Be very afraid..


once they are done throwing rocks you may be out of a job

Here is a Blog that I have been sitting on for awhile, I haven't had a whole lot of time to get into the trip to Greece because it happened in spring and that is when my schedule gets really really busy. This seems like as good a time as any since they are all over the news right now because of...unpleasentness. The obvious question Americans no doubt have on their minds is "what exactly is going on over there?!". Seeing as how I possibly met more Greeks in one weekend than any American has in ten years, let me break it down for you in one sentence. The only thing wrong with Greece right now is that Greeks are not in charge of Greece. Period ...Amen. Europe is and always has been a clusterf*ck of nit picking, rivalries, bigotry, and jealousy. The middle east gets a bad rap for not being able to get along and they have earned it...but we all forget that Europe is worse. "don't get involved in Europe's wars" was profound advice that one of our founding fathers gave us several hundred years ago. SEVERAL HUNDRED YEARS knew that Europe was a mess...and it still is. So...all the rioting you see in Greece has more to do with them realizing that they should never have hooked up with those buffoons than anything else. They have been labeled as freeloaders and parasites. This is not only untrue but quite the opposite. The E.U. is one big pyramid scheme, where the countries who got in first and control it get to suck up the money and the others get screwed.

That is as much as I have to say about it, because my trip there made me worry about more than economic collapse of the E.U. it made me worry about my job. I have seen every "artist alley" in every two bit comic book convention you can think of, and none of them could match Athens for sheer skill. It pains me to say this because no one is a bigger blow hard about his country than I am. Allot of people asked me what the difference is between Greek artists and American artists is. Strangely enough they have opposite problems and strengths.

American "artist alleys" are chuck full of young people with their chests puffed out proclaiming themselves to be the next big thing. They are confident, outspoken and have a firm grasp on how to convince the world they are great. What is lacking in them is actual greatness. They put their emphasis on promoting. They put it far ahead of actually being great. Honing skills, craftsmanship, and refining their art and storytelling is secondary to the point of being an after thought. I have seen people come and go, the ones who last are the ones who focus on getting better, who focus on the product itself ...a good story that is well illustrated. If you don't have that, all the promotion in the world won't save you.

In Athens it was the opposite. I was stunned at the level of skill. Skill is much different than talent. Scores of people are born with talent. Scores of people entered the industry when I did who were far more talented than I was ...SKILL comes from learning, and improving, and mastering your craft. Skill comes with time, dedication and practice. SKILL is the difference between this...

and THIS

Skill takes hard work, effort, and constant learning. Make no mistake, the Greeks are concerned with SKILL. They take their craft very very seriously. What they lack though is confidence ...a little blowhardness is what they need to acquire, a little swagger in their step, a little "i'm the greatest". Funny thing about shooting your mouth off, it does get people to notice you, if for no other reason than to be able to tell you that you are full of crap. People love to be able to tell you that you are wrong. Shooting your mouth off is an irresistible invitation to look at your work because the possibility is there that they can tell someone they are full of crap. If you say you are the greatest, and they take a look in hopes of being able to look down on it..and your work IS great then you acquired a fan that will fight for you. You rose to their challenge and impressed them and they will defend you based on your work AND your balls. Shooting your mouth off also forces you to get better. It is a form of motivation that has no equal. Once you shoot your mouth off, you then realize " I had better be able to back that up or I am going to be a laughing stock". The blowhardness, is what the Greeks lack. Maybe that is part of the culture ...I don't know. But I do know this, once someone combines the Greek skill with the American showmanship they will be a force to be reckoned with. I would wager once the unpleasantness is over in Greece and they have a chance to catch their breath and survey the are going to hear all about it...from them.

Allot is made of the talent in Japan and Japanese illustrators are formidable, but largely they lack ingenuity. One look at something drawn in Japan and you know it was drawn in Japan...and is replaceable by anything else drawn in Japan. They are little threat to American illustrators. The Greeks however range from all styles, methods and techniques. Rather than go on I will just post pics of books that my secret shopped culled for me. ( yes it is true that I rarely leave my table at any show, but that does not mean someone isn't walking around on my behalf). So cast you eyes on their work and realize that most of these people foolishly classify themselves as amateurs, and pray for your own jobs that when the dust settles over there they don't turn to the U.S. for work.

That's just a sample...I would put up more but my scanner is tired and so am I. Notice anything similar about all these pages? neither and that's what worries me, they aren't chasing trends over there, and people who don't chase trends usually end up setting them. Now if you will excuse me I have drawing to do, I have to stay ahead of the curve y'know.