Art sucks and I can't stop making it. Comics, etc.
I'm a trans artist living on Potawatomi land in so-called "Kalamazoo," "MI." I make comics, fiction, zines, paintings, and lots of other stuff, too. My main project right now is my upcoming graphic novel Glued in Place, which I will be self-publishing in June 2022:
After four grueling years, Cramsey finally has their degree. The plan had been grad school next, but they find themself burnt-out and sick of academia. Unsure of what to do and longing for familiarity, they move back to their rural hometown and their brother Buddy gets them a job installing carpet. Their new co-workers have never heard the word ‘nonbinary,’ and the only thing they’re confused about more than Cramsey’s gender is why somebody with a B.A. in math would ever choose to spend their time pulling up carpets.
Cramsey runs face first into the realization that they've changed, for better and for worse, and the comfort of home they were looking for might not be there anymore.
I'll be posting lots of development art and stuff for that here, as well as for any other projects I'm working on! My intent is to do at least weekly 'studio updates' with pix and thoughts from my brain about what I'm up to. **(Currently I am knee deep in finishing up the book and posts are sparse, but very soon I will be posting more and have lots and lots of things to share once I have a spare moment to breathe!)** My posts here will always be free to read for anybody; they will never be exclusive to supporters.
However, donations are appreciated and help me survive capitalist hell. As I've been more seriously pursuing comics as a thing I do -- to some degree -- profesionally (whatever that means) I've been pretty consistently un- or under-employed and just scrapin by, and any amount of support helps me continue to make art and be active in my community, which also supports my art in the end.
Thanks, love you, etc.,
It’s now one week away from my original deadline for finishing drawing the book and……I am pretty much on track to meet it?!
There are several pages with complicated things going on that I just set aside for later, and general finishing up touches to be done -- but, ignoring those for a moment: I am one week away from finishing drawing!! Incredible! Thank god!
It’s been a really busy last month, I’ve been doing basically nothing but draw. I did go stay in a cabin in the woods for two weeks at the end of March and inked like almost 50% of the book while there!! And since I got back, I’ve been keeping up at a pretty steady clip. Honestly, the whole last month feels like a blur it’s all gone by so fast. It kind of feels like I just woke up today and magically most of the book is done, except it also simultaneously feels like I have been working on this book for Ages and Ages, toiling day after day.
I think the book is good?! I can’t even tell. It’s all just lines to me. I am so, so, so excited to be done drawing it, and very much looking forward to having enough distance from it to be able to really look at it.
Anyways! Aside from drawing, I’ve also started working on the website to host the webcomic. I have not gotten very far. I also reached back out to the printer I’d chosen to print the physical book, and am starting to figure all that out! I will also be starting to plan the ~book launch event~ very soon.
To celebrate the impending end of my quest: here’s a whole scene from the book for you to look at!!!
Sidenote: I usually include alt text for all the images I post here, but unfortunately don’t have time to write a full description for all these pages right now. The webcomic will include a full transcript for each page, though, once it starts being posted there and I have time to write it up!
Thanks for reading, very excited for you all to read this book,
In cooperation and solidarity,
Hello! here with just a very brief update: 1. I am alive! 2. I am working very hard on comic book! 3. I am incredibly exhausted!
Here's some great news: I have started inking! These are pages 19 and 20, which I just inked yesterday! I completely finished thumbnailing (thank god) and have around 40 pages left to pencil. I am still behind schedule, but not by too much and hopefully very soon I will be spending 2 weeks on a DIY artist retreat in the woods and will be doing nothing but working on this and get all caught up.
More and longer updates to come,
In solidarity & cooperation,
I've been on a roll the last few days -- I've penciled 21 pages in 3 days! and thumb'd quite a few, too! I'm penciling probably my favorite scene in the whole book right now, which has probably helped. I call it the Beautiful Shots of Carpeting scene and I hope I can draw it to live up to it's name.
The story is partly inspired by my experience working for my college's facilities management while I was a student. I worked with the school's mason/flooring guy, and did a lot of carpeting for a couple summers. All the carpeting we did was carpet tile and I both loved and hated doing it, so this scene is kind of a love/hate letter to carpeting. I'm having a lot of fun using tiling in the layouts, and laying out these full page drawings that (I hope) will be beautiful and full of really intricate textural detail once I get to inks.
In thumb news, I just started on the final couple scenes, starting with the, i guess, climax of the story. For most of the book, the tension is simmering and our protag Cramsey is trying their best to avoid confronting it, but in this scene it all explodes. I've not really drawn a really intense argument before, so I'm rereading a few comics that I feel have really well done arguments in them for inspiration!!
That's all! See ya next week!
In solidarity and cooperation,
Hello again! happy saturday!
I went back to work this week after about a month off and am having a bit of a difficult time transitioning back into the swing of thing while keeping on top of comic book. That said, I did keep making progress! here's to next week being even better!
now let's get mushy for a second here...
Consistently throughout my life I've had a pattern of procrastinating on projects until I get very close to the deadline. And, every single time I've always managed to meet the deadline regardless. I feel proud of a lot of the things I've managed to do in my life! and at the same time I have a lot of pretty bad feelings about having not been able to do my best work because of this pattern. I tend to set myself up for failure when I take on new projects, because I get pre-emptively guilty about all the time I know I'm going to waste, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. I think that that happened in the case of this project -- AND I did ALSO have two very big, disruptive crisises in my personal life, which I am still recovering from, and I have continued to be living through a pandemic amid other societal crisises, so like; don't worry, I'm cutting myself some slack over here -- and now I'm working on pushing through the cycle of guilt and shame that can make me avoid a project like the plague, and just keep working on the damn thing. Part of me definitely wants to just give up and wallow in my failure, or fall back on my trust in myself that I WILL always meet a deadline, even when it kills me, and make things incredibly harder on my future self. But so far, I'm doing a pretty good job of ignoring that part! Which is uh, kind of new for me, in some ways.
So, anyways... working on stuff, especially big, long-term projects, is fuckin hard y'all. Thanks for supporting me in doing this wildly difficult thing.
In cooperation and solidarity,
Happy new year and all'a that. I recently went to a co-op meeting where the check-in question was 'what's your theme for the new year?' and i've decided my theme is: take it easy, but take it.
After some significant disruptions of my entire life, I'm back to chugging along on comic book. I've made a plan for how I am going to finish in time, and that plan is essentially: thumb 7 pages a day for the next 2-3 weeks, and pencil 3 pages a day for the next two months, then ink 3 pages a day for the two months after that. which is 1. totally doable and 2. AAAAAAAAAAAA
But so far i've been (more or less) keeping up with it, and this plan has some buffer time built in, so! next 4 months, come and get me!
i'm more than halfway done with thumbs, and penciling is going good! my original plan was to COMPLETELY finish thumbs before starting penciling and then COMPLETELY finishing penciling before starting inking. but, i have realized, that plan is foolish, and i need not stick to it, and doing two things at the same time is actually way better for my brain.
anyways, here's some pencilled pages! yay! fun!
thanks for reading! see ya next week!
in solidarity & cooperation,
hey friends. i'm here to let you know that i have been dealing with some CRISISES lately, and that's why i've missed the last two weeks of studio updates. things are settling down now and i'll be back this friday with an update on comic book stuff!
also, yes, my fursona is in fact a raccoon and they do in fact bear a striking similarity to cramsey. i am not currently taking questions on this matter.
in love, cooperation, and solidarity,
i have a pretty short studio update this week. good news on the thumbs front: looking back at the first pass of thumbs i did a while ago for the original script, there is a scene where not much has changed during edits AND i'm still into the first pass i did. i think i got it as close to right the first time, so i'm not gonna redraw them! so currently i'm at page 64! which is like, a third of the way through! wahoo!
i also got some new art supplies for the comic, including every type of pen micron makes, a new Fancy brush pen, and a massive amount of strathmore bristol board (my one true love.) i am READY to start pages. any day now...
also good news:
this is my cat kiki! it's kind of a long story, but around this time last year we had to take kiki to the emergency vet because he was in respiratory distress. afterwards, the vet told us he probably wasn't in the best health and that there was likely something quite wrong with his heart. we were worried we didn't have much time left with him, but over the course of the last year we've taken him back into the vet, to a cardiologist, and have learned more and more each visit about what likely happened a year ago and about his current health. the good news is: while there is something a bit off about his little heart, it's not nearly as bad as we worried. he is actually doing really good, has been taken off the meds he was taking, and likely won't experience another episode like what happened a year ago! of course we're still keeping an eye on him, but it looks like many, many good days ahead for mr. kiki :^)
thanks for reading, in solidarity & cooperation,
howdy! here's another one of these.
this last week i've been up to: thumbnailing! i thumbnailed 23 pages which is, like, a decent amount! but also not a lot in the grand scheme of things. i lied a little bit last update about the total page count because i forgot, it's actually like 180 pages long. so 23 pages is like 13% through. I really, really need to blast through the thumbnails and get started on penciling if i wanna get this thing done in time, so, I need to pick up the pace quite a bit the next couple weeks. hopefully by next update i'll be closer to halfway through?!
here's the thumbs i've done:
my original vision for the comic was that each page would, generally, have AT MOST 4 panels. like, very very rarely more than that. i was thinking about my last big comic project (a webcomic I made for a minute in like 2012-2014 called punch & wolfmother -- it does not exist on the internet anymore since i nuked my old tumblrs, but maybe i'll post it here some time!) and how it had very complicated page layouts, often with like, a lot of panels. and it was extremely fun and i loved it, and, it took me forever to make each page and looking back the complexity of each page likely helped lead to my eventual burnout on that project. so i was thinking this time i would try to not do that! but while working with my editor on pacing it turned out to be kind of necessary to add more Stuff onto each page in order to move through the story at a more reasonable speed, so i'm doing my best to let go of the vision of all simple pages. there must be a middle ground and i am going to find it if it kills me.
so, anyways, life's still hard! this last week was pretty rough and there's more rough ones ahead. it's been difficult to get myself to sit down and work on the comic, and even when I manage to i tend to find myself distracted and sucked into something else very easily. one thing i'm gonna start trying to do to get myself into drawing is to do warm up sketches each time. here's the one i did today!
this is cramsey (the main character) and buddy (their brother.) i'm messing with all the character designs a bit while i still can. fun fact: their full names are cramsey and buddy friend and buddy is short for buderick. the plan has been to do the comic in ink, but every day i am more and more tempted to do it in pencil... we'll see what happens.
anywho, that's my update. thanks to everyone who's signed up to support this! it means a lot! i either can't, or don't know how to view who my supporters are, so you are all mysteries to me! which is very fun! thank you for haunting my page and dropping coins in your wake!
in cooperation & solidarity,
Welcome to the first official ~studio update~ on my comradery! The plan is I'm gonna do these every friday, that's what I'm committing to, & we'll uh see how it goes.
Studio updates will be updates on my Big Project (my comic book, Glued in Place!) as well as any other projects I'm workin on, and maybe also life updates and various thoughts on like, art and shit, maybe local politics if i'm feeling spicy, or housing co-op drama if i'm feelin REALLY spicy.
For anyone who doesn't know me personally IRL here's a little about me: I live in a four bedroom housing co-op called Nimblewill, which I helped start a year and a half ago. It's a part of Kalamazoo Collective Housing, and is our first & only substance-free house. I live with three great humans and two perfect cats, one of whom is my son, Kiki. I've lived in co-ops for over two years and the values of cooperation are really near and dear to my heart, which is why I was so excited when I heard about comradery -- i'm hype to be a part of building this project now!
I used to have a patreon for a minute, but wow, it sucked, and I barely ever posted on it. I think part of the reason why I never posted is because it sucked, but also part of it was that I was having a hard time and was not dedicated to it at all. I do worry some that this will turn out the same way, where I post regularly at first and then kind of forget about it entirely, but I think part of what is going to be very cool about comradery is that it doesn't need to be siloed and individualistic in the way patreon is. Since it's a cooperative, there's like, built in ways to be involved and get to know the other people involved, which should help in feeling like it's not just me out here, blasting words no one cares about into the void and hoping people notice?
Anyways, here's some fast facts: my favorite TV show of all time is LOST, I love comics and webcomics especially for their DIY ethos, I'm in a band but I can barely play the guitar (we play old labor songs, as well as new labor & protest songs that we write,) I love to cook and bake pies, and I bike around and have aggro cyclist bro tendencies (ie; i hate cars.) I am trans and I love to be trans and you can too.
Now, for my the actual studio update. Here.......is my studio:
It's my bedroom! It's currently the cleanest it's been in a while OK! This is my lil drawing nook. I scored the drawing table from the university surplus store a while back.
So, where I'm currently at with Glued in Place: it has a new title (previous title: Hands on Learning. not good at all. the new title is growing on me.) I received a grant of the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo to help me make the book, and I used some of that money to hire an editor! My editor, Akira, fuckin rules! Hire them for your project, too! At the end of September we finished editing the script, and now I'm on to thumbnails!
I experienced a really awful thing happen at the beginning of October that has disrupted my life and mental health pretty significantly over the last month and a half. Truthfully, my comic book has been one of the last things on my mind and I haven't been working on it like, at all. Because of the grant, I do have a deadline to finish it, sooooo I'm currently trying to kick myself back into gear on it. Hopefully posting updates here will help. In the photo above are the thumbnails I did earlier this year, before editing the script. I did them to try and get a sense of how many pages the book will be and start to figure out the visuals. My next step is to revise these to reflect the new script, and finish thumbnailing the whole book. One of the things Akira and I worked on was pacing and reducing the number of pages, so right now the book looks like it's going to be about half as long as I initially thought! Around 150 pages instead of 250.
Here's the first sheet of thumbnails. One of the things i'll be working on in the next pass is doing much much less of talking head panels. The prospect of doing thumbs is exciting, I like to do them fast and dirty, but wow...I just want to get to penciling and inking y'all...
Anyways, that's the studio update! Thanks for reading! Fuck the state! Love & care for each other!