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The Self-Made Man: Jeph Jacques

Making a living as a working artist is ungodly difficult, on a scale that your average tech start-up couldn’t begin to imagine; while theirs can be a very stressful world too, at least techies’ skills are respected by the world at large. Try telling people you’re a painter or freelance illustrator sometime and see how condescending they get.

The artist’s life is even more tenuous when you’re subsisting off one gig, which is what makes this week’s Self Made Man?Questionable Content creator Jeph Jacques?all the more impressive, since his free, daily-updated comic has been his day job for years now.

QC, for those of you who don’t read it, is a full color, serialized comic about, to quote Bleeding Cool, ?a haphazardly adjusted group of twenty-somethings in New England?set in a context of kitchen-sink science fiction.? It updates five days a week, and is written and drawn by Jacques, who has constantly updated the look and feel of the strip since it began in 2003.

QC began as a way for Jacques, who was a wayward twenty-something just like many of his characters, to do something artistic that wasn’t a band, since by that point he’d kind of had it with other musicians (Jacques studied music in college). He liked drawing, and he thought he could handle a twice-weekly update structure, so he got to work on a webcomic.

Jacques also had the good sense to interact with other creators early on. He was active on a few message boards when he first started, especially Dumbrella, where some other people noticed his work and linked it around. Eventually, Jacques started updating his comic four times a week, and as he kept at it, it got better and funnier, and readership started picking up.

It helped that Jacques’ early writing was centered around pop culture/indie rock references, which guaranteed him some kind of audience at first. Luckily, he’s talented enough at character development to retain a lot of readers who may have otherwise been temporary.

In a way, Jacques’ decision to make a living from his art wasn’t a choice; he was laid off from what he’s since described in interviews as a dead-end office job and, rather than find another one, he decided to see if he could live off the T-shirt and merch sales generated by QC.

So far he has, and he appears to be thriving, at least by artist standards. Even through struggles with depression, sleep deprivation (his self-reported sleep/work schedule is ridiculous), and other personal issues, Jeph Jacques busts his ass to put work out there, and is as kind and generous with his fans as anyone you’ll ever meet. It’s because of that hard work, and his constant improvements to his craft, that he’s been a success.

Check out his Patreon site as well; if you like what he’s doing, and you should, then it’s worth helping him do it.

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About Dave Kiefaber Dave Kiefaber is a Baltimore-based writer who regularly contributes to Adfreak and the Gettysburg Times. His personal website is at www.beeohdee.blogspot.com.

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