Comics and Cons 'n' Work

Oh hey there, I've been quiet. What with having my daily sketch blog and having somewhere where I write on a daily basis this has fallen to the wayside a little. 

This past September I went to SPX like I've done for the past 2 years and it was another fun year where I bought all types of great books and minis. I was an attendee but I still had some sketchbooks that I traded, gave away and sold (to friends) so that's cool. I put together a book of daily sketches and a book of Good Night and Other sketches. It was so much work and I wanted to smash my computer on more than one occasion but I made it, my computer is in one rattly piece and I have a cool thing to take with me places. 

My 'Appearances' tab has updated. I'm going up to Brooklyn Comic Art Fest again this year and celebrating my birthday in NYC with my family. I've also applied to table at PIX - Pittsburgh Indy Comic Expo. It's only one day, but still, I want to have something new to take. 

(This was half written in September, now I'm finishing it at the end of October)

I'm applying for CAKE in Chicago for next year right now. I need to get my newest completed comic "Adult" somewhere to show the judges and I need to have a self portrait, I don't like any of my other ones so I guess I'm drawing a new one :D

Because of the time that's passed from when I started this to when I'm finishing this I jumped over working on "Adult". It's about the first time I thought I was an adult, the quotation marks are part of the title. I wrote and drew "Adult" in just about two weeks for the Richmond Zine Fest, my first time tabling anywhere and I think I did okay. I think I'd do better at a comics show so I'm pretty hopeful about my prospects at PIX and if I get into CAKE then that too. I'm working on new comics to debut at both shows. I want a new Cinema story for PIX, it's roughly 30+ pages. I'm not sure what story I want to draw for CAKE, I'm considering a Close to the Sun story, but I'm not sure yet. Lawrence's Diary is being folded into a world I'm calling Big Myth Playground which has a greater scope than the initial LD world. I'm also thinking about submitting to Filthy Figments which means I'll have 3 different comics drawn in the next few months if I get in. 

We'll see how much work I have ahead of me. I know I'm in PIX so I'm going to focus on that one and get that story written. I'll know if I get into CAKE in January and for FF, I don't remember when they're getting back to people but I have another 3 weeks to submit my application, so I can refine my story and work on some figure work in the meantime. 

I have given myself a lot of goals and ideas on my creative plate. It's a good thing, I really did feel awful for just about all of 2013 because I wasn't really creating much. Even making videos wasn't enough, it wasn't the right type of creating. I need to be drawing and writing to feel at my best.

When I go through periods of depression I question the value of my existence because I'm not making anything. When I don't really draw anything for a while I feel guilty that I'm not drawing. Even now, when I've spent most of the year just doing my Daily Sketches I often felt I could be drawing something more, but I had no goals and poor motivation. I have goals, I have motivation and I have about 4 months to accomplish my first one so I need to step to and get some comics drawn. 

Childhood Christmas

I've mentioned in the past being kind of bitter about family holidays. It's a more recent thing that I'll move past when I have a reason to be excited about them again, but I'm not down or anything like that right now, I'm kind of just reminiscing about what Christmas was like when I was a kid, and the things I learned about the 'behind the scenes' as I got older. 

I spent almost every childhood Christmas I can remember with my mom's family in New York. It was her parents, her sisters, our cousins then extended family sometimes, and family friends stopping by. But most often my grandparents, aunts and cousins. We'd leave out of Reston as soon as we could after the I got out of school on the last day before the holidays. Being younger than my brothers, we would have to wait for the end of elementary school or middle school depending. We'd stop by CVS to grab snacks and drinks before the drive. Trips to New York were always nice because we got to have snacks or candy we were't normally allowed to have. 

So, piled back into the car with presents around or on us, we'd say a prayer for safety as we'd get out on the sometimes snowy roads as our mom made the drive to New York. If it were still light enough, I'd read and try to listen to my own music instead of the Ten Sleepless Knights, Luther Vandross, or whatever MoTown tape my mom was playing. My brothers most often slept in the car, i'd sometimes sleep, but car sleep isn't that satisfying to me. 

As a kid the distance between Reston and Baltimore seemed to be forever. As an adult i can verify that it is friggin' forever to get to Baltimore. I knew we were in New Jersey because it smelled bad, and I often slept through Delaware. I loved being away on the GW, and but I can't remember which level I preferred to ride on, it was the opposite to the one my mom wanted to drive on into New York. We'd skirt the city and drive past the Bronx Zoo as we left whatever highway we were on to get to my grandparent's. It's now whatever o'clock, it's dark and we have to unload the car and not look into any of the numerous bags we were carrying because some of it was out own unwrapped Christmas gifts. 

We sit down to a dinner of White Castle or whatever food our grandmother had prepared. Shrimps and rice was a perennial favorite that I need to learn how to make... Mmm, shrimps and rice. It was always 'shrimps' and not 'shrimp'. it's how we spoke, but that's neither here nor there. Our mother would lay out on the floor or go upstairs and sleep, because she was an adult and did regular parent-adult things before having to drive 4+ hours through traffic and often weather with maybe coffee and a short nap break on the Jersey Turnpike. 

Let's say it's the 23rd when we got in. We'd watch cartoons or some weird movie with our grandfather after greeting whoever else was in the house and eventually we'd shuffle off to bed because sleeping in the car makes you tired. 

The next day there'd be a family breakfast, sausage and eggs, English muffins, or cereal, nothing too special, but easy enough to feed 8 people. It'd be more watching movies and stuff and looking at the tree. We'd judge the already wrapped gifts looking for ours and wondering who the other people were - most often work friends and like. My mom and my Aunt Cheryl would be cooped up in the master bedroom wrapping gifts. They'd call us up to take wrapped presents back downstairs throughout the day and help us wrap our gifts for each other. We'd also be used to wrap gifts for out grandparents and sometimes carried down gifts 'from Santa' in the middle of the evening on Christmas Eve. That's a thing we all did and laughed about it. 

We'd be forced to go to bed and my mom and aunt would stay up half the night wrapping gifts. Seriously, they'd be up until 4 wrapping gifts for about 20 different family members, godparents, aunts, uncles, family friends, neighbors. It went on. The thing about them wrapping gifts in a one day marathon like this, and i guess it started in the early evening not during the day - is that they'd forget who gifts were for, and they'd end up unwrapping gifts to see what it was and who it was for, before wrapping it again. They did this many, many times, which I now find hilarious.  They worked so hard though.

We kids would wake up around 7 and go downstairs and look at the presents. Then we'd turn on the TV because we knew certain death would happen if we tried to wake the old folks up to open gifts at 7am. And we'd wait. Our grandmother was one of the first adults to wake up after my brothers and I were up. Eventually my mom and aunt would stagger downstairs, beat and tired but pleasant and cheerful. We'd be waiting on our grandfather who seemed to never get downstairs until 11 to open gifts and we'd start opening toys, clothes, books, candy, trinkets, jewelry and whatever else was given to us. We'd clean up and start opening things while breakfast was made. It was often pancakes, or Mickey Mouse pancakes which were always more special. 

In the afternoon my other aunt would show up with her daughter and granddaughter and we'd do Christmas again with them, before dinner. Dinner was always like Thanksgiving dinner, or maybe Thanksgiving Lite. But homemade honey-baked ham is delicious, so is turkey and everything else so there were no complaints. 

For the rest of the trip we'd see other cousins and great aunts and people twice removed and whatever. Once we saw the Rockette's Christmas show, i don't remember it too well, I was young. I do remember it ending with them snowing in the theater. One of my first experiences with dry ice, so that's cool. 

I was talking with my aunt about how little sleep she gets and she brought up what Christmas used to be like. Having to buy so much stuff for so many kids and the wrapping marathon and mistakes. They're good memories, and i'm glad I was able to spend Christmas so many years like that. I'm enjoying the stripped down Christmas that I've spent these past few years with my brothers, but in a way, I also look forward to being involved in a big family Christmas where new and weird traditions start. I look forward to really being engaged in the holidays. Today feels much like any other day in my life, I woke up, read some comics, looked at tumblr and made breakfast. it'd be different if I were on a vacation from work, or if I worked in general. It'd also be different if it were cold and snowed. I guess 38 is cold, but it's still not the same, and I'm someone who hates snow. 

i dunno. Hug somebody, enjoy the people around you. Something something compassion and words. i don't know how I want to end this, you think of something heartfelt. I'm going to go back to reading comics.

Holding Markers And My Line Art Is Ruined

I had a contract job with an Online School (OLS). Last week I was on cloud 9 because I was told my contract was going to be extended from 6 weeks to another 6 months. Today, an hour before our early shift was ending I was told I was let go because there wasn't enough work to validate my staying. 

I'm not mad, i'm a little upset and a little annoyed.  

I had spent this morning planning on going to New York for the Brooklyn Comic Art Festival on November 9th, my fucking birthday. And I love my birthday. I was actually proud of myself for not telling people about my birthday in September, because I assume other people find it annoying (Why I love birthdays). I was going to keep quiet until maybe the 20th, but I decided today to say 'fuck it' and mention on twitter how I was thinking about going to Brooklyn. With the job I had I would have been able to. I didn't go to work until 10, it was Monday-Friday so being a bit tired after a train ride would have been fine. 

I can't do that now. Or not yet. 

I was going to be responsible, buy my train tickets while they were a reasonable price and see my family for my birthday (well, mostly the day after) and now I don't know what my next job is going to be or what I'll be able to do. If I buy the ticket I can still go and just say it's a planned trip, retail or office, but still.  

I said on twitter I make a lot of plans last minute, but within bigger plans. It's like having a finished, inked, line art. I know what the piece looks like and now I'm filling in the color or wash. "What tone is this going to be? Not dark enough, better. Let's pattern that, I'll leave that white as detail. Let's go with a burnt umber base and a quick pass with a warm grey marker for a shadow." I know what the piece looks like, but adding the fine detail changes as I'm finishing it. I feel like now I'm looking at a ruined piece, I spilled water across the whole thing and the paper's buckling. 

What do I do now? 

Small Press Expo 2013

I had to stop reading a comic so I could write about this. All I've want to do all day was read but this is all worth it. 

I have been amped and ready for SPX 2013 since last year. As soon as the convention was over and I was in my car hearing Gangnam Style on the radio as I drove back to Norfolk I was dreaming of coming back. I was ready and inspired to work on my comics and I was ready to read all types of new, weird and wonderful books, stories and minis. I really don't think a week went by where I didn't think about SPX, wanting to go back to the magical world of comics and fun that the weekend was and wanted to go this year. I got to work reading and working on my books, riding the wave of inspiration and enthusiasm I got some books made. 

Jump to this year, I'm scrambling to get new business cards and my books reprinted so I can sell them, trade them and give them out at the show. 2 of them come out perfectly, I failed the third one a little, but it still looks good. But I was humming and ready on Friday for the day to hurry up and end so I could get to Bethesda to mingle and catch up with people. 

I wasn't able to meet up with the SPXers from last year, but I did star making new friends and talking with people about all types of things as I hung out for the evening. I met Terrance (TheBlackNerd) and hung out with the Draw Friends crowd first. I got to meet Josh PM and Tony Breed and some other wonderful people before I wandered to the bar to see if some alcohol would help me feel less weird and less alone (spoiler alert: it did).

I met Montogmery Goose, Nick Sumida and Davis Fowl in the bar, I recognized Nick and told him he was adorable, because he is and I'm really honest when I'm drunk. I almost literally bumped into James Kolchaka at the bar which was crazy. I'd gone up for a drink and was just going to politely say excuse me to the person to my left when I realized it was him. I told him I'd just started reading American Elf in September before he announced he was ending the book, it was bittersweet but nice to be on the same page but for different reasons. (I forgot to find his table or signing and buy one of the volumes, but I'll get the other books eventually :D). I ran into Darryl Ayo and that was great chatting for a moment, it's still flattering for me that he follows me on twitter. (this gifset on tumblr represents pretty much everytime I met someone at SPX and they liked me)

Outside I met Seth and really didn't think anything of it until I turned around on Sunday and saw a drawing of his in the map. After talking about racism and something...I've forgotten what (three drinks in and I hadn't eaten anything in 7 hours.....) I went in for another drink and met Danielle Corsetto who was absolutely delightful and nice to me. I was just going to compliment her on the comic and then I took out my sketchbook - I really wish I could remember why - but she wanted to see it so we flipped through. I sobered up enough to trust buying McDonalds and  driving home, which was still  mildly questionable.

Saturday: 

Offical Day 1 of the convention I have breakfast with my best ladybro, Bianca, who couldn't make it and we discussed the possibility of working on a story for Smut Peddler. I get to the convention center later than intended but it works out because the line has died down by the time I get up there and my wait is pretty short. I find Lee Cherolis, Christopher William, Lynn Andrews, Jeremy Bentley and Samantha Kyle, my 2012 SPXbros first before walking around the convention. I spent much of Saturday buying printed books from webcomic artists, but people remember me which makes me feel special. I grab a Girls with Slingshots book from Danielle and trade my minis for Ballad of Laundry Cat with Yuko and Ananth (Johnny Wander) which was really cool for me. I wander around a bit more and find Nick Abadzis and let him know I'm incredibly flattered that he has liked some of my sketches on instagram. I bought Laika and Hugo Tate from him and gave him the oversized Cinema book. 

I was surprised to stumble upon Michael Bracco and Phil Kahn sharing a table, last minute entrants this year, along with Jamie Noguchi so it was great seeing some Super Art Fight frandz around. Speaking of Super Art Fight, I was sad there wasn't an event at SPX, and I did re-meet Carlos whom I had met at last week's show at Ottobar.  

I met Dave McKenna on Friday in a group of established indie creators, I traded books with him. I feel as if my hubris annoyed him, if he reads this, I'm sorry. I should I given him one of my books and bought one of his, the daring of youth... 

I'm sure I've skipped over a ton of people I met and bought things from, but I have books, business cards and memories. I spent some time Saturday afternoon going through my 3ds streetpasses before catching up with the SPX2012 crowd (and some new-to-me buddies) at Chili's for food before we hung out at the Ignatz After Party. Lots of drinking, talking sharing, bumping elbows after a while. I wandered from group to group not having any one group or person to return to, which is both nice and sad. It was nice to meet so many different people and different groups, but it would also have been nice to not spend time standing by a wall watching other people socialize. 

I drove home just as late as the night before, but a lot more sober.  

Sunday: "Day 3, no day 2...fuck it, Sunday" 

I posted this photo flaunting my new hair cut, more for people not at SPX.  Bianca did it Saturday, I received a lot of compliments on it which was awesome. I picked up Nora, a high school ladybro and drive to Bethesda for breakfast and the tumblr meet up. It was cool meeting MDT (who runs SPX?), Mike Mitchell, Diana Nock and everyone else I greeted downstairs and gave or traded books to and with respectively. Upstairs I beelined Smut Peddler and had a mini mission of getting the book signed by as many of the creators as I could so I could give it to Bianca who missed out on SPX all together. It took all day because Spike was on a panel when I bought the book and Dechanique was walking the quieter floor but I think I got everyone who was there. 

I met Kori Michele who does Prince of Cats before meeting John Allison and embarrassing Nora. That was fun, I was calm. I mean, I was excited but she was in superfan mode. We wandered and shopped. Nora bought Kate Leth's second to last bag and I was proud of her for buying something she'd never heard of. 

We ended up running into someone we knew from high school which was weird, especially because we kept bumping into one another.  

In the afternoon we went to the Queering Mainstream Comics panel, I thought it was interesting and enlightening. I was there because I'd met Northwest Press's Rob the night before and was invited to check it out. I didn't go to as many panels as I'd've liked but I did enjoy the one. After the panel I was able to buy their anthology so that was cool. 

A slight change of plans happened and Nora left early. I went out to dinner with Mario "Santiago" Gonzales, Monica Ray, Lee, Dern, Phil Chan, Samantha Kyle, Adriana Blake and Jimena Sarquiz Look at their blurry-lovely faces eating pizza! My Sunday ended with just hanging chatting and meeting Mitch Clem before having to drive home for work Monday.

I bought a ton of comics including a non-yet-released Art Spiegelman collection, Nedroid, Seth's book, Phuzzy Comics, Little Guardians 2, Intrepid Girlbot and so many more. I'll snap a picture to share, but it was a great weekend for me. I think I'm going to try to table next year which means I need to get serious about working on my new books and some minis for next year's show. i think I might be ready, and i have plenty of friends and acquaintances to ask for advice about how to table, so I will use my resources wisely.  

If I missed your name here, it's nothing personal, so many people were everywhere. I had a blast and I can't wait to get to another convention and to be around that excited energy of comic, creating and possibility. I love you all, you're wonderful and thanks for reading. I'll add a photo of my purchases soon, I have a lot...

 

(in other news, SPX was huge this year, the floor a third larger than in the past) 

 

Life or something like it

Hey, hello, it's been a long time. I remember when I updated this blog weekly, then nothing happened so I had nothing to share, or I was depressed and blah blah blah. Then I was just posting essays, or reposting older essays that I hadn't even bothered to edit. 

A lot has changed. 

Since the last post I have been hired at two places. One is a full time, contract gig at a call center for online school enrollment.  The other is part time at a grocery store. Between these two I'm working around 60 hours a week, so I have next to no energy or time for anything else. So of course I spent some time recently editing some stories, updating my resume and writing about me for an internship with a magazine. If I get that job I'll be working around 80 hours a week, maybe 90, so I'm living something like a life. 

Thankfully the 90 hours wouldn't be for long. If I get hired to stay at the call center I'll leave the grocery store, but chicken and eggs.  

I'm honestly just tired all the time. My right wrist (the drawing one) aches just about all the time from the repetitive motions at the grocery store, so drawing will be fun when I get to do that more often. I'm hoping sometime soon I can get a more guaranteed 40hr/wk job so I can leave the store and spend my evenings working on comics and enjoying anything. I just have very little time for anything but working someplace or another right now. 

I have done some small sketches, they can be seen on instagram when I post them and I recently spent some time posting some summer sketches to my sketch blog. I'm currently thinking about working on an art book, comic book sized (8x10.5?) to print for Small Press Expo 2014, here's to being able to work on that soon. I've recently fallen back in love with ink and inkwashes, so I want to work on a book of figures and pin ups for next year, I don't know how many pages, I guess I'll see how many pieces I can do then I'll figure out how I want to print it. 

I'm looking forward to SPX this year. It'll be another great weekend, I'm sure, and it's also the one year anniversary of this site, so that's fun. Maybe I'll be able to make something special for that. I ought to design new business cards some time soon, maybe add my twitter, I'm not sure if I'm ready for that to get out yet. 

We'll see.  

What else is going on in my life? Nothing, just work and it sucks. I have no energy or time for paramours, or to even consider looking. I don't know if I've said this here before, but I first came to terms with becoming an old maid when I was 16, so....I think I first need to leave Reston, then find some one to spend my life with. Ehh, I have friends who put up with my shit, I'm good. 

All right you freaks and weirdos, thanks for hanging out for a few and reading about how my dumb life is dumb. I'll keep talking about it and letting you know where things are headed from here and maybe I'll be able to share some freaking art soon. I mean, I just bought a tablet, I just think what I'm doing is shit so I don't want to share it here until I feel it looks like I'm competent at drawing.