Phase 7 #024 is (finally) available for ordering!

Thu 4/22/2021

I finally overcame four months of pandemic inertia/torpor and got Phase 7 #024 up for ordering on the Phase Seven Comics website! It's 28 pages and costs $3 + shipping. You can read a free 7-page excerpt on the site (my 2020 Hourly Comics Day comics).

Since my last post, our cat Webby got super sick (like, she almost died - didn't eat or drink for days, stopped going to the bathroom, etc.) We took her to the vet and after $1,300 worth of tests they had ruled out many things but still had no idea what was going on. Back at home she slowly started act more like herself. Then finally one day she crapped out 16 inches of nylon thread (eaten off of Claire's sewing area in the studio - now safely locked in a box!). It was tangled into a few turds that she was dragging around the house, with one end still up inside her. Delightful! A few more inches of thread were passed yesterday - I hope to see the end of it soon (both figuratively and literally!).

Meanwhile, in the backyard Penny went broody for like the fourth time. She's ripping her own feathers out, clucking continuously, never leaving the coop, she stopped laying eggs but any time Henny lays one she obsessively sits on it, we have to physically push her off the nest so she'll go eat and drink, etc. etc. etc.

I feel like all the pets are somehow picking up on the general vibe of the pandemic right now and it's making them act crazy. I can relate, but wish they'd knock it off - I don't need the extra layer of stress right now!

A Year of Pandemic

Wed 3/31/2021

Earlier this month we celebrated my daughter Wendy's third birthday. The small gathering for her second birthday was the last time we gathered with family and friends, including Wendy's godmother Liz, who was visiting from Maine. Shortly thereafter the pandemic really hit the USA and everything went into lockdown. We've been hunkered down at home ever since.

I remember shortly after lockdown began, hearing about a kid who had their birthday and didn't get to have a party, and thinking how sad that was. I guess now, we have all had a birthday during the pandemic. Or, I guess, all of us who are still alive...

2020 was incredibly stressful in so many different ways. Now, heading into the second year of this process I feel so completely burnt out. Coping mechanisms that worked great early on are less effective now, and I find it harder and harder to do my day job, to find fulfillment in my creative work, and to enjoy time with my family. Anything that adds a little bit of stress to my life feels like a much bigger deal than it actually is. And I keep hoping I'll wake up the next day feeling refreshed and ready to start a new day/week/month, but instead I just feel exhausted.

In my experience as a parent, you go through periods where everything is relatively stable -- there is a routine, and you've developed methods for dealing with the current state of things -- and then everything changes. We are going through one of those big transitions now, where Suzanne is having a lot of trouble getting to sleep at night (she's up until sometime between 10pm and 11pm) and Wendy has begun potty training and is... being three. Again, these things aren't unmanageable, and in "before times" Claire and I would just deal with it, but right now it's an extra layer of stress that is draining what little reserves of patience and energy I have.

I'm just venting, with the hope that expressing some of these feelings will make others who feel the same way feel less alone. Everyone has their own unique challenges during these stressful times. Shoutout to all the parents struggling through this, and extra points for anyone with a three year old who is screaming/crying about anything/everything all day long.

It's depressing watching so many people jump the gun and starting to relax restrictions, start traveling, etc. before most people are vaccinated. I wish people could hang in there a little bit longer, so that we don't have to prolong this horrible situation any longer than necessary. It's disappointing, but not surprising. We're trying so hard to combat this with science and guidelines and laws and restrictions, but at some point human nature seems to overpower everything else.

Anyway, I'm glad winter is over and it's starting to feel like spring here in Santa Fe. I'm trying to just take it one day at a time at this point, and have not lost hope that over the summer things will start to look better. Hang in there, everyone!

Animate EVERY Day!

Sun 2/14/2021

My New Year's Resolution for 2021 was "Animate EVERY Day" (for 15 minutes or more). I actually started doing this back in October when I turned 41, and of course I've been drawing comics every day since July 2002. That has become so central to my art practice, and just "who I am" that I wasn't sure what it would feel like the process over again with a new medium. It has been amazing! It's so much easier to learn and get back into the flow on projects when I work on them a little bit every day.

I've been documenting my animation progress in a dedicated Instagram account, but back in January I also set up a vimeo page so that people who aren't on instagram can check out my animation work.

This also gives me the capability to embed my animation projects on other sites... like this one! Here are all the original short animations that I created in 2020:

And here are all the animation exercises I completed from online courses, and out of various animation book (all listed in the video!).

It has been such an incredible stress relief to lean into this hobby during the pandemic. I am learning so much, and often the highlight of my day is getting to animate for 15-30 minutes after the girls are asleep and my work is done. It's like a tiny reward at the end of these long, challenging days of parenting, remote day job work, freelancing, and comics projects.

 
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