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Keep trying new artistic things you never know what ideas will work for you - Interview with Background Noise Comic

Webcomic artist John Hazard tells me how working in a creative field you want to do other creative things which is how this couple started their webcomic Background Noise Comic among other things. From Tom Ray's Art Podcast - John Hazard & Lisa Burdige of Background Noise Comic.

Listen to the full episode here - https://www.tomrayswebsite.com/2020/10/john-hazard-lisa-burdige-of-background.html

John tells me:

When you're working in a creative field you often meet a lot of creative people who kind of want to be doing other things. It's not easy. It's something I had wanted to do for a long time and it just takes you a while to kind of find the thing that sticks. 

Sometimes it's not what you plan it out to be it's just something that happens like our webcomic. We had tried to make something happen with the both of us and this is something that just sort of like lightning struck. It just started working. Lots of people want to do these things, anybody could do these things, we live in an age where you have the ability to market yourself and the ability to prepare things for printing. 

It just amazes me that we can go on vacation in Maine but I can still completely pencil and ink and letter and whatever my comic on this tablet. But you also have to have a lot of will and do a lot of work! Keep pushing, keep persevering because it's not easy to be a creative person in the world where you also have to pay rent and do all those other things. 

Leaving Nickelodeon kickstarted the webcomic

I mean honestly, a lot of our creative output has been because of me leaving Nickelodeon. I was laid off it was after 10 years of being there, so you know I had a good run there. Leaving Nickelodeon it was under good circumstances/bad circumstances I guess. I wondered, why they would have to do such a thing? It's corporate life yeah, that's just the way it is now. At the end of the fiscal year, they have to balance their books and that's the way they do it with layoffs. 

I was there for 10 years, I was the last person in my creative group to be laid off which is amazing considering what an anti-social jerk I am you know? I'm really not like a corporate guy. I literally took my toy collections built up literal walls around my cubicle and blocked myself off from people and thought I could get away with that. 

And art director after art director would warn me, John if they're looking to do layoffs every year, which they do, they're going to look at the big dark creepy guy who doesn't talk to anybody. And I just ignored them because honestly working at MTV Networks, Viacom, Nickelodeon, it's pretty cool. I liked it, I appreciated it but I also was bored after 10 years and I assumed there was this amazing freelance artistic life for me out there. 

cartoon drawing image
Image banner for the Background Noise Webcomic

Then when I get laid off I realized, oh actually I'm not like a hustler, I'm not the kind of person who's good at making my way as a freelancer. I kind of didn't know what to do with myself. 

Webcomic Frankenstein Superstar was actually about that

My webcomic Frankenstein Superstar was actually about that. The Frankenstein character in my comic he's the Frankenstein monster but in reality Frankenstein the name is public domain, anybody could do a Frankenstein or comic book or tv show whatever. 

So in the comic he had all these endorsement things, there was like a Frankenberry cereal, a Saturday morning cartoon show, and all these things that he had little residual checks coming in. Then over the years as the economy got worse people realized they didn't have to pay him so he kind of disappeared and he had become complacent. Then all of a sudden his wife says what are you gonna do with your life? You need to get a job and figure out your life! And I was in the same position where it's like that mid-career crisis kind of thing, mid-life crisis whatever. 

I'm trying to figure out what am I doing. In the comic, he decides to be a superhero which is stupid and it didn't work. So that's what that webcomic was about. 

It was very good for me creatively and I was very happy when it happened. I mean also you know MTV networks back then when they lay off people they gave you a really good package. So I've got some money right now and have some time. This is the time to make that artistic leap and try this other thing. It was great but there's also I'm still trying to figure out my life as a working artist. It's a constant struggle. Which honestly I'm great at the art, I'm not as great at the money.

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