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Daily Inspiration: Meet Lin Workman

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lin Workman.

Hi Lin, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today.
I grew up in/around Memphis (with a move to Utah for 7yrs back in the late ‘60s/early ‘70s) and graduated from Southaven High School (band, creative writing/school newspaper, mechanical drawing, drafting). Did a semester of commercial art at Northwest Junior College and a couple of 6wk Continuing Education classes cartooning and airbrushing) at Memphis State- yep, that long ago!

In the mid ‘’80s I met airbrush artists Greg Cravens (MidSouth Fair) and A.G. Howard (Southland Mall) and they were kind enough to share what they knew about airbrushing. After high school and the Continuing Ed, I got a job behind the counter at Talkin’ Tops at Southland with A.G. and soon started airbrushing there when he transferred to the Mall Of Memphis. Did that and some screen printing for a few years and then opened The Wild Hare t-shirt shop around 1992 with A.G. and fellow airbrush artist Mitch Foust.

The shop was located over on Mt. Moriah. A.G. left a few months later, and we ended up changing the name to Animated Jack’s, started screen printing at that location, and opened up another retail shop in the Mall of Memphis as well as taking over the Comedy Zone gift shop on Overton Square. I left the store around ‘99.

I went back to screen printing and started sharing studio space and self-publishing a comic series “Bushi Tales” with Dave Beaty and his girlfriend/then wife/now ex-wife Micah Stewart. Dave and I had worked on the comic series “Stargods” with Dean Zachary, Scott Clark, and Jim Hall, and when that series came to an abrupt end Dave and I wanted to do our own thing, so we did.

It started off as a webcomic but later became a physical “floppy” comic and was distributed through Diamond Distribution. We did three issues of it before having to permanently put it on the back burner. In the mid-’90s I had done some other webcomics with the Mid-South Cartoonists Association on Rock 103’s “Funny Pages” section of their website. I did the Wake-Up Crew comic strip, and some one-panel gag strips, and redesigned their walrus logo.

I’ve been a member of the MSCA since a year or two after its inception back in ‘87- it’s celebrating 35 years of drawing funny. During that time I have been its President, Vice President, Webmaster (along with my tech wife Nicki), and host/produce the club’s pandemic-inspired “Drawing Funny” podcast. I’ve also been a part of the MSCA’s two anthology comics and its zine series. I’m also a member of the DeSoto Arts Council in Hernando, MS.

I have been a guest and on panels at comic and sci-fi/fantasy conventions around the country, and helped start/run the artist’s alley at the Superman Celebration in Metropolis, IL. Also helped create events such as the MSCA’s TimmyCon (1&2) and ConSequential. I was a special event volunteer and photographer for the Memphis Ronald McDonald House and was named Volunteer of the Year- twice. Also was awarded a Presidential Volunteer Award.

I currently work behind the counter at 901 Comics East but have also designed monuments such as tombstones, grave markers, statues, and civic monuments. I’ve done freelance artwork including murals for Fitzgerald’s Casino, McDonald’s, Pancho’s, and the Tunica Humane Society, and have done sketch cards for over two dozen card sets including Star Wars, Transformers, Mara Attacks!, DC Comics, and Ultraman for companies like Topps, Breygent, Cryptozoic, and RRPARKS Cards.

Still occasionally do sketch card gigs. I’ve been a part of group art shows, and have done several solo arts shows myself including shows at Theatre Memphis, The Orpheum, and Nightmares… STAGE FRIGHT haunted house in Bartlett. Have had my artwork featured in Airbrush Action magazine, Amazing Figure Modeler magazine, RSVP magazine, Commercial Appeal newspaper, Memphis Flyer, and on Fox13 and Ch3.

I sell my hand-drawn sketch cards and sketch covers at The Cellar Tabletop Games and Comics. This October I’ll have some of my Scared Silly and monsterpiece merch at the online Memphis Monster Market.

Even though my wife and I graduated from the same high school we didn’t meet until years later through mutual friends and Star Wars. She was living in Nashville, met some fellow Vader fans online (who I had met a little earlier during the costume contest at MidSouthCon), and was invited to a Memphis Star Wars Fan Force event while she was back home to visit family still here at the time.

I proposed as Beetlejuice at an art show I was emceeing during the 2010 Phoenix Comic Con, and thankfully she said yes- or at least affirmatively shook her head which counts! We live in Hernando and have three cats: Jarael, Lex, and Lena- who are all rescues.

I’ve taught a few art classes over the years, but don’t really consider myself a teacher. I am however happy to share whatever art knowledge I may have with anyone who’s interested. People sharing with me is how I learned.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Some patches were smoother than others! For many years I was able to “make a living” doing art as a day job and side hustle. I wasn’t a starving artist, but never got rich off of it- no matter how hard I tried. Getting paid what you’re worth as an artist and all the time and materials can be frustrating, especially when freelancing.

You can spend more time chasing the art gigs and trying to get paid for them than the time you actually spend drawing the art. Plus people think since you work from you’re always available, or the word “free” in “freelance” means you’re willing to draw for free.

When I had a day job I was more willing to do the occasional pro bono work for charities, friends, and family. When I got laid off from my monument/graphic design day job and was forced to go freelance to pay my bills, I had to say no to a lot of folks and projects that just didn’t pay- or pay well.

Self-publishing was fun, but expensive at times. It was before things such as crowdfunding like Kickstarter, personal web stores, social media, and print-on-demand were still in their infancy. I don’t regret doing it, just a few of the decisions we made here and there. It did make us a lot of new friends- some were even many of our comic heroes.

Running a small retail business was fun as well, but a lot of long hours for little pay. Being small did give us the advantage of being able to turn on a dime if needed, unlike the big stores that had to plan things months and months in advance. Like self-publishing, we did get to make the decisions (good or bad) and it did create a lot of fun opportunities for me, plus I did meet a lot of great folks through it as well.

One thing I had to learn the hard way was to make sure to get EVERYTHING in writing!

Many artists tend to not be well versed or comfortable with the business side of art. Not something that’s always taught in art school, and can be frowned upon- even in commercial art courses. I definitely recommend artists take some business training, read/understand contracts (or find a lawyer), and get creative when it comes to marketing/promotions.

I’m now in my mid 50’s. As I get older the biggest hurdles and struggles have become physical ones such as problems with my eyesight and the beginnings of arthritis. Painting and drawing for 10-12hrs a day- or longer, is definitely not possible these days, and my speed has progressively gotten slower.

Anxiety from saying yes to projects/events too often has been a struggle over the last few years. I almost immediately regret saying yes- mostly for teaching or side art projects such as sketch card sets. I usually have fun once I’m in it, but will worry myself silly over many of them. I am still trying to keep on drawing funny as often as I can and for as long as I can!

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I’m left-handed outside the computer, and right-handed inside the computer- long story. I draw, paint (acrylics and airbrush), sculpt, and use markers. Also, do art digitally in Photoshop and Corel Draw. I have my “Scared Silly” and “Have Geek, Will Travel” webtoons. I’m looking to release a Scared Silly card set in 2023.

I started off drawing as a kid back around age 3 or 4- mostly monsters, aliens, and superheroes… and I’m still drawing them as an old man.

My first painting was an 18ft tall mural at my high school. I did several around Southaven High that summer I graduated. Painted more murals at the elementary school, Pancho’s (Southaven), McDonald’s (Olive Branch), Fitzgerald’s (Tunica), and others around the mid-south area.

I’m mostly known for my black and white airbrushed “Monsterpiece” portraits of horror icons, so much so that I’ve had folks surprised to see any done in color. Some just assumed I was colorblind. They are photo-realistic, and I love painting on larger canvases like 3ft to 5ft.

I’ve learned to keep the details in the triangular area of the eyes/nose/mouth and to get softer as I work out and back on the painting. It’s a trick I learned from portrait photography that really helps create depth like the old Hollywood movie star glamour portraits.

Another trick I learned was to not only step back from the painting while working to see the whole picture but to also take photos as I work. They help show progress on the project when I post on my website and/or social media, and also can show me what may be wrong with my drawing- again, viewing it smaller really helps me see the big picture!

I started really getting into painting monster portraits while helping to run a charity haunted house. Since we had a large lobby area for queue lines, my cohorts suggested I do an art show for visitors to check out while waiting in line. I did a few there, and then a few more solo shows around town and group ones with the MSCA, DeSoto Arts Council, and MidSouthCon.

I have several painted chairs for the annual Orpheum Theatre auction and donated a few paintings. Those auctions have benefited the Halloran Centre and have been great date nights for my wife and me- and not just for the open bar! I also like to do cartooning, especially 1-4 panel humor/gag strips. I started doing webcomics back in the mid-’90s and still do occasional ones for my websites, MSCA projects or art shows, or merch to sell.

Sometimes, though- cartooning can be harder than drawing realistically. Stripping a drawing down to the least amount of lines necessary to get the point across can be tricky. Designing a good logo is the same- it needs to be a simple graphic that conveys what it represents.

I got into drawing on sketch cards (2.5”x3.5” blank trading cards) around 2005, and then professionally for Topps and other companies around 2009. Those cards are randomly inserted into trading card packs, much like the Wonka golden tickets in the chocolate bars. Depending on which artist’s sketch card you find it can be a very valuable find!

My friend Steve Stanley tried to get me on a Star Trek set, but after I sent in samples I never heard anything back from Topps. When the card company was doing a Star Wars Widevision set for “The Empire Strikes Back” he contacted me again and said they were desperate for anyone who could work in color and make their deadlines. I emailed the Topps art director again, but this time I put in the subject line, “Have markers- can hit deadlines!”

I got an almost immediate response and ended up doing several more sets for them. The pay-per-card wasn’t great, but the artist returns (cards we got to keep to sell) sold very well back then. The first ones helped pay for our wedding and honeymoon, which was nice since I was having to freelance at the time after losing my monument day job.

Not too long after sketch cards, I discovered sketch covers, which are comics with a blank cardstock type of cover you can draw on. Some are one-sided, some are wrap-around, and some just have a spot area to draw in. They have been a lot of fun, and have a much bigger area to draw on than sketch cards!

Occasionally I’ll do some sculpting or action figure customizing. I like to use Magic Sculpt, which is a two-part resin that works like clay but hardens like a rock. I’ve also done a lot of graphic design and illustration work for tees, promotional items, logos, books, CDs, and more.

I have always had a love/hate relationship with my art and I’m my own worst critic, so I’m rarely completely happy with the majority of my work. I do have a couple of monster-piece paintings (London After Midnight and my Dracula) and a couple of Scared Silly cartoons (Abby Normal and Mickey Myers) I am actually very happy with how they all turned out.

But if I had to pick something I’m proud of it’s having 3 of my painted Orpheum chairs center stage at their auctions, and having my wife there to share the experience with me. Doing any charity work can be rewarding, but seeing my wife proud of me and what I create is probably the best compliment I could ever receive from someone.

We’d love to hear what you think about risk-taking.
Trying to make a living as an artist was definitely a risk, and then there was the whole starting a retail business or self-publishing comics. All are risky businesses. I prefer to do my homework and make calculated risks, but many times I’ve had to jump into the deep end and figure out how to swim.

Thankfully that’s not how I actually learned how to swim! I’ve not always succeeded with every risk I’ve taken, but I have surprised myself at times with many of the things I’ve accomplished that I thought were going to be beyond what I was capable of. I believe it was Wayne Gretzky who said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

My wife is a big hockey and soccer fan who always says to take your shot at the net because you never know when the ball or puck is going to take a weird bounce and go in, or at least provide you with another opportunity to score. That’s life- things can happen when you crash the net. Not every shot, plan, idea, or risk is gonna work out, but you have to take your shots.

Education, repetition, determination, and overcoming frustration can make what you’re after a reality. Not all of my risks were successful, but I am glad for having taken them. Businesses, partnerships, and relationships can all fail, but they can also be hugely successful and extremely satisfying and fun… if you’re willing to take the risk(s) on them.


  • Paintings- $100-1000
  • Sketchcards $35-100
  • Sketchcovers $35-75
  • Prints $10-25
  • Murals varied depending on the project, square footage, and how high I had to climb on a ladder/scaffold! I no longer do commissions but do sell my work around town such as at The Cellar in Bartlett and Monster Market online. And any advice is always free.

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