The past few months have been eventful ones for me, in the realm of comics and in general. With the rain and grayness moving in on Portland, it seems like a nice time to hearken back to those golden days of late July and re-cap all that has transpired since my last entry. Would it have made more sense to announce these events as they came up? Probably.
Eventually my parents headed back to New York, I started work on my story, went to China and came back again, and tabled at the 2009 Portland Zine Symposium–my first time at that show with a table (or, more accurately, half-table) to myself. Despite my worries of a month earlier I had two new zines for sale–"Sketchbook Selections," a collection of drawings, and "I Cut My Hair #2." I had been late in getting myself registered for the 3-day Symposium, and by the time I did the tables on Saturday were all taken. Luckily for me there were some no-shows and I got to stay for Saturday after all. I sold and traded and purchased and was quite productive drawing and inking comics from behind my table as well. The good folks at Midnight Fiction gave me a mention in their Symposium write-up here. And the Multnomah County Library bought some copies of "I Cut My Hair #2," so my further journal comic adventures are now available to any Portlanders with a library card.
September brought a trip to the Small Press Expo and the release of my aforementioned story in issue #11 of the anthology Papercutter. I went from feeling super nervous about this to excited and back again. Still, even with those emotions battling themselves out, I felt proud. SPX was the first comics show I ever attended, and it was really satisfying to be there with work of my own to sell. I had great time tabling with Greg, who was generous enough to let me share space with him.
I met lots of nice folks and flew westward with loads of great comics…highlights included Nate Beaty’s "Piece Meal," Neil Brideau’s "Spitting Pennies," Jen Vaugn’s latest time-of-the-month tale "Don’t Hate, Menstruate," Nate Doyle’s new "Crooked Teeth," Tom Neely’s "The Blot"–I saw a reading of part of this book in Portland and loved it–Robin Enrico’s first volume of "Jam in the Band" and Liz Baillie’s most recent two chapters of "Freewheel," which I had been looking forward to for quite a while.
In October there were a few days where I thought I was getting the flu and called in sick to work for the first time ever. Luckily the germs got bored with me after a few days and left me alone so that I could speak with Julia Gfrorer at the Central Library as part of Multnomah County Library’s Zinesters Talking series.
Heather took this photo (which, if you click on it, will get slightly bigger) of me at a podium, discussing my comics and how I make ‘em:
If you like you can listen to a podcast of the event. It’s a bit tricky to follow in just audio format because in the talk I reference slides and images. Also I wish said "um" less. Still, I’m really happy with how my presentation went and was pleasantly surprised that I did not sweat as profusely as I had thought I would.
Now here we are in the midst of November. I’m working on a few comics projects right now. The one that’s been taking up most of time lately is "I Cut My Hair #3" which is all about my trip to China. It’s still in the planning stages but it looks like it’ll be about 40 pages when it’s done. I’m also planning and drawing daily journal pieces for "I Cut My Hair #4," and with this issue I’m trying out a few different formats apart from the 9-panel/one page one that I’ve mostly stuck to thus far. I’m also still working on getting my website completely up…choosing and scanning images and actually, um, learning how a website works. Of course in addition to all this the school year has begun and I’m adjusting to having more hours and responsibilities at both the middle and high schools where I work.
Also, I turned 26 a week ago. I’m not going to say that this makes me feel old, because truthfully that’s ridiculous, but I’m still struck by there being some significance to entering the second half of my 20s. A lot of the time I feel that I have so far to go before I get where I want to be as a cartoonist. It can be overwhelming. Regardless, I’m happy with what I’ve accomplished at 26. It makes me optimistic for the rest of my 20s (and afterward).