I am now among the working!
Yesterday I visited a company called Jandaco (so far the only company who had contacted me back after my day of manically contacting every single art-related company with an art job listing on every single job search website I found), a small but growing business, which started in California but relocated when its creator moved his family to Utah. I was invited to interview, and the VP of Creative Services there showed great enthusiasm for my work, and said they have a couple of illustrators on call, but they want to expand their options in that department to maybe five or six. When I walked into the office, they had my website and my email pulled up on the big wall-mounted Mac screen, and he talked about my blog portfolio and all the reasons he thought my style was something they wanted to add to their resources. We even talked about future possibilities as more than freelance. He let me know that, as freelance work, they weren't sure when and how much work would come my way, but he was pretty confident that in the next few days even a project would come up with which they would hope to see some drawings, and in the future maybe something at least once or twice a week. He also looked at the two most recent sketchbooks which I brought along and really liked what he saw there as well. When he asked me what my hourly rate would be, I admitted I was a little inexperienced about the going rates, but he said to get back to him as soon as I had decided, and basically let me know I was in! I came home, did a little research and emailed him with my price quote, and he wrote back this morning and accepted! There may already even be some work to do later this week! I expect an email by tomorrow if they need something by Thursday.
Am I okay with doing work on notice of one or two days? Of course! At this point, I am just so glad to have some work to do! Someone has recognized my talent and even offered me to pay at my own rate! It's kind of refreshing after being kind of shunted aside for so long. Like I said, it's not full-time, but it's SOMEthing, and I'm grateful for it.
Not only that, but it's a place with Harry Potter and LOST on their resume... It's a Christmas miracle.