Since then I have been working up a range of designs to self publish him through the greeting cards market. This process has not only dragged on and on, and seemed to have spent an eternity on the back boiler, it has also made me both realise a major problem and discover a new direction.
The problem I encountered was that to launch a new character into an already over populated greeting card market, and without the advantage of the huge marketing machine and vast sums of money available to the Hallmarks of this world, I was going to have to scale a mountain that even Mohamed would have taken one look at and said, 'Sod that'.
So I looked into sub contracting my idea out.
To do this would've involved me selling my designs direct to the small, independent reps who's job it is to service all the small greeting card concessions in their area; this would've given me a network of agents, selling to thousands of little clients, but at a fraction of what I could potentially realise from this project: not to mention the amount of phone calling, driving to and from these reps all over the British Isles and trying to manage the logistical nightmare of making appointments for all reps in each area, over a 24 hour period and managing the exact right amount of time to have the interview and make it to my next appointment.
After a short while it became obvious that this was not a viable way forward. It became very obvious that there had to be another way of getting the bear to market, a way that was not so cluttered and one that would build a good solid fan base--- that would afford me the luxury of taking a recognised brand to these reps and possibly negotiating a better deal.
So I needed a new way forward. A revolutionary way of taking my new creation, Big Ol' Bear to market in such a way that would not only get him noticed, but maximise his earning potential in a very short space of time; something that was going to be very important for someone who was artist, designer, salesman and publisher all in one unsure little middle aged package.
But its been done before, right? Didn't Hanna Barbera do just that? Didn't they have to re invent the cartoon wheel when their careers came crashing down around their collective ears? And didn't they invent the new medium of TV animation, a concept we take for granted nowadays, but was a revolution back then?
Now I've already said that I think I have come up with a new direction---my ground breaker, as it where---So the aim of this new ongoing set of posts within our Diary of a Cartoonist and Writer is to take you through the process that I'm about to embark upon. Over the next, god only knows how many posts, I will be sharing the journey of me and my character, Big Ol' Bear, with you as we move into the uncertain world of turning a water colour sketch into a greeting card brand---using only my wits and intuition as a guide. Because I sure as hell have no marketing skills or qualifications
So hang on in there and you may just be party to the start of the next big thing.
On my next post I will tell you Big Ol' Bear's back story, and how if it wasn't for the comments of a friend who just happened to stop by my studio for a chat one night, Big Ol' Bear may still be residing in my vast 'dead pile' of scribbled ideas.
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