Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Hey Abnormals, Scallywags and Boners. I've got something I need to talk to you all about. Before we start, just in case you’re in a hurry, let’s get this out of the way:
TLDR? The comic will now update facing pages, once a week, on Mondays. Also, I’m open for commissions.
Great, now that we’ve got the hard part out of the way, let’s sit down more calmly and I’ll explain what’s going on here.
2014 has been a crazy year for us, the comic is doing great and I’m very happy with The Bonebreakers overall. But underneath it all, things haven’t exactly been running smoothly, and our problems have reached a point where we’ve had to make some difficult decisions. It’s been an especially bad year for Dern, who’s basically been on a health roller coaster since pretty much January.
Earlier this month I posted a comment under one of the comics where I spoke about how one of the most complicated aspects of our company is that we can’t really help each other out. Dern’s job is to manage the business aspect of everything we do, and my job is to produce art. But if one of us, for some reason or another can’t do what he’s supposed to do, the other one can’t just step in and help him out. Dern lives in California, USA. And I live in Medellin, Colombia. So these health problems have basically thrown a wrench into our project gears, and our pending Kickstarters have all been held back for a while. All we can really do is wait for things to get better.
But here’s the problem: they haven’t been getting better.
Now before anybody gets worried, please know that there’s no need for such things. Dern isn’t dying or anything of that sort. I realize I’m being vague and mysterious not specifying exactly what these “health problems” are, but let us respect a man’s privacy and just leave it at “they’re not life-threatening, but they’re not exactly good for productivity, either”.
Still, better is better - and worse is worse.
Dern’s has my full support and my best wishes for him to overcome everything he’s going through - he’s one of my best friends, like a brother. I want to point out, before there’s any speculation, that there are no problems, arguments, fights or anything of the sort between us. I love the guy, but what he needs right now is to be able to recover, get better and then focus on finishing our pending projects.
Then, of course, there’s me. Fortunately my life is pretty simple. I’m a single man, without any children or anybody to take care of. Sure enough, I’ve got 4 cats, but that’s as far as it goes. Still, I’ve got rent and bills to pay, and food to buy. Plus an intern, a paid intern. I can’t just fire her because times are tough (she has a contract).
Our work in SCALLYWAGS Int. was my main source of income since 2010, a fact I’m immensely proud of. I’ve always been a teacher “on the side”, but those jobs don’t really make as much money, so those have always been a little something extra. I used to teach digital illustration and character design at night in two different institutes, but one of them has failed to pay me for several months now. That, of course, is an entirely different problem altogether. A problem that might eventually involves lawyers and such. But the main issue there is that I quit, and up until a couple of weeks ago my plan was just to depend on SCALLYWAGS entirely.
But there’s a little problem there, and it’s that the webcomic doesn’t really generate any money on its own. Mostly, it’s the Kickstarter projects that provide our income. With several Kickstarters backed up we can’t really start any new projects, and if we can’t start anything new then there’s no new money coming in. And without the money from my teaching jobs, I really have to find an alternate source of income. You know, to survive.
Fortunately I've got other things I can do, like commissions. The problem there is that The Bonebreakers is a full-time job, and I have to admit that I can’t continue working on it the same way and work on commissions enough to make a decent living off of them. So something's gotta give, and that something is going to have to be the webcomic.
This is a really difficult decision for me, I’ve been making this webcomic for almost ten years now. Ever since September 10th 2004, I haven’t missed a single, solitary update. This webcomic isn’t just part of my life, in many it’s as if it were my life. But that’s exactly what I’m trying to focus on here, that “as if” part. I’m an artist, I can do other things. I’m not limited to the webcomic, and as long as I can continue to make art and make a living off of it, I’m happy.
I won't be shutting down the webcomic - of course not. I’m just going to slow it down. We’ve been updating three pages a week, at a level of visual quality that few webcomics can handle (even if I do say so myself). What I’m gonna do is just cut back to two pages a week. Facing pages. And we’ll update them together as one, on Mondays.
The rest of the week I’ll be working on commissions and whatever project turns up. I’ve always taken pride in the fact that I am a very adaptable person. I can adjust to survive. And I like to think that change, however painful, has the potential to be the best thing that can happen to me - if I embrace it. And so I will. I want to use this opportunity to focus on my art, make some incredible, mind-blowing images and perhaps even broaden my artistic horizons a bit.
Like I said, I prefer to embrace change, to be excited by the possibilities it brings.
And so, that’s it. During this week I’ll be changing the site to reflect its new nature. On Mondays I’ll be posting the comic pages, but the rest of the week I’ll be posting art, and art-related things. I’ll share images of how different images are coming along, and I’ll occasionally write about a few art-related subjects. I’ve always wanted to make tutorials, video experiments, weird projects and such, and I guess this is as good a time as any to go ahead and try it out. So if the comic’s all you care about, I’ll see you on Mondays. But if, on the other hand, you’re more interested in the artistic aspect of my life, then I promise there will be new content for you almost daily.
So that’s the state of things, the news and what’s going to happen. For now. Who knows what’s gonna happen tomorrow? I’ll be honest and admit that I’m excited and giddy about starting something different. Change is good.
Now, if you’d like to help in some way, here’s what you can do: If you’re interested in commissioning artwork, then go ahead and send me an email. The contact link’s right there (on the left). I’ll reply with some info, quotes and such and we can take it from there.
As for Dern, I ask of you all to just be patient. The man needs some time to get better, and the best way to help is to just let him get better. That’s really all he needs, and it’s the best we can do.
And that’s it. I’ll be modifying the website during the rest of this week, as I answer emails and organize any commissions that come in. There will be a page dedicated exclusively to commissions where you can read more about the process, but feel free to send an email right away if you’re interested, because this works in a first come - first served basis.
I’d like to thank all of you. If I have your support, I thank you for it. If I don’t, well, I also thank you for at least caring enough about the comic to not be happy about it. I’m still going to be here, making art. I hope you stay along for this new ride.
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