We had the good fortune of connecting with Sage Coffey and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Sage, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
I used to be a lot more “wake up and work until I can’t anymore.” As I started to get more and more freelance jobs that had overlapping deadlines, I felt that lifestyle just wasn’t good for my physical or mental health. Balance, for me, looked like an 8 to 10 hour work day with frequent breaks for water, food, a walk, etc. It’s not an option everyone has the choice of taking, and I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to change my work habits to better suit my mental health needs.

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.
Are you familiar with Bojack Horseman? Sometimes I feel like I Todd Chavez’ed my way to where I am now. Just a series of goofy misadventures that lead me to working on comics and video games. However, to say that is a dismissal of all the hard work I did to get where I am and the people who took a chance on me and my work. In school I was working two part-time jobs, freelance, and trying to maintain being a full time student at SCAD: Atlanta. It was an extremely difficult time for me. I got used to rejections, and eventually it felt like water off a duck’s back. Just another day! I kept pitching and doing smaller projects, and even helped publish an Ignatz-award nominated anthology (Sweaty Palms: The Anthology about Anxiety) with my co-editor Liz Enright. In the meantime, I’d work on self publishing mini-comics like If IT Were Socially Acceptable and Wine Ghost. Rather than an avalanche of work, my overall career feels more like building a snowman. You keep pushing and pushing until it gets big enough to stand on it’s own.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
To be completely honest, I haven’t lived in Atlanta since graduating college. I used to hangout in some spots around Little Five Points, like Criminal Records. The area I lived in for a while has since been severely gentrified, but my favorite spot in that area was Fat Matt’s Rib Shack. Literally, the best BBQ. Like, holy smokes! The staff was always so kind to me when I pulled out my sketchbook on Blues Nights to draw the musicians playing. They’d even ask if I wanted to move closer to the stage to get a better look! Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
In college, I wasn’t super confident about my work so I’d hesitate to sign up for crucial events like portfolio reviews with editors. I remember showing some of the pages I was working on to (then) Professor Chris Schweizer who asked an editor before they left to review my work! It was such a huge confidence booster and I think that kind of simple confidence building act is so important for a new artist to thrive. I’m also grateful for my friend Bianca Xunise. On top of being a fantastic storyteller, she’s encouraged me so much to pursue the things that I didn’t even think were possible for me and continues to be such a shining beacon of light in my life! There are so many people that come to mind and I’m so, so thankful to have such a solid support system.

Website: sagecoffey.com
Instagram: instagram.com/sagemcoffey
Twitter: twitter.com/sagecoffey

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutAtlana is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.