Watch out, this is going to be a long one!
Firstly, I would like to engage your attention with some art. I’ve done some portraiture lately and am really digging it. I tried a looser style than usual and am really happy with the result, I look forward to doing more.
Work on Under the Apple Tree/my senior capstone project is still in progress! My blog hasn’t seen much action, but I have been quite busy with preparations. A lot of energy has gone into networking in particular, and I’d like to focus on that part of my project in this entry.
I’ve discovered that a huge part of the enjoyment of creating comics is the company, advice and support of other creators. It’s invaluable to my process and I’ve focused a lot on it recently. There are a couple different venues I have utilized…
The most obvious and definitely one of the most helpful, the web has a huge amount of resources. Some of the most useful have been…
Drunk Duck (Support from readers and constructive criticism are both huge motivators.)
Webcomics Community (A specialized forum is a great resource for everything from crit to finding places to get merchandise made to… well, everything.)
Deviant Art (This website has a bad reputation as far as quality goes, but I’ve found a great amount of support there and even have built relationships there with professional cartoonists who give me advice. Pretty awesome.)
The internet is wonderfully convenient, but it doesn’t replace real contact with other creators, as well as such genuine opportunities for networking. Some options…
The Maine Comic Arts Festival is new as of last year and a great opportunity! I am registered as an exhibitor and can’t wait. The first one was awesome and the next one, I’m sure, will be even better. For those who don’t know, it’s a convention of sorts in Portland, Maine that takes place in May (mostly self-publishers with a few fancy guests, comparable to a small MoCCA Festival).
Maine Cartoonists is a group I co-founded. Its e-hub is a Facebook group, and as you’ve seen a couple entries ago, we hold “roundtables” where a bunch of people get together and share our work and mingle. It’s a lot of fun and something really cool has evolved out of it (which I’ll get to momentarily).
I’m not a Penny Arcade fan, really, nor am I a gamer… but I am going to PAX East. It’s a great networking opportunity that I’d be silly to pass up. It’ll be a huge event that combines two things that are very important to me right now: comics (after all, the huge phenomenon that is Penny Arcade originally just started out as a web comic, just like Under the Apple Tree), and the game field (though I am not a gamer, my current full time job is as a designer for games, so I have that association). I plan on bringing business cards, as well as perhaps postcard samples, to share as I mingle.
And now for the best part…
I realized a couple things recently.
Firstly, I plan on moving to the Boston area in the near future and that means I will be somewhat disconnected from Maine Cartoonists. Not that we meet all the time, and not like Boston doesn’t have its own group, but it just won’t be the same. How will I keep in touch with all the great people up there?
And also, I’ve admired collective blogs such as Gorilla Artfare for quite some time, and suddenly realized it wouldn’t be that hard to start my own. Except mine would be geared toward comics instead of general illustration.
And then, from these realizations, something was born!
The Collective is a blog I have started that will function much like Gorilla Artfare, only the members are all New England creators. (That’s right, not just Maine, but all of New England! I couldn’t start something like this without including all the other amazing talent I’ve met from places like Boston and the Center of Cartoon Studies in Vermont and the Trees and Hills dudes from New Hampshire.) It’s just getting started, but there is a great handful of creators registered to be authors and I can’t wait for things to really get going.
The site will hopefully expand, but for the moment we just have the blog, a lovely rotating header system so all of us can contribute artwork to the design of the site and an events calendar (still being worked out) so we can keep up with the goings on.
I can’t wait to make it turn into something really great.
If you’re still reading at this point, I am very impressed. Look forward to some more updates soon, including the conclusion of Chapter I (which must be finished in time to get printed for the May festival), some art and some other tidbits. I know there isn’t much to show, at least visually, for all the work I’ve been putting in this past month, but I assure you, much has been accomplished. I don’t feel like it’s been wasted at all.
I really wish I could share the game development work I’ve been doing for the agency in Boston. I can’t wait for them to be released in September so I can finally show everything off, it’s been so much fun! My main responsibility lately has been character design/development and it’s been one of the most fun, educational and productive experiences of my life.
Oh, and I redesigned my main website. Check it out. (Still fixing the portfolio section, though. d’oh)