I started drawing comics a while ago. I did a comic strip before Uptown Girl called Fake Farm Landcape, a autobiographic (mostly) comic inspired by guys like James Kochalka and John Porcellino. Eventually I was drawn (ha ha) to more fictional stories so I started a comic book and Uptown Girl was born.
I was doing comics as a way to kill time and keep me in form while I was between children’s book projects as I was aspiring to do that for a living. But comics were a lot more fun and I was really jazzed by the whole DIY approach to it. Plus there were a ton of guys in Minneapolis doing comics and the community was really fun and supportive.
But like most artists, I was interested in a lot of other creative projects. After the monthly comic series ended in 2010 I was excited to have more time do other stuff now that I no longer had a monthly deadline. With the plan to do one 250 page (or so) book a year I thought I could do a lot of other things. I had plans to develop an animated series, try doing children’s books again…I had big plans. Big.
I also had plans to sell original art through Etsy. I set up a shop recently and lately I’ve been getting a lot of well-meaning suggestions to do greeting cards, clothing, whatever. It’s nice to hear that my artwork would look good on a onesie or whatever but…I’ve realized I stretch myself too thin.
There’s SO much I want to do. I want to create a cartoon, I want to do so much. But what comes down to is time. Two years ago I thought I’d easily have time for non-comics stuff but I am finding when I do work on non-Uptown Girl I get behind on Uptown Girl (which makes sense) but I am finding I don’t have time to get behind. Between my job, my family and sleep my time to draw is pretty limited. I realized it’s either Uptown Girl or…everything else. I realized I have to do what makes me happy. What I love. And what do I love?
I had a moment of clarity last night where I need to focus on one thing. I used to think that I should have “other lines in the lake” and see what happens. Work on comics while I shop a book to publishers. Create a pitch bible of an animated series and send it to networks between Uptown Girl books. I think I need to focus my energy on just one thing. At least for now. I guess I need to be honest and my heart isn’t in creating new projects if i gets me behind with Uptown Girl. I love drawing Uptown Girl. I don’t think I’ll ever stop.
So I guess for the time being I’ll be focusing all my time on Uptown Girl, specifically ‘A Long Forgotten Fairytale’. I am close to 100 pages in and I think I have about 150 more to go. As for ‘This Little Piggy”, the children’s book I did somehow find time to write and draw, I will continue to shop that to potential agents and publishers, but plans for a follow up to that, along with all other non-Uptown Girl projects are on hold for now.
Full steam ahead.
The above image was drawn by James Kochalka.