Hey everyone, I’ve been quiet for a while and I wanted to update you on what’s going on, what I’ve been up to and what we’re planning for this year. I probably don’t need to explain why this year has been a wild ride, because it has been for all of us, but I’m going to expand on that because it plays into our plans for this year. You can skip ahead down if you’re not interested in how this past year has been treating us to the bolded header, I won’t be offended–if your year has sucked the way our year has sucked or worse, you have my blessing to skip over reading about our crappy year.

This year has been rewarding for the both of us as parents after we decided that our ADHD kid was not going to be able to deal well with Ontario’s online school program (sitting in a video conference for 15 minutes is too much for her, and I’m hearing from parents who stuck it out that the promised 3 hours online per day actually shakes out to about 6 hours, and hoo boy NO), but we also couldn’t send her for in person classes because my dad is immunocompromised and part of our very tiny bubble. We decided to pull her out of public school and try home schooling, and all things considered I think we’re doing just fine on that front.

However, as a cartoonist, this year has been the most frustrating year for me creatively. I haven’t been doing nothing, and I’ll get to that, but the amount of time I have to just sit down and work is limited to after we’re done with school things for the day, and usually by the time I’m done with that, my brain feels cooked and all I want to do is nap. This isn’t conducive to actually getting comics done, and normally Cory provides me with enough of a boost to stay psyched about new chapters and plot points, but his work hours have been longer both to compensate for the work I couldn’t take on this year, but also the limited staff at his office. 

Before the pandemic, every couple of months we’d have a sit down meeting where we’d go over what we were currently working on, take notes, make decisions about future chapters and work out the implications of changes to plot and characterization that we made on the fly in the time between meetings, but we haven’t had time for those, and so the little free time I’ve had to work on comics has felt like a foggy limbo with no end. It’s depressing, because I NEED to be drawing to function as a human being, and I haven’t been getting that as much as I like or need.

So that’s where we’ve been at in 2020.

 

THE PLAN FOR 2021:

 

  1. I want to be clear that I haven’t been doing nothing! Many of you might remember waaaaay back when I transferred all of my master files over to a different work laptop when my old desktop PC was on death’s door, and due to me not doing my due diligence and checking EVERY folder, I almost lost ALL of them.

    I was able to recover most of them from a backup drive that I had recently wiped, but that still left 20 pages and the cover of chapter 15 needing to be redone. I have spent the past couple of months blowing up old ‘for patrons only’ inks preview images I had saved in a folder to print size, and have been slowly working my way through re-panelling and re-inking them. I’ve done 12.5/21 so far, and my goal is to have all of them completely inked and ready to flat by the end of January. Colouring them is going to go much more slowly, because colour is the most time consuming aspect of any page and I’ll need to match the lighting and pallet of the pages from that chapter that didn’t get nuked so that it doesn’t look weird.

  2. I’m finally getting around to redoing these pages because, after a talk with Isa (amazing editor at Hiveworks and equally amazing artist and friend, if you’re not reading Namesake, you should be!), she thought it would make sense that, instead of printing a second book, we could print an omnibus of Books 1 & 2 since we printed the first book before I transitioned, and it’s been weird selling books with my deadname and pre-transition face all over them.

    I’m not entirely sure about the exact timeline for when we’ll launch crowdfunding for that in, but it’ll probably be toward the end of the year, because I have a lot of work to do before it’s print ready, (especially if we end up doing something special with it that I have been thinking about for years), and also ideally I would very much like to also be posting new pages as soon as possible, and redoing a book for print at the same time as trying to meet even a weekly deadline is rough even before you factor in that I am also homeschooling an an ADHD 8 year old while having ADHD myself.

  3. I’ve mentioned wanting to do this in the past, but have finally had a conversation with Isa to hopefully get the ball rolling in 2021–Hiveworks has its own CMS for comics, and this year we will be transferring everything over to it. The website should be able to get a fresh coat of paint, and should be more intuitive for people who read comics on phones and tablets.

    Back when Hiveworks started launching new comics on their own CMS, I was resistant to switching over because I actually really like website design and had the time and headspace to manage it all myself, but the older I get, the more weird and bloated wordpress has gotten. I’m at the point where I wonder if every new update is going to break everything, and I’m actually kind of afraid to touch or change anything around at all because it’s been long enough that I don’t remember how to DO anything, and I also kind of fear that even making slight changes may be the thing that breaks the entire website.

    It’s just not worth it for me to manage it myself anymore, and any time I spend messing around with wordpress is time I could have spent making more comics. I know which I prefer, and I have an inkling that y’all would also prefer that.

  4. Lastly, when will updates resume? I’m not entirely sure, but I’m hoping it will be soon. The both of us have spent so much of this past year trying to keep the lights on and making sure our kid is learning stuff that when I finally had time to sit down and start the next chapter, it felt really difficult to DO anything. The comic is at a crossroads where we could have done any one of three chapters next because they’re all happening at the same time, and we thought we’d picked the right one, but after a month of planning and design work, neither of us are sure we chose right, and it’s making it really difficult to move forward.

    This weekend we’ve planned to sit down and have one of our meetings that we just haven’t had time for, so we can make some solid decisions and re-work our story skeleton for the next 3 chapters. As soon as I have a return date for new pages, I’ll announce it here.

 

And that’s what we’re working on right now. I’ll likely be posting bits and pieces of whatever progress I’m making on my twitter in the day-to-day, but any big announcements I’ll make sure to post here. Hopefully the wait for new pages won’t be more than a month from now, and we’ll likely ease into a page-a-week schedule for at least until the ‘school year’ is over and we switch over to summer learning.

Thanks again for being patient with us during this past nightmare of a year!