It's not unusual for me to reminisce on the integral moments in my life, but the last few days I've been thinking more and more about all the different variables that have lead up to where I am today in my career. I have had many people in my life who have stuck out their necks for me, taken a chance when they didn't need to, or just lent me a helping hand when there was absolutely no benefit in it for them. They gained little if anything from helping me, whereas my life is completely changed because of their generosity. I can never repay them for what they've done, and if I'm honest, I haven't done as much as I probably should have to try. Though of course I've already thanked them in the past, I wanted to do so again here.
My parents have always been supportive of my pursuit of art. They haven't always understood my tastes in art, or everything necessary to become the artist I am today, but they have always given me their love and support, without which the trajectory of my career, and also my life, would have been skewed.
Michael Turner, one of the few comic book artist rock stars and founder of Aspen Comics, has sadly passed on, but a few years before then he gave me my first job in comics. Most people in the industry know who he was, and that he was a really stand-up guy. I had the utmost pleasure and honor of working with him, and the great benefit of his guidance in my career. In retrospect, I didn't always appreciate all that he did for me as much as I should have, but I'm glad I had the opportunity to thank him before he left us.
Peter Steigerwald (Aspen Comics co-founder) gave me a place to stay on his couch when I barely had two pennies to rub together, and if not for this there is no chance I would have been able to take the job that Aspen offered me. He has also been a great friend and an inspiration as an artist and a person.
is the man. Without him, I would not have been able to get into the animation industry. I knew him casually from a few conventions, and for whatever reason, he decided to help me get in to the industry. When I was working in comics I didn't even own a car, and the idea of someday having my own place, family, etc, was pretty far fetched. I'm now married, have a son, and two cars, all made possible by his decision to help me out.
and her awesome husband Jon Shiring let me crash at their place much longer than they should have, and had they not, I'm not sure if I could have taken my first job opportunity in animation as I was pretty much completely broke at the time.
was my first director in animation. He looked past the terrible storyboards in my "portfolio" and focused on my comic work, and decided to give me shot. He is now my supervising director, and has given me ANOTHER huge opportunity at my first directing position, which is something I never in a million years dreamed I would be doing. I am extremely grateful for the patience and encouragement he has given me throughout my animation career.
So, that's my list! There are others out there for sure, but I don't have all day and would need it to thank all of them. My hope in posting this is that it might motivate others to thank those who have helped them in the past, and also to remind them to keep helping those that need it(and deserve it) when they have the ability to do so. I hate the term "pay it forward"(terrible movie), but that is basically the way I've personally been trying to do things. I have to say, it is one of the best feelings in the world to help someone, particularly when you remember a time when you were in their same position. So, who has helped you in your life/career?