Although I do research in science as my day job, I spend most of my free time for my life-long hobby, drawing cartoon. But I keep this fact in secret to my research co-workers since the culture of scientific community and that of comics artists are quite different, and I'm tired of looking like a person with an exotic hobby. But recently my 'career' as an artist became more successful than I expected (made a contract with a publisher, etc.), I started to worry about my future choices. Would it be wise to pursue two very different careers in my life, researcher and artist?
Many famous comics (e.g. PHD comics, xkcd) from ex-scientists are mostly for the people who are already in the culture of science and maybe it would be OK to be that kind of artist and you could still be accepted in researcher community. However my art style is pretty different from that of other many famous scientist-comics artists. When I draw comics, I try to be like other usual professional artists so that I can draw more attention from the general audience. As a result, my works may contain stimulating elements that would be considered absurd or obscene when read out of context. I'm not saying that my works are particularly unhealthy; comics in general are for fun, and my works are just one of them. It's just that my works are not very educational. Another concern is time and effort; drawing absorbs lots of time and energy when your art style is not simplistic.
Because of these reasons, I ask for advices from researchers who also have large passion for their asrtistic desire; how do you manage to do both of them? Would being a commercial artist give you disadvantage as a researcher in academia?