Constructive Summer

I always feel a sense of…newness when the next season starts.  I get excited for different things, depending on the time of the year.  On the opposite side of that, I also dread and get anxious about other things that are associated with a new season.  Right now I am excited about cooler weather, but I am also stressed about how I will afford Christmas presents for my kids this year.

But things somehow always work out.

Have you noticed that summers go by faster each year?  Most people I know say that, but for different reasons, I think, than I do.  Most people I know spend their summers on vacations or fun summer activities and before you know it, BAM, it’s September.

I’ve worked for a college for the past eleven years and my summers are usually dominated by preparing my students for the upcoming fall semester.  It seems there is never enough time to get my students ready for class and most of my summer is spent at work as the days lead up to the first day of class.  Of course, I also have to get my own two kids ready for their first day of their own schools, too.  By the time August ends, I start looking forward to things settling down a bit.

When a new season starts, I think about what I want to accomplish over the next few months art-wise.  I rarely look back about what I did in the previous season as I am so focused on what I am going to do, that looking at what I did is forgotten.  I had a pretty productive summer, though.  Most of what I did involved my picture book and The Retros.

Last summer I came upon an idea for a picture book that was ultimately titled “Bear and Rabbit”.  The first part of this year I spent writing, rewriting, rewriting again and drawing and redrawing it.  This summer was all about submitting it to the agents and publishers.  At this point I think I am finally done with trying to find a publisher or representation…at least for now.  I have done a massive amount of research and querying to try to get this book out there.  I have done more than I thought I would.  As of this morning, I have submitted it to 109 literary agents and 25 publishers.  That’s a lot of emails and letters.  I think I can honestly say I gave it a decent shot.  You’d think I’d be discouraged, but I am content with the effort I put into it.  There’s still a chance, there’s always a chance, but it’s almost time to move on.  Note that I said almost.

Most of the creative work I did this year involved The Retros on two different projects.  I work ahead on the webcomic for two reasons.  The first is that if a new project or opportunity comes up, I don’t want to have to choose between working on that and staying current with The Retros.  If something comes up, I have worked far enough where I could take a little time off from it and still post five times a week.  The second reason is that…well, I like drawing The Retros.  I love the comic and it’s hard to stay away.

The fourth season just started and the 11th page will post tomorrow.  In terms of how far ahead I am, I just scanned in the 80th page making me 14 weeks ahead of schedule.  The pages I scanned yesterday will post right around Christmas.

The other Retros project was working on my third submission for a potential newspaper comic strip.  As I am still waiting for the rejection letters for the second round I submitted, it doesn’t really make sense to do this.  I’m sure there are other more productive things to do, but I love drawing these strips.  I had an idea for a story I couldn’t let go that wouldn’t really work in the normal continuity so I had to do it.  I did twenty new “daily” strips and four new “Sunday” strips.

s3 sunday 2 colors3 sunday 3 colors3 sunday 4 colors3 sunday color

I love how these turned out and I had a lot of fun working on them.  I have ideas for three more rounds of submissions if it came to it and I’ll probably end up drawing them even if no one wants them.  I’ll also likely self-publish this stuff as I’m very proud of it and I think Retros fans will like it.

I also designed a logo for a vlogger.  This was a lot of fun.

Logo retouched

I did a few pieces in a weird books+art thing.  I’d love to do the entire ‘Hobbit’ like this:

oz finalch 2 colorcw finalfinal

So, that’s it.  This fall will consist of more Retros, a new collaboration with a friend, preparing the second and third volume of ‘The Retros’….and who knows?

 

 

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