Thanks to the magic of MySpace, I've recently tracked down an old friend of mine, by the name of Jason Keith.
Jason and I had art class together for a year, and were pretty good friends. We bonded over comics (of course), and often collaborated on things. Generally, I was the penciller, and he did the colors. We even did a big painting together of the flag raising at Iwo Jima this one time (it was for a local VFW). The only reason I was ever able to figure out coloring myself is because he explained it to me, and I was forced to learn when we lost contact. You have him to thank for that, if you like what I do. He always pushed me, and really kept me going. The only actual comics I ever did, I did because he practically made me, and he colored them, doing a spectacular job even then.
So anyway, I get in touch with him, and come to find out that he colors comics for Marvel. That's right, Marvel. And I'm stoked, of course. How cool is that? I'm excited for him. Turns out he's been working for them for like 8 years now (I also found out he only lived like 20 minutes from me here in AZ for four of them-- note that we went to school together in Texas!), so I went to Marvel.com, and type in his name, and find out he's worked damn near every awesome book they have. Spider-Man? Check. X-Men? Check. Been reading Red Hulk? That was him. Turns out he's colored the work of some of the very best pencillers in the industry today, like David Finch, Salvador Larroca, and Ed McGuinness. I'm blown away. For the record, he got his start coloring ME.
Needless to say I'm incredibly proud of him, but I'm also ashamed of myself. If I had ever worked as hard as him at anything I've ever done, I think I'd be right there with him, and he'd still be coloring my work. I honestly believe that, and I kick myself for not working harder. It's time I get my $#*t together.
People have always said I'm talented (mostly my family, but hey), and it's probably true. But all the talent in the world doesn't mean a damn if you don't work for something, and put yourself out there.
Dude, you are definitely talented, but work is important, but never discount the luck factor too. It's not in vogue in our society, with its 'you can do anything you set your mind to!' mentality, but it is sadly true.
I'm not saying your friend didn't work hard, but sometimes you need to work hard, and being in the right place at the right time can be an amazing help!
A friend of mine nearly landed a job doing concept art for WETA workshop that way. He's very talented, worked hard, but that opportunity to talk with the people in person came through chance when one of his art school lecturers introduced him during an exhibition of Lord of The Rings Props in Toronto.
You know, it wouldn't hurt to do a bunch of scenes from marvel books ((your own story lines of course)) turn them to your friend to have him show the top guys..and see what happens... Maybe through your friend you can work for Marvel too :)
Heck yeah! I've always been a fan of your work, and you are definitely good enough - you should totally get paid for what you do!
And I know what you mean, I wake up in the morning and go to work thinking "Why aren't I getting paid for what I'm actually good at?!" I agree with dred here; a lot of it is pure luck. Personally, though, I think a lot of the time it's down to how good you are at self-promotion. People with less ability but more shameless guts are more likely to get a break cause they're there in people's faces. Every time I get it into my head to go and apply to WETA or an illustrator's agency or something I end up looking at the galleries of those people who already work there and I feel so under-qualified and crap that I have to go and eat a lot of chocolate until I feel better, and don't end up applying at all.
So anyway, enough of my ranting. What I'm trying to say is you are good enough. You are qualified. Go tell people this and they might give you some money to do this stuff for them - that's the dream anyway, huh?