Taking a cue from Rachel Dukes (@mixtapecomics), I am going to do a synopsis of my year, as far as work is concerned. I think it is essential to keep track of my output, and I find it interesting to see how other artists categorize the work that they do and the rate that they do it at. Rachel broke it down month by month, which I’m going to avoid, because I know for a fact that the majority of my comics output took place in January/February of this year, due to the fact that Tomboy was due in March. Below you will find the numbers, and below that you will find my lengthy explanation of said numbers. Feel free to skip the explanations, because I am very verbose.
290 (approx.) pages of comics drawn.
160 (approx.) illustrations drawn.
10 conventions/zine fests tabled at.
2 books released in 2014; Alone Forever: The Singles Collection (February 2014, Top Shelf Productions) and Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir (September 2014, Zest Books).
13 workshops/readings/book presentations logged.
In 2014 I drew a total of (approximately) 290 pages of comics. 250 of that was Tomboy, which I had thumbnailed/written in 2013, but I then penciled, inked, and photoshopped the book in its entirety during the first 2 months of 2014. I drew 5 comics for Razorcake, it should have been 6, but I needed to miss one early in the year due to Tomboy’s deadline. I drew a 4 page obituary for my first cat Tokyo, which is going to be in the next issue of Not My Small Diary sometime next year. I drew 2 comics for a dating website, but mysteriously only one of them got published (but I got paid for both), and I drew a 4 page comic for issue 30 of Adventure Time, the first time I’ve ever drawn a comic that I didn’t also write. I am in the coloring stage of a Regular Show short comic, that will be out sometime next year, and I’m writing some comics for other CN properties, which is also a new experience for me (being a writer but not also an illustrator on a project). I did a 3 page comic for an upcoming issue of The Devastator, and I had a 4 page comic published in the Subcultures anthology by 9th Art Press. There have also been some comics that I’ve drawn in my sketchbook that I haven’t published anywhere, and may never do anything with.
On the illustration front I did some assorted punk fliers/album covers, merch design. I did several commissions for wedding invites, and a few birthday drawings. I did illustrations for an article on the aforementioned dating website, and I’m kind of bummed that for whatever reason I haven’t done anything else with them, because they were fun, lucrative projects. The biggest illustration job I did was updating 130 spot illustrations for a math textbook; it was a really fun project because I mostly got to draw in front of the TV for 2 weeks, which was a lot of hours logged with the Gilmore Girls. I also did character designs for an animated TV show pitch that we are still waiting to hear back about, and I was asked to take a storyboard test for a popular CN show, but I didn’t “get the job” (although, I’m not sure that I would have taken the job if I had been offered, because I’m finally gaining traction as a comic artist, and switching gears would be really weird, regardless, it was a really fun experience). An approximate illustration count for 2014 is 160.
The obvious milestone of 2014 is Tomboy, and I’m sure you all wish I could stop talking about it now, but the book is still very young (it only came out 4 months ago), and has been getting more attention than any of my previous books combined (hey, remember when it was in People magazine? weird, I know). I did my first ever book tour for Tomboy, going from Boston to Atlanta to Santa Fe to Los Angeles to Seattle to Portland to Bethesda for the Small Press Expo. Public speaking is really not my favorite thing, but all of my now numerous experiences presenting my book(s) have helped me somewhat overcome that fear; I still feel like I’m going to puke up butterflies in the hours leading up to an event, but so far nothing disastrous has happened (knock on wood). I also tabled at 3 Zine Fests and 7 comic cons this year.
This is the first time in my career as a full time artist that I have been paid for the majority of my work, I’d estimate that about 90% of my projects this year were paid: the rates of which fluctuated quite a bit; some jobs I was paid very, very well, and some jobs I was paid a pittance, but they were things I wanted to contribute to, so those things even out in my mind. I also made money at 7 of the 10 shows that I tabled at, but 2 of them I was tabling with Top Shelf and not selling books myself, and 1 of them was San Diego Comic Con which was the biggest tabling mistake of my life, so live and learn.
The shortcoming of this year has been that, after completing Tomboy, I wanted to immediately have another pitch ready, for my next book, but promoting Tomboy was a lot more work than I anticipated (the time spent answering email interviews and doing phone/skype interviews and posting links to said interviews or reviews of the book and managing my emails with the publisher/readers accounted for a lot daytime hours). It is now December and I still don’t have that pitch together, but I didn’t anticipate how much I would be burnt out after really marathoning at the beginning of the year. Drawing an average of 10 pages a day for 2 months and not really leaving your house at all does take its toll (although I was able to take my work on the road for 2 weeks in February to table at LA zine fest and visit with friends in Oakland/do 2 bookstore events to promote Alone Forever, but I was inking an average of 4 pages a day while on that “vacation”).
2015 will start off with a bang, as I am being flown to France for the annual comics festival in Angouleme, then I am visiting a very gracious comic shop in London for an instore event. I will hopefully get that pitch for a new book off in the early part of the year, so this definitely will not be the last you’ll hear from me, although after how much I talked in this write-up, that might not be a good thing!
Thanks for reading my books; you made all of this possible!