Tag Archives: grants

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The Wonderful Resource that is Paper Cat Press

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long haired black cat
I don’t have any ready-to-post sketches of cats, so have a picture of my cat Scarlet.

I wish I had known about this site back at the end of February, when I got laid off from my day job and transitioned to making comics and art full-time. It would have made life easier.

But at least I found it now!

Paper Cat Press is a handy dandy website that aggregates links and shares new ones once a week. These links are for…

  • Calls for Submissions
  • New KickStarter Campaigns
  • New Webcomic Debuts
  • Grants and Scholarships
  • Workshops and Residencies

And a whole bunch of other stuff, all geared specifically towards comics artists and illustrators! All I can say is…

THANK THE GODS.

So in case you couldn’t tell, I am currently on the lookout for new opportunities for comics-making work.

Don’t get me wrong – the KickStarter for the Validation buttons has finished up just a few days ago. We far surpassed the asking goal of $100 and got $826 in funding! Holy banana pants!

But that money is specifically for KickStarter stuff – for fulfillment of orders and printing up the buttons we were raising funds for (and a sketchbook we unlocked as one of the stretch goals). That money will NOT go towards bills or food until all the backers have their rewards. And that could take a little while.

So that’s why I’m REALLY glad for sites like Paper Cat Press. They’re going to make looking for a paid gig SO much easier.

The first thing I’m going to apply for is a grant. Why? Because I want/need to take a residency at a comics place in Pittsburgh so I can do on-location research for Traveler’s Road, the story of two ladies traveling through a post-apocalyptic United States to find a lost friend. The lost friend in this story is supposed to be in Pittsburgh. I don’t live in the city, so I would REALLY like to just take a weekend, stay there, and draw what I need for the story. The grant can cover room and board, and if there’s enough left over, gas and art supplies.

However, I DID find another, different micro-grant (it’s micro because the grant is less than $1000, the usual minimum given in a grant). This micro-grant is called the Cupcake Award, and it’s given in association with CAKE – the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo. I’ll try for that grant first.

Wish me luck!

Thanks for Reading.

You. Are. Awesome.

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Why I’m Going to Stick to Crowdfunding From Now On, Thanks

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thoughtful dinosaur comic strip panel

Backstory:

I applied for a grant through my state, to possibly get some funding for comics and convention appearances so I don’t have to rely entirely on my day job income, Patreon, and KickStarter. I made it to the next to last round of judging, and saw that there was a panel happening the other day to determine the finalists.

So I requested the day off from the day job, drove to the city, and sat through the panel.

Now, I was expecting to be interviewed or to have to defend my case to the panelists.

Yeah, no. Guests weren’t even allowed to talk to the panelists. So the review process was sitting in a dark, cold room for three hours watching slides and three panelists take notes.

Now, the category I submitted to was Visual Design, because apparently that’s the category you put comics in. The problem? This category also covered furniture design, fashion design, and bookbinding.

That’s right: comics, as an art form, was being judged next to furniture and dresses.

Before I get into the tangent of comics as a medium having an entirely separate language and aesthetic from dresses and furniture, let’s talk about the panelists. There were three of them. One was a fashion instructor. One was a 3D artist specializing in (drumroll, please) furniture, and the third… I think she was there because she got a design degree from OSU. Her critiques were basically, and often literally, “I didn’t like it. It looked strange,” or “this looks nice to me.”

Let’s just say, half of the 16 submissions were comics and graphic novels, and only ONE made it to the top 5 (and it wasn’t me). The rest were costume designers or other 3D artist types.

And in the final elimination round, to the surprise of no one, the comic artist got the boot.

I was really hoping for better on that day. I was really hoping that somebody in the comics field would get this grant, even if it wasn’t me – hell, when I looked at my submission on the slides, it turned out that the system I submitted my work through warped my art and fucked up the dimensions of my comic strips. So I’m not surprised that I didn’t get the grant.

But there were artists who sent work better than me, who were not furniture and fashion designers, and they got the boot because the council could not recognize that comics have a different visual language, and different aesthetic values, than the unbalanced panelists could work with.

So, fuck it. I’m not applying for state grant funding again.

I’ll just stick to crowdfunding and convention sales from now on.

Did you have a better experience with arts councils or state-funded grants? Or was your experience just as awful? Share it in the comments below. I would love to read them.

Thanks for reading.

You. Are. Awesome.