First and foremost, Project Freetime is a total misnomer, as most of us never seem to have any. But this is an opportunity to carve out some time for something worthwhile. It was really the culmination of 3 things that got this idea started:
  1. I was reading a book called Flight ( http://amzn.com/0345496361 ), a collection of illustrated short stories from various artists. There's a real variety of styles and subject matter represented, but the book as a whole is a must-read. Some stories were just one chapter in a longer narrative, others were self-contained. Some were works of fantasy, others were very personal auto-biographical stories. It got me thinking... I'm fortunate to know a lot of very talented artists who do amazing work for their respective companies. And most, like me, had ideas for stories or games that they really wanted to develop. But either because they lacked the time or the motivation to see it through (or even begin), those ideas just fell by the wayside. So it was truly inspiring to see one of my friends to do the unthinkable. He quit his job so he could work on his own project. Which brings me to number 2.
  2. Nate Simpson. He's going to hate that I called him out, but whatever, you guys need to know this name. Nate is one of the most talented (and modest) artists I've ever met. I won't try to tell his story, as I'm sure I'll get it wrong, but the takeaway is that Nate has created a really, really awesome comic. If you haven't seen it or heard of it, do yourself a favor and visit his blog (http://projectwaldo.blogspot.com/ ). From what I understand, Issue #1 of Nonplayer is complete and will be hitting store shelves soon. His blog chronicles his journey from start to... well, present (it's the first issue of what I hope will be many to come), and includes all the lesson's he's learned along the way. Seeing his work and talking with him has always inspired me to do more. Unfortunately, that inspiration always fell flat having nothing to apply it to. Part of the idea of Project Freetime is for us to meet on a regular basis to keep that inspiration going and encourage each other to achieve the next goal.
  3. Blurb. Blurb (http://www.blurb.com/ ) is a publishing service that makes it really simple and relatively inexpensive to create a book. People might argue about that part, but for what I'm intending I think it's perfect. A softcover 8x10 with 20-40 pages is $20. My brother put together a photobook of our trip to Asia in 2008. It was quick and painless and we couldn't have been more pleased with the results. In an age when people don't print out their pictures anymore, it really solidified the experience and it's nice to flip through it every once in a while. I want to have that same experience with my artwork, and the works of my friends.
To be honest, I'm not thinking of publishing and distributing and whatnot. I just wanted something for myself that I can share with friends and family. I do however want to take these books to some conventions and see what kind of interest it generates.

That's it! Get those pencils, tablets and wacoms cranking! Contact me if you want to participate, and if you're not interested per se, we appreciate your support. Keep encouraging the artists involved and by all means, if you know someone who might be interested, let them / me know. It's not limited to artists in the Seattle area, but hopefully you'll get some support and encouragement through the sites.