Sunday, January 03, 2016

2015 In Review

It's become a bit of a tradition here to look back on last year's resolutions, accomplishments, and disappointments, and see how far I've come in one year.  Here's my list of resolutions from last January.  As a recap, I'll repost them here, with an X indicating resolutions I've kept.

  • Try to keep a daily journal
  • (X) Participate in more anthologies, especially those organized by artists you don't yet know
  • Do things with/ for the shoujo artist group
  • (X) Go to TCAF
  • Arrange a shoujo artist meet up (request members bring ashcans to share w/ the group)
  • (X) Make a 2015 Ashcan for TCAF
  • (X) Wooden charms
  • Finish 3 more chapters of 7" Kara before the year ends
  • Finish Gizmo Granny
  • Submit portfolio to more opportunities
  • (X) Table at fewer cons 
  • (X) Sell more than $1k at a con
  • Have a better attitude online and in person
  • Update this blog more often with process posts
  • Pitch to Sparkler with the Real Life Tales of Comic Craft 
  • Teach comic classes at local library 
  • Contact teachers about talking to their classes
  • Sketch more from life 
  • (X) Travel for pleasure more
  • Spend $ more wisely
  • (X) Do more art videos for YouTube 
  • Go thru clothes, donate what doesn't fit
  • Do something to help the comic community in NO
  • (X) Renew old friendships
  • Learn to stand on my own two feet

I had some pretty high production goals this year in terms of 7" Kara and Gizmo Grandma.  Of course, like any set of goals, reality is often very different from what you imagine, and despite putting Kara on haitus to finish Gizmo Grandma, additional images and last minute corrections doubled my G.G. workload, and I was not able to achieve either goal this year.

I did cut back on conventions this year, but I also cut back on my convention reviews, opting NOT to write about ALA, Mechacon, or Handmade and Bound due to issues stemming from depression and a lack of reader engagement.    If readers are interested in these shows, you can contact me directly.  Other than TCAF and ALA, conventions seemed to go more smoothly this year, and I did well at two of my favorite conventions, MTAC and Mechacon.

While at ALA, I DID talk to many librarians and teachers, but none followed up (and unfortunately, my depression got the best of me for the back half of the year, so I did not pursue them), so while I did somewhat pursue that avenue, it did not result in anything.  Emails to the Nashville public library system regarding free comic classes for teens went unanswered.  If that's something you'd be interested in attending, or know someone who would enjoy that, I would appreciate you asking on my behalf.  Perhaps Nashville's library system may reconsider if some local interest were shown.

It felt like a lean year this year, and while the blog more than doubled its daily pageviews (from 600 to 1200), reader interaction seemed to decrease greatly.  While struggling with depression, I tried to increase opportunities for engagement by introducing bi-weekly sidebar polls, discussing the blog on my Twitter more often, cross posting relevant posts to Tumblr, and increasing my engagment on Instagram.  Unfortunately, these things have had little result on real engagement.

Things Accomplished
  • 6 page inkwash comic, Pretty Paladin Critical Missy, completed and published in the gaming anthology about female experiences, Chainmail Bikini
  • 4 page watercolor comic, Knight School, completed for the as of yet un-Kickstarted anthology 1001 Knights
  • 30 approximate watercolor illustrations painted for the children's book, Gizmo Grandma, plus scanning, digital color corrections, and revisions
  • Revamped the Nattosoup Youtube channel in earnest with reviews and tutorials
  • Reestablished a solid update schedule
  • Produced a 2015 Ashcan
  • Produced Favorite Fictional Femmes Inktober minicomic
  • Produced Magical Girl March minicomic
  • Broke 1k at MTAC
  • Broke 1.5k at Mechacon
  • Met Studio KaiXju at TCAF
  • New charmset of 13 wooden charms
  • Tested out Artscow products at my convention table
  • Introduced my Kara portfolio on my convention table, increased book sales
  • Contributed to Art for Hope: Nepal
  • Introduced ready made watercolor originals to the shop


I had been told that ALA was THE show to sell children's books, but it seems that recent changes across the board make that much more difficult if you're an unknown without a publisher's backing.  While there seemed to be a lot of interest, there were very few sales.  I was really hoping that meeting librarians, particularly children's librarians, would help me place Kara and possibly arrange workshops, but unfortunately I'll have to find another venue for that.

The 'children's sauna' at TCAF made me so heatsick that it was difficult to get up and meet people, and the children's section had severely reduced foot traffic due to table layout blocking the entrance and the oppressive heat.  TCAF wasn't what I had hoped it would be.

Massive burnout set in right after TCAF, triggering depression from August until November.  This depression made it difficult to interact properly on social media, respond to correspondence in a timely manner, and killed a lot of my creativity.  Although I'm still struggling with this depression, it's lessened enough in intensity that I can interact and work again.

Most disappointing of all, my life has changed very little in the past two years in any measurable way, despite multiple efforts on several fronts.  Perhaps my efforts are not enough, and I need to increase my output,  but I have no idea where to focus for best results.  I feel as though I throw myself at everything until I'm worn out and frustrated, with little to show for the effort.  I could really use some help, and some emotional support from my fellow artists, but I feel like I've exhausted most avenues, and don't know where to turn anymore.