PK 037: Derek Rodenbeck on Swapping Comic Book Art for LVN UP Clothing

Subscribe to the Pencil Kings Podcast: | iTunes | Stitcher

Derek describes LVN UP聽as illustrative clothing that celebrates life through art

鈥淚t’s extremely hard. It makes you wanna cry sometimes. But it’s supposed to be hard. The sooner you accept that, the sooner you can work towards your goals.鈥滭/em>

Derek Rodenbeck spent seven years of his life working towards being a comic book artist. In doing so, he made huge sacrifices, drove crazy distances just to get to art school, and even put his health at risk. But recently, he decided to abandon all this and launch LVN UP Clothing instead.

So what prompted him to make such a huge聽decision? What made him quit聽the career as a comic book artist he’d worked so hard for?

The聽answer lies in fulfilment. Ever get to the place you thought you wanted to be…only to discover it wasn’t really ‘all that’?

That’s exactly what happened to Derek. Try as he might, he just couldn’t聽get any traction in his career. And, as a result, he began to feel frustrated, disillusioned, and unfulfilled.

Then a chance conversation with a friend got him thinking. How about if he translated聽his love of art to a clothing range rather than the pages of a comic book?

Before too long, Derek had made his mind up. He attended a business seminar devoted to ‘non-jobs’ –聽defined as ‘doing the thing you want to do, but actually getting paid for it’.

New Knowledge and LVN UP Clothing

During the seminar, he got to know several businessmen who advised him on how to proceed. And, after being mentored by them, he聽learned many of the skills that don’t come naturally to artists, such as marketing, mindmapping (where you write down and therefore visualize your ideas and goals),聽and that mysterious thing called ‘business sense’.

Feeling emboldened by this experience, Derek started thinking about how he could make his dream of launching a clothing brand a reality. And, with that, LVN UP Clothing was born.

Although his new venture is聽still in its early days, Derek says he’s already been working with聽artists from all over the world and is confident about the future. He describes his clothing range as a ‘Museum without walls’ and gets a real buzz when he sees people wearing his cool聽T-shirt designs.

It’s not been easy. In fact, it’s made him almost want to cry with frustration at times. But Derek now feels fulfilled, knowing that each day, he’s taking a small step towards his ultimate creative goal.

Listen to this week鈥檚 show and learn:

  • Why you shouldn’t be afraid to try something completely new
  • How to see your art career as more of a聽business
  • How to stay strong when nothing seems to be going right
  • Why changing things can actually make you a better and more successful artist

People on this Episode:


Mentioned in the episode:

LVN UP Clothing聽on Facebook

Listening options:

Subscribe via iTunes.
Listen on Stitcher Radio.
Android users can grab our RSS feed here.
Right-click and 鈥渟ave file as鈥 for direct download.

Thanks for listening to our show! We鈥檒l be back next Wednesday morning 8AM EST.

Enjoy this podcast? Click to Tweet it here.



PS, there is also Pencil Kings content on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

6 Responses to “PK 037: Derek Rodenbeck on Swapping Comic Book Art for LVN UP Clothing”

  1. Ardent

    Just wanted to say this was definitely a podcast I needed to hear!
    Recently I’ve just opened my eyes to how honestly hard it is to be a comic artist and to “make it” in the art world, even if you spend years and years on the craft. Definitely got me thinking more about directions to take and what actions to do to get there.

    Thanks for these Mitch! I listen to podcasts every now and then when I see the notification in my mail. 馃檪

    • Chris at PencilKings

      Hi Ardent and thanks so much for your feedback – we really appreciate it! So glad you enjoyed this podcast from Derek. Like you say, it’s great to hear about the experiences of other artists, and Derek’s story gives us all plenty of food for thought. Changing directions doesn’t mean you’ve failed at something – it just means you’ve found a different way to get to where you want to be. Hope you enjoy listening to our future podcasts and we wish you all the best with your art 馃檪

  2. Rene

    Hey, love the podcasts- they’re very inspiring and Mitch is a great presenter and interviewer. In this episode Derek mentioned reading up about marketing and business. It’s true that as artists we’re bunnies when it comes to the business side of things. Are there any books he could recommend about this stuff to start with?

    • Chris at PencilKings

      Hi Rene and thanks so much for your feedback – really glad to hear you’re enjoying our podcasts! For further reading on marketing yourself as an artist, look no further than our friends over at Artsy Shark – this blog is full of great advice for all artists who want to learn how to promote their work effectively. We’ve worked with these guys for a few years now (I’ve even got a few articles on the site), and they’re passionate about helping all artists get to where they want to be!

  3. Derek Rodenbeck on how to survive rejection as an artist

    […] interview with him, he talked about trying to make it as a comic book artist. By the time of his聽second podcast, Derek had聽abandoned this idea in favor of launching a clothing […]

  4. Social Media for Artists: How to Gain New Followers & Clients

    […] PK037: Derek on Swapping Comic Book Art For Clothing […]


Leave a Reply

Thinking of joining Pencil Kings?

Answer 3 Simple Questions and Get Your Free Beginner Anatomy Course