hawk·er | noun  \ˈho-kər\

  2. one who hawks wares

hawk | verb  \ˈhok\

  1. to hunt birds by means of a trained hawk
  2. to soar and strike like a hawk
  3. to offer for sale by calling out in the street

What is the Hawkers Project

The wonderful thing about you webcomic creators is your generosity and your love of the work. You post your comic pages online, free for everyone to read, just because you love being able to connect with others through your art. You don’t ask much in return, only that people share and spread the word (and hopefully support you in the process).

But we feel that there may be a better way to make your generosity work for you in the long run. There has to be a better model to follow wherein you can continue to do the work you love, without compromising your time and your efforts.

I’m sure you’re looking for something like that. You’ve probably wondered, how could I possibly make a living off of giving something away for free?

That’s what the Hawkers Project is going to try and figure out.

The Hawkers Project is our way of discovering and learning ways on how you can continue to make comics as a full-time job, with or without you being a part of a publisher. Whether you choose to publishing traditionally, or self-publish, our goal is to help you figure out both paths.

So what exactly are we trying to prove through the Hawkers Project?

  1. Making your comics available for free online does not de-value them in any way.
  2. Digital is a path that more people should start exploring.
  3. Print has not died; but books are becoming more of a collector’s item for true fans.
  4. You CAN make a living off of webcomics.
  5. You CAN make a career out of making a webcomic.
  6. You CAN find success if you just work hard and work smart.

If you want to see just how the Hawkers Project is living up to its goals and objectives, keep tuning into our website for updates. Or better yet, you can subscribe to our mailing list to receive updates in the following areas:

  1. How do I make money making webcomics?
  2. How do I tell a story that my readers will remember forever?
  3. What did other creators do that worked for them?
  4. What stories out there did a fantastic job telling stories?

We Are All Salesmen

One common mindset that stops creators in their tracks and makes them choose obscurity over monetizing their art is the idea of selling out.

They feel that if they start putting a price on their work, it takes away from its artistic value. But the truth is, your art has no value if no one sees it. Art and money can blend together. In fact, in Marc Ecko’s book Unlabel: Selling You Without Selling Out, he says:

We like to imagine that there’s a holy war between art and commerce. “One is creative and pure, the other is crass and dirty.” But the two aren’t mutually exclusive. I’ve learned how to be a starving artist without literally having to starve. Starve for the right things. Starve to create something new. But never starve your brand.

In a way, we were all salesman, one way or another.

We try to sell our friends on this cool movie we just saw. We try to sell them these trendy restaurants, those wicked new shoes, these riveting novellas and these awesome comic books. But most of all, we try to sell ourselves.

We try to sell ourselves to the companies we apply to through our CV’s. We sell ourselves to our girlfriend’s parents. We sell ourselves to our girlfriend’s heart, and we even go about selling ourselves to our wives every single day we’re married.

We try to prove to the world that we are talented, that we are responsible, that we are unique.

But at the same time we also constantly tell ourselves that we aren’t all that.

That’s why we pass up good opportunities to grow. That’s why we break it off before we get in too deep. That’s why we put up walls around our minds and hearts and tell ourselves, “I’m not good enough.”

It’s a lie I used to tell myself. It’s a lie that still constantly pops up in my head every now and then. In fact…

The biggest, most popular, most marketable product that we like to sell to ourselves again and again is the iCan’t.

I can’t make a living writing.

I can’t leave my comfy, predictable, soul-crushing job.

I can’t trade in security for risk.

I can’t. I just can’t!

There came a point wherein I refused to believe in the iCan’t, and this is the result of that turning point.

A Symbol of Celestial Power

When you run into a hawker out on the streets, what do you see? Do you see a man down on his luck, trying his best to make a living? Or do you see a desperate fool destined to remain at the bottom of the cesspool?

I don’t know how the lives of these individuals will turn out. Sometimes, some of them are actually able to lift themselves up and out of poverty. Sometimes, they’re not.

The fact remains, however, that these people continue to maintain their dignity. They don’t beg, nor do they grovel. They lift their heads up and make a way to earn a decent living. Maybe most of them won’t be able to escape their poverty, but the fact remains that there are those who do rise above it.

Why call ourselves hawkers?

  • Because we’re backed into a corner, just like you, looking for a way out of the pit.
  • Because we won’t back down, and we’ll press on, making every effort possible to become successful.
  • Because stories matter and art matters, and we’re not going to stop making them.
  • Because success requires commitment and dedication, and without it, success becomes meaningless.
  • Because our dreams are worth dying for, and starving for (but not for long).
  • Because eventually, we’ll get to where we want to go, if we press on long enough.

Yet the beauty of the term “Hawkers” is that before it began to be used to refer to street peddlers and salesmen, it was used to describe the art of training hawks and falcons to hunt, an art that began around 2000 B.C. in Mesopotamia. In medieval Europe, it was a popular sport and was, in fact, a symbol of status for the nobility. But with time, its popularity deteriorated.

The hawk is one of nature’s top predators, especially one oft-used bird in the art of falconry: the Peregrine Falcon.

Capable of speeding up to 200 mph during its dive, the Peregrine Falcon was seen by the Native Americans of the Mississippian culture as a symbol of “aerial (or celestial) power”. In Western Europe it was considered a royal bird, known more for its courage than its claws.

My brother and I are both still young, young and lacking in experience. I can only imagine the more seasoned professionals coming up to us and saying, “Aren’t you a little young to be creating a million-dollar comic book label?”

And although we aren’t that young anymore, my response would still be, “Why yes, yes we are.”

While our claws may not be as sharp, our courage to try is everlasting. With it, there’s nothing that we can’t achieve. Without it, all hope is lost.