Out of the Woods

I am excited to be a guest at this year’s Fallcon in Saint Paul, MN.  The show is scheduled for Saturday, October 5th from 10am until 6pm.  This will be my first convention in almost two years.   I’ll have copies of Uptown Girl graphic novels and copies of the second volume of The Retros as well.  If you want a commissioned piece to pick up at the show, please let me know!

Other than that, I am plugging away at Norah Locke.  For a while I kept going back and forth about whether it was going to be three 200ish page books or one big book.  Ultimately I decided to go with one big book.  I thought it would be a lot of fun (and insane) to do a giant 500-600 page novel.  This is a massive undertaking but I am around… 75 pages into it.  I hope to be at 100 pages before the end of the year.  Traveling for work does allow plenty of dedicated time to work on it as I draw on the plane, at airports, at the hotel, restaurants…

Sometimes I think this book is too ambitions, not only in page count but also in terms of research.  I am doing a lot of field research, in a way.  Since the book takes place in White Bear Lake, where I live, I am using my town for reference.  Norah walks down the same streets I do, she gets ice cream where I take my kids, and lives in the woods by my home.  Although no one will probably notice (or care), I am taking photos to use as inspiration for the book.  For example, here’s a picture of a neat little bridge in the woods:


And here’s a scene from the book:

Norah 1


Forgive the sloppy word balloons, I haven’t gotten around to properly lettering it yet.  The drawing isn’t as detailed as the photo and I’ve taken some liberties, but the art is a lot more detailed than I originally set out it to be.  When I started to redraw this book on my iPad, I thought I would simplify the art a lot more.  I am a fan of James Kochalka and I really like his book ‘Elf Cat in Love’, which takes place in a forest.  I like his simple black and white line work, without much embellishment.

But I couldn’t nail it, so I stuck with the original style and look.

Norah 2

It did get a little boring drawing trees, but using photos as a reference helped inspire different things to add, such as the log and different types of trees.  Thankfully the part of the book I am drawing now has moved out of the woods and into a labyrinth of sorts.  I’m sure it will get boring drawing stone walls and hidden passageways soon enough, but for now it’s refreshing to draw something new.








Make the Jump

Our life is a lot different these days.  We’ve had two major life events in the last few months that have required us to adapt and change.  As things settle down and we adjust to new routines and reality in the big ways, we also find little things that we need to tweak as well.

As a cartoonist I make sure I have time to draw.  Drawing The Retros and updating the website five times a week demands that I draw all the time if I want to stay on schedule.  This requires that I draw in the parent waiting area while I take Sophie to dance class.  I lug my drawing stuff to the school where she practices, I draw, then lug it back home.  Of course, I’m making it sound like I am moving a grand piano across country, but I think you get the point.  Here’s what my set up looks like:


I have my templates, my paper, pens, pencils and everything I need to draw.  After dance I scan in the art, clean it up in Photoshop, and over the next few mornings before work I color and letter.

I do this every week.

I love drawing ‘The Retros’ but I do want to work on other projects.  I got the idea for a new graphic novel called ‘Norah Locke and the Underground Kingdom’ a while ago and… I am not making a lot of progress on it.  I love working on it and it’s a lot of fun, but doing a webcomic that updates on a consistent schedule makes other projects challenging.

When I got my new job that required me to travel, I wondered how that would impact my art.  I have brought my gear on vacation and business trips before, but as I sit on airplanes or waiting for flights or dining alone I can’t help think that I could be drawing.

Now, I COULD set up my drawing stuff on a plane but it’s just not feasible.  Turbulence, for one, but all the stuff in the photo above will not fit on the seat trays.  So, just like the big events require significant life changes, I also need to make changes in how, when, and where I draw.

So, I bit the bullet and bought an iPencil so I could draw on my iPad while traveling.  This must be what Bob Dylan felt like when he switched to an electric guitar.

I resisted moving to digital for a while.  I loved what I saw other cartoonists were creating.  I really liked being able to skip erasing and scanning.  I was excited to learn new techniques.  However, it wasn’t easy.  I started with Procreate and I found it too cumbersome and wasn’t intuitive.   Other artists may pick up on this stuff much more easily than I did, but I struggled.

Of course, I think drawing programs peaked with MarioPaint, so I don’t think my opinion or experience carries much weight.

Zander Cannon uses Clip Studio so I thought I’d give that a spin.  Boy, am I glad I did.  I found it has a lot in common with Photoshop and although I think Photoshop is a little tricky (again, MarioPaint) but I’m familiar with it.  It wasn’t that much of a learning curve especially for my pretty simple art.   I don’t mess around a lot with layers or anything too crazy.  I just want a magic Etch-A-Sketch I can draw on while I am waiting for my flight.

I really love drawing digitally.  The ease of tweaking something, reworking a panel and laying out a page is amazing.

Alex Robinson is one of my favorite cartoonists who also made the jump recently and tweeted about his experience:

After a month of drawing on my iPad I’m already finding it hard to go back to paper & ink. It feels like when you step off the moving walkway at the airport and you suddenly are in slow motion

He’s absolutely right.

I still will draw ‘The Retros’ on paper but ‘Norah’ is all digital.  I got 51 pages into it before and I am about 20 pages into the redrawing.   I was afraid the difference between pen/paper and digital would look too different but I am pretty happy with how it looks.

Here’s a page I drew on paper:


And the same scene digitally (I still need to letter it properly) :


To be honest, I don’t see much difference.  And that’s exactly what I was going for.  A part of me wonders why I am using a digital program to create art that is not that different than what I can create on paper, but the reason I made the jump is so I can actually finish the book.  Drawing in hotels and airports will help me with that.  On my last trip I was able to redraw 11 pages in five days.  The book is about two years away, I think.  And even that’s ambitious because I am aiming for about 500 pages with this story.

I never know how to finish these blog posts so I am just going to say see you later.




I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For

“There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something”

-J.R.R. Tolkien

Two weeks ago I posted about wondering, essentially, what the point was when it comes to trying.  I reiterated that I’ll never stop drawing and creating, but was there a point when it comes to trying to gain any sort of fan following online?  Is it even worth my time to try to find a publisher for my projects?

I mean, there’s always a chance something will click with someone, but I am not, and wasn’t, feeling optimistic.  Much of this perspective comes from making comics for as long as I have and, essentially, not getting anywhere.

But there’s actually a lot of very good reasons I have not been published.  Let’s take a look at them, shall we?

The first issue of ‘Uptown Girl’ came out in 2003.  It was the first comic I ever drew and it shows.  The art is terrible and inconsistent and was drawn in a single afternoon while I was at work.  The spirit and the humor was there, but the art was…well, it was my first comic.  I like to think it was obvious that I loved what I was doing and my enthusiasm for the characters came across in every issue but it was also obvious that I needed to draw better.

I submitted my comic to various publishers after a dozen issues or so.  I thought publishers would be impressed by the fact that I was making my comic monthly and would be charmed by the humor and characters.  And they were, I think.  But the feedback I got was the art needed a lot of help.  It stung a little but I knew they were right.  The art was getting better but not ready for a wider audience.

I kept at it and eventually I had finished the monthly series at 75 issues.  The art was much better but still not ready for a publisher.  I think.  I don’t know because I never submitted my comic to publishers after my first attempt years prior.  I was too busy and having too much fun with creating the comic to bother trying to find a publisher for it.

Part of the reason for stopping the monthly series and moving the characters to an annual graphic novel format was so I could spend more time on the art.  I like to think that the art took a huge leap forward when I allowed myself more time to draw it.  56

Once the first graphic novel was finished, I sent it off to maybe…five publishers.  This was back in 2008 or so when graphic novels were only published by comic publishers, not traditional mainstream publishers.  These days there are many more options to submit your work too, thankfully.

But it was turned down and I shrugged it off and went on to draw five more graphic novels.  But I never bothered to show those to a publisher.

The final ‘Uptown Girl’ graphic novel came out in 2017 and Uptown Girl’s adventures were over.  It’s not fair, and not realistic to be pessimistic about not being published if I only bothered to send my work to editors only twice in a 14 year span.  I may have been doing comics for 14 years but it’s not accurate to say that I have been trying to get published for 14 years.

When I started ‘The Retros’ I thought that this would be the better project to pitch.  I had…accepted?  Learned?  Realized? that if I wanted a publisher to look a my work I needed to show them my work.  I hoped that by posting my comic online it would generate some buzz and would catch the attention of someone, somewhere, but that didn’t, and isn’t, happening.  So, once the first story arc/season was over, I collected it and sent it off to about a dozen publishers.

I chose mostly comic publishers even though at this point non-comic publishers were doing graphic novels.  By the time the first book was printed, ‘The Retros’ had become too weird, too political and just too…quirky (how I hate that word) and didn’t really fit in anywhere.  I didn’t think it had a chance anywhere but my odds were better with a company that only did comics.

1 color

It didn’t go anywhere and I could see why.  Like the first issue of ‘Uptown Girl’ I was still learning.  I had gotten pretty good at doing comic books, but doing a four panel comic strip took some adjusting to.  It took a while to adapt to the format and I had to learn a lot about timing, pacing and layout.  Even in the early days of pitching it, I could see why a publisher would pass on it.

It’s tempting to redraw and resubmit the first story arc but I’d rather spend my time on moving forward and creating new stuff.

As ‘The Retros’ enters the third year, I suppose I could say that I’ve been doing this series for several years but have not found a publisher.  But again, that’s not accurate.  I haven’t been trying too hard.  The stuff I’m doing now is better than it’s ever been, but as this is an ongoing series it really doesn’t matter how good the third year is if the first year or so isn’t publishable.  So, like ‘Uptown Girl’, I haven’t found a publisher because, honestly, I am not trying too hard to find one.

0 cover

If I am being honest with myself, and with you I suppose, I really only have sufficiently tried to find a publisher for one project in the 15 years of trying to make a career out of drawing.  My picture book, ‘Bear and Rabbit’, was submitted to over 100 literary agents and almost 50 publishers and nothing yet.  The disappointment in this comes from two places.  The first is that I think this is a pretty good book.  I worked hard on it and I really feel it’s a strong story.  I learned a lot about picture books after reading so many of them to my daughter and I like to think that the book is a result of that.  The second reason is that I tried really hard to find a place for this project.

But it’s not done yet, something may come from it.  Not all hope is lost.  Even if the book never finds a home, I learned a lot about pitching and the publishing world.  As I researched editors and agents, I kept seeing a demand for more graphic novels.  As Sophie gets older, she has moved onto reading more comics and like many kids her age, she loves Raina Telgemeier‘s books.  Her interest in comics as helped introduce me to a ton of new books I never would have noticed otherwise.

The type of graphic novels she’s into and the type of graphic novels publishers want are keeping me optimistic about my next project.  I am impressed at the range of topics and level of maturity that are in the comics being published for the middle school/young adult audience these days.  I am also blown away by the art and the charm and talent of these cartoonists.  Discovering this new world makes me…hopeful and confident that perhaps this new graphic novel might have a better chance than Uptown Girl, The Retros and Bear had.


I am about fifty pages in and I think I am about a tenth of the way done.   I started lettering it about a week ago and I think once I am done with the scene I am doing now I’ll post what I have so far online.  The book’s inspiration and “hook” I suppose, is if ‘The Legend of Zelda’ took place in my hometown and starred a young girl.  I think I’m accomplishing that as evidenced in the flashback pages above.  I don’t want to say it’s darker than other things I’ve done but I think some stuff might be a surprise to people who are familiar with my work.

Anyway, the point of all this is to remind myself that yes, I’ve been drawing a lot.  But no, I haven’t drawing very well for that whole time.  I’ve had dreams of being published for a long time, but no, I haven’t been trying that hard to become published.


I may have not accomplished what I want to accomplish, but if I am being honest, there’s reasons for that:

  1. I needed time to become a better artist
  2. I need to show my work to more people as long as it’s good







Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go To The Party

Yesterday was FallCon, the comic convention put on by the fine people at the Midwest Comic Book Association.  FallCon takes place each October and was the first comic convention I attended as a guest which was waaaaay back in 2002-ish.  I remember working on Uptown Girl #7 at my table.  I’ve attended each year since then.

Except for this year.

Now, before we go any further, please know I am not bitter or angry or anything.  The volunteers who run the convention have always treated me, and all of their guests, with warmth, excitement, and kindness.  I’ve always been happy, and honored, to be at their shows and I am grateful for every appearance I’ve had at their conventions.

I actually think it’s a good thing to shake up the guest list at these shows.  Since there is no cost to be a guest or to apply for a spot, it’s a fantastic opportunity for an artist to get their work out there.  I doubt I’d be making comics today if not for the fans and friends I’ve made at these conventions.

So, I went to the show as a fan and I had a lot of fun.  I bought comics, saw some friends and had a great time.  It was a little weird to be on the other side of the table, but seeing the shows from an attendee’s perspective gave me the opportunity to see how well these shows are run for the guests as well as the artists.

Of course, I didn’t always had this mature reaction to not being a guest.  It wasn’t anger or anything like that, it was…I don’t know…fear, maybe?  Would this be the first step towards becoming obsolete?  When I stopped writing and drawing Uptown Girl as a monthly comic book and moved into annual graphic novels, I was worried that without having that monthly output I would become a little…irrelevant.  I wanted to stay on the radar of the local comics scene and consistent output was an effective way to do that.

Of course, this sounds depressing and fatalistic and I have moved on from this, but if I am being honest this was what I went through.  And I got over it.  Promise.  I am very close to accepting that I will never get a book published or anything amazing like that, but deep down I’ve always felt that if I was lucky enough to write and draw and self-publish books and have a local convention where I can sell them, well, that’s more than I ever expected or deserved.

I tend to go to extremes within the heat of a moment and I started to wonder if my days at these conventions were over.  Of course, this is just one convention and I have no reason to think I won’t be a guest at the next one, but this is the life of a cartoonist, particularly one that is trying to grow their readership and fan base.  I am always thinking about my comics and everything that comes with it.  Where will my career take me?  Will the impossible happen and I make a living off of my art?  Will everything come to a screeching halt?  Is this the piece of art that somehow goes viral and catches the attention of someone who could open the door to an amazing opportunity?  Will my Twitter followers ever exceed 140?

I am grateful when my friends, family and fans comment, retweet and ‘like’ my art.  I am lucky to have people who subscribe and support my books.  Thank you.  I see the notifications and I smile when I see you sharing and promoting my stuff.  These small things are more helpful than you might think.

Some cartoonists worry about running out of ideas or breaking their hands or something along those lines.  I don’t really worry about those things.  I think about the small audience that I have.  The Retros aren’t making the splash I hoped they would, my Instragram page isn’t growing in terms of followers…I want people to read my work and it’s fun to get a new follower.  I don’t think that’s uncommon for a cartoonist to want.  Please note that I am not complaining or feeling sorry for myself or anything like that.  At the end of the day, I am creating comics and I love my work and that’s the important thing.  One of the things I try to do with this blog is to pull back the curtain a little on the reality of someone trying to make a career with their art.  Sometimes it’s exciting and stuff is happening, sometimes it’s a little introspective and discouraging.

Again, this sound more fatalistic than I feel.  A cartoonist creates their work ultimately for themselves but there’s always the hope that the work connects with others.  I like my stuff and it’s always fun when others do too.  Although I don’t have the followers and readers that I hoped to have after almost three years of The Retros, I think it might bother me if I had zero.  Please know that my self-esteem is not tied to the number of people who read and “like” my work online.  I don’t think I suck or anything.  I’m sure many people think that I do, and that’s okay, but my point is that I am happy with my work, I like how I draw…I like my stuff.  I do think about the fan base that I have, not only wondering what they think of the stuff I create, but also how to grow it.  I’ll be the first to admit that I can promote my work more, but to be honest I am not really sure how.  I know there are other conventions that are out of state that I could go to, but finances are a concern, especially these days.  A big, local convention such as FallCon is a godsend.

On the opposite side of things, not only do I think about how to grow my readership, but I also wonder why I’m not making a bigger impression than I am.  Is my work just not appealing?  Is it not universal enough?  Is it too weird?  Is it not clicking with a larger audience?   As the rejection emails come in for my picture book, the common response was that the work isn’t bad, but agents and editors just didn’t…connect with it.  I think the most important thing a cartoonist to do is create the work that they themselves want to do.  It’s more sincere and a reader can see the enthusiasm in the work.  Right now The Retros is exactly what I want to do and I think it shows.  I have a lot of fun creating it and I am always excited to work on it.  I used to think The Retros would have a little more universal appeal and friendlier to new readers but it’s turned into a sprawling epic that I think is almost inaccessible to new readers.  Maybe that’s it..?

As long as we’re being fatalistic and extreme (and perhaps a little depressing), I often wonder when I should call it a day.  When is it going to become clear that there’s no blood in that stone?  How many more agents and publishers will I submit my picture book to until I throw in the towel?  When does it become obvious that I need to stop beating a dead horse?   How many more similes can this paragraph take?  Nothing will stop me from drawing, but I imagine there will be a day where I stop making comics and turning my attention to illustrating.

Please don’t misunderstand.  I am not quitting anytime soon.  I have at least six more years of story lines planned for The Retros and I am about 50 pages in for the Norah Locke book and a long way to go on it.  Here’s one of the pages I finished this weekend:


Maybe I think too much.  Perhaps I look for significance in things that aren’t there.  But I am constantly thinking about everything that goes with being a cartoonist all the time, whether it is the creative work, the fans or the impossible dreams.

Hope to see you at the spring show.




Things are Really Great Here, Sort of

Sometimes things go just swell.  The day job is going well and the stress and obligations that go with it are stressful but manageable.  The family’s routine is chaotic but at this point we’ve been doing what we do for so long it becomes, well, maybe not easy but you know what I mean.  And although you’re not going to be rich anytime soon…or ever, the money coming in is covering not only your bills but maybe a little extra to take the family out for dinner once in a while.

And then everything just collapses.

As I write this, my house sounds like a factory due to the four industrial blowers scattered throughout my home, not to mention this…thing in my garage.


Let’s back things up to last week.  Long story short, a faucet in our bathroom was left running for, oh, six or seven hours last Saturday.  The bathroom in question is directly above our garage.  When I got home it was raining in my garage.  It was…terrifying.  Over the next few hours we cleaned up the puddles and, like Thor, I got to use a hammer to punch holes in the garage ceiling to air it out to lessen the risk of mold.  Our neighbors, my sister-in-law and best friend were invaluable with their help and support.

The insurance people came out and soon our flooring in our lower level was torn up and huge humidifiers and dryers were placed around the home to suck up the moisture under the floor and everywhere else.  There are these giant mats in the kitchen that are designed to absorb the water under the floor there, too.  The ceiling in the garage was ripped out and the damage is going to exceed 10k.  Insurance will cover some of it and that’s all we know for sure at this point.

It’s all I can do to keep myself from laughing and crying at the same time.

This will all be…fixed somehow.  Things work out and it’s hard to see HOW they will when you’re in the moment but once things settle down you can look back to see how it was resolved.  At the moment though it’s a little heartbreaking to come home to see your floors and ceiling torn up and trying to fall asleep while a half dozen machines do their thing gets a little old.

Work has gotten more stressful and our budget suddenly got tighter.  When it rains it pours, I guess.  Literally.

But on the plus side, my projects are going well.  My new graphic novel that I started last year underwent some rewrites and redesigns and I almost caught up with the pages I needed to redraw.

The two pages below are the same scene but the second is the new version.  The differences are clear, not only with the design of the cat-fox character, but also to the overall page.



When I drew the first version, I could tell I wasn’t happy with it and my displeasure is evident with the lazy crosshatching and backgrounds.  It was obvious to me that I wanted to finish the page and move on.  Hopefully the cat-fox character would look better on the next page.

It didn’t.  I just couldn’t get the hang of it.

But when I did the second version, it’s obvious I was happy with how things were going.  I can’t quite describe it, but you can tell whoever drew the second version put in a lot of…joy into it.  It took twice as long to draw it but it’s clear they loved every moment of it.

I am happy with the new design, I am happy with the revisions and I look forward to continuing work on it.

But that’s the silver lining right now.  Right now it’s enough.  Thank God it’s enough.


My Little Town

Late last year, I “announced” my next graphic novel series.  I have barely mentioned it here because I have barely worked on it.  I think about it all the time, but I honestly thought I would have more time to draw it than I have.  In addition to ‘The Retros’ webcomic, this year has been busy with trying to find an agent/publisher for ‘Bear and Rabbit’ and working on submission pitches for a Retros newspaper strip.

But the new series was always on my mind, especially when I was running errands or spending time in downtown White Bear Lake.

A little history:

In 2006 I started to date Amy.  At the time we started to date, I was living in Northeast Minneapolis.  When we met, I was living in Uptown.   When we decided to move in together, she wanted to stay in White Bear Lake as that is where her son Ryan was attending grade school.  I knew I’d miss living in the city, but I figured we could always move back sometime if we wanted to.

In March 2007 we found a little apartment across the street from Ryan’s school.  Not long after, we found out we’d be having a baby and Sophie was born in December of that year.  We were married in June of 2008 and our little family was complete.

And through all this, I found myself falling in love with where we live, particularly downtown White Bear Lake.  There are quite a few restaurants and shops we visit there.  We watch the annual parade in town each June, we meet up with friends, visit the library, go out for ice cream and just…enjoy where we live.  We own a townhouse and right our our front door is an amazing wooded area where we explore and hike and get lost on purpose.

We made friends, we joined the Y, we became active in Sophie’s school.  Long story short, we started to develop our roots.  I felt a connection to where we lived that I didn’t quite feel when I lived anywhere else.  I started to learn about the history of the area ranging from everything from the Native American history to the now closed amusement park not far from our home.  In my mind, I romanticized the history and mythology of the town.

Last year I was trying to think of what other projects I wanted to work on besides The Retros.  Amy suggested I write something around Sophie as I like telling stories about her.  I didn’t want to do a project about a cute kid and the shenanigans that kids do.  It felt a little cliched but I started to think about an idea from a few years ago about a girl who fought monsters in the woods.  I even drew a few scenes for it.

thumbnail_photo 1

The enthusiasm for the project was killed by other stuff that was happening in my life at the time but I always liked the idea.  The girl in the story was based on Sophie, however she was now a few years older and I didn’t feel the connection to the character that I did when I drew this orignally.

But Amy’s suggestion made me think about this idea again.  What if the girl was older?  What if the woods were the same woods right outside my front door?  Things started to gain traction.  But there was something missing.

As Sophie ages, I introduce her to more things.  Like most kids, she looks for characters she can relate to in the books, movies and video games we play.  Not surprisingly, she prefers her entertainment to star women.  She plays as Peach in ‘Super Smash Bros.’ and ‘Mario Kart’.  She prefers ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ to Harry Potter.  She showed zero interest in playing ‘The Legend of Zelda’ when she learned she had to play as a boy.

Now, I can’t make video games but I can write and draw.  “What if ‘The Legend of Zelda’ took place in White Bear Lake?  What if it took place now?  What if the merchants in the game had stores in downtown White Bear Lake instead of in caves?”

What if the story starred a girl?

Things just fell together at this point.  I found the missing piece.

I thought about what I wanted to incorporate into the story.  I thought about what locations and history in my town I wanted to include, whether it was the cemetery, the local bookstore or Sophie’s school.  I wrote down quite a few notes, did research, did many character sketches and my enthusiasm grew.  I couldn’t wait to get started.


I started drawing what I thought would be the first book at the beginning of this year.  Soon I was pulled away from it by the other projects I mentioned earlier.  I got about 30 pages done before all creative work on it came screeching to a halt.

This depressed me.  I loved the project and I was reminded of it whenever I went into town.  Sophie was excited for it and told her friends.  Earlier this summer we went out for ice cream and ran into her friend Libby.  Libby’s first question to me was when the book was coming out.

Lack of progress on the book frustrated me.  Even after the newspaper pitches and the book submission projects were done, I wondered when I would have time to work on it. In addition to the time needed to make the book, I felt really intimidated by what I imagined was a six volume series.  By the time I’d be done with, Sophie would be in college.

It didn’t help my enthusiasm that I didn’t care for the last dozen or so pages I had completed for the book.  I introduced a main character that didn’t look right.  The model changed from page to page and I hated it.

We’ve spent a lot of time in town this summer and I resolved to find a way to work on this book in addition to the Retros.  I started to rethink the book and instead of doing a series I would do one big, 500 page story.  I redid the outline,  redesigned the new character and I committed myself to working on the book again in October and not work on anything else besides The Retros in 2019.

This cheered me up.  I am excited to get back into this little world.  I am excited to do one big fat book.

So, that’s what’s been going on with me.  What’s up with you?


Square One

So, for better of for worse, the year is over.  Despite my hopes and efforts, ‘The Retros’ failed to find a publisher, whether as a comic strip or a book.  So that’s disappointing.  On the other hand, we have managed to get through the year without a nuclear war, although I suppose there’s still time.

I worked hard this year.  I finished and published the final ‘Uptown Girl’ book, finished the second year of ‘The Retros’, started the third year, did Inktober once again and started my children’s book.  So, that’s good.  I also submitted ‘The Retros’ to syndicates and publishers.  I always find time and energy to create, but writing letters and mailing book proposals out is not something I enjoy doing, so I am happy that I submitted as much as I did and to as many publishers as I could.

So, what’s next?  I wrote recently how my goal, in addition to the ongoing Retros, is to have one project to create and one project to submit to publishers going at all times.  This way I can have a balance of making art as well as getting my efforts in front of an editor or an agent.

I am happy to say that I have decided on what my projects for 2018, and beyond, will be.  In July my children’s book started to form and I started work on it in early November and I am finishing the last page today.  Once the art is done, I start the digital part of the project which will consist of Photoshopping out mistakes and putting the text on the page.  I expect this to take a month or so and begin submitting the book to agents in February.  Luckily, and dauntingly, there are hundreds of potential agents and publishers to shop this too.  It makes it intimidating to try to break into such a competitive world, but it’s nice there are so many options.   Sure, I say that now.

So, that’s the submitting project.  The creative project is…well, it’s a comic.  Specifically a graphic novel series.  Yeah.  Earlier this year I wrote about how I’d have to find a new project to work on since Uptown Girl was finished, and I stated that I couldn’t imagine doing another graphic novel, especially a series.  But…things have changed.

I am not ready to reveal the project yet, but basically the project can be summed up as “what if ‘The Legend of Zelda’ took place in White Bear Lake?”

It’s incredibly exciting to be at square one, or panel one, of a new project.  I’ve been taking notes, researching, sketching, writing down ideas, plot outlines and more over the last few months and the series is coming together.  Believe me, I did not want, or intend to start another graphic novel series ever again.  But…well, I can’t shut off an idea.  You can also blame my wife for planting the seed for this series.

I have started the first book in the series and has a tentative name of “The Underground Kingdom”.  I am about a dozen pages in and now that the art for children’s book is almost complete, I am able commit to this book even more and my goal is to have the first book done by the end of next year and out  in 2019.

Here’s page 11.

11  I hope you all had a good year and that next year is better.  Thank you for reading my blog and my comics.  I really appreciate every reader, fan, follower and friend I have.  Knowing people like what I create is a really wonderful and affirming thing.  Thank you.