Ryan Estrada and Dorothy Gambrell Chart Their Income as Webcomic and Freelance Cartoonists
While Estrada admits that money is something that most people (and especially freelance artists) are loathe to discuss in detail publicly, he recently charted his last five years of annual income in hopes of giving other aspiring cartoonists or webcomics creators more context about making in a living in his field.
I think that in this new world where all the rules of how people earn a living have been thrown out the window, a little data can be very helpful. So because it may help a fellow independent artist, or someone who wants to make a living on the internet, I’ve done a little math homework, and am presenting my income from the last 5 years as a full-time artist, and typed up a breakdown of what I did right or wrong each year, and what I learned from it.
People always assume I’m rich because I travel a lot. But actually, I travel to places where I can live cheap. I would be destitute in the US, but in most places I travel, I live like a king!
It’s hard to say how representative Gambrell and Estrada’s experiences are, but I suspect that freelance cartoonists’ finances are as varied as their comics. Like so many cartoonists, Gambrell and Estrada give away much of the content they produce for free, so these income breakdowns are also a tribute to the entrepreneurial spirit of freelance cartoonists and their ability to market their comics and artistic skills using an an unconventional business model. Just like any other entrepreneurs, freelance cartoonists need to constantly refine and grow their businesses, as well as test out new and innovative ways to earn money doing the things they love.