RathaCon is an Athens, OH-based pop culture con that’s been running successfully for 8 years. This year they’re running a KickStarter to give special passes and rewards to convention goers.
I offered to draw a limited-edition, KickStarter-exclusive print themed around RathaCon. And they REALLY liked this idea.
So I sketched out the following two ideas and sent these to the crew, asking, “What do you think?”
Of course, if they have a hard time deciding, they could pitch it to KickStarter backers and ask for their feedback.
I do this with everyone I collaborate with, no matter if it’s a comic strip I’m paid for, or a logo I’m designing pro-bono for a non-profit. I sketch out the ideas I have, send them over, and ask, “Eh? Thoughts?”
I’ll be sharing the progress of this project as it develops.
Usually, posts like this are shared only with patrons on Patreon(unless there’s a contract saying not to). I’m making the progress of the RathaCon print public so you can get a taste of what patrons on Patreon get to see. Of course, they see more projects in progress than the general public does.
If you’re interested in seeing more behind-the-scenes progress on art, go to my Patreon page and pledge. You can change or cancel your pledge amount at any time, and it’s totally optional. (But the option to support gets you goodies and helps me make more art.)
This is going to be a 2-part blog series. Part 1 – today – is about what I accomplished this year. Part 2 will be about what I plan to get done next year, in 2019.
So I had a list. Like everybody else, I wanted to get everything on the list done. That said, I’m happy that at least half of it was accomplished. I’ll get into why the entire thing wasn’t complete by the end of the post.
The purple circles next to the entries are for comics/business related goals. The green circles indicate personal goals of mine.
I can tell you right now the reasons that “Get a passport” and “Pay off at least one student loan” weren’t accomplished.
A) The student loan goal wasn’t accomplished because my student loans are federal. In one package. The package has a breakdown of, like, 6 loans. But my repayment plan is set so that one payment splits among all the loans. I tried to negotiate it to do otherwise, but the loan servicer wouldn’t let me. To do that would have necessitated changing the repayment plan, which I couldn’t do until the very end of this year.
B) I have the money saved back for a passport. HOWEVER, there’s a metric ass-ton of paperwork involved to get one. One of the documents you need is your original birth certificate. Not a copy. Already this is a pain in the ass for me, because my birth certificate is on THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF THE COUNTRY. Thanks, dad, for being in the military when I was born.
All that said, Let’s talk about what WAS accomplished, in chronological order.
JANUARY: Start Roth IRA
This was top of my list for one reason only: I opened the wrong type of IRA last year. Aspiration is a great company, but right now they only have Traditional IRAs.
(The difference between a Traditional and Roth IRA can be found in this post. No, it won’t freeze your brain.)
So I opened a Roth IRA with Fidelity. I also got an Acorns account, but that’s a different ball of wax.
MARCH/APRIL: Make $500 in sales at a convention
Thank you to the peeps at Awesome Con for making THIS goal happen!
Awesome Con this year was the last weekend of March, going into April 1. This was my first convention in over 5 years with an attendance of over 70,000 people. So I was nervous.
I wrote a lot more about the experience of Awesome Con in this post if you would like to read it.
MAY: Edit The Legend of Jamie Roberts to Completion
I have this day marked specifically in my bullet journal: May 30, 2018. That’s the day I wrote the outline for the final draft of The Legend of Jamie Roberts.
Up until the outline, I combed through the first 5 to 7 chapters and fixed a LOT of things. Did I comb through the story after Chapter 9? Well, I didn’t feel it was necessary to.
Why? Because as long as I have the outline in hand, the story is set. It’s not entirely set in stone, to allow for some creative wiggle room. Because present day me will not be the same as me 5 years from now. And this comic is going to be updating online for YEARS.
That said, I wanted to write down the trajectory of the story and how it will end. That’s what the outline is for. And I’m glad I wrote it.
AUGUST: Paid Off Credit Card.
I got myself into credit card debt last year for one altruistic but dumb reason. I was making donations to political and social causes and thinking, “I can pay this off soon!”
Only I didn’t.
So I stopped making donations… though you couldn’t tell with the amount of mail I get from organizations asking me to donate to them.
The other problem, too, was that, at a certain point, I was charging reprints of my books onto my credit card. While shows like Awesome Con were a hit (and paid off the charges), other shows like Put-N-Play were flops that drained my money.
So I got aggressive. I adopted zero-sum budgeting and managed to pay off over $3000 in 6 months.
My last credit card payment was on my birthday, August 24. And I was SO FREAKING HAPPY.
Now I only use that credit card for my phone bill. Nothing else.
I did pull a potentially risky move and got a second credit card. But the new card I got is more in line with my goals. It has no interest for the first 15 months of using it, and it’s a cash back card. So far I’ve only been using it for everyday purchases (groceries and gas) and paying it off at the end of the month. The cast back I get? I put into my savings.
I do also use this new card for business purposes. In fact, I would rather have this card be for business use. However, I only purchase things if I have the money in the bank to pay it off ASAP.
NOVEMBER: Finish Writing Auxaton’s Story
I didn’t announce this, but I DID take part in National Novel Writing Month. I kept it low-key because I had just wrapped up Inktober and started a KickStarter to get the sketches into a book. (That KickStarter ended up running twice, because it failed the first time. I’ll talk about that in a future post.)
National Novel Writing Month encourages participants to write a totally new idea. But I broke that “rule” to rewrite Auxaton’s story. I had written the first draft a few years ago and wrote myself into a corner. I wanted to start over again. So I did.
Holy dang was it an emotional roller coaster! While writing it, I laughed. I cried (a lot). I had revelations. I wrote EVERYTHING down. I made the 50,000 word goal by Day 22.
In the end, the novel ended up with 74,079 words.
I don’t plan on touching it again for a long while. I want the story to sit there until I can look at it again with an editorial eye, not a sentimental one.
After I wrapped up writing the story, I realized two things:
1) I like writing in the mornings for an hour. It gets the creative juices flowing.
2) Inspiration is like a cat: it wants your attention when you’re at your busiest. So just keep working.
???: Make Appearances at 3 Comic Shops
I feel like I fudged this one. Not all of the stores I appeared at this year were comic shops. I also didn’t specify if these shops had to be new to me.
So… most of the comic shop appearances I made were at New Dimension Comics locations. Though I DID make an appearance at Half Price Books in Reynoldsburg, OH on August 18. There was also a visit paid to The Big Idea Bookstore in Pittsburgh on June 23. I talked about that a bit in this post because it was the same weekend as Feminist Zine Fest Pittsburgh.
???: Learn 3 new recipes and cook them regularly.
Truth be told: I started this year not knowing how to cook hardly anything. I wanted to learn to cook because I was tired of spending money on Subway and other places that made food for me. I wanted to learn how to make things myself, dangit!
Some of the recipes I learned this year (that I still cook) include:
I also perfected cooking chicken, fried potatoes, French toast, brownies, chocolate chip cookies, muffins, and ground beef.
All this made me realize: I LOVE COOKING. I love making food using SCIENCE. Plus, if done right, recipes like slow-cooker recipes can last really Mc-Freaking-Long.
Why didn’t I get the entire list accomplished? Because looking back on it, I was keeping track of the wrong things.
Up until my October vacation to New Mexico, my daily tracking regarded… the food I ate. I wasn’t tracking pages written or other relevant metrics on a daily basis like I should have. I fixed this in November, but by then, it was too late to wrap up the entire list.
Keeping track of the food I ate DID help in some regards. It helped me realize that I was getting lactose intolerant with age. Plus it helped me keep track of when/if leftovers from my cooked dishes were going bad.
But next year, I’m going to be doing daily metrics specific to my goals for the year.
How about you? What were your goals for 2018? Did you end up accomplishing them? What lead you to succeed, or not succeed? I’d love to hear about it.
Imaginarium Convention is all about writers and other creative types, but it’s a show all about the craft. The panels they have me scheduled for are these:
11:30 am in room Appalacian: LGBTQ Characters in Fiction. Moderated by Janie Franz with panelists Eliot Parker, Amanda Burkhead, Jimmy Misfit, Michele Lee, and me.
9 am in room Appalacian: Healthier Habits for Creatives. Panelist include: Janie Franz (moderator), Angelyn Sherrod, Donna Dull, and me.
11:30 am in room Burley: Comics and Graphic Novels. Panelist include: Dan Jolley (moderator), S.C. Houff, Michele Lee, John Risner, Sean Dulaney, Glenn Porzig, and me.
2 pm in room Heartland: Composing Newsletters with Mail Chimp and Beyond. This will be a 2hr panel. Panelist include: Sandy Lender(moderator), Addie King, Eric Shawn Moser, Megan McIntosh, and me.
For more details about the panels themselves, or to check the full (absolutely bonkers and lengthy) listing, check this link.
I’ll ask the event organizers if I can stream any of these panels for you to see. If I’m allowed, the panels may be streamed onto Facebook. Keep an eye on the Facebook page for further announcements on this.
If you’re unable to attend Imaginarium, then please check out these two new things my awesome friends released!
First, My friend Suzy Anderson has launched a KickStarter campaign! See, she runs this independent art and literature magazine called The Magnolia Review, and it’s on KickStarter right now to get funding for Volume 4, Issues 1 AND 2. Rewards include copies of the magazine, postcards, bookmarks, and other goodies!
Second, my friend Deci Belfry just launched their Facebook page to share (and sell) lithography prints, watercolors, and other art they make! Seriously, check out their printmaking portfolio. It’s gorgeous stuff! They also have a catalog of their work, and they do something called sliding-scale pricing. Be sure to check out the Facebook page for more.
That’s all for now. Thank you for reading!
You. Are. Awesome.
P.S. I’ll be making an update on Inktober after Imaginarium this weekend. <3
I returned once again to Comicon Erie, and was surprised by a couple of things this year.
First, I brought a table buddy this year. This is Mack.
While not an artist, he helped a lot with carrying my gear in, setting up the table, and tracking sales.
I brought him with me because last year’s Comicon Erie was ABSOLUTELY PACKED on Saturday. People had a hard time moving up and down the aisle, even with the ample amount of space given.
This year, though… Saturday had a lower turnout than I expected. And the cosplay contest wrapped up at 5 pm but the show floor stayed open until 7. Not a lot happened once the cosplay contest was over. (I mean, there’s a reason a lot of shows have the cosplay contest be the last thing that happens in a day. Did it change because they got overwhelmed last year?)
Sunday had more attendees this year than last year. Plus there were some vendors and artists who said they did better sales on Sunday than on the previous two days. That makes sense, since there are some con goers who wait until the end, after scoping everything out, to go back to the artists and vendors they liked.
But this year, I’ll be honest, I was expecting more out of Comicon Erie than what was there.
I don’t know if there was another event happening at the same time, but attendance was not what I expected it to be. And that affected my sales. I earned less this year compared to last year.
On top of that… well, I need to preface this: at large shows like this one or Phoenix Comicon, etc, on Day 3 there will be a form on your table asking, “Hey! Would you like to reserve this same spot next year? Just fill out this form and include a deposit, and we’ll reserve this for you next year!”
This year the convention was asking for a larger deposit than what they asked for last year.
I’m willing to give the benefit of the doubt and say, “Well, the convention center is likely raising the rates on everything.” (Convention centers do that. A LOT.)
But look – I did so well last year I decided to reserve the spot and come back this year. But this year actually earned me less in sales. And now the center wants a LARGER deposit out of me?
What if sales just keep going down every year and the deposit gets increasingly larger and larger? I’m not interested.
Plus, it’s not cheap for me to go to this con- I’m not local. So I would have to pay for hotel (or at least an AirBnB), food, the convention floor spot, and gas to get there.
Also, chairs were not provided with the table this year. Somehow I missed that detail on the application, but I thought that (like MOST OTHER comic conventions), chairs would be provided with your table space. But not here!
I asked one of the con organizers to bring me a chair – which I would need to pay to rent out. But they never got back to me. So I was on my feet ALL THREE DAYS of the show. Thankfully I didn’t give my money before they took my request and ditched me – and I had a table neighbor who lent me his chair once in a while. (And now’s a good time to give a shout-out to Keith Cunningham – on Instagram @cartoonkeith. Check out his comics! He lent me his chair.)
So, Comicon Erie, I love you, but I won’t be going back next year.
That said, I saw some posts from folks I follow on Instagram – turns out, there WAS a convention happening the same weekend, but in Maryland. Small Press Expo (or SPX).
I’ve always wanted to go to this show, so I plan on going to SPX in lieu of Comicon Erie next year.
I hear that SPX is harder to get into, though. So I’ll have to do my best!
It’s that time of year – time to look at old designs of things and think, “Hot dang this needs a makeover.”
And that was what crossed my mind when I looked at my Storenvy shop. I mean, look at this screencap:
It’s SO OLD.
The photos need redone. So do the product listings, the link sidebar, the colors of the shop, and…well, the entire thing needs redone in my eyes.
So here’s the deal:
You have until September 30 to get anything from my online shop.
The shop will be taken down from Sept 30 until October 6 – one whole week.
That week is when I overhaul the whole thing.
So you have until then to take advantage of any deals, or get any of these comics, prints, or miniprints or minicomics (outside of conventions).
As an extra, if you buy something from the online shop, I’ll throw in an extra piece of art from my art-bin that will fit in the package. The art piece can be anything from a sketch from my sketchbook, to the original art for a print.
So yeah! Buy something from the online shop before Sept 30, and get a piece of art included for free.