This past Monday was the one-year anniversary of CartoonRetro.com, an incredible source of daily visual inspiration that never fails to impress and inspire me. In my humble estimation, it’s the only website worth paying a monthly subscription fee for; there is quite simply nothing else like it. The reason the site works is because of its founder — Shane Glines — who is passionate not only about rediscovering great cartoonists and illustrators of the 20th century, but in studying their techniques and applying it to his own work. Shane took an incredible risk last year when he left a successful career in TV animation, and dedicated himself completely to Cartoon Retro. He wrote on his site recently about his life in the past year, and discussed both the struggles and rewards of freeing one’s self from the system:
It’s been over a year since I accepted any paying work. 100% of my income has come from subscriptions and original art sales. This hasn’t been easy. I’ve supplemented the money from subscriptions with original art sales, but I’ve flooded the market and now can hardly give the drawings away. I’ve turned down some incredible job offers, not an easy thing to do when that 72 hour eviction notice appears on the door.
I’m not complaining, though, and I don’t have any regrets. My drawings have improved drastically over this past year, and while I still have many highs and lows the highs are more consistent, and my satisfaction with my work is now to the point where I can actually look at a finished piece and be somewhat pleased with the result rather than only seeing where I failed. I really feel like I’m finally learning to draw, rather than relying on happy accidents, and I don’t think it would’ve happened if I continued to work on material that I had no emotional investment in. I needed to be able to fully concentrate on my own ideas, make my own mistakes and find the right direction for my work. Cartoonretro has given me that opportunity, and I owe you all a big thanks for supporting the site.