Friday, May 22, 2015

STARSLAM NOW AVAILABLE and MOVING!

Hey folks! I finally, finally, finally took the time to update the ONLINE STORE and added STARSLAM. So you can finally directly order that book by going there or HERE or the link to the right. Only took me 5 months, right? Shows how behind I am. Now I just gotta get that digital sales push thing going.... but thanks for your patience. Don't have STARSLAM yet? Order now!!

I opted to head to my apartment tonight to apply for more jobs. I also scanned in artwork for STARSLAM 2 and did a few other office related things I keep putting off. I also glued together my mom's jewlery box that was broken in the move here back in January. I moved into this apartment in January and celebrated it as my first solo apartment. Free of any relationship or roommate for the first time in my life. I spent a lot of time dealing with things in this place. Many nights up late upset because of everything that happened this year and also just dead tired from working two jobs as I have. Its been a crazy road. Well, back in February, I met my girlfriend and things have progressed. Oh how they've progressed. And the decision had to be made: Do I renew the lease here or do I move in? We were both skeptical for obvious reasons. But the decision came and went and its true: I'm moving in with her in August.

When I made the decision, I was a tiny tiny tiny bit sad because I do sort of like this apartment. I spent some good time here working on myself. Its a transition place. I have a complete space that is "mine" and I like the location. Close to campus and my favorite spots. Also close to my work and nice in the summer. I will miss it. However working here late tonight, I have a different feeling. Its cold and lonely here. It doesn't feel like "home" anymore. More like a place that is a storage for my stuff I haven't sorted through yet. And sort I shall. Because I have to redecide what to put up and how to put it up. She's giving me carte blanche to pretty much do what I want, but I don't want to go in and ruin what is already at her place. We have two very different styles of design. I think she has a better eye for it. Me, I got a bunch of junk I've been hauling around for 37 years. I'm slowly getting my collection back. Its been nice. We're also getting things TOGETHER. Like albums, Blu-Rays, etc. Its been good to share my stuff with her. And she's welcoming me with open arms. All of me. Its a good feeling. She doesn't eye roll at my things, but thinks it is cool and wants to dissect and learn all about them. Wow!

So yeah, I am left with this feeling of "Man I can't wait to get this move going!" And it shall happen. I've already started to slowly move stuff over. Probably starting next month I will get more serious about it. I have a blazer truck now that I can use to haul my things. No need for a uhaul. Some furniture I am parting with and hopefully a few boxes of crap I don't need for the next phase of my life. So there is work to be done. But I am looking forward to it. And so is she. I think she's grown attached to waking up with me there. And me too. Its a great feeling to have. She digs me and I dig her, a lot.

Here's to happiness and hopefully not having to move again for a long damn while!

T

Thursday, May 21, 2015

COMMISSIONS NOW OPEN!!!


Hey friends. Its been a while since I opened up my commissions list, so yeah, I'm doing so now. Just got some down space and I'm willing to help you get the things you need done. A piece for a gift for someone? A gift for yourself? Single image or comic illustration. All proceeds go to help pay for 2016's convention expenses. Let's make it happen! Adult and clean art is hereby available!

Simply EMAIL ME HERE and let me know what you need done. Also refer to my COMMISSIONS section of my site for pricing and rules.

Cheers!

ADAM T.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Rough Weekend Thoughts

As per my blog a few posts ago, I beat myself up again a bit yesterday. It started with realizing how small some people see me as. What happened is this:

I work a part time job as a cashier for a major chain corporation of grocery stores. There's a union in place and there are contracts. I don't recall signing them, but apparently I did when I was hired. Anyway, I have spent the last 4 months busting my ass there. I've increased from 16 hours to 32 hours a week there. I've proved myself. I'm looked upon as reliable and a strong backbone of the place.The accepted average speed and accuracy is supposed to be 94%. I am at 112%. So yeah, I am VERY fast, VERY good at the job and I've done it through some crazy circumstances. Divorce, death, an injury and juggling my life around all of that. I work every weekend there during their crazy coupon days and try to maintain a positive attitude while there. But after 8 hours of no water (only on breaks), long hours on my feet, gripy, bitchy customers, etc... you get worn down. And I've worked hard the last few months to help re-establish a new life and payflow for me and what I have to take care of now. I am finally at a spot where things are running "Smoothly." Not GREAT, but smoothly. Bills are paid and I have enough to eat and drive around. Thats all I need. I'm not able to save, but I am not hurting. Thats a huge thing for me. Crawling from nothing into gaining something. I'm proud of that. And I had to do it. And in doing so, I had to sacrifice something precious. Time with my kids. I only got to see them maybe once, twice a week. And when I did, I was always exhausted from working two jobs. We never could do anything fun. They are growing up. Little James is talking great now and Scotty is improving every day. I'm missing out on key shit in their lives. And I haven't seen my oldest son at all in months! So yeah, I'm frustrated. So I gave it some thought and decided that I would ask for weekends off at this one job so that I could see my kids. Make them a priority now that I am on my feet. Well, I was met with this news: If I took weekends off, I would get like 12 hours a week. Something about the contract states that I must be fully available.

So essentially when you look at it, my hard work was for nothing. Nothing I struggled through and strived to prove myself (or them) through mattered at all. While they got plenty of younger employees that are thirsty for work and can work weekends, they don't want to work me a Monday through Friday for 25-40 hours a week. Nope. I have to give my entire life over to them. This puts me in a weird position cause my kids won't see me as much and its not fair to them. Its certainly not fair to me, who has busted his ass to prove himself. Everything I've done for this job, in the end, never mattered.

Thats a repeated pattern in my life, I'm afraid. I remember dedicating my time and my life to places, people or things that have always let me down. I find that I am easily replaceable and forgettable. The struggle never matters. Those old days where a boss helps you out or feels anything for you... those days are gone. Its all numbers and just find another monkey to come and push the buttons. Get that dude out of there. He's fat and old. Fuck him, move on. Here's a fresh 16 year old we can program. Move on. Move on. Meanwhile I am forced to keep the job because I gotta pay my bills. I gotta show up. I gotta suck down the shit sandwich. I've always hated that. Thats when I start to beat myself up. Like I should be smarter than this. I don't fit in. I don't belong. People always say that to me at the jobs I take on. "Why are you here? You should be doing this or that.." and I SHOULD BE. Why aren't I? That's a damn good question. I've applied at around 30-40 jobs in the last couple months and haven't got any calls back. Is it me? What have I done wrong? I've worked a lot of jobs and I've earned my way into management time and time again. I dedicate my time and work hard. So whats the problem?

I think its mostly because I never focused on the right things to do for my career as an artist. I shoulda taken the deep plunge and really made it my #1. But I didn't. I focused on trying to have a personal life and a family. But that didn't work out for me so well. So back to square one, what do I got? A basket full of dreams and knowledge I cannot put to use in this world that has changed around me. No one hires full time. No one cares about your needs around your family. Its only what you can do for them to bring their numbers up and then they replace you. The concept of the individual is gone. Perhaps forever. Its sad really.

Another thing that has this on my mind is that this weekend is MOTOR CITY COMIC CON. The biggest comic show in Michigan. I have friends there right now. Some of my books and art are there on tables now. Thats great to know. But I'm not there. I'm not. And I should be. I fucking should have made it a priority to save up and get a table and get even one more person to read my comics. To hear my story. To be a part of the big pond of creativity instead of standing on the shoreline waiting for the "right moment" to get back in the water. Fuck that! I should be there. I WILL be there. Next year. I'm not doing this to myself again. 2015 is all about getting out of the hole and getting my work done. And then I'm hitting the goddamn road in 2016 and selling my shit. I'm gonna get in people's faces so much that they are gonna be sick of hearing my name. I have to. I deserve to give my work and my career the true shot I never gave it. So that's what I am going to do.

Art, comics and music are the only things that have served me well in this life. I've never been good at anything else. And I know that my work and what I write about has value. It needs to be read. It needs to be seen. And the only reason its not is because I haven't done my job getting it out there for people to see. No one comes to your backdoor to see your stuff. You have to take it to them and show them. And thats what my focus should be. Get out there. In all ways possible. Never sit and watch your friends live their dream. You belong there too. So what are we waiting for?

I've come from some of the darkest places a human can come from. And there still are struggles. But there are great things happening in my life right now. I'm deeply in love with someone who I deserve. I am more creative and active now than I ever have been. I feel more deeply for my kids than I ever did before. When life goes tits up on you and you start to see these people and places and how they treat you and what you think your relationship is to them, you get great perspective. You get objective. And you feel a little stupid for caring so much about a place, person, thing or whatever it is, and how much of it you let into your brain. You let it derail you. But you cannot take your eyes off the prize, no matter what happens. Like Churchill said, you won't get to where you are going if you stop to throw stones at every dog that barks at you. You just gotta know what you want and go for it.

I've always known what I want. I've never doubted any of that. I've always felt like sometimes to achieve what I want is a little bit out of my hands. It takes the right moment, the right person, the right time. But I'm tired of waiting for those things to line up to perfection. I'm going to make it happen, dear readers. I'm finishing my work this year and I am hitting the road in 2016. If its got a zip code, I'm gonna be there. My work is my priority now. Its all I have and all I want. Its never let me down. Its my savior time and time again. My best friend. My lover. My life.

Watch me prove it. Not to you, but to myself. 2016. NO MORE.

T

Friday, May 15, 2015

Video Interview With Me!

Hey folks! I was interviewed by MIGEEKSCENE at the recent Cap City Comic Con. I talk all my books, future happenings and more! Check it out!!!



Also be sure to check out MIGEEKSCENE.com for news and info on all things and events around the Michigan area!

___

Last night I saw MAD MAX: FURY ROAD and it was awesome! And as some of you might now, I am a big fan of post apocalyptic stories... ahem... AHEM! AHEM!!!!!!! - Please go check it out. And check out my book, ANNA POCALYPSE for a book in the same genre.

Coming up I got new Star Wars card sets to finish and the GRASP COMIC EXPO in Grand Rapids, June 27-28th. I'll be doing a panel there about doing sketch cards, so make sure you come out to see me. Might be my last appearance for the year!

I am also plugging away on new Starslam and Pleasant Life pages. I got about 6 done every week, so we're rolling right along! Exciting shit all around.

Thanks for checking back. Have a great weekend. Watch that interview video!!!

T

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Old Soldiers...

We all have to work jobs to get by in life. Believe me, Ive had quite a few jobs. I love to work, actually. I like the routine, new people, the fun I have. Sometimes it definitely sucks. Bosses suck. Customers suck. Your corporate masters suck. Not being free that night to go do shit with your friends or spend time with your girl sucks. But we all do it cause its necessary. Its how we pay to be able to have a place to put our stuff and be able to go out and do our shit. Its an accepted form of the big picture.

Some people make thier dayjobs the totalization of who they are. Ive done that, sure. Like, im defined by where i work, how much I make there and if i can move up in that company. But I dont do that often. Lately Ive felt bummed because I got a degree and twelve years of management experience, jocked registers since I was 16, and still i cannot find a job thats either full time or pays me beyond minimum wage. I beat myself up over it as you know. But I cannot give up and live off of the government because I come from that minimum wage work ethic. Its something my dad instilled in me. You want something, you have to earn it.

In this struggle of life we All do, we can beat ourselves up, let customers get to us or let upper management tell us what they think we should do, say, dress like and be like. But the only thing that makes all of it tolerable is your co-workers. If you are blessed to have a job where you work with people who make the day funner, distract you from the mundane details, or understand your rants and struggles at the job, because they have them too. You're both soldiers in the trenches of a war. And always, one day the war ends for one of you. You move on. You got out. You've been promoted by life or paroled out of hell. You're leaving the job. Your co-workers are sad to see you go and you know the decision was hard because what if your new job isnt as fun as these people made it to be? We've been through a lot together. Customers, bosses, the war of our lives. Or maybe you find out your favorite person to talk to at your job is leaving. You're sad to see them go, but happy for them. They made it. They got out! You envy them and thier journey forward. You might remain friends, sure. But thats rare. You'll never have them in your life quite like that again. At most you'll be another one of thier facebook friends. You'll keep up casually. Maybe run into them at the grocery store. You'll catch up and tell about all your new happenings in life. But eventually will start swapping the old war stories. Like a clipshow sitcom. Reliving the laughs. And missing them all over again when they finally seperate again from you.

Ive had a lot of jobs. Ive made a lot of friends. And a few enemies here and there. But you never remember them as much as your old war buddy. You both made it out. Thats why I never understood people who are mean at work. We all have to spend a great portion of our lives at a job. Why not be cool with the people around you? Its a weird connection to me. But oh well.

Illl stop and think about my old war buddies often. Ill hit them up on FB and tell them im thinking of them. They throw me a LIKE sometimes on a thing I say, and i know they are remembering me too. It is WE who connected and made each other's life tolerable for a short while. And I will miss them greatly. You cant repeat the war stories with your new work buddy because it wont feel the same. It just becomes a story. Something that happened. A place in time. Memories drift into nothingness. But for a time, it was real.

This is a shout out to all my old soldiers ive had the privledge of serving time with. We made it out. And i will never forget you. And even sometimes I dream we're all together again in the same place. And it feels like yesterday. Time changes nothing. Cause in my heart and head, im always with you. Best of luck to your futures.

T

Mother's Day Reflections...

Hello friends. Attempting another blog post from my phone at my late night job. Forgive the mistakes if i make one.

Happy Mothers Day to all the moms out there in my feed. This is the first year of my life where i dont have someone to celebrate Mother's Day with. I was quite lucky. I got to call two great women, MOM. No sadness at all for that. But this year, ill celebrate thier memory and celebrate you too. Cheers to you all! And you should give your moms a call if you can. Believe me, one day you'll wish you could.

So far this week I am working an extreme amount of hours. I get two-three hours of sleep between and maybe an hour or two nap between those. But i got so much shit I have to get done. I need to also go through my stuff and start early preperation for my August move. Truth be told, ill kinda miss my apartment. The first apartment that I ever had solo. Lots of rebuilding and memories have been had there. Extreme goods and bads. But I wouldnt change a thing. Im in a very happy place now and enjoying what I got. I may be dead tired, but my bills are paid. I still have my stuff. And thats something!

Im working hard to get all my Star Wars cards done this week. Then I will return to work on Starslam 2 and Pleasant Life 2. Smooth sailing so far. Ive hit a stride and im enjoying it. Bout damn time!!

Anyway, just wanted to uodate right quick. Hope everyone is having a great weekend. Cheers!

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Beating yourself up

One of the things that people know about me is that I can be my own worst enemy. All my problems, I bring on myself. I'm overweight because I eat things that are bad for me. I'm not more successful in my art because I'm not putting it a priority to get out there and take it to the people like I should have. Etc. Etc. Its a realization that we all must come to at some point in our lives. We have to wake up and realize the damage we do to ourselves. And I am big time guilty of the biggest crime I do to myself: BEATING MYSELF UP.

I'm always discounting where I am in life. What I've done. Where I SHOULD be, on and on. When a praise is heaped upon me, I immediately counteract it with a knock down about myself. For example, someone might say, "Hey! The art and story in this comic you made is really good!" Then I'll immediately say something like, "Yeah, too bad I only sold 150 copies of it. No one really read it." I can't just say, Thanks. Ever. I am not sure why. Maybe its lack of confidence. Maybe I've taken on too much that life has thrown at me and I've let myself get beat up and put in the corner of the ring. I take a lot of punches. Mostly because I know I can take it. But sometimes... I feel like I just need to take a dive and relax for an 8 count, and then get back up for some more. Clubber Lang is always there taunting me, warning me not to get back up cause PAIN is coming! But I still keep getting back up.

Take for example my current situation. I feel very low and stuck. I'm 37 years old, my financial status looks like an atomic bomb went off. My body is slowly breaking. I have constant foot and knee pain now due to the long hours of working. I have to work two jobs to barely support paying to provide for my kids and my bills. I never have a night or day off. I don't get to go out and enjoy a movie in the theater. I cannot take my girl out to dinner. When I am with my kids, I cannot afford to do anything fun with them. Because of this hectic schedule I never get a full night's sleep. And I get paid minimum wage at each job. At 37, with 12 years management experience and a degree. Tell me how that is fair.

And my jobs... one is a night job cashier at a gas station. Simple enough and I enjoy the quiet. After I get my work done, I can sit and draw, which has been a MAJOR help for me keeping up with my art stuff. But I deal with a lot of scary situations. Drunk college students, scary situations and sometimes potentially hostile situations. People puke and pass out in my store. It just gets nutty. Then take my day job, cashier at a major grocery store. I've done rants about the things that piss me off about it on my MORNING SHOW PODCAST - But I get these 4.5-6 hour shifts. Its back breaking work. Not allowed a drink. Some of the people talk to you like dog shit. I see older folks I work with and they look really beaten down. I'm almost to their level. I'm 37. I should be further along than this! There, ya see? I started it again.

I cannot shake the feeling like things should have panned out differently for me. I do feel very "Stuck" sometimes. I've applied all over to places that are more related to my field or offer full time and I never hear any calls back. I'm waiting, trying, patiently keep applying. Nothing. Damn. Oh well, back to Grand Ledge, the 25 minute drive to work a 5 hour shift and then come home for my 2 hours of sleep before I have to work my night job. Half my check goes to the state. Yay.

So yeah, you let all of this beat you down. Things suck. But you look at the positives.

-I got a job. Two of them. People like me at them. Thats good.
-I'm providing for my kids. There's a lot of deadbeat parents out there that wouldn't do that.
-I'm doing what I can with what I got.
-I'm still taking on freelance artwork gigs and beating the deadlines to all of them.
-I tackled emotionally crippling things this last 6 months and have kept my train on the rails.
-I make my GF very happy and we're building a life together. I'm providing for her too.
-I continue to dream and make plans for my future in comics, jobs and life.
-I still haven't gained any of the weight I lost.
-A lot of friends and family have stepped up during this time of my need and supported me in many ways. I've found out through all of this who is in my corner.
-My kids are happier than ever and its a joy to see them, even when I am dog ass tired.
-At my jobs, I do good work. I am at 111% speed at the grocery store and I am a backbone at the gas station.
-My GF respects my hard work and does things to pamper me and show me how much she appreciates my struggle. Its a great thing to feel valued like that.
-The artwork I am producing is better than ever and is coming from a genuine place.
-I know in time my struggles during this period will fade, not get worse.
-All my bills are paid. Believe me, that's a BIG thing!
-Despite my lack of being able to hit more shows, I am gaining new fans and readers. Thats amazing!

SO: As much as I want to punish myself and make myself feel like less of a person because I'm a cashier at a grocery store/gas station clerk at 37, and not as far along in my art career as I want to be, I'm still standing. I'm still doing good work. I'm not down for the count. I'll come back swinging, count on it. I want to learn to not beat myself up. I'm tired of doing it. I need to focus on the positives of my life and work on it every day. I need to get my head right. Let go of a lot of my anger, fear and hurt. I need to continue to rise. And I will. That much I know. Just keep watching.

Anyway, GOALS FOR THE REST OF 2015:

1-Get Starslam 2 done and kickstarted.
2-Get Pleasant Life 2 3/4ths done and ready for an early 2016 launch.
3-Reprint all books.
4-Release all books as digital downloads.
5-Do three new prints and print them all for 2016 con season.
6-Pay for tables at THREE big shows for 2016.
7-Continue freelance art gigs, especially the STAR WARS work. Not just with Topps, but other places.
8-Find a full time day job and get a normal schedule.
9-Save for my future.
10-Move into new apartment and build a life with my girl.

So there. No matter what life throws at you, never take your eyes off the prize. Execute your plans. And Don't beat yourself up for getting in the ring to fight the big fight. Don't do your opponent's job for them. Make them try to take you down. Then throw the big uppercut. Fuck em up. Then stand in the ring, arms raised in victory. Smells fucking sweet!

---T

Sunday, May 03, 2015

FCBD and CAP CITY COMIC CON Wrap Up

Hey all! What a weekend! I worked both jobs, and then did TWO comic related signing appearances. I'm on 3 hours of sleep and super exhausted! But I'd remiss if I didn't take this spare 30 minutes I got right now and do a quick recap of my signing appearances this weekend.

On Saturday, I was at Clem's Comics in downtown Lansing for FREE COMIC BOOK DAY. I think this was my 5th year out for it. I set up around noon and was busy until about 4pm. I drew a crapload of sketches for people, sold a lot of cards and books and my voice and hands hurt after my shift was over!

Sketchin' is hard work!

My favorite sketch request: Spock and Kirk with tribbles. Much fun!

FCBD went great and I sold some good stuff. Thanks to Clems and their staff for having me out yet again. It was great to see everyone again and hope to do it next year if they'll have me!

Then Sunday, I went to the first ever CAPITAL CITY COMIC CON. Everyone on the staff was friendly and accommodating. I look forward to the show's growth as time goes on. But it wasn't bad at all! I made some sales, hung out with friends and got to check out a nice art collection! Here's a Mike Wieringo piece he had:  


And of course I had the best table helper in the world...


After I sell books, sign all the boobies in the line up, I gotta get my interview on.... 


So yeah, BUSY weekend! And you know what else? At my night job I even squeezed in some page work on Pleasant Life 2! Here's a peek...


Thanks to all who came out to see me this weekend. Thanks to my pals for making it fun and special thanks to my booth-babe! ;)

Cheers, T