I decided to try Inktober this year. I’ve never participated before. I was usually drawing comics in October and didn’t feel like I needed more to do. But this year, I found that I have been so busy building websites that I haven’t had much time for comics at all. Plus I wanted to try something different.
I’ve had peers, doctors, and family try to convince me that I should do a comic about my open heart surgery. It’s been too painful a topic to share. I have a hard time not crying when I do have to talk about it. And I don’t like talking about myself under normal circumstances. I’ve never felt confident in doing autobio comics.
But while my heart is doing well, my mental health is not. I’ve always had some low level anxiety and depression that I’ve learned to cope with. But surviving this experience has left me with a new understanding of depression. There is just something about knowing that you “died” that is hard to reconcile in your brain. It makes it hard to care about much of anything at times. So maybe I do need to create a comic about the experience, just for catharsis at least. But if you already are dealing with depression, the last thing you want to do is draw attention to yourself.
Then I remembered Maus. I remembered why Art Spieglemann used anthropomorphic animals for his family’s Holocaust story. I asked my friend Steven Krall what sort of animal I should be and he said “Duh, a bear.”
I did a drawing of myself every day in October, using a bear as my stand in. Coincidentally, my beloved Chicago Cubs fought their way through the postseason and (oh my god I can’t believe I get to type this) won the World Series for the first time in 108 years. If I was going through emotional highs and lows before, you have no idea what it was like to sit with me and watch baseball in October. I think I cried more during this month than my entire cumulative childhood. I’ve waited my whole life for this, along with several generations of Cubs fans. My Inktober drawings reflect my journey as a fan watching this team very well.
The magnitude of this championship has been life altering in ways that I am still trying to comprehend. Which sounds funny unless you are a Cubs fan. I’ve learned to enjoy the game for the game, win or lose. Because odds were for years, the Cubs were losing. And now they are champions? It’s so hard to wrap my brain around it. But what a ride. Inktober and the 2016 World Series are going to be wrapped together in my memories. It was a great month.
I tried my hand at creating a diary comic with Procreate on the iPad Pro this morning. It was a good way to start the day. I’ve started doing roughs within the Procreate environment. I found I enjoyed working that way. So today, I thought I’d try to make a comic about all the work I’m doing right now. I even left several projects off my list in the second to last panel. There are some that I’m better off not devoting a lot of brain power to yet. Sometimes it’s better to let some stuff simmer on the back burner.
I try to do longer, focused posts every couple of weeks, about 2000 words. Since I’m crunched for time I decided to try this format. I’ve been wanting to see how the combination of using an iPad Pro with Procreate would be like to create a comic. This first try is a little rough. I’m going to create a panel template and a lettering guide template in Illustrator. I’ll save them as PNGs in Dropbox and import them into Procreate as guides for future pages. But all in all, I’d say this first attempt was successful.
First attempt at a Diary Comic with the iPad Pro and Procreate.
I used to do diary comics every week when I was in my first year at the Center for Cartoon Studies. They were assignments. I don’t like talking about myself. I find myself boring. I just work all the time. Not exactly riveting stuff. Maybe I’ll try this once a month? I can make something interesting monthly.
2016 has been kind of a crappy year so far. I’ve had friends struggle with losing jobs and losing their loved ones. I lost my grandfather at the end of January myself. He was diagnosed with cancer (his third) on December 31st, 2015. At 90, he decided to refuse treatment. He passed on January 28th. The loss is profound. He helped me learn about business. I set up a corporation for my comics and he taught me how to do accounting. Every year about this time we would close out my books for the year and prepare my corporate taxes. It’s weird that I’m not doing it with him right now. This was the first year I did it myself, and after a ten year apprenticeship, I think I did okay. Some day I’ll write more about him, but not today.
Something that brought me joy this morning was reading Carolyn Nowak’s Girl Town comic. Check out her blog for more diary comics. I did. Very funny. She may have unintentionally inspired this post.
It’s almost March, and the weather is starting to get nicer. Listen to some David Bowie. Watch an Alan Rickman movie. Get outside and get some sun on your face. Spring is coming.