Blogging Every Day in November?!

holy banana pants johnson and sir ackles

Yeah, it’s pretty bananas, I know.

Even though I’ve been feeling sick lately, I’ve also been feeling a creative slump. When I sit down at the drafting table to draw, I either can’t focus or I can’t muster up the energy draw the thing that’s in front of me.

It’s not just election bullshit, either; it’s the day job scheduling me so I have to get up at 3:30 am (which no sane human being should ever be obligated to do so). It’s trying to handle KickStarter, TWO Patreons, two webcomics, and freelance gigs on top of the day job. And trying to do all of that while trying to remember to eat and sleep. And shower. Grace bless whoever invented showers.

“But,” I can hear you say, “if you have all that shit to do, why blog every day? Wouldn’t that be more work?”

Yes and no.

Yes, on the surface, it seems like more work, but to me, it’s a good way to purge whatever is up in my brain part to make room in the brain part for new ideas. I’m doing this to kick-start the creative juices.

It’s also a good way to keep track of the work I’m doing, and bringing you along for the ride so maybe you can get some ideas.

As far as comics or works-in-progress goes, that’ll all be Patreon-exclusive. So instead, I’ll be blogging about ideas, stories I’ve wanted to share, new books and comics I’m reading, and I GUESS I’ll do list posts. But if I’m going to do a list post, it’s going to be how I want to do one, not just obligatory traffic-boosting clickbait.

If that all sounds like your cup of tea (and I’ll be writing about tea, also), stay tuned and come back tomorrow! (Maybe tomorrow’s post will be about tea… Maybe. Possibly.)

Thank you for reading.

You. Are. Awesome.

I Was a Librarian

librarian selfie with books art sketch
(Click to enlarge)


My first ever paid job in high school was being a librarian. Technically, I was a page, so my job was to re-stack books, DVDs, CDs, and other stuff people checked out and returned.

The cool thing was I was a page at a time when libraries just caught on to the idea that graphic novels were cool. So the graphic novel section was growing and getting all kinds of cool additions. This was how I was exposed to works like Cairo by G. Willow Wilson and M.K. Perker (which I reviewed here), Paradise Kiss by Ai Yazawa, and (most importantly) Making Comics by Scott McCloud.

I, as a page, was also supposed to clean up small messes. I have found many strange things in my time as a page, from abandoned wallets to an ash tray that was ripped out of a truck. But that’s a story I’m going to get into…right now.

I was sorting in the large print section when I found this aforementioned ash tray. And I was really confused. So I took it to the sorting room and approached the other librarians, saying “I found this weird ashtray. What should I do with it?”

My manager in her corner office said “BURN IT!” But one of the other ladies said she would hold on to it until someone claimed it. After all, it was an ash tray that belonged in a car. Someone should get it, right?

Ten minutes later I’m back in the large print, moving onto Non Fiction next to it, when a greasy guy in a leather jacket approaches me, looking nervous, saying, “Uh…did you by chance see an ash tray around here? It’s for my truck.”

True Facts.

Anyway, I was a page for two years until I graduated high school and went to college.

For a semester I had a minor in Pop Culture (because Bowling Green State University, my alma mater, was one of the few schools that offered classes in Pop Culture studies).

While I was studying this oddball field, I worked at the Browne Popular Culture Library.

Yes, this was a thing.

It was a very cool thing, too. It carried all manner of comics and graphic novels, and they even had dime novels from as far back as 1910. There were movie scripts, posters, and a ton of Star Trek memorabilia (I heard the library has the largest private collection of Star Trek memorabilia carried by a library in the United States). There were also pulp magazines, though they were rarely, if ever, read… The pulp was so old they were kept in special boxes so the light would not damage them, and if they were ever handled, it was with gloves, so the oil on your fingers wouldn’t damage the pulp paper.

The library even carried copies of the original elvish dictionaries written by J.R.R. Tolkien himself.

So with all of this awesomeness within our walls, you would think we were slammed with people.

But there was a catch: The Browne Popular Culture Library is what librarians call a “closed-stack” library. That means everything was kept behind closed doors, and if you wanted to check out anything, you had to fill out a form and a librarian (like me) had to run back and fetch it.

We had our catalog online, which is how you can find books in the Pop Culture Library in the first place. But once you got the book, it wasn’t allowed to leave the floor.

So…no, there weren’t a lot of people clammoring for the books there.

My time there was short, but I enjoyed it. It was the job that got me into comics as a cultural force, rather than comics as throwaway entertainment.

Because the cool things was: I saw a ton of old AND new comics in that library. I saw the original pulp magazines and dime novels.

And yes, the popularity of mediums changes. Dime novels aren’t really a thing anymore, and digest comics like Archie, I’m sad to say, are starting to lag.

But though the popularity of storytelling modes might change, the constant thing is that there are stories, and they are there, waiting to be read.

It’s fascinating to see the arc of popular culture history, seeing what was popular and what faded in favor of the next fad, and why the next fad was so huge.

Comics are, I dare say, the new fad in storytelling, because their potential is being rediscovered. Back in the 1950s, comics in the U.S. took a giant leap backwards (that’s a VERY long story I’ll save for next time), and since then comics as a medium in the U.S. has been playing catch-up with the rest of the world.

Comics are reemerging as a fad, and I would say that’s a good thing. It’s an artistic medium that deserves to be created with, studied, and read.

How long will that fad last? I don’t know. Tell me what you think in comments.

Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you tomorrow.

Christmas is Coming…

commission work in progress
A peek at a commission-in-progress.

I have been working my butt off the last two weeks, and it’s not on comics.

While I’ve been taking this month off making comics, I’ve been working two part time jobs and making commissions for folks. And while it’s good to keep busy, it’s starting to take a toll.

All of this extra work is making me wonder,

“What can I do next year to go a little easier on myself?”

I admit, many of my goals for next year are work-related, and deal with making more comics, more books, more blog posts, more, more, more.

Part of that is my brain rationalizing that making more, better work will improve my art, thereby giving me more pieces for my portfolios, therefore more pieces to show off to people to say, “Look what I can do now give me work please!”

But where do you put the cap?

I’m hesitant to leave the day job I have currently because the alternative – freelancing full-time – is something I tried last year when I lived in Arizona. It didn’t really work. It’s one of the big reasons that I moved back to Ohio.

While freelancing seems to make more sense in the Midwest, where the cost of living is easier to manage, I’m still hesitant to switch to full-time freelancing because it’s a LOT of work.

The nice thing about my day job is it gets me out of the house; plus, a steady income stream is not a bad thing, either. It’s draining sometimes, yes – especially now that it’s the few days before Christmas –

Completely tangential paragraph: everyone says Black Friday is the day people shop the most but that is FALSE. This is a nation of procrastinators. The biggest shopping days of the year are the weekend before Christmas, and Christmas Eve. Bunch of Liar McCheaterTrousers.

Anyway, day jobs are nice and all, but it would be nice to make a living full-time on my art. My goal next year is to be able to leave my day job and just make art. But that implies freelancing full-time. I don’t know if I’m ready for that again.

The thing that weighs heavy on my head right now is the answer to the question, “How do I decide what’s worth pursuing for making a living on my art?”

Most art blogs I’ve come across don’t talk about how to tackle that question. All they do is talk about inspiration and works-in-progress and other artists.

They don’t talk numbers. They don’t talk business.

I took business classes in college. My parents owned a small business. I think about working independently and earning financial success A LOT.

So how do I decide what to pursue to grow my business – of making art?

I don’t know how to answer that question. At least not yet.

I have a few ideas.

And a beautifully hilarious notepad from Knock Knock I got when I stopped for a day trip in Ann Arbor with a college buddy. It’s called “Make a Decision.”

make a decision notepad
I’ve been consulting this thing constantly lately.

I get the feeling I’ll be using this little device an awful lot in the coming weeks.

If you have any ideas or advice for me, I would love to read them in the comments below. At this point I would love to hear outside opinions and experiences.

Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you again on Friday, the day after Christmas.

P.S. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!