Telex from Cuba, Rachel Kushner
2001, Blaise Larmee
Pope Hats 5, Ethan Rilly
By Monday I’ll Be Floating in the Hudson with the Other Garbage, Laura Lannes
Diana’s Electric Tongue, Carolyn Nowak
I’m Not Here, GG
Sex Fantasy, Sophia Foster Dimino
Anti-Gone, Connor Willumsen
I went to SPX this month. I enjoyed it. I tabled with Madeleine Witt and two generations of Cragheads, all of whom were equally enthusiastic about comics in their own ways. I had some great conversations and I really appreciate everyone who came by to chat. But I was exhausted by the end of the weekend. Completely depleted.
This isn’t about getting older, I don’t think, because 1) I’m not that old and 2) I feel just as energetic as ever (if not more so) in other areas of my life, including my creative life. But conventions have become more and more draining for me even though I do very few of them. For the next convention I attend, I plan to actively work towards making it a positive and enjoyable experience, to come out of it feeling rejuvenated rather than depleted. This might mean not tabling, it might mean forcing myself to leave early, it might mean deciding that these events aren’t for me in general – we’ll see.
I have my two final projects of the year completely done, ready to go to print. I feel excited. These are categorically my two strongest pieces of work to date, I’m pretty sure.
I recently cut down a 30+ page comic to four pages and am considering a similar cut with a strip that’s around 60 pages now. This feels good; if I go too long without doing this sort of thing, I start to feel complacent. Of course, it’s also not the best to feel like I’ve only done four pages of comics in the past month.
I’ve also started mentoring three cartoonists this month. They’re all fascinating, talented people: a high schooler looking to move beyond 1-2 page comics, a student in a university program with a heavy emphasis on fine art and conceptual rigor, and a cartoonist who has already seen some success but who is looking to begin their first book-length project. I’m very flattered that they think I can help them and very motivated to do right by them. I‘m probably not going to talk a ton about the details of these interactions, which are between me and these three people, but it’s been very rewarding already. I’d encourage anyone to try doing this, even on a temporary or one-off basis. Think about how much you would have benefited from this when you were starting out.
Finally, I’m thinking about future plans, as I usually am towards the end of the year. I like to switch up my working methods, my creative goals, to see if this leads me to make different kinds of work. This year, for instance, I committed to posting one new strip online each month. Last year I sent people free comics in the mail. Now, an idea is percolating that I think I can commit to for several years at least – a basic container for my work, a formula to guide my creative output. I’m trying not to rush it. I’m trying to think about this carefully. So more on this soon or maybe not so soon.