Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Escape From Obscurity?

Hello out there in cartoon-land! I've been frequenting the interconnected network of cartoon blogs branching out from "John K Stuff", and finding plenty of great artists out there with very similar influences. It's always seemed like there's a fine line between self-promotion and pest, and I've always been uncertain which side I'll fall on if I try to get the attention of people who seem to be doing the same things I am. Every one of them was a stranger to each other at one point, but by the time I know who they are I'll imagine it's practically an exclusive club that's not really looking for the intrusion of an"outsider". Not a useful thing to expect rejection, but if you're an artist, I'm guessing you're familiar with the term.

Well, I couldn't feel much more like an outsider in my day to day life, surrounded by people at work that share no interests other than earning paychecks. Half the time I'm surrounded by people all speaking a different language, which really makes you feel like you belong. Going through these blogs helps assure me that more people like me are out there, They just have no idea that I'm here.

I've tried the whole assuming I'll be looked at like a wanna-be pest for a while, so I thought I might give actually trying to become known a shot. I've been adding my 2 cents on John K's posts for a while, annoyingly peppering my comments with mentions of myself and what I'm doing. I've resisted doing the "Hey, check out my blog!" thing because I find it a little obnoxious to ignore the topic of a post and just comment with a cry for attention. I'll also start commenting on other people's posts to help gain a little familiarity within the "community", but then only when I actually have something to add.

Next I'll start popping up as a follower of the blogs that catch my attention, and I'll start to fill out a links list for my blog, so in the event that someone's on it they can jump to some of the other fun filled blogs from mine. The internet is certainly a blessing in allowing people to make their work easily available to be seen by whoever they'd like, but you still have to figure out how to intice them to go there first. I think it's often more likely someone will take a liking to your work if you're not actively trying to ram it down their throats. There's a tendency to resist something somebody has to campaign for your attention over, as if it must be worthless if they have to try so hard.

I'm not a natuarl born networker, so if you're an artist who's blog I liked and I send you something, fear not. I'm not likely to become a pest and keep sending things, I'm just fishing for gaining familiarity. So far I've probably creeped out Kali Fontecchio by sending her my take on her character. I hope she didn't think I was just looking to pass messages through her to John K, or that I had any other motives. I'm just attempting to become known by some folks. It may just result in not being taken seriously by those more professionally positioned, like it's cute that I'm playing "the home version of the game" and I was just looking for a pat on the head from a "Pro", or it may finally get me connected a little more meaningfully with some people for a change. They often say it's not what you know, it's who you know. Well, I don't know anybody, so what sort of chance does that give me? Anyway, it's really neither of those options, it's who knows you.

Putting your stuff online is a bit like a giant "Where's Waldo?" page, and even then, the difference is that people at least know what Waldo looks like. I think it gives me a slight advantage over waiting to see if other cartoonists and cartoon fans will show up at my apartment to see if anyone in there is drawing something they might like. 'Cause I've tried it. It turns out they don't so much do that.

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