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Drawing web comics most likely not a viable career option… but it’s fun!

Since leaving grad school, I began indulging in all the things I’ve always wanted to do but never did due to time constraints. Really, it was more that during my free time as a grad student, I always felt that I should be either reading papers, writing grants, or work non-stop – which I didn’t want to do.  What ended up happening is that while procrastinating from doing “extra” work, I read a lot of mange and watched a lot of anime.

So what did I indulge in?  What were the things I had wanted to do in grad school but never got around to it?  Well in the past year I’ve started a career advice blog, a China news blog, a recycling craft website, drafted up business plans for many startup ideas (only to invariably find out every time that someone else has implemented my idea within the last year or so), started some drafts of book I’ve always wanted to write, and now I’m going to try my hand in web comics. Trying so many new things at once may seem crazy, but there’s a reason behind the madness.  I wanted to give everything a try to find out what turns out most successful, then fully pursue that route.  After spending 8 years from college to grad school when I didn’t even like Biology to start with, I didn’t want to waste any more time.

One of the first things I searched for before I decided to start dabbling in design and web comics is “How much money do web comics make”?  I knew that blogs have the potential to earn a livable income.  I was surprised to find that most web comics don’t make enough money to even pay for the web hosting fees.  Even a popular comic like Cat and Girl makes only as much as a grad student, which is to say not much at all.  From her detailed graphical data, the most consistent income comes from t-shirt sales.  And if Etsy is of any indication, selling self designed merchandize rarely gets you anywhere.  (Just check out any of the forums on Etsy discussing how much people make a month – average seems to be $200 a month).

While I have no illusions of making any noticeable amounts of money from web comics, I am nonetheless drawn to the idea of producing my own.  Having read so many mangas, I realize that there’s certain things that a picture can portray where words would come short.  And having been through the process of getting a Ph.D., I know only too well how a comic like the PhD comics can have the effect of warming even the most spartan of labs.

I haven’t drawn since high school.  I had forgotten I used to draw until I flipped through my old sketchbooks and remembered that I used to love it.  I had taken professional lessons for a short while, and I had been surrounded by art when I was very young by my grandmother the landscape artist.  Like with music, drawing used to be a way for me to immerse in the expression of a part of myself.

Well for my first attempt, something cute and sad.  I had a lot of fun drawing it.  Hopefully soon in the future there will be a comics tab above the page with a collection of comics inside.

left behind

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