Looking forward to 2016


For many years, it was my tradition to kick off the new year by sharing my creative aspirations in my APA-5 and Rap Sheet columns … even if I didn’t always do a stellar job at achieving them as the year rolled along (a tradition which met with a similar fate when I looked back on the results here in 2013 & 2014). Since it’s been a couple of years since I’ve last written about what I hope to accomplish, I think that’s how I’ll start off my year in blogging this year…

A lot changed for me in 2015 and, while they are changes for the better, they bring a new set of challenges, too. While I’ve gained a more flexible schedule, I’m also learning to balance the wide-open vistas of the kinds of art and stories I can make with the realities of realistically scheduling the time those projects would take me. And letting go of those concepts that, while attractive, may not be the best use of the hours they’d take. I’ve also moved away from the scenes– both in comics and in fine art– that I’ve been a part of for decades, and need to build up a new reputation and make new art connections here in Memphis.

1. My main creative priority continues to be my Watusi webcomic. I want to maintain my track record on this project, and build up a cushion for the strip. One thing I’m already enjoying about my new schedule is how I can spend more time writing. For the new story, I’ve been blocking out 12 strips/1 digest issue at a time, which has led to tighter writing. And at the same time, I’m giving the art more room to breathe. Even if my inking is still a little more precious than I’d like, I’m getting looser and (if I say so myself) better. I’m really excited about how this new storyline is shaping up!

2. Get print publications back into the mix of my comic output. Another advantage of working on the webcomic in chunks is that it frees up other chunks of time for other comic projects. I’m planning to publish new issues of my Smeary Soapbox Press-ents minicomic series and complete production work to get some of the webcomic stories into print as Watusi digests.

3. Publicize my work better. I’ve never been very good at this, but I need to get out of my comfort zone and do a better job of this if I want eyeballs on my work and money in my pocket.

4. Get actively involved in the Memphis art scene. This includes both the fine art and comic scenes, exhibiting and submitting work for shows. I’ve already discovered a number of local events where my work could be a good fit, and I’m excited to take part in them.

5. Clear old projects off my plate so I can move forward. It’s not always easy for me to let projects go once I’ve started them, especially when others are involved and I’ve put effort into finished art. Completing these projects will let me feel more open to new opportunities as they arise.

6. Blog posts and website updates. I definitely intend to be more active here, both with enhancing my websites (a long-time goal is to get an “about the cast” section on the Watusi site; my cast there has grown quite a bit over the years!) and posting regularly here. Which leads me ask, “what would you like to read here?” Behind-the-scenes looks at how I do what I do? Comic reviews? Interviews with other creators? While I’ve got a number of ideas started, I’m open to your suggestions…

That’s the broad strokes of what I hope to accomplish in the year to come; I’ll revisit it at the end of the year to share how I did. In the mean time, what creative goals do you have for 2016?

2 thoughts on “Looking forward to 2016

  1. What YOU are up to, including behind the scenes stuff. If we want to read about other creators, we can go to their sites. I usually just skim over people’s comics reviews. If you were to talk about what you like to read and why, giving examples and explaining how they met your likes, that would be interesting.

    1. Good to know. Writing about behind-the-scenes stuff (such as how I’m trying to merge my comic book influences and my comic strip influences) can often seem too esoteric for a wide audience … but I guess that’s why I blog and don’t write for People magazine!

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