Only a couple days left in 2010. Every year around this time for the past 12 years I’ve written a blog recap of the years highlights and low lights. It’s hard for me to go month to month, so I’ll just randomly blabber about things that stick out to me…
My life… I’ve stayed pretty private this year. Haven’t blogged as much as I used to.
My wife: She’s an awesome lady. Maybe in just about every way. This year was her “rookie” year on the roller derby team and her team only lost ONE bout. It was a pleasure watching her transform into Atomic Bombino on a regular basis. The road trips were fun excursions from the daily grind of things. I’m really happy that she has HER thing now, just like I’ve always had my thing. I believe she also may be addicted to tattoos…I can’t even count how many she’s had this year, but I don’t mind. She’ll make a rad old grandma some day. She also has a knack for finding me awesome gifts. This year I got a giant bigfoot statue for the office and a Harry Henderson plush doll. I look forward to growing old together and being known as that unique couple…. man, when the grandkids go through our crap when we’re long dead, they are going to find some AWESOME things left behind.
My kids: 3 growing boys. Our oldest, 13, is quite the reader and history buff. He can rattle off facts that stun his teachers. This is the first year he’s brought out his sarcasm and wit, and it’s a joy to hang out with him and goof off and joke around almost like adults. Next down the list is our 12 year old who is a straight A student for the second year in a row. He’s a ladies man and my wife says the girls at school treat him like he’s the Beatles or something yelling his name when he walks the halls. He plays guitar, is mediocre at football and just seems to be randomly good at anything he puts his mind to. He’s too cool for school. My youngest, 9, is very short… sometimes it bothers him but we began to call him “fun-size” and he likes that. I also told him ninjas are small and can get into small places, and also Wolverine is short and… well you get the idea. He’s small. He’s BIG into science though and outer space stuff. For christmas he asked for a lab coat (which we had personalized) and sciency stuff like telescopes, books on planets, etc. He wants to film his own show called “The Fun Sized Scientist”– he’s even picked out a building to rent for his “set”. My kids are a complete TRIP. It’s very hard for me to believe that in 9 years or so they will be men and able to go wherever they want in life.
Changing myself: For Father’s day I got a gift certificate to the tattoo shop… which I decided to turn into a full sleeve of Wally Wood’s 22 Panels that always work. It’s more than just a cheat sheet of panels to me. Wally’s story is a great reminder to me that comics can be a harsh mistress. It never matters how great you were or what foundations you built that others now stand on… never rely on that road alone, it’s filled with scoundrels and highwaymen that will leave you broke, unhealthy and dead. I guess the lesson is, if you are going to walk that road, carry a big stick or something sharp.
My personal projects: Seemed to be a mix bag this year. I could never really decide on what I wanted to do. I never seem to be satisfied, and now I find myself asking “what’s the end game here?” before I start working on a personal project, which usually kills it in it’s tracks. Near the beginning of the year I sort of stuck a fork in YIRMUMAH, my dark twisted humor comic. I guess I just wasn’t feeling that, or it was bringing me a lot of negativity and drama that I just don’t care for anymore. The problem with Yirmumah for me has always been that people tell me how great it is, but it seems like nobody wants to admit they like it publicly or share it enough, of course with the exception of the loyal old school fans. Then there are the people who are shocked I’m the same person doing that sort of crass humor, and that makes me feel kinda odd. I was phoning it in though, to do it right I have to be really angry or on fire about something… and I’ve learned to let that sort of stuff go. There are times when I greatly miss the random fun of it, which means it’s probably never going to be officially dead. I just don’t REALLY want to hurt anyone’s feelings anymore. There definitely was a time when I set out to do just that, and I regret being that person. Just didn’t feel right.
Bigfoot and Tiki: Some Yirmumah side characters got to return in their very own regular webcomic sponsored exclusively by one of, if not the best Ukulele Manufacturers around… Lanikai Ukes! This project came as a welcome surprise, and going back to a sort of all-ages wacky comic has been really fun. You’ll see more B&T through 2011, and there are plans to do some licensing stuff (Bigfoot uke anyone?) and once again there’s a chance Bigfoot and Tiki might be turned into some sort of animated show. Years ago it almost happened but fell through 🙁 So I’m reluctant to even mention it… but you never know. I’d like to design a new site and archive for the comics real soon. I guess in summary, B&T is just a really fun thing to work on and get people interested in Ukuleles too. See them Tuesdays and THursdays at www.bigfootandtiki.com
Zombieopolis: Almost came back from the dead. Like VERY close. So close that I had at least 2 months worth of background work involved in it and drew the first 5 pages of the first new issue, and even had a big business plan to go with it and a sponsor lined up… but I told myself if I couldn’t get a 16 page issue done in November, It wasn’t worth committing to. And guess what? November was a nightmare for getting any real work done for me. I can’t even say why, it just seemed like other work popped up or the universe was just saying NOT NOW DUDE. A story like that has to be done right. It’s also a hard concept to explain to people which almost kills something right out of the gate. Because it isn’t a standard zombie story, it’s more science fiction and a completely new approach to zombies as a whole…. which can be kinda hard to swallow in a genre that is so ingrained into our psyche nowadays that when you say “zombie” people expect George Romeroesque tales like the Walking Dead. (which was a fantastic show except for the last episode, wtf? Read the books instead!) – Anyways… zombieopolis came VERY close to a big comeback, but it fell short. Back to the shelf…
There were two other projects that are on a back burner at the moment simmering. I don’t want to name them publicly until I’m ready to really launch something.
“Cash for Cartoonists” – In the early fall I decided to put out a coaching / ebook project to help other Cartoonists and Illustrators earn more money… “Cash for Cartoonists” – Basically in part to constantly answering the same questions over and over to other artist friends of mine or strangers who would email in asking me how I make money doing more than just comics. It was a great success and I have hundreds of coaching clients now. I was worried initially I wouldn’t have time for everyone, but most people don’t need THAT much help, just quick questions on “how did you go about this?” or “what are your thoughts on X” – I have a few clients that I have much longer conversations with, but the content that comes from those conversations actually makes me a better teacher. I’d love to do more guides and coaching type projects in 2011 if my time permits, but for now C4C is it. I have to say it’s a really awesome feeling to hear back from folks who’ve bought it used a few of the methods or put them on the right track of thinking. One guy told me he’d never made a DIME with his art before or didn’t have the confidence to charge and he made an extra $600 in commissions this season… sure, that’s not a full time living with art, but this fella was ECSTATIC, and said it saved his Christmas season. That is just a really great feeling. I would like to market this type of thing more in different ways when I have more time to devote to it.
Flobots: I’ve continued my work with the Flobots band and their non-profit Flobots.org. I do most of my work from the shadows, hosting/designing all the sites, coordinating web things and cool side projects. It’s been interesting to be a part of changing the way artists communicate with their fans. One project was even featured in a TED talk this year. How cool is that? In 2011, Flobots.org will be doing some cool Storycrafting workshops at middle schools teaching young people how to tell their own stories, past, present and future. All stories matter. I’m excited to see how this program develops. As I said last year and the year before, the Flobots crew and all associated, still remain some of the best humans on the planet.
I really never feel satisfied creatively. Sometimes that feels like a curse, but other times a blessing. Anytime I have an open spot of time I feel as though I should be working on something. In past years I filled up ALL of that time, but in 2010 I learned to let go and enjoy life a little more. It’s okay to STOP and smell the roses from time to time. Near the end of every year I get the urge to start something new in the new year. A clean slate. And yes, as with every year, I have some projects simmering on my burner here that I would love to cook up and serve. What’s my end game? I don’t know anymore. I don’t really know if I care anymore either, which could be a great thing in the making or some kind of beautiful catastrophe. Either way, I kind of love walking into the unknown.
Thanks to all of my friends and fans who have followed my work all these years. Here comes another one.