Today we’d like to introduce you to Dan Goodsell.
Dan, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I went to school at the University of California, Irvine in the mid-1980s. I started out in the sciences but ended up in studio art. I never knew what I really wanted to do. In my spare time, I collected… toys, comics, anything that appealed to me. For ten years, I produced very little art, and I realized that if I didn’t start creating, I never would.
So I started drawing again and digging through old works from school. In my school work, I found Mr. Toast, a character I did a few drawings of. Somehow I rightly realized this is what I needed to be doing. This set me on a path of creating webcomics, physical comics, toys, products and eventually a game. I set up at comic shows and started selling all the things I made. Eventually, I carved out a small business, all based on the things I was creating.
What I have realized along the way is that I am interested in storytelling. Lately, I have been taking writing classes and working on telling more stories outside the World of Mr. Toast. It is challenging and a fun way to put all the skills I have collected on my path in new ways.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The life of the independent creator is nothing but struggles. I have no regular paycheck, I’ve not had a regular job in 20 years. If I don’t do the work and figure out a new angle every month, the rent does not get paid. I am constantly on the hustle.
My area of least struggle is the creative. Once I got going after a couple of years, I am rarely without two-ten projects that I would be love to working on. Every night I go to sleep thinking about what I get to work on next.
My dream is to be able to just worry about being creative/productive and not to have to worry about the survival struggle.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Mr. Toast Enterprises – what should we know?
I am an independent creator. For many years, I would create products and sell them. So I have published ten+ comics/books, numerous plush toys of my characters, buttons, jewelry, etc., etc. These I sell at shows and through a distributor.
In 2015, I created the Mr. Toast Game which won Hasbro’s Next Great Game Challenge. They went on to license the game and sell it (available on Amazon). My hope is that at some point Hasbro will an animated show based on my characters.
Currently, I am spending my time creating art which I show at Gallery 1988, here in LA. I just had a show there late last year where I hung almost 400 unique drawings. Over the course of any year, I create 1000+ drawings.
I like to think I bring my own personal voice to any project I work on, it is a voice laced with humor and heart.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Hard work. Nobody will hand you success if you are not ready to put in ten years of work, best to get a job instead.
Personal vision. When I started out, I had no idea what I cared about. By spending years doing my art, I have found a voice, and it is a voice that others really seem to enjoy.
Making work, I enjoy it. The day that I am creating work that does not make me laugh or occasionally cry is the point at which I need to reassess everything.
- Website: mistertoast.com
- Phone: 323-241-2864
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shakybacon/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mrtoast23
Jess Hutchison, Dan Goodsell