|Posted by David Pugh on January 16, 2015 at 11:35 AM|
My son, Sam has just finished and has been paid for his first game development commission, something he has been hankering to do since he was about ten years old. Since before he could walk he used to crawl into my studio, haul himself up to my drawing board to see what I was working on that day. Drawing for IPC’s Boys’ Adventure Comics, many of which were spin-offs of cartoon shows and video games, he was very impressed and went off to attempt his own interpretation. This was one of the joys of having my studio at the front of our house. A couple of days ago Sam reminded me of the downside of creative isolation. For the first ten years of my career, I worked as a cartoonist and viualiser in a Creative Services studio with other artists. All jolly good fun but I wanted to draw comics, full time and although I was having my own strips published in various local papers, it wasn’t enough, I needed to do it ALL the time. Rumpelstilskin, in the guise of Pat Mills, eventually turned up and spirited me away from my studio playmates and dropped me in a room alone. In return for having my wish granted, I was locked in this room for the next 26 years. Okay, I did take some time off for adventures in the real world but at best they were three week rest bites from drawing adventure. For most of those years I was working in that room six days a week. 9am to midnight Monday to Thursday and 9am to 7pm Fridays and Saturdays, an exhausting routine. In order to meet his deadline for his recent character studies, Sam had to forgo his social life for three or four days. When he had finished he rang me to say that he finally knew why he used to find me most Friday and Saturday nights sitting alone in the kitchen, several beer bottles in front of me listening to Leonard Cohen, singing about “satisfying one night stands,” in the glow of the cooker’s extractor fan. He said it must have been some hope that the extractor would suck me away to a more exciting life. I should have been in our lounge with the rest of the family but watching the TV would send me instantly asleep, I wanted to savour the possibilities of what life might offer. I projected myself into some bar in South East Asia and lived there for an hour or two, at least in my alcohol fuelled imagination. It may sound selfish but I was suffering from cabin fever, I had to escape those crippling deadlines. In my defence, I always gave over my Sundays to the family, then I was Dad and all theirs. These days I have the freedom to live the adventure and have been fortunate enough to find myself in many South Asian bars and I can tell you, they are as good as I imagined.