2018 was a BLUR

Mon 12/31/2018

Well, somehow 2018 is already over. I shattered my previous low-blogging record of last year's 12 entries by only writing five this year, including this post! Yeesh.

This has been a year of frantic treading, just trying to keep my head above water. My time has never been more limited, so I've really had to focus on essential tasks: take care of my kids, work my day job, hit freelance deadlines, do chores around the house, sleep when possible.

I used what little time was left over to chip away at personal projects and for stress-relieving activities such as reading and making music.

Back in January I joined the Santa Fe Concert Band. For the last year I have attended weekly rehearsals and performed in a dozen concerts at various public venues around Santa Fe. It's been about 16 years since I played my trumpet seriously, and I've enjoyed getting back into it. I also met a lot of great people in the band.

Unfortunately, the time band has taken away from my work/personal duties has been adding stress to my life the last few months, so I made the hard decision to not join up again next year. I fully plan on rejoining again in the future when things feel less stressful, but for now it's just one commitment too many.

Yesterday I completed my 18th 24-Hour Comic. I once again used it as an opportunity to quickly dump out a first draft of a new picture book. Again, someday when time is more abundant, I'll have a nice little stack of books to draw.

I'm hesitant to set new goals for 2019.... I've put up signs all over my studio and office that just say, "SIMPLIFY." Instead of trying to take on new projects and getting spread too thin, I'm trying to focus on the projects that are still lingering from previous lists, or things I have been neglecting, or the day job and freelance obligations that are already confirmed. With that and my parenting duties, there should be plenty of stuff going on to keep me out of trouble next year.

Well, I hope everyone had a happy holidays and that all of your 2019s get off to a good start!

Seattle, Here I Come!

Tue 10/30/2018

This week my family and I will be heading back to land of my birth... Seattle! It is going to be a whirlwind week, not only visiting family and friends in the area, but also participating in two big events:

#1) On Saturday, November 3rd from 11am-6pm I will be exhibiting at the Short Run Comix and Arts Festival. I'll be at table Q-95 with some of my own comics, but also a ton of cool free stuff for The Center for Cartoon Studies. I will be conducting portfolio reviews, and giving away free sketchbooks to reviewees while supplies last. There will be so many amazing cartoonists in this one big room. If you are in the Seattle area, don't miss it!

#2) On Sunday, November 4th from 4-5:30pm my sister Galen and I will be signing copies of our new picture book Night is Nigh at the local bookstore from our childhood, Island Books. We will be reading the book, and signing copies. All are welcome!

At the end of the week, Galen is going to follow me back to Santa Fe so we can do another reading/signing at my local kids bookstore, Bee Hive Books. That will be on Saturday, November 10th, from 1-3pm, if anyone out here wants to join us!

After all the excitement listed above, I am going to settle down for my long winter's nap.

My Amazing Friends!

Tue 8/21/2018

Yeesh! This summer has just flown by. I had a great trip out to Vermont, and since I got back I've enjoyed just being at home, chipping away at my projects and spending a lot of time with my family.

It's going to be a while before I have anything new to share, so in the meantime, I thought I would alert everyone to some awesome books that my amazing friends made, which are all coming out this year. Some of these have been in the works for many years, so it is a super big deal that they are finally coming out! Please support these books in any way you can -- ask your library to carry them, order a copy, tell your friends!

1) Look Back and Laugh by Liz Prince! For the last few years I have been a subscriber to Liz's Patreon, where she creates a daily diary comic. At the end of every month she puts together an awesome little minicomic and mails it out to folks who support her campaign at a certain tier. Now the first year of those comics have been collected into a 416-page TOME, published by Top Shelf, which is currently available! If you've never read Liz's diary strips before, she does such an awesome job of documenting her life, finding funny and poignant moments while she tries to balance life, work, travel, friendships AND HER CATS.

2) The Unsinkable Walker Bean and the Knights of the Waxing Moon by Aaron Renier! (colored by me!). Oh man, Aaron and I worked on this book for a long time, and it's gonna be worth the wait! It comes out October 23rd, 2018 and it picks up where the first book left off. It's almost 100 pages longer than the first book, so it really covers a lot of ground. Aaron's skill as an artist and storyteller have continued to grow - there are jaw-dropping two-page spreads, plot twists aplenty and adventure bursting out of every page turn. I'm obviously biased, because I spent many years working on this book, but I think that it is really going to blow people away. Reread book 1 before October, so you're ready to jump into book two!!

3) Upgrade Soul by Ezra Claytan Daniels! Ezra is one of my oldest comics friends, and ever since I met him he has inspired me with his amazing talent, entrepreneurial spirit and combination of comics with other media. For years he has been working on a mind-bending science fiction story, Upgrade Soul, which has been picked up by Lion Forge, and comes out in comic shops September 5th and in books stores September 18th. I know there are going to be all these articles and reviews that say Ezra "came out of nowhere" or that this book as his "debut" but many of us know that Ezra has been working hard for years, and I hope that this book launches his career to a whole new level. He is one of the smartest writers I know, and his stories are always thought-provoking and a bit haunting. I know he's got some more amazing stuff in the pipeline, so keep an eye on his work!

ALLLSO: This is already a long post, but I wanted to quickly mention some other friends who have work coming out this year!

  • Bastard by Max de Radigu├Ęs! Max is having a big year here in North America! His book Weegee: Serial Photographer was released in May from Conundrum Press and now Fantagraphics is releasing an English translation of Bastard, which won a prize at Angoul├¬me in January (a super big deal!!). He'll be at SPX, which sadly I am going to miss this year, so pick up his book and give him a big hug for me!
  • Mr. Wolf's Class by Aron Nels Steinke! I loved these funny stories of Aron's teaching experiences when they were self-published minicomics, and now they have been picked up by Scholastic! There are more volumes on the way, so jump into this series!
  • Space Boy: Volume 1 by Stephen McCrainie! Stephen is a new friend that I've made since moving to New Mexico. He has a wildly popular online comic called Space Boy which has just been signed as a four-book series with Dark Horse. Volume 1 just came out this summer and Volume 2 is on the way. It's a great YA teen/high school story but set in the future with a sci-fi spin on it. Super fun!

All this stuff is highly recommended. I'm probably even missing some others, sorry if I'm leaving anyone out!!

 
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