Seven years ago my comic strip Writhe and Shine was relatively popular. I had been drawing it irregularly since 1998, well before many of the currently popular webcomics. In that time I had produced 250 comic strips, two 32 page comic books, and a Trade Paper Back collection. People were wearing my t-shirt designs and had my stickers on their cars. I received emails and letters from fans across the world. I answered questions for interviews and was invited to visit places across the US and abroad to either DJ or be a guest at various conventions. I made comics for several online and print magazines and my work was included in The Goth Bible and Voltiare’s first Deady TPB along side Clive Barker.
Life was good and the future looked even better.
I wonder what it would have been like if I had not quit.
Depression and self-doubt crept from the shadows of my past and put a stranglehold on everything I did. Something must have happened in my brain that made me think I wasn’t getting anywhere. I told myself that my art was terrible, that my writing sucked, and I wasn’t going to amount to anything at all. I was stupid and worthless and shouldn’t be wasting my time drawing dumb pictures because I just wasn’t as good as everyone else.
The worst thing I’ve ever done in my life is believe all the bad things I told myself.
Recently, I was complaining to a friend of mine that people don’t have the same kind of attitude I have over responding to email. Since I’m basically on my computer all day long, I have the opportunity to check my email as often as I can, and I do check it often. I usually like to respond to people within a few hours of receiving a message if not as soon as possible. If i read an email that can be answered quickly, I do so. I feel terrible if a message sits in my Inbox for over a couple days without a response.
Unfortunately, I would like this same courtesy paid to me and the messages I send to others. At the very least, I would like to know that the person actually saw the message and will get back to me when they can. I know this is completely unrealistic because not everyone is tied to a computer or even likes checking their mail.
It just frustrates me when my projects depend on someone getting back to me with either confirmation or information and I hear nothing at all.
I was thinking about this the other day when I remembered a letter I received from a woman in Germany in 2007:
She enclosed a self-addressed stamped envelope:
I never got back to her, and that makes me a terrible, terrible person.
I finally wrote to her last week.
Well, at least I hope it gets to her as she may have changed addresses in the last 7 years.
I included a sketch and a few other things that would fit in the envelope, went to the post office and had to add only about $.04 in stamps to send it on its way.
I hope this helps my correspondence karma and somehow gets me back on track with my comics.
I know I have to start over at the end of the line. I got out and know that there is a lot of work ahead of me to get to the place I was before, and there’s a hell of a lot more work to be done to exceed that point. I’m willing to do all of it. I want to do all of it. I only want to get better and better at what I do and I appreciate everyone being patient with me while I figure out how to get there.
Just do me one favor. Don’t ever let me quit again.
OK folks, it’s time for a big announcement!
Comics will start up again in January!
I’ve done a lot of thinking [and worrying, hand-wringing, moping, anger-ing, and what-not] since the beginning of October when I put both comics on hiatus.
Since June 2012, I have been on Unemployment Insurance, earning my Digital Art Certificate, looking for work, working on my portfolio and websites, and creating comics for all of you out there in internetland. Basically, I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I accomplished all of that with the help of my wonderful and beautiful girlfriend, Dawn. If it wasn’t for her, I would either be working in a soul-sucking cubicle or living in one. [Think: cardboard box]
In any case, here I am: a 40 year old, out-of-work, creative person about to launch his comics again in the hopes that they can possibly help him survive.
“What? How the hell are your FREE comics going to help you survive?”
Hopefully, through my crowd funding campaign.
I have signed up with a site called Patreon.com which works a little different than Kickstarter. Instead of trying to gather a bunch of money to complete a massive project, Patreon helps me sustain my comics with small amounts of support over a long time. Supporters of Writhe and Shine and Overcast With A Chance Of DOOM! can help me achieve my goals by pledging a small amount of money for every comic strip I produce. In exchange, there are several rewards for various levels of support. These include being able to see the comics the day before they are posted to the general public, access to view my previous comic strip Schwartz, getting actual sketches from the strips mailed to your door, access to an exclusive Google Hangout every month where we can all chat or you can just watch me draw, as well as several other neat things.
“WHAT?! You’re charging us to read your comics now?!?! C’mon, dude! They’re not that goo…”
My comics will ALWAYS be free for as long as I keep posting them. Patreon is merely a way for people who want to help me [and can help me] to do so. Patreon will help me find patrons who can support me with as much as they want for as long as they want.
I know that many of you out there are low on funds. I get it. I’m right there with you. Hell, I’m so broke I can’t even pay attention. Yet, there are some among you that would still like to help and that makes me smile [even though the pictures make it seem I haven't done that since High School!] For those people here is a list of ways you can make this project really work:
- Tell your friends about my comics Writhe and Shine and Overcast With A Chance Of DOOM!
- Go to the sites and read the strips and read through the archives
- Reblog, ReTweet, Share, Repost, Like, Comment on, Link to, and Tag your friends in any of the strips or posts
- Keep coming back
- Keep Favoriting, Reposting, Sharing, Liking, and Commenting on the comics and the posts.
Thank you and I hope you enjoy the strips!
I will soon reveal my new crowd funding project!
I’m not sure how many people follow other crowd funding projects. There is most often extra rewards for people meet or surpass a certain level of donation. For my campaign, one of my rewards is a look into my past (which I generally don’t talk much about). So I went digging. At the bottom of the Closet of Darkness is the Chest of Nightmares. Inside that chest are stacks of folders, bags, and notebooks filled with the most intimate details of the past I left behind.
Here, take a look!
The Closet of Darkness (is actually pretty well-lit)
Behold! The Chest of Nightmares!!! (well, at least Mao is somewhat interested)
A stack of notebooks filled with the scribblings of a madman!
And more notebooks and mementos (what strange things could be hidden within?)
A massive folder stuffed with newspaper clippings from the most morbid of newspapers, The Northern Star
And one last folder of the content I was originally seeking, my first comic strip series, Schwartz
Here is just a few of them, getting their darkness all over the counter
A Facebook message to my friend Rasmus in Denmark after he purchased a bunch of my original art:
“Hey. Just wanted to let you know that I sent out your package the other day. Since the art was so big, I didn’t want to roll it in a tube, so I put it in something you may appreciate. When I started drawing W&S in New Orleans, I needed a way to transport the art in my bag without damaging it, so I built a makeshift portfolio out of cardboard and tape. I put a bunch of stickers on it to make it cool and interesting to look at. That makeshift portfolio carried pretty much all of my comic art while I was in NOLA. It’s been sitting on my bookshelf since I moved to Seattle in hopes that maybe some day I would become famous enough to warrant selling it to a collector. I figured you should have it because you’re my #1 fan and haven’t given up on me even though I have given up on myself so many times. Merry Christmas, Happy Birthday, etc. Thanks for believing in me.”