Falling A Twee Bit Behind on Some Things…

here's a picture of an art piece in progress. The 11 inch by 17 inch paper has a monster depicted whose body is mostly made of leaves. Next to the canvas is a tin full of colored pencils.

I want to talk a bit about how to set goals to be…more realistic. Because I have fallen a twee bit behind on a few things.

First, I wanna’ talk about this piece, pictured at the top.

Right now, the title is (tentatively), “Cryptid of Leaves.” I started this piece all the way back in 2019. So…it’s been A WHILE. I worked on it, then set it aside, because those leaves ALONE took effort to draw. And then I thought, “Let’s color this with colored pencil! That’ll get the look I want to achieve!”

And past me thought I could have this done in a month. On top of everything else I have going on. Which…(insert laughter here).

I have only worked on this in my free time, when I have the urge to do it. So I’m shifting the goal for this piece: I want it finished by…the end of October.

Why so late? Because I still have KickStarter rewards to fulfill and other books to put together. Speaking of which…

Second, I want to talk about the PDF for The Legend of Jamie Roberts, volume 1.

For KickStarter backers, I had said, “Oh this should be delivered to you by the end of May!”

It’s June 1st now. The PDF still needs put together. Oops.

To be fair, May was a big transition month. I quit working at NeverEnding (long story), and shifted back to freelancing full-time. Still, getting my freelance sea-legs back can only explain so much. All I can ask is please, continue to be patient. The PDF should still get done by the end of June. I’ll go more in depth about the process in a KickStarter update tomorrow.

Third, The Legend of Jamie Roberts.

So…I’m out of buffer. The month of May had some unexpected events that prevented me from keeping up with my usual production schedule. That means right now, I’m making the next updates as the story is going. That’s not a place I like to be in.

Does this mean that The Legend will get a temporary hiatus? I don’t know. But I’m tempted to have a short, two-week break from regular updates just so I can build the buffer back.

…Maybe I’ll just do that. Expect a more solid decision tomorrow, with The Legend’s usual Wednesday update.

I’ll end this here before this post gets too long. Thank you for stopping in! And thank you for your support.

You. Are. Awesome.

Life Without Facebook (So Far)

It has been exactly 2 months since I deactivated my Facebook account and deleted the business page for my art. And I’m going to talk a bit about my life without Facebook (so far).

For one thing, I am WAY less stressed about politics.

Facebook makes it very easy to see political opinions alongside cat videos. There is no separation of fun from calls to anger (or action). Why Facebook is so upsetting with political posts is because it’s the easiest way to discover that your close friends or family don’t hold the same opinions that you do – and they aren’t willing to change their mind about it. And the trap that Facebook sets up is the idea that you can talk with the other person in an effort to change their mind.

Speaking as someone who worked at a doctor’s office that quickly became a drug addiction clinic, I can tell you THIS surprising truth I learned:

The Venn diagram of people who are addicted to drugs, and people who hold racist/white supremacist beliefs, is only one centimeter off from a complete circle.

And unfortunately, on Facebook, I saw a lot of people who defended their beliefs with the same fervor as people who were addicted to drugs. The person thought they were in complete control over their addiction/feelings. The truth is, they aren’t. The drugs/feelings are controlling them. And voices of disagreement against them trigger a defensive response. Because the person addicted to their beliefs doesn’t want to admit that their emotions are controlling them. They don’t want to admit that they have a problem, because they think they don’t have one.

The sad truth is: you need to treat people who are stuck in certain beliefs the same way that you treat drug addicts. And that is: they have to admit that there is a problem first.

Until the addict admits that there is a problem, they will just continue going downhill.

To me, Facebook as a platform, and the people who use that platform, are going that route.

I’m glad I left when I did. Since I’m not on Facebook (or Twitter!) anymore, I’ve developed a more…realistic view of things. To me, that means that my understanding of things come from real life, not some apocalyptic think-piece someone posted at 3 am on Facebook. Gods I do NOT miss those.

I also don’t miss my posts being ignored by the algorithm.

Being on Instagram means that I’m still subject to the whims of a Facebook-esque algorithm, but in general, more people on Instagram are following me for the art I post. I may also get an account on TikTok, but I’ve seen news pieces talking about how the platform may get banned because it’s Chinese. So who the f*ck knows.

Thankfully, since I left Facebook, I’m not constantly being asked to spend ad money to promote a post to the audience that I ALREADY have.

However, I can’t run Instagram ads. Running ads on Instagram requires a Facebook account. Which I don’t have anymore.

So, with that said, I’ll have to get more creative with my promotions and outreach. I have yet to decide whether or not to return to Twitter. Gods I hope I don’t have to.

I still have an email newsletter though! And right now, that’s the best “social media” platform to stay in touch. If you’re not on it yet, you can sign up for free. I don’t give your email to anybody because that’s shady as heck. (Ok, soft plug done).

Also, in the meantime, I’ll be posting more often on the blog here. I’m playing with the idea of writing a new blog post every day. Just personal posts – no attempts at the traditional blog posts like my Writing for Comics or Freelance Lifestyle posts. I’m retiring those. I’ve written all I want to write for those topics anyway.

So yeah!

In short – I’m glad I left Facebook. I’m happier and more balanced. It’s also making me more creative in how I do outreach for my business.

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

You. Are. Awesome.

Dragons, Adventures in Moving, and Other News

Hoo boy, there’s a lot going on, so let’s do this in parts.

THE KICKSTARTER

We made it to our goal! We even raised enough to unlock the Baby Dragon Sticker Sheet for all backers who pledge to get physical copies of the book (or higher rewards).

The next stretch goal is $670 – at this level, backers who get physical rewards will also get a KickStarter-exclusive miniprint of Queen Norsa, the Albino Dragon Queen from The Legend of Jamie Roberts.

CONVENTIONS AND APPEARANCES

My next convention appearance isn’t until December 1, for Genghis Con. Unless there are other shows you’re aware of, and want me to showcase at, that is. Hit me up if that’s the case.

THE LEGEND OF JAMIE ROBERTS

Ok, there are some weeks where The Legend of Jamie Roberts updates as normal, on Wednesdays. And then there are some weeks it updates on Thursday.

Well, this upcoming week, a new Jamie Roberts page may get pushed to Thursday, November 14. It depends on what can get done this weekend, in between events.

WHEELING SLEEP-OUT

The Wheeling Sleep-Out is one of those events I’m doing this weekend. It’s part fundraiser for our local homeless shelter (Youth Services Systems), and part competition to see who can build the most creative cardboard construction.

Here’s some pictures from when my friend Mel and I went last year.

We built a cardboard replica of the Guggenheim museum. This year, we’re going to try and build an art deco movie theater out of cardboard.

Once these constructions get built, the builders then have the option to sleep in them overnight – which is what Mel and I are doing. We’re doing it, so our local homeless youth don’t have to.

If you like, you can donate to Youth Services Systems through our team page. Every dollar raised goes back to the organization. But there IS a trophy for the group who raises the most funding for YSS. (But seriously, no pressure if you can’t donate.)

ADVENTURES IN MOVING

I hate apartment-hunting. It feels like every time I get a decent lead, there’s something wrong. Either it’s too expensive. Or it doesn’t allow cats. Or it’s in a shady-ass neighborhood.

At least I have a potential roommate. He wants to move out of his dinky Pennsylvania hometown. We’ve tabled together at conventions for two years now, so we know each other well enough that we could make decent roommates together.

Now it’s just a matter of finding a place.

I can’t really stay local to where I am (which is the Wheeling, WV area). Rent prices are more expensive here than they are in Columbus, OH or even in Pittsburgh, PA.

Yep. West Virginia is more expensive to rent in than two major cities. Let that sink in.

The oil and gas industries are absolute bitches and I despise them both.

NANOWRIMO

Also I’m participating in NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month. It’s a writing challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. Because Inktober isn’t enough and I’m always up for a creative challenge.

The novel I’m writing is called “The Prince of Shadows.” It’s about a prince from a dark realm falling in love with a Valkyrie – as told through the point of view of the Prince’s best friend.

When I first started the challenge, I wasn’t sure why the story demanded that particular perspective. Now, on day 7, things are falling into place and making more sense. I’m eager to see where this goes!

GIGS

I made a new page on the website to highlight other services I can offer as a freelancer (besides making comics and art).

These are services like ghost writing, basic website design, and other services I’ve honed thanks to running my own business for the last 7 years.

I’m looking to offer more services to get some extra income in. That way, if/when I have to leave my little hometown, I can have some kind of income to replace the gas station gig I currently have.

AND THAT’S IT!

Thank you for reading!

You. Are. Awesome.

This Week Has Been Crappy

Yo!

This week started pretty rocky – I didn’t announce it except to my personal friend groups, but I had a colonoscopy on Tuesday. My doctor wanted to make sure that, given my symptoms, I wasn’t having any internal bleeding or experiencing symptoms of a more chronic illness like Chron’s disease. The test came back saying there were no signs of anything bad, which is…weird. And also a bit of a letdown. If you know ANYTHING about the prep work needed for a colonoscopy, you know it’s a lot of misery, and to go through all of that just for a test to come back negative has me a bit miffed. Happy that there’s no debilitating issues, but miffed that I went through a lot of metaphorical crap for a lot of nothing.

On the more positive side, there are some great gigs getting lined up, both online and offline. This is REALLY good news because mom and her boyfriend have moved out of the house. Not fully – their RV campsite hasn’t turned the water on yet because Ohio keeps snowing in April. However, the extra gigs will come in handy to help cover the raised rent when they DO fully move out.

So that’s what’s been happening this week. What’s coming up?

Well, I’m making a separate Patreon post about that. Don’t worry – when it posts, it’ll be public viewing.

Thank you for your patience with me.

You. Are. Awesome.

Updates for July 13, 2017

large chimes concept sketch

The above picture is a sketch from my 2015 sketchbook, developing a concept in The Legend of Jamie Roberts: the Chimes of Dogona at the Temple of A Thousand Souls. I’d like to redraw these chimes with some more detail, but as mentioned, this was a sketch just to get the initial idea.

The chimes are based on a real location in Casey, IL, which is a small town home to a lot of world’s largests: world’s largest wind chimes, knitting needles, golf tee, etc. I think the people are trying to set a world record for home to the most “world’s largest” objects.

…I should do sketches like this more often – broad, fast marker strokes are a thing I miss, especially considering how detailed my comics have become recently.

Speaking of which…

COMICS

The reason I’m thinking of detail is because of my most recent update of The Case of the Wendigo. Sweet baby kittens on a motorbike it took FOREVER to do. Here’s a preview clip:the case of the wendigo preview imageMeanwhile, Validation has already updated twice this week. Once on Monday, and a second time today.

KICKSTARTER

Making progress on ALL THE THINGS. Trading cards are now all finished, and now I’m working on commissions. Once they’re finished, I’ll share some of them in a blog post (if I get the ok from the commissioners, of course). The button printer is taking a while, but I don’t blame him – he’s printing 600 buttons for me.

SHOWS

I’m getting ready for Not At Con Day, happening July 22 at New Dimension Comics in Saint Clairsville, OH. Expect new 11 x 17 inch prints from me, as well as some new zines. I’ll be showing off a new table set-up, too! Which reminds me…

BLOG

Expect a blog post about artist alley table layouts soon – I’ve been taking pictures at every show and tooling around with what works and what’s getting improved. So the blog post will share various layouts, what I’ve learned, and what changes can be implemented at future shows.

I’m also trying to get a Clip Studio Paint/Manga Studio tutorial typed up.

There are other things happening right now, but I only share those other things with newsletter subscribers. If you’re not already getting the newsletter, here’s your chance to do so.

That’s all for now. Thanks for reading!

You. Are. Awesome.