2013: the year in PREview!

2013nyblog

About this time last year, I detailed my artistic aspirations for the year 2012 … which means it’s time to see how I actually did with them. Not well, I’m afraid; in fact, I’m tempted to call a mulligan on the whole thing, except I don’t know that I’d do any better a second time around. Here are the sordid details:

1. Get into a regular schedule for posting on this blog. This I managed to do fairly well, posting a total of 21 essays and cartoons. Not quite the two per month I’d set out to publish, but I didn’t just let it languish, either…

2. Double Dip #2 – even with a deadline, I didn’t get this comic finished. Made more headway on its completion than on any of my other print projects, though…

3. Doghouse Funhouse #2 – unfinished, and not for the first time…

4. Watusi #28 – unfinished, but I’m working through it as my current Watusi webcomic adventure. It should see print this spring.

5. Watusi #29 – also unfinished. Since this collection of my first attempt at a Watusi comic strip just needs art corrections, it should appear shortly after #28.

6. Get my jam comic backlog completed and in print. Didn’t make noticeable headway on this; working to get it finished off soon…

7. Honor my other outstanding commitments. I’m happy to say I did finish all the outstanding projects I’d taken on. On the other hand, I’ve picked up a few others since then. Hopefully I’ll be able to finish those jobs for Mike and Tom and Keith up in the time I’ve allotted for them…

8. Reformat “Isla Esmerelda” for print. I have made some headway on this, but I’m not as far along as I’d like to be. I still want to get all the issues “in the can” before I begin to publish it, since I’d like to offer it as a comic subscription.

9. Celebrate the Human Spring’s 10th anniversary. While it certainly wasn’t the project I had in mind, I at least acknowledged it in this post.

10. Make available select out-of-print titles as .pdf comics. I did make a couple of issues available in this format. I hope to collect all of my e-comics in a single easy-to-access “downloadables” page sometime this year.

11. Network with my peer cartoonists better. It may have been at the end of the year, but I did manage to make outreach to many of my cartoonist peers with a holiday card. It remains to be seen how many of them are still cartooning, though; might be enlightening. Or depressing…

12. Write a Mitchell comic! Even though this was the popular choice, I wasn’t able to complete it either; sorry to have let you readers down. If it’s any consolation, Mitchell appears prominently in both the current webcomic and in my story for Double Dip #2…

So… where does that leave me for 2013?

The big revelation going forward is that I’m trying to look at my schedule with an eye to how many pages I can reasonably produce, rather than how many comics my mythical ideal of a comic company should be able to publish in a year. I guess I’m finally admitting to myself how much time and energy my day job takes from me. I’ve prioritized my outstanding commitments (with the weekly webcomic being the first, followed by finishing up Double Dip #2). I think this attitude is giving me a better handle on things … such as admitting that Watusi #28 isn’t going to just magically appear as a finished comic because I put it in a 10-week block on my calendar; I need to actually make room for the work it will take as part of the hours available in my week. It’s hard for me to admit those kind of limitations to myself, but I think I’ll feel less stress in the long run if I remind myself that I’m just one person with a full-time job, not a full-time artist with a staff to handle all of the non-creative tasks that go into making comics.

So for 2013 I’m going to tackle a less grand (and less-specific) agenda:

1. Keep my weekly webcomic schedule going: At the risk of jinxing myself, I want to actually build a little cushion into my comic, so I can take a break or two without letting my readers down. The first full-digest page storyline will be a bit of a challenge, but this has been a really satisfying project for me over the last few years and I think it deserves to be included as a goal for the year.

2. Get my long-overdue print comic output back on track! Even if it’s just finishing off the half-completed comics I failed at last year, it will feel good to have a print comic to share with readers again. That will also make it easier to continue networking with my fellow cartoonists.

3. Honor my new outstanding commitments to others: this includes some logo work, a quick minicomic story, and a long full-sized comic story, all of which I’m pretty excited about.

4. Honor my long-overdue outstanding commitments to others: this includes Double Dip #2, Doghouse Funhouse #2, and my backfile of Watusi jam comics.

While writing about 2013 like this makes it seems like I’m just digging myself out of a hole, it will feel really good to get myself back to solid footing again after the last couple of years when I’ve been pretty much solely focused on the webcomic. I’ll feel like less of a deadbeat slacker and have more new comics to share with readers when I attend shows. Wish me luck!

What creative goals do you hope to accomplish in 2013?

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6 Comments to “2013: the year in PREview!”

  1. Thanks for this. Of course I’d want you to accomplish everything on your list, but its encouraging to see others in the same boat. I like to reset my creative plans three or four times a year. I started a new writing project, goal is just to work on it; I continue to contact agents about the previous one; I’m going to continue with the improv; I’m working on a couple games; and I’m planning on hitting the streets with magic again this summer. Hope its not too hot.

  2. I should probably revisit/adjust my plans more frequently, too. I’ve found when I don’t at least plan out for the full year at the start of it, my “flesh out at midyear” goal never happens. Good luck with your writing projects– I bet it feels good to start something fresh even while your previous one is making the rounds!

    I still haven’t found how to fit improv with the rest of my life, since cartooning will likely always be my primary means of expression. It’s been a lot of fun, tho, and I’m planning to pick it up again this spring…

  3. Last year I was going to absolutely positively finish up at least 3 big projects in the works. I did one. A second one is almost done. There were 5 on the board when I made that comment in a postkard. Maybe I’ll get 3 done this year.

  4. Good luck with your new goals, Dale! I hope you accomplish every last one of them!

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