Admitting Defeat & Starting Anew

Since I’ve been kind of quiet on the blog lately, you may be able to discern that I’ve been extremely busy. I’m still getting used to my workload for my new job, and the adjustment period has been interesting. Don’t get me wrong–I absolutely love what I do. But I think I love it so much I don’t realize that I’m managing my time poorly (and spending too much time grading).

That being said, I’d had to waive the white flag of defeat. At this point, I’m unable to devote as much time as I need to on the MOOC on Comics. Hopefully they’ll offer the course again, when I’m well-adjusted enough to balance my time a little bit better.

Lately, I’m mostly been enveloping myself in getting back in touch with other forms of art I’ve had to set aside while I pursued higher education. I’ve reacquainted myself with my violin, and even helped a friend set hers up. I bought a ukulele and have been slowly teaching myself the major and minor chords. Most of my time with the ukulele has been sewing, though. I just finished making a gig bag from scratch. And now I’m in total Halloween mode.

With respect to drawing and comics, I’ve taken to sketching things I see in real life. This happened a lot during my Orientation process at my new job. Sketching and doodling helps me focus, and thankfully my colleagues knew that some people are like this and didn’t think I was rude. As a result, I sketched a lot of the speakers, and gave those sketches away.

The sketching has been really relaxing and is helping me practice more real-life drawing. Which brings me to my next endeavor:

The Sketchbook Project.

Brought to my attention by a friend and fellow artist, I immediately fell in love with the concept of getting a sketchbook and filling it with whatever I wanted–and then having that sketchbook go on and live it’s life in an Art Library. How cool is that?

My plan is just to carry the notebook around and sketch people and things that I see from day to day life. I’m trying to keep this simple, because if I get too ambitious I’ll probably bonk and have to start over. I should be getting my sketchbook in the mail in a few weeks. I’ll keep you all updated on my progress.

As for my writing life, I’m still keeping up with my weekly column at The Drunken Odyssey: Gutter Space, where I write mini-reviews about webcomics and graphic novels. I’ve also been doing some research on a full-scale graphic novel I’d like to write. Part of me thinks I could use NaNoWriMo as a springboard for getting this project off the ground, and part of me realizes I may be getting ahead of myself. Baby steps.

More updates in the future, and more accountability!

Three Exciting Updates!

A lot of really awesome things have happened recently, so it’s about time I updated about some of them.

  • A few months after earning my MFA in creative writing, I’ve also earned a graduate certificate from the University of Denver Publishing Institute. While I was there, I had the wonderful opportunity of meeting with several comics nerds, including the editor of Minimum Paige and representatives from Fantagraphics and Dark Horse. To say my little comics-loving heart was in heaven is a gross understatement.
    (If anyone has questions about DPI, I’d be more than happy to chat with you about the program. In short: it was one of the best months of my life.)
  • I’m now a writer at The Drunken Odyssey–each Wednesday, my column, Gutter Space, will be updated with a review or commentary on an indie or webcomic (no superhero comics). You can read the first installment here! If you have any suggestions for comics I should review, please send them my way!
  • In an earlier post about my panel presentation on Comics as Legitimate Literature at the AWP 2013 Boston Conference, I mentioned how our panel room was jam-packed and we had people sitting in the aisles. Let’s see if we can do that again! I’m thrilled to announce that I’ll be presenting at AWP 2014 Seattle, this time on “Building a Space For Comics in the Creative Writing Program”! I’ll probably be talking about my role as a student in an MFA program and how writing/drawing comics was received by my colleagues (and the administration), among other things.

In the next few weeks, I’ll also be starting my new big-girl job as a full-time professor of freshman composition. I’m super excited. Once I get into the swing of things, I’m hoping to get back to my weekly updates as I keep working through different comics textbooks and teaching myself how to become a sequential artist!

In the meantime, I’ve put together a handy list of literary magazines and journals that accept comics and graphic narrative submissions. If you notice anything missing from that list, please let me know so that I can keep that page updated! Please feel free to use and share this list, but please link back to me if you do. Thanks!