I've had a lot to update y'all on, but every time I start to write up an update, something else gets updated. I think things are settled enough for now to share. Here's the list!
the end of BOO!
Some of you may already know that we just wrapped up our sex ed comic, BOO! It's Sex! My friend and collaborator Monica Gallagher and I decided awhile ago that while we LOVE making this comic exist and sharing it with teens & adults alike, we've both got too much on our plates to keep it going.
Before you ask, YES, we have hopes to put it into a printed book! And YES, I'm going to link you to the very first strip so you can read all 96 strips from beginning to end. (Hot tip: the site is designed for mobile, and is surprisingly more satisfying to read on the Webtoon app on your phone.) I hope you like it, and that you learn something you thought you already knew! I KNOW I SURE DID.
So, now that researching sex ed & writing BOO is off my plate, I can focus on the new book...
from here to Portland (Oregon) and back
A few years ago, Erika Moen, Dylan Meconis and Lucy Bellwood all offered to house me if I ever wanted to come work at Helioscope in Portland, Oregon. Infected by Monica's recent case of YOLO, I decided this is the year!
I'm leaving this Thursday (SHIT THAT IS REALLY SOON) to work on "the book" - it still doesn't have a name - on the west coast, among other talented cartoonists, writers, and illustrators.
I could've flown, but of course I decided to make it A Whole Thing and do signings and camp out along the way. So if you're on my route between here and Portland and back, I may be stopping at a comic shop near you! Have a look (signings are in pink):
Signings!! Madison, Portland, and Omaha:
- Madison, Wisconsin: THIS FRIDAY NIGHT! June 7, 4-7 at Westfield Comics
- Portland, Oregon: June 15th, 5-7 at Books With Pictures with Lucy and Erika!
- Omaha, Nebraska: Krypton Comics, dates & times tbd, probably July 9th
My car is tiny, so if you'd like to reserve a book, please let me know so I pack one for you! I'll also have cool prints available exclusively to anyone who buys something from the host store. :) If you're a patron and you see me at a signing, let me know!
my big fat Canadian iPad
I bit the bullet and bought the big new iPad last month while I was in Toronto. I went to TCAF, sold some books, and then just brought all of that money to the nearest Apple store. Paying for an iPad by pulling stacks of maple-scented cash out of a fanny pack in the middle of a bustling Apple store feels... ridiculous.
I'm learning Procreate right now, so if any of you have Procreate tips, I'd love to hear them!
#Mermay and other art
Mermay was more of a Merweek for me but I did draw a few sassy merms! I also painted a poster for my friend Chelsea's upcoming show. I'll share this stuff with you patrons in a little while, so I can show you how I used Procreate on the iPad to prepare a sketch for the poster. I think me and this tablet thing are gonna be friends.
State of the Book, and little personal things...
I spent this morning interviewing my friend Pang to get a better feel for one of the characters in the book, Berto. I didn't expect her to arm me with so many small details, everything from biometric appointments, to the emotional weight of citizenship status on otherwise regular relationships, to learning a little about Thai culture (Berto's Peruvian, but inspiration comes from the least expected tiny corners)... the added bonus of writing stories about characters that draw from your friends is that it gives you a really nice excuse to get to know your friends a little deeper. I wish our society allowed us more excuses to ask and receive hard questions that cut past the small talk.
It'll be a little weird leaving Shepherdstown to work on a book that takes place in Shepherdstown, but I think it'll also be helpful to have that distance and see my home as a memory, as a place that I need to explain to people who don't know it already.
I just finished re-reading Patti Smith's M Train for the nth time after nibbling on it for months, and it reminded me not to be so literal when I write, instead of spelling things out to the point where connections are made without audience participation (= boring). When I was a teenager I picked up a book by Randy Glasbergen called "How to be a Successful Cartoonist," no doubt because it was the only book I ever saw with the word "cartoonist" on the cover. I remember a paragraph instructing aspiring creators to never write down to their audience, and to assume that your reader will make the connections you want them to if you give them the tools with which to make them. I hope I can lay out all those tools in this book while restraining myself from drawing every tool's owner's manual.
Looking forward to seeing some of you between Shepherdstown and that other coast. :)