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by Nettie Hartsock

In this week’s “Five Questions for Creatives” we turn to Lloyd Dangle, graphic artist, comic strip artist and blogger. Lloyd is widely known for his Airborne™ brand illustrations and at night he dons his comic cape and draws his highly popular Troubletown comic strip. Lloyd blogs at – www.troublogtown.blogspot.com/. Lloyd’s web site can be found at www.lloyddangle.com.

Lloyd DangleLloyd is a multi-disciplined writer, designer, and artist whose works, over the past 20 years, have appeared in over 100 magazines and newspapers of every type. His weekly comic strip, Troubletown, was first published in the San Francisco Bay Guardian in 1988 and has grown to become a widely-syndicated cartoon feature in alternative newsweeklies and lefty political magazines. Lloyd is also widely sought for his live Dangle-tooning at corporate events and meetings.

1. What do you think is one of the biggest challenges to being a successful creative person?

Lloyd: To protect and feed your creative side while simultaneously squashing it into the box of corporate America. Seriously, being creative, while employing a marketing system and an effectively run studio is not easy. It’s almost like you have to become two people. Three would be more helpful.

2. What are three tips you would give to anyone who wants to empower their creative career, whether it be as a copywriter, web designer, artist?

Lloyd: It’s taken me forever to figure this out, and I am resistant to it, but you have to go out to public events and meet people face to face to get great projects and relationships.

Second, you should always market yourself with the idea of what you want to be doing, not necessarily what you think you do best, because that’s how you get stuck.

The most important tip is to really look at your creative endeavor as a business, develop your studio policies, terms, and contracts, have everything in place so that you don’t have to think about it and you’re ready to make a deal with the ultimate client tomorrow.

3. What is most rewarding about being on your own and working to grow your creative business?

Lloyd: It requires persistence, but after a while, if you’ve been doing your marketing, you eventually get to a point write your own ticket. You can choose the projects that offer you the chance to express yourself in the way you want, and you can make enough money, that’s important too! If your business is ramped up and working well you can enjoy flexibility. You can take vacations in the middle of the week and pick your kids up in the afternoon and play with them.

4. What inspires you to be creative?

Lloyd: Trying to provoke laughs, thoughtfulness, or irritation in the public, depending on the task at hand.

5. What is the greatest benefit to working as a creative professional?

Lloyd: I remember in some exercise I did one time years ago that I wrote the statement that I wanted to be able to go to work and tackle something creative every day. And that’s the greatest benefit for someone who feels compelled to make pictures, or products, or creative solutions to client’s problems. I just love being engaged in that way. I know people who like their corporate jobs and wouldn’t want the headache of running a business full time. But I’m able to live the kind of life that works for me.

Bonus: What is your favorite book about business or creativity?

Lloyd: Oh, I have an enormous library, way more books than my house and studio can hold. It would be too difficult to narrow down an inspirational book for creativity. In business, “Graphic Artists Guild Handbook Guidelines: Practical & Ethical Guidelines” had such a profound effect on me that I became the president of the organization.

About the author: Nettie Hartsock is a digital strategist helping authors, creatives, musicians and companies create actionable how-to 2.0 programs to establish a powerful base for attracting both blogger and journalists attention. Her website can be found at NettieHartsock.com.