So is this just a hobby of yours, or does it pay the bills?
I do freelance work from time to time to supplement my career as an Art Director. Though my profession is commercial art, I'll always be an illustrator first.
have you ever tried to get a job or freelance with Hasbro? (I'm serious)
Ever since I saw a copy of The Art of Star Wars
in 1978 and realized I could make money doing that, I wanted to be an artist for Lucasfilm
. I had a chance to work there prior to Episode I, but the timing wasn't right. I kicked myself a bit for not doing it, but once I saw the creative direction Lucas had in mind for the Prequels (which was considerably different from what I'd expected), it definitely worked out for the better. I don't know if I'd have lasted as long as Doug Chiang.
Then I had an opportunity to work for Kenner
in Cincinnati. I applied, as did a friend of mine. He got the job and was let go when Hasbro closed the doors a year and a half later. He was single and relatively nomadic and struggled to bounce back by relying on freelance illustration before he found full-time work. I had a wife and child and probably wouldn't have fared as well.
I also had an "in" at Disney's Orlando animation studio
a few years ago. We all know what happened with that. Even the veterans were let go thanks to Disney's downsizing and emphasis of CG over 2-D animation.
It's interesting how my plans to work at Lucasfilm, Kenner, and Disney have been thwarted, but to my favor. I'm a lot happier knowing I've got steady work and can do the occasional freelance job as I please without having to uproot my family.