Archive for ‘Creative goals’

October 1, 2019

Let the Inktober adventure begin!

Back in January I set the goal to plan & participate in a proper “Inktober” project … and I am! While I don’t have as many drawings banked as I would like, I did improvise a little story around this year’s list of prompts, and am diving right in! I plan to do at least one drawing a day, which I’ll post to my Twitter and/or Instagram accounts; follow my progress there if you’d like!

[November 2019 UPDATE: my Inktober drawings have been collected in Ramble; get more details here.}

February 7, 2019

I have a question for you…

… if you already read my Watusi the Talking Dog comic online– or maybe especially if you DON’T– what kind of information did/would you like to know before you dive/d into a new body of work? After nearly 10 years and more than that many different storylines, I feel the need to provide an easy introduction for new readers … so I’m assembling a webcomic primer issue of Watusi to serve that function. While I try to make work that is accessible to new readers, I’m often too involved in the process to see things from the reader’s POV. I would love to quench your thirst for understanding (& give you a better reading experience)!

Chime in below & feel free to share …

January 14, 2019

A clean slate for 2019

Another year has come & gone, which means it’s that time when I like to plan out what I want to accomplish in the new year, and check in with my goals from last time. This year has been slow to get going since my holiday market ran past X-mas & into the New Year, leaving me without the time or brainpower to vision my upcoming year. Fortunately, this past weekend finally gave me time and the right mindset to think about 2019. But first, what about my goals from 2018? I wanted to focus on a few (mostly) attitudinal adjustments…

1. Wear my business hat less, my artist hat more! Even though I wore my business had less, I spent too much of my time & energy promoting a group I’ve been part of, and not enough time building up my own work. I am confident that will change (for the better) in 2019…

2. Put comics aside for a couple of days each week and give myself dedicated time focused on “art”, including paintings and prints. While I didn’t make as many paintings as I had set out to do, I had a pretty good year making & selling prints (some Memphis-themed) in 2018. Now I just need to make some Memphis-themed comics & see if that will get people around here to actually purchase reading material…

3. Draw more spontaneously. While I’m still not as loose as I’d like to be, I consciously spent more time just drawing, and that helped. My inking is becoming looser & more natural, too; sometimes I’ve even liked the inked drawing as much as the penciled one! If you’re interested in my pencil drawings, you can get a taste of them on my Instagram account, where I regularly post them (plus, they’re for sale, and that gives you first crack at buying ’em)…

4. Celebrate the Year of the Dog with more Watusi comics than I did in 2006. While it may have taken most of the lunar year to do so, I did manage to finish the Year of the Dog Watusi issue! Plus, last summer’s big Watusi in the Emerald City of Oz collection & the weekly Watusi webcomic added up to a pretty dog-friendly year!

All of which gives me a solid footing to build on for 2019! I have a tendency to overload my “to-do” list with things I hope to accomplish, which can often be an overwhelming amount of unfinished idea debt (as Jessica Abel would say). This year, I’m literally starting with a clean slate, which I can use for highlighting my accomplishments, not leaving them buried in the weeds of what I still want to do. Basically, it’s an offshoot of the “done” part of my Kanban board that will let me see what I have accomplished, something I too often ignore as I move on to my next project. Expect to see a fuller version of this post’s graphic by the end of the year!

So, this year I’m looking to build on the good habits I’ve developed to make more (and more substantial) finished work. Specific concrete goals include:

1. Find a store to carry my work year-round. While I had pretty good success doing festivals last year, I need to move beyond handselling my work at outdoor events. This year I want to try & find a location that can carry my work– not just the comics (which are a hard sell in this town), but also my prints & notecards (which seem to connect better with customers)– all year long. If you happen to run such a venue, get in touch with me at the address on the bottom of this page.

2. Attend book events and literary festivals. Most festivals around here are pretty focused on music & drinking which, while fun, doesn’t always connect me with my target audience of readers. There are a few events from last year that are worth doing again, but I can’t fall into the trap of doing shows just because I’ve done them in the past. This is likely to mean booking events further afield, which is a daunting prospect, but will be worth it if it pays off…

3. Get back to “making” on a regular schedule. While being so focused on prints turned out to be fairly lucrative, it was not as satisfying as making comics. I’ve been really happy with the quality of my published print comics, and now it’s time to make more of them. Like Dave Sim wrote, “first you get good, then you get fast, then you get good and fast”– I’m ready to get faster. They may not come out every month (depending on my schedule & bundling orders for my printer), but the concrete goal is 12 new comics in 2019.

4. Plan and participate in a proper “Inktober” project. While I’ve played around with Inktober a bit in the past, I’ve never gone all in on this event because I create inked art all the time. But after being in awe of some of the successful themed projects by Chris Samnee and JB Winter, I should step up my game for the month! I’m open to suggestions, by the way…

That’s what I’ve got in mind; any creative goals for 2019 you wish to share?

January 12, 2018

Looking forward to 2018 (and back at 2017)

It’s that time of year again, when I plan out what I’d like to accomplish in the new year, and check in with my goals from last year to see how I did on them. I’m not sure how I latched onto this New Year’s Resolution cliche, but at least it gets me to do a little self-evaluation at least once a year!

2017 sticks in mind as a year marked by too many household disasters (for me) and too much underlying chaos and stress (for everybody), so my weekly visits to Oz to write & draw my “Watusi in Oz” strip was a nice escape from the stresses of daily life. Still, I at least tried to address the goals I set at the start of that year. Here’s how that went…

1. Set up a Patreon account. Even if I’ve had a hard time attracting people to my Patreon account— and not showing up in their search for “comics” doesn’t help any– I did get this up and running. I’ve even got a carrot in the works to attract more readers to it…

2. Begin a “Human Spring” webcomic. While it’s not quite ready for publication, I did make headway on the first “issue” of it! I hope to release it soon…

3. Find a better way to promote and get more eyeballs on my work. I’m still pretty much handselling my work. I haven’t come up with a proper marketing plan yet.

4. Finish and publish old projects. While I did manage to publish Doghouse Funhouse #2, the other projects were not as far along as I remembered them being. Something to keep working at for 2018…

5. Undertake a general website/logo refreshening. While I have been consistently presenting myself as “Dale Martin, cartoonist” at shows, my efforts at a new logo got derailed, as did a website revamp. I’ll actually probably just stick with what I have for the most part, at least until I can find time to integrate this blog and my webcomic(s) into one interface, which is a bigger project than I’ll attempt on my own.

6. Make more “fine” art. I did better on this front than I have in recent years, highlighted by my contribution to Crosstown Arts’ “Potluck” exhibition in August!

All in all, I at least made headway of a sort on all those areas, which I can feel okay about. As for 2018…

Despite my ever-present laundry list of projects to finish, I really want to focus on a few (mostly) attitudinal adjustments…

1. Wear my business hat less, my artist hat more! I’ve taken lots of workshops to help to get better at that side of things over the last few years (even though I’m naturally introverted and am still not good at self-promotion), but it’s time to use the right side of my brain more in the coming year!

2. Put comics aside for a couple of days each week and give myself dedicated time focused on “art”, including paintings and prints. Simply put, my Memphis market is not as interested in literary product as other places I’ve exhibited. I’m making more sales from my visual output, and I want– and need— to make work that people want to buy.

3. Draw more spontaneously. I really labor over my drawings more than I need to, and I want to make doing them more fun!

4. Celebrate the Year of the Dog with more Watusi comics than I did in 2006. Which should be easy given how that year turned out…

So, any creative goals for 2018 you wish to share?

February 27, 2017

I’m now also on Patreon!

Hi! I just wanted to share the news that I’ve finished one of my 2017 goals, and have launched my Patreon account. I could go on about it here, but the best thing to do is just show it to you; click here to see more. I hope you’ll consider my work worth patronizing.


January 30, 2017

Where to go from here

This new year again offers me a bounty of creative possibilities, a too-long list which needs trimming down to a feasible workload. There are only 335 days left in the year, after all! Fortunately, my reader survey gave me food for thought which has been useful in narrowing my focus not only to work I will enjoy doing, but work that my readers will enjoy, too. In fact, my four word New Year’s resolution pretty much sums things up:

With that in mind, here are my priorities for 2017:

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January 25, 2017

Asking the people what they want

After all, I can’t very well give the people what they want if I don’t even know what it is, can I? With that spirit in mind, I undertook a survey of my readers at the end of 2016 to better understand their comic reading (and purchasing) habits and tastes. While the answers confirmed much of what I already suspected, I was a bit surprised by some of it, too…

Rather than present the survey results as just a series of pie charts, I also want to share what I was trying to find out with the questions I asked. The first section was gauging reader knowledge of my online comic. Not surprisingly, most everyone who responded (91.3%) already knew I published a FREE weekly comic online. I was more interested in their reading habits, and was pleased to find out how many read my comic every week, and that they tend to stick around once they do:


82.6% of readers read the text blurb following my comic, too, so I’ll keep using that to plug upcoming shows and comic releases. I also like it as a way to provide context or commentary on the strip.

My next question was really a backdoor invitation to get readers to sign up for my e-mail list, follow me on Twitter, or friend Watusi’s Facebook page, just in case they weren’t aware of those options already:

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January 3, 2017

2016 in the rear view mirror


It’s that time of year again, when I look back to last January at what I hoped to accomplish. And I’ve got to say that this year fared better than many past years have done, even for a year as hard as 2016. In addition to all the dire news of death and doom we’ve all heard on the national level, it wasn’t an easy year for me on a personal level: a death in the family, an emergency hospital stay, and uprooting my studio for the second time in less than a year. Getting resettled and back into a decent work habit has been a struggle for the last half of my year, but I’m still excited about what this new year has in store for me! More on that (including the compiled results of my reader survey) in future posts; right now it’s time to take one last look in the rear view mirror at my 2016 goals

1. My main creative priority continues to be my Watusi webcomic. Aside from one little glitch (my first missed strip in over seven years), I was able to keep on track with this. I was proud of the work that went into “The Ghost Dogs of Wonder Valley”, and am excited about what’s in store next. Not bad for a project that’s been going on as long as this, I think!

2. Get print publications back into the mix of my comic output. I was pleased to finally get the first long storyline from my webcomic in print (as “Watusi and the Emerald Serpent”), and have enjoyed the book tour that accompanied it. It was liberating to just talk about one concise story, instead of the whole run of Watusi comics (and all my other projects, too)…

3. Publicize my work better. I’m still not very good about this, but I did a better job at tooting my own horn than in the past. Certainly taking my work to new audiences (besides the audience of other creators and comic convention attendees) has helped.

4. Get actively involved in the Memphis art scene. This has been the highlight of the year in some ways. The fine arts scene here has been especially welcoming and enthusiastic, and I’m excited to get even more involved with it.

5. Clear old projects off my plate so I can move forward. Even if they didn’t see print, I made headway on some of these old projects. And considering how long I’d wanted to get “Watusi and the Emerald Serpent” into print, I think that counts, too…

6. Blog posts and website updates. While I didn’t finish the “about the cast” section on the Watusi site, I stuck to my posting schedule here. Stepping back to a looser schedule while I focused on finishing up “Watusi and the Emerald Serpent” was a good thing to do, though.

I may not have accomplished everything I set out to do, but I at least touched on them in useful ways, which is more than I can say about many years! Next time, I’ll present the results from my readers survey. Some of the answers may surprise you… they certainly surprised me!!

January 6, 2016

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…

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February 5, 2014

2014 and the art of overscheduling


2013 has come and gone, which means I should see how I did with my artistic aspirations for that year. After a less than stellar 2012, I set more modest– and fewer– goals for last year, and came out of the year with a better success rate. Not 100%, but still better…

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