Nei Ruffino has been working freelance in the comic book industry as a colourist and overall artist for almost a decade. While she’s done work for all the major labels, Nei is probably best known for her work on Zenescope Entertainment’s Grimm Fairy Tales series and her colours for Danger Girl penciller J. Scott Campbell.
Nei is a big believer in not just paying it forward, but the independent scene. She’s been live streaming Photoshop tutorial videos and recently launched a Patreon crowdfunding page to support both her tutorials and her personal projects, including the one shot comic, Azure.
It was a pleasure to chat with Nei about how she got her break in the comics industry, the daily realities of creating art (including deadline pressure and repetitive strain injury) and the comic book convention scene. I’m glad that I could fulfil Mal Semmens (of KerSplatt! Comics and Collectables)‘ request to get Nei on the show!
Paid to Play is going weekly! In between every fortnightly chat show, I want to bring you a separate update on how I’m going with getting Paid to Play, my takeaways from the experience and your feedback and questions!
If Joanna Penn wasn’t an entrepreneur when the novelist bug bit, she was certainly on her way there, with a web log and podcast about self-publishing and a regular speaking gig. Then a chance encounter with NaNoWriMo, an annual writing challenge, resulted in over fifty thousand words of her first novel, the occult action thriller Pentecost.
Joanna levered her existing knowledge of the publishing industry to make Pentecost (now known as Stone of Fire), its sequels in the Arkane series and her second book series, London Psychic, into independent publishing success stories. After having listened to her podacst for years, it was a privilege to chat with Joanna about how she makes sure to keep her noveling, blogging, podcasting and speaking plates all spinning, how Australia helped her discover the Amazon Kindle and just what it means to keep showing up for your dream every day, even when you’re already what most would consider a success.
I record and publish The Paid to Play Podcast because I believe that other people can value the things we enjoy doing, and that if we stand by that value of our play, we can all earn money – whether a little extra on top of our day jobs or enough to support ourselves completely – from them.
But one thing I always want to make sure I do is to practice what I preach. If I reckon others can stand by their play and ask for reward from those who value it, then so can I. And the best way I can do that is to talk about my own endeavours.
The good bit is, there have been some recent and very interesting developments on that front that I’m keen to share with you!
Beethy is a photographer based in Australia who has chosen to focus his craft on portraits of cosplayers; people who not just make costumes based on fictional characters, but also go out in public and bring life to those characters. That focus has garnered him not just a living wage but also a fantastic reputation amongst the international cosplay community.
Cosplayers around the world know that the name Beethy means eminently sale-worthy portrait prints of their craft and art, but they also know it means a fun being who brings joy to the process of making great photos. I got to sample his warm personality in this chat, during which he tells his stories of the community and how he became so well known within it.
Beethy also gives a good chunk of practical photography of business advice, including a crash course in taking good cosplay photos and the rules that Beethy built his business around. You may find his experiment into who produces the best photo prints to be a real eye ear-opener!
Oh, and there’s some random geeking out about video games and consoles at the beginning too! I love asking folks what they’re digging right now!
I’m pretty sure that I said that Matt Bond puts the rest of us to shame when I first chatted with him at the beginning of 2013. At the time, Matt had successfully overcome the ongoing pain from a pair of broken legs that had put an end to his career in the music industry by becoming a freelance photographer.
Since then, Matt’s photography business has only flourished, but he’s also got back into music, returning to his beloved guitar and becoming a studio producer for local talent. On top of those, he’s added video shooting and editing to his already well-strung bow and is paying his success forward by helping community charities and fellow artists (not to mention the odd podcaster) out wherever he can. And he does all this while being a part-time Dad! I just had to get him back on the podcast for another chat.
Diversification is a byword nowadays; building your life around one source of income is risky, even when you’re doing the nine-to-five. Sometimes it’s unavoidable, especially when your dream job simply won’t pay the bills.
Paul Abstruse has taken his love of creating comic art and built himself two income streams. The first is the one you’d expect, working for comic labels like IDW and Zenescope to produce pages for comic books.
The other is as a tattooist, where he not only creates the ink you see on folks every day; he also creates tattoos of the comic book characters we all love, even inking whole action scenes on people!
And if you’d expect a tattooist to be a very rough and ready type, you should see the art he’s created for the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic comic book series!
Please join me as I chat with Paul about how the Australian body art industry has changed over the last decade, the convention scene in Australia and what it means when the job you love doesn’t quite love you back.
WARNING: Due to technical issues, there are a lot of audio issues in this episode that I simply couldn’t edit out. These include background hum, keyboard noise and dog panting.
(Wouldn’t Hengineer Smith and the Spaceteam Admiral’s Club make a great title for a pulp novel?)
WARNING: Though I’m happy with the sound quality, the rush to get this up meant I didn’t edit out some audio problems at my end, mostly revolving around our dogs acting up. I owe a HUGE debt (and several bouquets of flowers) to my wife Vickie who got up on several occasions between 6AM and 7AM to deal with them while I chatted with Henry.
Gerlinda Aras, owner, operator and chief stylist of Mirror Image Consultations. Image provided by Gerlinda.
Welcome back for the third edition of The Paid to Play Podcast released in conjunction with Brazen!
Having a child tends to put a cramp on your ambitions – a stable, secure income from an employer looks more attractive than the unreliable income of a freelancer when you need to feed, clothe and educate your kids.
Cairns local Gerlinda Aras, though, used the impetus of wanting more family time than her day job would allow to create her own business as a style consultant for individuals and clothing store chains. With a little help from family and friends, Gerlinda is now completely self-employed and has no shortage of work!
Listen in to find out how Gerlinda does it – and how I’m applying the lessons I’ve learned from her in my own search to get paid to play!