not? This doesn't have to be a big soul-searching thing, but like, if I (or someone else) gave you enough money to support yourself for three years and a completely blank slate of expectations, what kind of thing do you make?

Hi Sam. Hm what a tough question. I had to think about it all night and most of the day. The answer is that I’m not sure—I’ve spent a lot of time hopping from project to project, paycheck to paycheck, and was surprised to realize I don’t have a long-distance plan for my comics or drawing or whatever. Or at least, not one that’s in any way coherent or.. actionable?

A lot of what I have done and continue to do—for instance those diary comics—is based around a continuing process of.. maybe therapy? Thinking? Whatever it is, it’s a continuing process, and so I’ve focused more on that process than in any end result. I admit, it feels a lot like flailing around in the dark. 

I think what I’d prefer most of all, as a goal, is to work for someone again, say for a show, or a book publisher, or something where a fussy guy who’s good at figuring things out could excel. Something with health insurance and that pays enough that I can afford to stop worrying about money, maybe get on anti-depressants, etc. I’d like very much to return to think about “art” or whatever, at least in terms of making art that is important to me, as something entirely separate from earning an income. I’m not saying it’s bad to think of art and income at the same time—in fact, in some cases it can be the force that drives an artist to excel, push themselves, etc. But for me, and the way I’m constructed, I feel like I’m best and most comfortable earning a paycheck as opposed to chasing one.

To answer your [actual] question: given three years of income (thanks in advance Sam), I’d develop a big world-building thing I’ve been making notes for into an actual thing; probably a long comic. Possibly as a tv show though. On the side I’d work on a long memoir project and continue to do the odd print or drawing or portrait of someone historical.

Thanks for the great question, Sam—gave me a lot to chew on, not all of which was pleasant, but definitely valuable. 

  1. dharbin posted this