I’ve stayed away from drawing obit cartoons since leaving The Courant, although I know people looked forward to them when someone passed away. One woman told me, “I can’t cry until I see your cartoon.” But, I needed a break from what I usually do to find out anew what I LIKE to do, not just what I’m good at. My training is in commercial art, which bends the bow toward making money. Sometimes, chasing a paycheck obscures deepest desires.
One of the things I’ve had to do since going freelance is learn to slow down. I know, you’d think nature would do that for me. It may have in many things, but not in the time it takes me to draw a cartoon. As a freelancer when I had my studio in Ft. Wayne, I’d quote a job and then race to finish it for one simple reason. Time is money. If I quote a job for $500 and finish it in an hour, I’d make what a lawyer makes. If I took five hours, I’d make what a commercial artist makes. Easy choice.
Working at The Courant, I’d try to get my work done in time to beat the heaviest rush-hour traffic on the drive home. It had occurred to me to leave AFTER the rush hour, but my work day was starting in my home studio at 6 a.m. I figured nine hours a day was enough. Now, I don’t have to fight the traffic or the weather or corporate rules.