The Autonomous Creative

The Autonomous Creative

What does it take to become a successful writer or artist? Go behind the scenes with amazing professional creatives in a wide variety of fields to find out what, exactly, it took for them to be able to quit the day job and build a creative career fully committed to the work they're most passionate about. As a creative yourself, you know that whenever two artists or writers get together, inevitably the conversation turns to, “No, but seriously, how do you do it?” This show is that conversation. And you’re invited.


January 20, 2022

I’ve been thinking and talking a lot with creative people about how they make a living, how they struggle with money, and what they might do differently to bring in a reasonable income.

It comes up in virtually every coaching call.

I talk about it with friends.

I ask people rude questions about it on this podcast!

...and it’s a subject of conversation around the dinner table pretty often—my husband, Matt Madden, is ALSO a cartoonis...

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Cartoonist and publisher Spike Trotman publishes books she considers “strange and amazing.” Her company Iron Circus specializes in “underrepresented voices, underrepresented themes, stuff that has not got a big audience quite frankly or a lot of people catering to it right now.”

Sounds like a recipe for struggle.

Yet they’re KILLING it. “For the first time in my career, it feels limitless. It feels like I have so many possibilities...

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Cartoonist and graphic recorder Lisa Frühbeis has made bold moves that have led to an incredibly rapid career trajectory in the last few years, starting with pitching a comic strip to a newspaper straight out of school...and then parlaying the end of that strip into a book deal, and then much more.

But Lisa isn't bold because she's free from fear. Far from it. Although she long felt a strong pull to become a professional ar...

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Martha Rich is commercial and fine artist who took a long and circuitous route through many day jobs (Workman's comp insurance. Hotel front desk clerk. Repo woman?) to pivot to an art career at the age of 37.

Now Martha makes a full-time living as an artist making work that brings her joy.

Her secret to building an absolutely custom autonomous creative life?

When bad things happened in her life (and they did, with regularity) i...

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"What theories about myself and my creativity am I willing to test? Am I willing to fail?"

Sarah Firth is an awesome cartoonist and graphic recorder, among many other things.

Sarah takes a bit of a mad scientist approach to her creative life. She embraces experimentation and testing to try to discover new ways to organize her life around her creative interests, always looking to answer the question: "How much value can ...

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Tom Hart is a cartoonist, and he’s the founder and executive director of a comics school, The Sequential Artists Workshop. His 2016 memoir, Rosalie Lightning, debuted at number one on the New York Times bestseller list.

Tom offers amazing, valuable insights about the path to creative career success—and that what “success” looks like must be self-defined, always. For Tom, that means freedom is number one. When he has creative autono...

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The only thing more challenging than using frenetic DIY self-publishing to springboard a career in children's books might be running a commercial salmon fishery on the Alaskan tundra from a cabin with no electricity, no toilet, and four kids. That's why I was so excited to talk to Robbi Behr and Matthew Swanson, the illustrator-author-married-with-4-kids duo.

Robbi illustrates, Matthew writes, and together they make pictur...

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In this interview, Alexander and I talk a lot about money, and specifically, about how asking for money and negotiating for what you want and need is a key piece of building a healthy relationship with your work and career.
We also talked about the myth of the solitary artist, and the reality: that community and relationships are key to not just success, but survival.
Finally, Alexander is the source of an incredibly pivotal insigh...

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