State of the Bellwood (July)
Hey Patrons,

So here's something a little different: my monthly check-in list! Keeping these is one of the most valuable practices in my professional life, and always helps me stay on the righteous path of healthy comic-making. It also always feels really raw and scary to share them—in fact I think I've only ever shared them with $15 folks as part of the monthly sketchbooks before...

But this week has been rough, and (as the $15 patrons may've noticed) I've barely drawn anything in my sketchbook all month, so I figured it would be a good time to share where I'm at with current projects and goals. I won't elaborate on every item on this list, but the basic premise is that I write down all my accomplishments and challenges from the previous month, and then draft some goals for the next 31 days.

The Kickstarter is doing really well, which feels amazing, but I've also been wiped out this week and the emotional discrepancy between celebratory messages from friends and feeling like a pile of old socks has been hard to reconcile. I am thrilled with everything that's happening on the campaign (Hardcovers, y'all! HARDCOVERS.) but I'm also dying to get back to, well, making things. The social media grind is harsh, and thankfully now that we've hit all the really beefy stretch goals and things are quieting down a little, I can step back from that and work on finishing the book content. (I'm also thinking a lot about being a creative worker vs. being a "business owner"—some food for thought on that in this article.)

This month (August) I'll be heading back to the Grand Canyon on a commercial assignment for a rafting company. They saw my travelogue from a couple years ago and asked me to come do one specifically for their passengers! I leave two days after the Kickstarter closes for ten days of No Internet, which is both the best and worst thing. I just want to make sure all my backers know I'll be gone so they don't get grumpy waiting for email responses, but I suspect it'll be the perfect way to reset my brain after the campaign.

Cartozia Tales #7 is FINALLY out, which I'm so happy about. We're also having a major sale right now with free digital copies of Issue 1 to whet your appetites, so give that a look if you haven't before. I really want to see this series finish in style.

Scurvy Dogs needs to get inked so I can pass it off to the Baggywrinkles colorists. Making progress in fits and starts. My goal is to have the digital edition of the book squared away by the end of September. We'll see.

In terms of other reward designs, there's nautical stickers (and probably tattoo sheets) still to be made, plus I finished the color separations so Kristen is getting plates made for our tattooed sailor letterpress collaboration. I'm extra excited about that—and there's only four more available! Also need to get bookplates made so I can start signing and drawing on, uh, four hundred of them. At least. Oof.

I won't go on with this because there's a lot to talk about and you all only have so much room in your inboxes! But I'll end with something I got stuck thinking about last night:

Do you work to earn a certain amount of basic subsistence income so you can pursue your hobbies? (And what are those hobbies?) Or are you working to generate stories/images/content and letting the money come as an afterthought? Will you remain focused on making that creative work no matter how much money you make?

Success in comics isn't defined by financial gain—it's about producing work that matters to you and to your audience. I think that's a little scary to me because it means I'm in charge of deciding when I get to stop.

When do you stop?


P.S. This post is public! If you're not a patron yet, but you'd like to see more content like this, consider joining up—there's lots to explore.

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