29 November 2010


i don't know how this is going to sound. i had a bit of a breakdown tonight. i've doubled my workload on the comic voluntarily the past few weeks and have experienced some growing pains, to say the least. my therapist questioned drawing double what i'd been doing when what i'd been doing was killing me, but i didn't really listen. cartoonists are supposed to be crazy anyway, but i wonder if they're supposed to be this crazy.

i was trying to draw a blueprint and kept having to do it over and over, when i started saying to myself, why did i even start doing this? why did i bother? i could have gotten another job, a job i liked, instead of trying to do something i can't do twice a week. something i'll never do as well as the people whose work i love. not even as well as people whose work i hate. and in the midst of all that self-doubt, i heard an old, familiar voice: my father yelling at me. real old, like when i was really little. i don't even know what about, but the tone was clear: you're lazy. you're worthless. you can't do anything right. you're a pain in my ass.

i've spent most of my life buying into that message. i didn't know any better. it showed in my lack of direction in life; my failure to enroll at not one, but two colleges; most of all, my poor choice of boyfriends. i always expected men to turn on me somehow, even as i tried to pick men the furthest from my father as possible, at least on paper.

i've tried to deal with it through humor. whenever my sister or my mother and i talk about my father, there's bitterness, but it's always tempered by eyerolling. as if reducing him to a joke takes away his power. yes, it works. but when it's a Bandaid to cover up a seeping wound, sometimes the pain still bleeds through. i really think i believed it would never get me again. the worst thing is...i don't know how an adult who suffered emotional/verbal abuse as a kid is supposed to feel. am i supposed to be this screwed up? just from that? from something that was always around as long as i could remember? i really have no concept of how deep the hurt can go or even the extent of what i suffered. even typing "suffered" seems over the top, like i'm trying to trump up things in my own journal.

if i had a car, this would be where i would take a long, long drive, but i don't. i still have a comic to finish, too. will i throw on another sheen of balm just to get things done? i don't have the strength right now to refute the voices in my head. and who knows how i'm going to get to sleep tonight.

23 November 2010


I started my own webcomic in November of 2009. I did a four-panel strip twice a week. after work, I'd go pencil in my studio, or ink at my computer desk. it didn't leave much room for a social life, and I did tend to slack and play games sometimes instead of draw, but I got things done.

I quit my day job in February. the hours and environment had always been repugnant, but it paid well. so I took the money that I'd saved and said "sayonara." I still think about them sometimes, fondly here, not so fondly there. they'll be doing that job (or something like it) until they retire or die, and more power to them. it just wasn't my scene.

my biggest fear when I quit my old job was that I would turn into a Howard Hughes-type recluse and basically lose all my marbles. I went through a very rough patch after high school; my friends went onto college, while my plans fell through. I holed myself up in my room all day, not seeing anyone but my mother for weeks at a time. I withdrew into IRC and video games, making shotgun friends with people across the country while knowing no one in my town, questioning my sanity at every turn. I became a shell of a human being, culturally dead, useful to no one.

deep in my heart, I was terrified the same thing would happen again, once I doffed my work shackles and concentrated solely on the comic. indeed, it has been...difficult. I try to get out of the house by going to Starbucks or just for picturesque walks. despite doing the comic for over a year now, I still don't have a decent work (or sleep) schedule worked out. risk/reward has fallen heavily towards the former so far.

over the past few weeks, I made a decision to make my comic more of a full-page thing, rather than just four panels. (I start out with an eight-panel layout and mess with it until I get something I like.) I'd wanted to do it for a very long time, but wasn't sure I could pull it off. after a year's passage yielded only two chapters, I wanted to try the change.

so far I've done three of these super-sized comics, still on my biweekly schedule. although the format gives more room to tell the story I want to tell, once again, I haven't figured out scheduling yet. I wrote an outline for the entire chapter on Saturday, something I haven't done before, which felt really good. but. this meant less time for drawing, so I spent all of Sunday - and a large chunk of Monday - penciling and inking this comic.

the next one is due on Thanksgiving. I've got several new characters to sketch out. I still need to learn perspective. soon I have to design floorplans and decorate a five-story lighthouse from scratch. I also have to do laundry, shop for groceries and bake a pie. I've been going to bed at 4 and 5 am. the thought of going out with friends is a joke. the only thing keeping me from going completely bonkers at this point is music and MST3K.

and yet, in the middle of being exhausted, lonely and always feeling on the edge of tears, I don't want to give it up. it still feels like if I can only get my act together, I can really make this work. from the outside, it almost looks like a form of self-torture, but I would rather do this than go back to the corporate world. I've met some great people as a result of this endeavor, with more yet to come. most of all, I've found I really want to tell my story, if not just to please others, then to prove to myself that I could.