When the Covid-19 Pandemic hit, the comics community found different ways to support one another. Many of the big-named creators generously donated beautiful artwork that was auctioned off for thousands of dollars to support the struggling comic book retailers. I thought the Jim Lees, Mike MIgnolas, and other superstars of the world would be able to raise more money than I ever could. I wanted something that went directly to people. I chose to do a series of live video streams where those battling on the front lines or those affected by the pandemic could simply comment on the video, request a character, and I mailed it to them free of charge.
Here is an example of one of the videos. The person who requested the Kate Bishop made awesome Aquaman and Wonder Woman masks for my wife and myself.
I did five Sketch Relief Streams, and they can be viewed on Facebook or YouTube. I did a total of 58 sketches (a majority of them off-camera). There were amazing acts of kindness by folks that donated to cover the shipping, and there were even charitable donations made in my name by the supporters. I never expected anything like that would happen, and I am extremely grateful.
Another amazing thing that happened over the course of those five evenings was the message board/comments during the streams. Total strangers were kind and supportive to one another. While many of them knew me, they had never met one another. Friends were made, and the kindness of strangers was on full display. People made masks for one another. Folks tried to help with support programs with their local businesses. Their strength and kindness made the work I had to do a privilege.
I drew a wide array of characters. Many of them were my first attempts depicting them. In most cases, I tried to stay, "on-model," so that they were the recognizable characters that they wanted. Some are better than others, but I gave each one an honest try.
I have no idea how long all of this will last. I don't know if anyone does, but we are opening up again. Should we have to reverse and go into lock down again, and I have the financial ability to bring it back, I absolutely will do more sketch relief evenings. Thus far, It was a fantastic experience that I am glad we shared.
While I'll never raise as much money for stores as other artists, I'm also doing some sketch covers for New England Comics to sell and make them some money. I also did a large (11x17) Batman vs. Batman Who Laughs piece (above) for Alternate Universe (a comic store in Connecticut) to raffle off to raise them some money.
Thank you everyone that helped make the project the incredible experience it was.
Be safe, be well, and comic on!