I have been working my butt off the past month. As I take a break these past few days, I realize I want to get back to work again.
It’s not just my workaholic nature that does this. It’s something I have been pondering about thanks to Neil Gaiman. In a video I saw, where he gave a commencement speech to a university, he said something that still clicks with me, especially now:
“A freelance life, a life in the arts, is sometimes like putting messages in bottles, on a desert island, and hoping that someone will find one of your bottles and open it and read it, and put something in a bottle that will wash its way back to you: appreciation, or a commission, or money, or love. And you have to accept that you may put out a hundred things for every bottle that winds up coming back…
“…The problems of success. They’re real, and with luck you’ll experience them. The point where you stop saying yes to everything, because now the bottles you threw in the ocean are all coming back, and have to learn to say no.”
(If you want to see the full video, click here.)
I still feel like I’m at a point in my life (having just emerged from the institution known as University) where I’m already throwing some bottles, but I’m supposed to be throwing more of them into the ocean. It’s just that I need to make the content to put in those bottles to throw out to sea.
(Not literally making comics and putting them in bottles. Some guy on Kickstarter already came up with that. I’m talking in a metaphorical sense, you goob.)
So in an effort to do just that, to make content to put into bottles and throw them out into the sea known as the world, I’m embarking on some new, and not-so-new, projects.
First, the not-so-new: I’ll be working with my friend Chloe on “Stray Dogs,” her fancomic for Puella Magi Madoka Magica, doing pencils and tones. (If you have not heard of the fantastic series called Puella Magi Madoka Magica, it’s amazing and redefines what the genre of “Magical Girl” should mean. You should watch all twelve episodes of it. Now.) I’ll also be collaborating with my friend Casey on a new project called “Manufactured,” about the human race losing their collective memory and becoming cyborgs. “Manufactured” is still in its infancy, so we’re still working out some design kinks and talking over plot points and such.
Another not-so-new project I am doing is a short comic I call “The Messengers.” I worked on this script two years ago and then put it aside because my original slant towards it was rather anti-religion, mostly anti-Christian. Now that I have cleared my head and have less bias towards them, I’m rewriting the script so it has more of an old-gods-and-humanity-working-together theme to it. The rough draft is nearly done, which is the first step. I intend to keep working on it and get it finished and printed for Colossal Con next year (which is at the beginning of June).
The new projects I hope to start will have some more solid and immediate deadlines.
The first is a submission to an anthology run by the Hamtramck Idea Men called IF-X. I intend on sending something for their Halloween issue and possibly for their final one the following month. I’m working with the editor now to get an idea of what to work on and what to leave out for this current issue.
The second project is a portfolio to send to Ape Entertainment. I want to see if they would be interested in hiring me for freelance work. I would like to send a portfolio to Yen Press, as well, but Yen Press’s submission guidelines calls for more work to go into the portfolio. With Ape, I have something ready to show them now. So I’ll be sending them my work soon (by soon I mean before the end of the month, so I just have to get up off my lazy ass to do it).
The third is actually a series of projects: monthly mini-comics made exclusively for Quimby’s Bookstore in Chicago and possibly for Gumroad, if I can get Gumroad to sell books. (If you haven’t heard of Gumroad, it’s fairly new, but I have used it and it’s literally two seconds between paying for the material and owning it. It’s amazing!) I haven’t figured out a topic for any of them yet, so this project is the one most likely to change or be scrapped. We’ll see.
The fourth is what Chandra Free (the lovely lady who wrote The God Machine) called a “Pitch Packet.”
A Pitch Packet, as defined by her in this interview and paraphrased by me, is a packet of comic pages, character designs, and character biographies for a story you want to pitch to a publisher. This packet also includes a story synopsis and your resume. Every company I want to pitch to has some variation in their requirements for their pitch packets, but they all have very many of the same commonalities. So I want to work on one pitch packet that I can tweak for each company as necessary to fit their pitching guidelines.
My personal deadline for this is to finish the work by at least June of next year, so I can make copies as needed and prepare them. Then I intend to go to New York Comic Con in October and submit stuff to publishers there. Of course, geeking out over seeing my favorite comic artists there would be awesome. I just hope I don’t make myself a jackass, to the editors or the artists.
So yeah. Those are my projects. I have a lot of them.
I like to keep busy. It keeps me entertained, and I learn new things with every project. Plus, it keeps me glued to my desk when I’m not at work. This is awesome because it staves me off from doing something disastrous, like getting so bored I spend my whole paycheck at Books-A-Million (it has happened before).
I hope that things are going well for you, dear readers. Do you have any projects to embark on? I would love to hear about them, and I hope you do well working on them.
Don’t Forget to Be Awesome!
P.S. I’m also thinking of selling prints, cards, and other gifts and merch through Zazzle.com. Your thoughts?