Andrew Miller, aka AndHeDrew, has a goal to give away 1000 pieces of original art to strangers. He’s doing this to convince others to give away their art. AndHeDrew is the creator of the webcomic called “Aprons,” based on the food and drink industry (think baristas and Starbucks). You may view “Aprons” at this link: http://pleasetip.us/
I found the concept of giving away 1000 pieces of art interesting and thought it was a perfect match for webcartoonists. It’s a way to spread art to the masses, but also a perfect way to share your webcomics. It’s a win-win promotional tool. AndHeDrew sees it also, as a way of making the world a beautiful place and to lose our “tight fists” which is quite common in our society.
In AndHeDrew’s words, “Giving connects people.” Even if you give away things for free on the internet, like an e-book. He says he would rather give away 5000 free e-books than just have a handful of people buy it. He sees that as a great business tool — giving away the e-books because then all those people feel connected to AndHeDrew.
This does make a lot of sense, because I do believe that most of our webcomic readers read our work because they feel connected to us, more than just the comic itself.
Tom Falco: Your concept of giving away the original art is amazing. I know that you suggest every piece be original, but what about a comic artist maybe sending copies in some instances but signing and maybe numbering the pieces, would this fit into your concept?
AndHeDrew: Certainly! My goal is to give away 1000 pieces of original art, but that doesn’t have to be yours. I think everyone should give their art away, but the type of art can look very different for different people. I know someone who’s an amazing cook, so for her giving art away meant cooking meals for people. Someone else might be able to write short humorous poems for people, another person might doodle on Styrofoam cups, another might give out prints: it’s really up to you. The reason I wanted to give away originals was I didn’t want to have anyone confused about my intentions: I wanted to give away art, not advertise my website, and I was afraid that prints might end up looking like flyers. I didn’t want me art to just be another distracting piece of advertising in a person’s day, but a unique gift that required some effort and forethought. But this isn’t to say that a print wouldn’t make a good gift, but I wanted to stay away from them.
TF: When did you start your webcomic “Aprons?” And are any of the characters part of your 1000 pieces of art project?
AHD: I started Aprons on October 1st, 2012. It doesn’t have much to do with the 1000 ArtGift challenge yet. I don’t know if it will in the future. As Bogart said when Yvonne asked him if she’s see him that might, “I never make plans that far ahead”. The only real connection that they have is through my home site, AndHeDrew.com, where I write about and connect all of my online projects.
TF: How often do you publish “Aprons”?
AHD: I’ve published five times a week since the beginning of Aprons. I wanted to leave the Aprons Christmas comic up for a while, so I took a day off on the 26th of 2012.
I intend to never break this schedule unless there’s a good reason, and I would eventually like to post every day.
TF: Have you given away any of the “Aprons” originals as part of your 1000 pieces of art project? Can you even give them away, are theydone digitally or the old-fashioned way with paper and ink?
AHD: I have not given any Aprons originals away. I’m not counting this option out, but I haven’t seen a good opportunity yet. Aprons is drawn by hand, in ink, on bristol board. I’ve drawn comics on the computer before, but nothing beats the brush and ink.
TF: What digital platform(s) do you use if any?
AHD: I use Photoshop and a Wacom tablet to touch up the comics, and prepare them for web publication and eventual print. I use comic press to publish them to my site. I have figured out how to automate almost every step of the process, from scanner to going live on the site. I’m an automation junkie.
TF: Why is “Aprons” black and white and not full color?
AHD: Honestly, time pressure. I love full-color comics, and I think they’re typically more engaging to me than b+w comics, but If I did color comics, I would have to cut down my posting schedule somewhat, which I’m not willing to do. In the future I would love to do fully color comics, or perhaps Sunday color comics. I love color in the comics, but it’s very time intensive for me.
TF: How many pieces have you given away already as part of the free art project? Are you close to the 1000 mark?
AHD: Not even close. I’m at 46. I’m making plans to give away quite a few next year, but this is a project that I want to take my time on. It’s meant to be measured in years, not in months or weeks. Could I work hard and crank out 1000 piece of art in a few months? Sure, but that’s not true to the spirit of the challenge. I want to take my time, and put some effort into the ArtGifts. It’s going to take time, and I’m OK with that.
TF: Would you be willing to randomly choose one of our readers to send a free piece of art to? And if so, how? Should people randomly email or tweet or Facebook you?
AHD: I’ve actually made a page just for those who read this interview. I’m giving away one of the ArtGifts, as well as a copy of one of my e-books, and an envelope of sweet Aprons stickers. There are also other ways that you can get involved with ArtGifts, Aprons, and AndHeDrew.com. If you’re excited about the idea of giving your art away, or just want to win some cool swag, head over here: http://andhedrew.com/win-one-of-the-1000-artgifts/.
You can see AndHeDrew speak about his project at a Tedx Talk he gave in Lincoln, NE, at this link: http://andhedrew.com/art-as-gift-video/
Tom Falco, creator of the webcomic www.Tomversation.com has been doing cartoons and illustrations for many years. His comics have appeared in newspapers, magazines, books and online. Tom is also a journalist whose work appears in various publications including the Miami Herald, Huffington Post, Examiner and now the Webcomic Alliance.