• Business,  Illustrating,  Writing

    Ep. 9 – Gavin Aung Than on Taking Risks to Live the Life You Want

    Gavin Aung Than (@zenpencils) is a New York Times bestselling cartoonist, illustrator, and author. Gavin is a cartoonist based in Melbourne, Australia. After working in the corporate graphic design industry for eight years, he quit his unfulfilling job at the end of 2011 to focus on his true passion, drawing cartoons. Gavin launched his website, Zen Pencils, at the start of 2012, a cartoon blog which adapts inspirational quotes into comic stories, and hasn’t looked back since.

    Zen Pencils has been featured by The Washington PostThe Huffington PostSlateMashableUpworthyBuzzfeedGawkerThe A.V. ClubBrain PickingsComic Book Resources, National GeographicProBlogger, and The Design Files. It was named one of the best 100 websites by PCMag and there are two New York Times bestselling book collections of Zen Pencils comics currently available. Gavin’s most current book, CREATIVE STRUGGLE: Illustrated Advice From Masters of Creativity is also out wherever books are sold.

    In this episode, we discuss how Gavin got started in his journey to become a bestselling cartoonist and the struggles that he overcame in getting to there, especially starting out. We talk about his creative process and what it takes to make Zen Pencils comics and books. Gavin also dives in to what he learned by taking risks in his career and starting his own company and brand. Gavin provides some great stories, advice, and tips for everybody, no matter what industry you’re in.


  • Sports,  Writing

    Ep. 2 – Shea Serrano on How He Hustled His Way From Middle School Teacher to Journalist and NYT Bestselling Author

    Shea Serrano (@sheaserrano) is a New York Times bestselling author, journalist, and former teacher. He is best known for his work with the sports and pop culture websites, The Ringer and Grantland, as well as his books, including The Rap Year Book and Basketball (and Other Things), both The New York Times bestsellers. Serrano’s activity and humor on Twitter have earned him referrals from GQ and other publications, making him an internet celebrity. The Verge called the community he created “a utopia on Twitter,” thanks in large part to Serrano and his Twitter followers, termed the FOH ARMY, spawning considerable charitable giving; once joining up to give a parking lot attendant who’d helped Serrano find his car at an airport a $3,000 tip. In this episode, we discuss how Shea started his writing career and then hustled his way up from middle school teacher to writing for a neighborhood newsletter to becoming a staff writer for The Ringer and NYT bestselling author. Shea dives into his writing process and how he tries to be different than every other writer, and the tips and advice he’s learned along the way, plus much more. Enjoy!

    Show Notes: 4:10 – Shea on getting rejected from Wal-Mart and Target 4:52 – How Shea’s writing career got started 6:45 – On being a full-time middle school teacher while trying to get his writing career off the ground 8:51 – Shea reaching out to other authors to learn how to become an established writer and the advice they gave him 10:45 – His first paid writing gig at the Near Northwest Banner 11:15 – How he hustled his way up to the Houston Press 12:52 – His writing style when he first started 14:03 – The story on how Shea got noticed by Bill Simmons and Grantland 15:50 – On what it was like starting out writing at Grantland 18:00 – How he overcomes feeling like he’s a terrible writer 18:30 – Shea’s writing process and how he attempts to be different from other writers 24:10 – On dealing with failures and criticism 25:32 – The struggles that Shea still has to overcome in his career 27:56 – What he’s learned from being around other talented writers 29:13 – The worst advice he hears given 30:40 – On what he would put on a cheat sheet to his younger self 31:50 – Shea’s tactics for dealing with times he feels stressed and overwhelmed 32:58 – What he thinks most people don’t understand about being successful 37:20 – The best thing that a fan has mailed him 38:58 – Shea’s message to people Show Links: Houston Press Grantland The Ringer Bun B’s Rap Coloring and Activity Book The Rap Year Book: The Most Important Rap Song From Every Year Since 1979, Discussed, Debated, and Deconstructed Basketball (and Other Things): A Collection of Questions Asked, Answered, Illustrated Conference Room, Five Minutes: Ten Illustrated Essays About The Office Theme music: DREAM by SackJo22 ft. Jeris Haskel