Well this blog post will tell you a little more about me Mark Elden.I have always enjoyed drawing from about the age of 5. I remember when I was young tracing all my favourite cartoon characters and then transferring that trace to paper, I must admit I did try to pass of some of these pictures as my own work which met with high praise from my realtives lol.I do believe through that those many years of tracing allowed me to develop a natural drawing ability that allows me today to draw what I see in my head. If you have children that like to draw, I highly encourage you to buy them some tracing paper and allow them to copy other art to get their creative juices flowing.It’s probably no suprise that Art was my favourite subject at school. I studied Art all the way up to year 12 Art / Design – It was at this stage that I started to draw a little Cartoon Strip called Fin (now called Fins) Initially the Shark was called Gummy but I later decided not to name any character and just let them develop and see what happended.At the age of 16 I probably had about 12 strips that I had printed into a book and decided to send them off the the local paper the Adelaide Advertiser. I never knew what I wanted to do for a career at school, I found it difficult to chose subject for a career that was unknown. I did however have a desire to be a cartoonist.
So the strips were posted and I eagerly awaited a reply, I got one about 2 weeks later. The letter read, Thanks for your submission the Advertiser, although your work is of publication standard, we currently have no vacancies at this time.
Being 16 and easily de-motivated the comics were placed in a draw and fell to the wayside as the pressures of finishing school and finding a job loomed over my head.
Since then I travelled to the UK for 18 months came back and worked various jobs until one day at the age of 36 (20 Years Later) I had the urge to give Fins another go, I had just been made redundant at my job after 10 years, Facebook had emerged with an interesting way to touch a large audience and have your work go viral quite quickly.
I never wanted to feel the regret of not giving it 100% effort, if I still didn’t get published, well at least I gave it a red hot go.
I decided to set myself a goal, 100,000 facebook likes and then submit the strip to syndicates. Syndicates in America basically hold all the rights to newspapers around the world, if you can land a syndicate deal, well you have done pretty well, only about 1 to 2 % of comics submitted ever get published. The reason for the 100,000 likes goal was to show the syndicates that I already have a strong following of readers.
A horrible time for me was when the site got hacked, I was removed as the admin of the page and could not make posts on my own page, I cannot describe how sickening this was. I then received emails trying to blackmail me asking me if I wanted to buy the page back. Facebook finally closed down that site and I had to set up a new one, luckliy after lots of emails I managed to get them to transfer the likes over to the new page. I hope I never have to go through that again.
About 12 months later Fins has almost 43,000 Likes, a great result seeing as the site has only been live for just over a year.
I deceided to take all the strips to colour about 6 months ago and am happy I made that decision – Colour in Art has never been my strong point so it forces me to experement and try new techniques, Youtube has been amazing for me to self tutor in digital painting and honing skills.
The next year is going to be very interesting, I have a beautiful wife of 7 years and our first baby on the way, I hope to reach the 100,000 goal before the end of the year, this is why I appreciate it when you share the strips with your friends and make comments, this means it shows up in your news feed and it might attract a new liker
I do feel the comedy of Fins is progressing in the right way, looking back I find some of my earlier gags to be a little corney lol
I would like to thank all of the Fins members from the bottom of my heart, in a way I already feel like a published cartoonist that has a group of people that likes what I do, it’s always hard when you put your work out there as an artist as you often think, what if nobody likes it, could it be funnier.
BUT most of all thankyou you guys make it worthwhile.
I hope you found this blog interesting and if you did please leave a comment