Why I’m Putting Callindra on Hiatus

Sometimes a comic will reach a point in which it practically writes itself. Other times, it’s a struggle to figure out what happens next. And still other times, a story gets so far off track from the original vision that it really ceases to be that story altogether. That’s what happened to Callindra. Her story got away from me and I wound up writing something I wasn’t really enjoying writing.

So instead of slogging through a story I don’t like, and an art style that isn’t fun to draw, I’m shelving Fair Weather Monk for a while. I’ll be working on a revised version during the hiatus, and I plan on having new pages by January 2015.

I’ve done this reboot thing before with Threads (lots of times), and I’m aware that it’s all a part of my (weird) process of writing. What I’ve learned only recently is that I don’t have to publish every attempt at a comic series. I can work on stuff privately first. So with that in mind, I’ve made a few new rules for myself to hopefully streamline my creative process so that I’m not constantly rebooting my comics when they start veering too far off course.

  • Write a damn script first! Seriously. It’s that simple. Write a bunch of words what describe the characters and actions in the story long before drawing any art.
  • Draw page thumbnails! Once a script is fleshed out the way I like, then I can figure out pacing and layout with thumbnail sketches of the pages.
  • Make at least 36 pages before publishing anything online! If after the writing and the thumbnails the comic is still fun and engaging to write and draw, go ahead and commit to three dozen pages of completed art before launching online. If I get bored or frustrated with any of those thirty six pages, then I know I have a dud on my hands and need to go back to the writing/thumbnailing process.

As guidelines go, these are pretty “duh” comics 101 morsels of advice that I ignored for years and years and years. Well no more! Time to start heeding these morsels of advice because I’ve learned (finally) that they fucking work.

Like many of my Threads characters, Callindra has been floating around in my head for well over a decade. I want to tell her story, but I want to make sure I tell it the way I envision it. Yeah, there will be some differences between how I see it in my head and how it ultimately appears on the page, but if the script and thumbnails are solid first, those differences should only enhance the story.

I apologize to everyone who was really enjoying Fair Weather Monk, and I do promise that you’ll be seeing these characters again. But only after I have a solid script and thumbnails done first.

Tequila!
I’d been promising myself a bottle of tequila for a long time to celebrate finishing some projects and restarting others. I finally got around to buying a bottle on my first day in San Diego. This was a blended tequila (reposado, añejo) aged in French oak barrels. It was really yummy!
The confection on the left is a dark chocolate toffee that came packaged in a very delicious deli combo on the flight.

Tequila!

I’d been promising myself a bottle of tequila for a long time to celebrate finishing some projects and restarting others. I finally got around to buying a bottle on my first day in San Diego. This was a blended tequila (reposado, añejo) aged in French oak barrels. It was really yummy!

The confection on the left is a dark chocolate toffee that came packaged in a very delicious deli combo on the flight.

Goodies from SDCC. I didn’t buy a lot of stuff as I spent most of my spending cash on food and alcohol. But I did get a sweet sketch of Ultra Car and Carla, as well as Billie and the elusive smiling Ruth sketches in itswalky's DoA books one and two. And I picked up tonybreed's minicomic Foodwise for ideas on cooking experiments, and Legend of the Ztarr buttons from my friend Sara Mayhew.

I also took lots of photos of trees, but I will save those for another post.

To be honest…

My work ethic is still really shitty. I feel like I’ve dropped the ball on so many projects so many times. Unfinished comic pages, one-year wait times on commissions, forgotten donation gifts, etc.

There are only so many times you’re allowed to fuck something up before people stop giving you the opportunity to do so in the future. So try not to fuck up.

Henry Rollins: The One Decision that Changed My Life Forever

My philosophy of saying “yes” to things when they come my way stems from the wisdom I’ve learned from this man, Henry Rollins.

I spent the 1990s is a fog of confusion, depression, self-doubt, and suicidal ideation. Gender dysphoria was the cherry on top of the working-class life I grew up in. I was not as sharp as Hank though. I had no interest in the real world, the America™. I just wanted five consecutive minutes to not hate every fiber of my being so that I could focus on doing something creative for a bit. It took me until I was thirty years old before I managed to resolve my gender identity issues enough to be able to go do some of the things my peers had already done a decade earlier.

I’ve regressed a bit over the last five years due to no steady income, overwhelming student loan debt, and social isolation. The self-doubt returned. The depression returned. I know that the most the America™ will likely ever offer me is a minimum wage job at probably an arts and crafts store, a shitty apartment, and no friends. When I was younger, I always wondered how people wound up working such shit jobs in their 40s and 50s. How badly had they fucked up to be in that position? Well, now I know.

I persevere by staying focused on the things that matter to me: being creative, keeping my mind sharp and my body fit. I push myself to keep drawing my comics better each day, and to cultivate a solid work ethic. I’ve been drawing and telling stories since I was old enough to take a crayon to paper. This is what I want to do in my life, and I’m incredibly fortunate that I am doing it.

I’ve been handed a lottery ticket of sorts with this invitation to attend SDCC next week. I don’t know what will come of it, but I will do what I can to make it work for me. And if all goes well, in the future I’ll be able to make it work for others who want to make their dreams of writing and drawing stories come true.

If it doesn’t happen, I guess there will always be retail. And what a drag that would be.