Putting 2019 in the books

Another year is in the books, and even if I didn’t meet all my goals from 2019, it was still my most successful year as an artist yet– and I was able to do it while keeping comics front & center in my merchandise mix! I feel good about a lot of what I was able to accomplish last year (a gallery show with my friend Julie Nouwen, starting a new ongoing project with the Mid-South Cartoonists Association, stepping up my fine art game, & more) and it gives me a good base to move forward from into this new year. Last year’s “done” board worked really well to highlight my completed projects (as well as showing me where my actions as the year evolved didn’t align with my priorities at its start), and is an approach I’ll continue in 2020.

While I’m filing away 2019, tho, I figured I’d look back at my goals for that year. How’d I do? Well…

1. Find a store to carry my work year-round. I never pursued this as actively as I should have. But I did really well at most of the pop-up shows (including two month-long events) I participated in during 2019, so my work is able to connect with an audience that way. I generally feel like I’m a terrible salesman (tho you’re invited to prove me wrong by becoming one of my Patreon patrons; you’ll get free comics, including immediate access to over two dozen patron-exclusive posts!), but I need to step out of my comfort zone and address this if I ever hope to move beyond handselling my work at events.

2. Attend book events and literary festivals. In 2019 I appeared at Bookstock, the Memphis Public Library’s local author festival, tabled at Memphis Zine Fest V, and was shortlisted for a small press expo in St. Louis. I was proud to be able to have new titles for each of the literary shows I “booked”, but disappointed I connected worse with a comic-buying audience at these events than I did at my “art” events.

3. Get back to “making” on a regular schedule. While I could fudge a bit & say I met my concrete goal of 12 new comics in 2019 (seven new issues, six revised & reprinted, plus one more as editor), I didn’t feel like I was super productive. Of course, I’ve always felt like I don’t make as many comics as I think I should be able to. At least I was very proud of all the issues I did publish in 2019!

4. Plan and participate in a proper “Inktober” project. Boy did I ever– I finished ahead of schedule, and even got a new book out of it! It’s unlikely that I’ll attempt this as an annual project, but at least I didn’t get burned out on the daily deadline like I did the last time I tried it…

What do I have in mind for 2020? I’ll articulate those plans soon…

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