Let me start this all of by apologize to you all for my lack of posting. I realize I owe you all an explanation as to why I’ve sorta gone off the map. It’s sort of hard to find the words as to how to explain this, but I will do my best. I feel it’s necessary for me to be transparent, at least to some extent, about what’s going on in my life for you all to fully understand what’s going on… and who knows, maybe some of my experience (that I’m about to explain) can help some of you who are going through similar things to work on your own self developments.
The Cause of My Silence
On the 4th of July, my girlfriend of nearly 5 years and I broke up. It was something we both felt was coming and needed to happen for a various number of reasons… but all the same, I’m absolutely heart broken. I love this girl from the bottom of my heart, she has been behind me from the time of me graduating college, deciding that Psychology (which is what i got my degree in) wasn’t my path and then finding and further exploring the idea of comics and my true passion of making art my job. For this, I am forever grateful. Even though we’ve had hard times, her spirit has always been able to lift me into a positive light and keep me focused into doing exactly what it is that I want to do. Without her, L.A.W.L.S. and all my other creations would have never gotten this far. She was a large part of what motivated me to continue but unfortunately, my motivation took over all other points of my sight. I’ve become so overworked by this comic, the cons, my book, etc. that I stopped paying attention to the things that mattered and more so what things were going wrong in our relationship. I let it get worse and worse thinking that I’ll be able to work on things “as soon as I just got through this one hurdle with my comic.” But, as things go with webcomics, the second you’re done with one, you have to start the next… and I simply just didn’t make the needed time for her.
The Effect of Realization
After the break up happened I went into a deep mode of self evaluation and assessment as to exactly what it is that I want out of life. Is it being a webcomics artists? Is it having my own business? What is it that is so important to me that I’m letting my life get so out of hand for? This is not an easy thing to figure out or pose the exact question/answer to. I was born to create something, whether it be music, art or comics… it’s in my blood and it’s what I do. So I refuse to stop, but at what cost? Must I sacrifice all else to make sure it happens? Is art my only dream? I decided it was best to start from the top of the tower of questions and went with, “Is my art my only dream?” The answer to that is simply “no.” I want to be able to be secure, emotionally and financially, I want to one day get married and have kids AND I want to be able to create and make my own job of it. Realizing this, I’ve had to sort out what about my creations are the most valuable to me as far being able to make the rest of my dreams come true. In my sorting of things, I’ve come to find that the lowest common denominator in my decline of my relationships (friend, family and significant other), my health, my happiness and many other things is how much I slave over my comics. As much as I love doing them, I make less than minimum wage a year on the comics itself (be it with advertising revenue or online sales). So what does THAT mean? To me it means this: I need to refocus my creations to what seems to actually be working for me. The products I make, though their sales are very minimal online do fantastic at conventions. It came down to me realizing that a large portion of people who buy my stuff at shows are actually not readers, they are just random attendees who come up and see something that caught their eyes. Some of these people turn into readers when I tell them what it is that the products are about, but even within that group it is minimal. So, it seems what DOES work for me, is the business and merchandising end of my comics, not the comics themselves. Knowing that, and the fact that I’m going to be starting Grad School in business soon, it feels like THAT is what I need to be working. From my words it almost sounds like I’m about ready to quit comics all together, but let me assure you, I’m not. I just need to take time to restructure my business model toward the things that actually work the best so that I can move forward with my life. You guys don’t know what it means to me that you’ve supported me this long so I owe it to you to continue creating awesome things, including comics, in return for your kindnesses. So, here I move into future planning for the following:
I received a small box of these while I was at San Diego Comic Con this weekend and am super excited to FINALLY have them (at least some of them) in hand! This week I’m going to be working a few background projects, but I will also be starting to get everything together (ie, prints, sketches, etc) and prepping what I have to ship to those of you who pre-ordered the book on Kickstarter. I haven’t worked out the details just yet, but I think I’ll be going down the list from those of you who pledged the most first down to the ones who pledged just for the book. When I receive the rest of the books I will then ship out the rest. As for those of you who upgraded the the hard covers, I have yet to receive those, what was sent to me was a rush order so I could try to sell books at SDCC, so I’ll keep you updated as to when those come in via Kickstarter.
The L.A.W.L.S. Universe
This is the section I’m assuming you are all the most worried about. So, let me alleviate some of your worries. I’m still not quite ready to jump back into cracking jokes at the moment, I need a bit more time until I’ll be ready to get back on board with that… but when I do, what I plan to do is at least post once a week. 1 Alt strip or 1 Words of Interest… depending on my work load. I have no idea what to expect out of grad school, so if I have some light weeks maybe I’ll be able to get both an ALT and a WOI out, but other weeks it may have to JUST be a WOI. I know that this is a very inconstant way to work on these and post for you guys… but what really matters to me is the quality of each post, while finding balance in my life so that I can continue create these things for you and get them into really amazing looking books to promote at shows.
Here is the most difficult to address. I still don’t have a full battle plan for this one. I will be working on the writing, sketch work and creation of this, but as far as releasing it online… frankly, I have no idea how long it will take and if I’m going to spend the time putting it together, I want to make sure it’s the best thing I’ve ever created. That being said, patience with this will have to be a virtue for all of us. I will post updates with photos and such once the penciling begins and keep you guys in the loop during it’s entire production.
Grad School and the Future
At San Diego Comic Con, one thing became bleedingly obvious to me. It’s something that I’ve needed to realize to ever come to terms with what it is need to do. I am not a webcomic artist. I am an artist who happens to passionately create a comic that is published on the web. That being said, I need to focus on fully developing the artist part of me, the part that wants to create more than just comics and encompass all my creations under one banner, or brand rather. From the drive down to San Diego, through the discussion with my good friends who have had to conquer similar things (like Daniel and Jason), until last night, I’ve been working on this idea. I’ve been creating a new name, logo, business model, etc. that will be just that, a company that IS my art prints, t-shirts, comics, future plushies and more. I will begin working this concept today starting with re-branding Rush Haven a bit to make sure that it has it’s own obvious identity (a webcomic store for webcomic artists), then begin working on incorporating parts of the way that I designed that site into what continues to be my own personal branding. I wont have anything to reveal any time soon, but I will post updates to keep you in the loop. What’s really exciting about this to me, is that this is exactly what I will be working on with my MBA. I will be creating my own company, learning about how to brand and market it and still be able to be doing the things that I truly love, drawing and making comics and other artistic things. I haven’t yet been accepted to the university of my choice just yet, but I’ve been talking with them every few days. They seem excited about what it is I’m doing and seem to be indicating that I’ll have a spot in their institution… SO, if all goes well I will be starting that as soon as September.
As much as it pains me to admit to myself some of what I’ve said in this blog… the things that I’ve discovered about myself and what I NEED to do are all true. I can’t blindly crawl down a path with hope that one day a blaring light will shine and things will work out if all signs on my current path are proving to deepen this darkened hole. I needed all of this to be able to lift my head out from the darkness and find that light myself. I am scared to death of what all this truly means, but I am grateful that what has happened has happened. I have faith that things are now on an incline for me even though I’m am heart broken and fear that I may not ever be able to rectify what happened between her and I… but realize that I now have a chance to repair myself, work not only on one part of my dream, but to be able to better myself in a way that I will be able to accomplish all parts of my dreams; family, health, security and creation. I am sorry if some of these choices come to a disappointment to some of you, but I want to thank you, each and every one of you, for your constant support. You are what make this worth it to me, to see the joy on peoples faces at shows when they laugh and smile at my stuff, to read your kind comments of how you like my comics… those are the things that keep me sure that I should keep going, and will. So, Let’s continue our journey together, and keep creating something awesome!