I (Kinda) Made My 2020 Goals!

Weird, right?! In a year that needs no explanation for the dumpster fire that it is…I actually made my goals!

Kind of.

Every year, I blog about the goals from the past year, followed by the goals in mind for the year incoming. If you’d like to see the original post about 2020 goals, here it is.

But just what WERE my goals for 2020?

Thumbnail/Script The Legend of Jamie Roberts to completion.

Ok, so I didn’t get all 20 (ish) chapters sketched out. BUT, I DID get 10 and a half. I even managed to script through some REALLY tricky plot points, so I consider that a success!

That said – moving to a new home did cut into my scripting routine. And it was hard to jump back after that. I have since learned to be a LOT kinder to myself with goals of “do this thing every day.”

Get Sean’s Book Published

So the book is ALMOST ready to get to print. I’m working with my editor on the final round of edits for these short stories.

This goal took a while to get off the ground properly because I wanted to hire an outside editor. I didn’t have the time to do edits, because of working with NeverEnding, making The Legend of Jamie Roberts, and taking up part-time gigs with DoorDash and Instacart.

ALL OF THAT, plus my first editor just…dropped off the face of the earth. And the second one did NOT do a good job.

The third editor? I went to my old college friend Melanie Doan to work with Sean and me on edits. Holy banana pants she knocked it out of the park!

Like I said, we’re doing the final passes. The goal post for publishing kept moving, so I’m not making any promises for when this book will go to KickStarter.

Read 1 New Comic Per Week

Well, to be honest, I shut down the Indie Comics Hub – the biggest reason I set this goal. That said, if we expand this to reading more books generally, then 2020 was my best year so far.

By Dec 31, 2020, I read 23 books, including graphic novels. However, I did not count single-issue comics, zines, or minicomics in that count. If I did, it’d probably be double that. Possibly triple? It’s hard to say.

Unfortunately, moving to a new home played a role in this, too. I had to leave behind my single-issue comics and a large chunk of my zines because they just. Couldn’t. Fit. In the Truck.

But 23 books? And untold numbers of single-issue comics and zines? I’d say that’s pretty good. Better than 2019, at least.

So what’s in store for 2021? Well, I’m going to write about that next post.

That’s all for now. Thank you for reading!

You. Are. Awesome.

I’ll Be Back January 4, 2021

“Kelci! You didn’t send an email update last week! What gives?”

Last week was Christmas, silly. I took the week off.

Also – I’m taking THIS week off.

“But what does that mean?!”

That means:

  • no posts on Ko-Fi, this blog, OR social media until January 4, 2021.
  • no new pages of The Legend of Jamie Roberts until January 6, 2021.
  • no email newsletter until January 8, 2021.
  • commissions will remain CLOSED until January 11, 2021.

The Storenvy shop (for physical goods) and Ko-Fi shop (for digital goods) will remain open. BE WARNED: there may be delays if you purchase from Storenvy, because plague and backed-up USPS shenanigans.

And another thing:

Every year, I talk about the previous year in review, followed by the goals I have for the following year. I DO still intend on writing those blog posts. They just won’t be live until January 7, 2021.

I’m going to enjoy the time I have off. I hope you’re able to rest and recharge for 2021. May it not suck!

Thank you for your understanding.

You. Are. Awesome.

Why Make Art Your Job?

art versus artist meme featuring art made in 2020 by kelci d crawford

I got this question a lot (surprisingly) in the before times. The people who asked this the most were either teenagers trying to pick a career path, or concerned parents asking on behalf of their teenagers. The thing they asked the most was, “Why make drawing your job?”

“Wouldn’t you get tired of drawing then? I thought the reason you make art was for the joy of it? Why take out the joy and make it a job?”

In the past, I would use an argument from Elizabeth Gilbert’s book “Big Fear.” In one chapter she says that every job has a unique flavor of “shit sandwich.” It’s just a matter of what flavor of shit you want to put up with.

But I have to walk back this assessment. (Even though it is a very good book).

It seems to me that the real problem here is how you – the person – choose to approach how you view work. By work, I mean the job that you do.

Some folks see work as a means to an end.

They’re there for the paycheck. They may not get a sense of accomplishment or fulfillment from it – or if there ARE those feelings, they’re short-lived. Those feelings are not why the person does the work. For these folks, they find fulfillment elsewhere. At least, I HOPE they do.

But some people (like me) want to work in jobs where our skills can shine.

We want to work in a path where our effort goes appreciated by people. We don’t want to work at any other job, especially jobs where we feel like just another cog in the machine.

I know I’M not keen on working at a job just for the paycheck. I want to put my skills to use. And I want to really polish up the skills I have.

And yes, one of those skills is drawing. And I LIKE making money with drawing. It feels good to know that my training and practice have a (usually literal) payoff.

For me, it brings me joy to know that I can use my skills to make art and get paid for it. I don’t mind monetizing my ability to make art because I GET TO MAKE ART AND FEED MYSELF WITH MY SKILL. WITHOUT having to work at a job just for the paycheck.

I’ve had to supplement my paychecks in the past, but I make it a point to make sure the work I do is work I enjoy. And I enjoy work that puts my skills to use, and that make me improve.

I hope this gives some clarity for the young folks out there.

Thank you for reading. Keep making art.

You. Are. Awesome.

A New Horror Story Collection?

monster madness horror sketch art, showing an eyeless, hunched-over, horned monster with a large grin laughing and pointing.

You read right – Fantasyville Productions (the company I run) is working on a new horror short story collection.

My good friend Sean McGavin wrote these stories last year, and I said to him, “Holy banana pants! These stories are good! Let’s get these printed!”

Couple things:

  1. I had never printed a book of prose before. And it turns out – the self-publishing world of prose? VERY different from comics. Because,
  2. It’s tricky to find printers for these kinds of books who are NOT Amazon. And
  3. It’s expensive to hire an editor.

I’m handling the book cover design because I designed all the covers for my books. It’s one of the skills I’m really good at, to be honest.

For an editor, I hired Melanie D., a friend of mine from college who’s very good at what she does. Shout-out to my readers who backed The Case of the Wendigo on KickStarter. They voted to have the leftover funds from that campaign go towards paying Melanie to edit this anthology. (And also go towards two different charities. More info about that can be found in this KickStarter post).

Where will this book be printed? Well, I’m going for Lulu. Unless you have a different recommendation. But when I did my research, Lulu had what I was looking for. (And I’ll go into THAT in a different post).

When will this book be available? Stay tuned on my email newsletter for updates.

Sorry to cut it short, but that’s really all I have for now. Thank you for reading!

You. Are. Awesome.

What’s Next for Fantasyville?

To say this year took me by surprise is an understatement.

My original plans – “just keep doing what I’ve been doing, but go to 10 conventions/shows, not 14” – HAD to shift hard to the left.

As it turned out, though, canceling convention season meant I could work on the following things:

NeverEnding

I started working with these folks back in February this year. In that 10-month window of time, we’ve run a successful KickStarter, started production on a new app, and got some buzz going with Satine Phoenix, the Sirens, and a LOT of tabletop gaming companies. INCLUDING some folks connected to the Hugo Awards (but I can’t give more details). Like, holy dang.

I’m still working with the crew as the Creative Director, leading the art team while we make art for the app. It’s my first time being in charge of other artists. I’m still getting the hang of it.

Livestreams

In lieu of conventions, I ran livestreams. For a while, I did them every Saturday, until I burned out on the schedule. I stopped for a bit to reassess.

It all started with live-draws, where I streamed myself drawing new stuff in Clip Studio Paint. But the most watched streams have been the most recent ones I’ve done: with guests, talking about some business aspects of comics. Things like how to run a successful KickStarter campaign, and converting KickStarter backers into long-time patrons.

The Switch from Patreon to Ko-Fi

I dragged my feet on this decision for a while, until I couldn’t anymore. Patreon just kept on dropping pledges from patrons – often, from the high-tier patrons. And this had been a problem for OVER A YEAR. A problem where, each month, I had to reach out to patrons individually to ask them to check their information. (I had originally reached out in group messages, but a previous patron stopped pledging because they saw this as “public shaming.”)

And then, in the last month, every time I made a new post, the website would just…shut off. My internet connection worked. I could save a DRAFT of a post. But when I hit “publish,” the Patreon site would just…stop.

In short, Patreon as a system has bugs that aren’t being meaningfully addressed, and it’s aggravating myself and other people.

I made the switch to Ko-Fi recently. While it lacks some things (like scheduling posts ahead of time), it has other things Patreon does NOT have. Like more consistent payment processing. And the ability to leave a tip just once.

What’s Next, Though?

I want to continue growing the audience I have on Ko-Fi. It’s a platform with a lot of promise and I want to help it grow. A lot like what I’m doing with NeverEnding, actually.

I also want to keep going with YouTube. Livestreams, yes. But I’m THINKING about dipping my toes back in to making proper, edited videos…I just don’t like editing because I don’t have the right tools for it. So an upgrade to better video editing software is on the table.

Another thing on the table? Better audio recording set-ups. I wrapped up doing vocal tracks for a friend’s punk song and it made me realize…I miss doing audio work.

Other than that? The Legend of Jamie Roberts will keep going. CB and I are remaking some early pages of Tiny Unicorn. We’re also doing more with Tiny Unicorn (and Mr. Dino & Friends) in the near future. BreeBree Bootique is a new project I’m doing with chubby cat art (now on Instagram and RedBubble).

AND…

Keep an eye out for two new book projects that Fantasyville Productions will be releasing in the next few months. One’s a prose anthology, the other is a comics anthology.

I’ll write about those two books in the next update.

That’s all for now. Thank you for reading!

You. Are. Awesome.