We had the good fortune of connecting with Rashad Doucet and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rashad, other than deciding to work for yourself, what else do you think played a pivotal role in your story?
Never letting anything that happened to me in life stop me from finding a way to become a storyteller. When I was a kid my grandma gave me pen and paper to write and draw the many stories that populate my mind and I’ve never stopped. I suspect she did so to encourage but also help keep a 5 year-old, who couldn’t wait to tell you about his newest superhero creation, quiet during church lol. Regardless of how it began though I adapted, learned, took side paths but never gave up on that desire to learn and tell stories.
This all came to a head when hurricane Katrina hit. At the time I’d just finished my undergrad studies with an emphasis on painting and graphic design, and while I was still landing some work, including some comic book related freelance, the doors just weren’t opening fast enough. But after the hurricane, and after a graphic design gig that was not the healthiest work environment for me I decided to re-focus and pursue comics completely. I took the FEMA money I received to help me get started in the masters program at the Savannah College of Art and Design, majoring in Sequential Art.
Leaving behind family, friends and a great support network behind in Louisiana was not an easy at 25 but it was the best decision I made towards doing what I love to do. I spent 2 solid years just focused on making comics and finding work in the industry. This focus not only helped me make new lifelong friends with similar interests but allowed me to re-connect and work with older friends, (including my co-creator on Pax Samson, Jason Reeves) traveling to comic conventions and showing editors and publishers our portfolios.
Now I’m blessed to have a growing freelance career, with books like Pax Samson, Alabaster Shadows and Jeremiah Justice, even won an Eisner (comics’ highest award) for being a part of the Elements: Fire anthology. And I still find somehow find time to teach sequential art at SCAD.
All in all getting over my fears of starting over and taking such a big risk financially had its downs but the ups have been extremely rewarding. Met my wife by coming up to Savannah too. Definitely the best decision I made.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Whew! Intense but awesome question. My first answer dealt with some of this but to elaborate I think the biggest boon to my career is that no matter what I’ve always thought I was good enough. This does not mean I think my work is perfect, because I’m constantly learning and challenging myself as an artist, but in regards to pursuing work, and getting it into the hands of actual people to purchase and enjoy.
A lot of artists can get stuck comparing themselves to ideals or favorite creators/professionals that we idolize. Forever thinking our work isn’t “good enough” and spend time always developing but never getting out there or trying a little but after some rejection, thinking we need to spend endless amounts of time perfecting our work before trying again. But I think the getting better is in finishing and getting it out there. Getting your work in the hands of publishers or even doing it yourself and connecting and building your fan base is worth it no matter how long it takes. It all builds and grows if you don’t stop.
I wake up everyday not just wanting to create but to get the finished work out there. And often get frustrated when I can’t find the time to just free draw or art zone out lol. And while I may not I may not think the work is perfect or even as good as my idols but I always think it’s “good enough” for someone to enjoy. The art world is filled with so much variation that its not healthy to think your vision can’t be worthy of joining it. So yeah continue to learn, grow, practice but also go for those jobs or build your empire through Kickstarter, patreon, or wherever. There is only one you and that experience can resonate with people despite any artistic flaws you may have.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m not the best at city tours lol.
But I’d say check out all the comics shops and toy stores in Savannah. Neighborhood Comics, Savannah Comics, Planet Fun, Realm of Relics, Odin and Sons and any one I can’t think of at the moment.
To eat: Sushi Zen, Bullstreet Taco, Cotton and Rye and lol so many others. Savannah has great food everywhere!
For leisure time just head towards the river, the closer you get the more options you’ll find.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Shout out to my grandparents, Harry and Marie Fontenot for giving me the dual foundational support to chase my dreams but to also work hard and smart towards them. They’re no longer with us physically but their words live on in my mind.
Linkedin: Rashad Doucet