Normally I don’t like to sound negative. But (without going into all the details) my wife and I just had a very bad experience ordering plane tickets, and it feels good to vent. Plus, I’d like to get the word out: Stay away from Yes, their fares were low…at first. But we couldn’t believe it when they called us today to tell us they are charging us more than we had already paid! And when my wife called to complain, their “customer service” department was downright awful.

Lest you think our bad experience was just a one-time fluke, the Better Business Bureau gave an “F”. (Guess we should have looked into that before ordering the tickets).

Needless to say we won’t be doing business with in the future. Neither should you.

Diary of a MAD Job

I know I just plugged his blog, but Mad Magazine artist Tom Richmond (pictured) is doing a terrific series explaining the step-by-step process involved in illustrating a parody for Mad. Check it out.

The Challenges of Freelancing

Theres a very good article on the “postion:relative” blog titled “The Biggest Challenges Facing Independant Designers”. Just substitute the words “freelance illustrators” instead of “independant designers”, and it’s a good summary of the stuff they don’t tell you in art school when you are considering a freelance career. Not that I’m complaining. I abolutely love freelancing and I’m very thankful that I have been able to make a modest living doing what I love. But every once in a while I get asked for advice from someone who is considering going freelance. This article pretty much sums up what I would say.

(Thanks to NO!SPEC for the link.)

Comic-Con is A-Comin!

I’ve made a last-minute decision to attend Comic-Con in San Diego July 20-23. I haven’t been there since ’03, and I miss it. I’m planning to do a lot of networking, as well as attending some great seminars. I’m especially looking forward to a panel discussion on “Designing Appealing Characters” that will include great talents such as Stephen Silver, Dean Yeagle, and Glen McIntosh. I’m also looking forward to hanging out with the guys from the Christian Comic Arts Society, who were kind enough to let me share a hotel room.

Hope to see you there!

New Blog: MAD Caricaturist Tom Richmond

Back around 1995 while still in art school, I took a summer job drawing caricatures at a local amusement park. It was the first job where I actually got paid to draw, and it was a tremendous learning and growing experience for me. Sort of an art boot camp. I was very shy and insecure (and frankly not very good at caricatures), but I learned how to draw fast and under pressure, and I also learned a great deal about dealing with people and building my artistic confidence. All of those things have been a tremendous help to me as a freelancer.

Why am I telling you this? Because my boss was Tom Richmond, an award-winning caricaturist and illustrator who has since become a leading artist at MAD Magazine. I just learned Tom has a new website to showcase his amazing work, complete with a blog. Tom is a seasoned professional with a lot of experience and insight, not to mention a boat load of talent and a fun drawing style. Had I been wiser, I would have used that summer in ’94 to get to know Tom and pick his brain a little. Instead I’m looking forward to following his blog and seeing what insights he has to share.