It used to be whenever April rolled around, my busy year would start. April was usually the month when the comic convention season would begin. I would do a lot of summer drawing classes and was constantly on the go. But since I took myself out of the grind a few years ago, I find myself doing less events than I used to do. I foolishly thought I’d be able to jump back into the moderate fame (?) I had before I took my sort-of-sabbatical.
Just to clarify, I was not famous by any means, but I did occasional interviews in the paper, I was featured in a few comic websites and my comic sold pretty decently. I wasn’t on my way, I was…on my way to being on my way.
I read a comic a few weeks ago where the cartoonist talked about being an indie comic artist. She talked about how it took a while to get some recognition and success, almost like waiting in line, but if you step away from that line, you don’t get to come back to where you were. You start over. That’s where I am. Having to start over is a little frustrating but it’s also giving me a chance to step back and think about this whole cartoonist thing with some perspective and experience. I do wish I had moved to doing graphic novels with Uptown Girl before I did instead of doing a monthly comic for as long as I did. I wish I had made Uptown Girl a webcomic. I wish I had focused on quality instead of a monthly deadline.
But I digress. Having a monthly printed comic really created a lot of momentum and energy and kept me motivated and excited. It gave me a lot of opportunities to create lots of different stories. Most importantly, I learned how to make comics. And because of that, I’ve no regrets.
But having learned as much as I did, I can take those lessons and apply them to The Incredible Retros. The Retros will launch as a webcomic with printed collections to follow. Taking a cue from a lot of other cartoonists, I’ve set up a Twitter account where I’ve been posting daily sketches and work in progress. The social media stuff is the biggest new world for me. I am not a huge fan of it and I don’t really know what works in terms of promoting my work but I need to learn this stuff and I am sort of figuring it out.
Anyway, three quick things:
The Retros will launch on Monday, November 16th, 2015. A few weeks earlier than I had planned but I decided The Retros is a birthday present to myself. I turn 40 that day and I’d like to give myself something to look forward to.
The second thing is a progress report on the next Uptown Girl book ‘The Lazarus Heart’. I had started the book on February 1st and work was going slowly and had a few setbacks early on. I was getting pretty frustrated and decided to change up the process a bit. When Uptown Girl was a monthly comic, I would write/pencil the comic and then ink it. I didn’t work from a full script, just an outline. When Brian wrote the first Uptown Girl book, I’d pencil a page and then ink it, which was a little different than how I normally worked. It helped me stay paced with finishing the book. I kept that approach with the other big Uptown Girl book, ‘The Long Forgotten Fairytale’ except I wrote that one. Again, I wasn’t working from a full script, just an outline. Working that way led to some problems. ‘The Lazarus Heart’ will probably the biggest book yet and I want to get the story right and keep the momentum up. I decided to go back to my old method and write/pencil the book before inking it. The story moves fast and this way I am able to keep the energy up and keep the story moving and focused. I’m up to fifty pages penciled and it’s going really, really well. I am really excited about the book and that makes me happy. I want to love what I am working on, and I love this. I’m surprised at some of the little moments and how some of the big moments are connecting or how they will. It’s going great. Ideally I’d like to have the whole thing penciled by the fall and star inking it by the end of the year. I think it’s still on track for a 2017 release.
And finally Brian and I (along with come other comic people) will be at Jimmy Jams in Winona on Saturday, May 2nd for Free Comic Book Day. We’ll have copies of a Fly-Girl mini-comic and I’m sure we’ll be very entertaining. See you there!