Monday, October 25, 2021

Roadmap Revision

 I hope you've been enjoying OcTOONber! I've been having a blast experimenting with all sorts of different art styles! The month is coming to a close, which means this year's daily drawing challenge is almost over, and November is right around the corner. With no further beating around the bush, let's talk about NaNoWriMo…

My plan had been to complete a 30 page rough draft of a brand new graphic novel during the month of November, 2021. I have decided however to postpone it until next year. As much as I was looking forward to completing both Inktober and NaNoWriMo, I realized this morning that I'm already having a challenging time keeping up with my drawings. That in turn has meant less time to prepare for next month. I could still make an attempt, but I fear it might result in burnout, frustration, less time for my family, and a sub-optimal experience overall. So instead, I'm going to reduce my workload to help ensure we finish the year on a high note.

I feel good about this decision. I'm only sorry if I have disappointed anybody who was looking forward to seeing the story I come up with, or who may even have been planning on participating along with me. But I will commit to you now that I will participate next year, for NaNoWriMo 2022! To make sure I give myself plenty of time and energy for it, I will participate in Inktober next year in a much more limited capacity; I'll take a few pen and ink commissions and maybe do a few other drawings that tickle my fancy. But for the most part, I will be preparing for NaNoWriMo. Then, my plan is to alternate year to year: one year I will fully participate in Inktober and make a goal to complete one drawing for each day (possibly following a daily prompt), and the next year I will do NaNoWriMo instead, and focus on completing a sizeable writing goal.

With all that said, I'll still be keeping busy during the month of November. The current chapter of Aww, Feathers! is just wrapping up. So my goal is that for the rest of 2021, I will have a comic to share with you every week, whether that be related to Aww, Feathers! or something else fun! In fact, that's a goal I would like to meet for all of next year as well, so this should be good practice!

That's all for now. Thanks for reading! And thanks for understanding. I don't look at this as a failure, but rather an adjustment. The only true failure is the failure to learn.

Friday, October 1, 2021

Roadmap for Q4 2021

Hey there! I've been looking at what's coming up for the rest of 2021 and even into the next year and decided it would be good to share an update on what's coming.

Aww, Feathers!

The latest chapter of Aww, Feathers! is well underway. I hope you're enjoying it! This one will be relatively short compared to other chapters though, so it will be finished by the end of the year. There will be another gap between the end of this chapter and the start of the next one. As of this writing, I don't have a reliable estimate of when the next chapter will begin, as I have quite a bit of family-related business to take care of over the coming months (don't worry, it's nothing bad; we're all doing quite well). While I plan to work on the next chapter a little each day so as to keep the wheels turning, it will probably not be ready until the first quarter of next year.

This will in all likelihood be the pattern moving forward: I will work on a chapter of Aww, Feathers! and only start posting it after the whole chapter is complete. Then while that chapter is being published one page per week, I will take a small break and then begin work on the next chapter. This means there won't be any more unexpected breaks in the middle of chapters, but it does mean there will usually be at least some delay between chapters. I'll be sure to let you all know when it looks like each chapter will be finished.

It would be super if I could release every week--maybe even more than once per week--without any gap between chapters. I hope to get to that point some day, but there are just so many other life responsibilities that need to be prioritized. The good news is, I will still have content to share each week.

I have some bonus comics planned to help fill the gap between chapters that will take much less time to complete, but still be a fun interlude. Some will involve characters from Aww, Feathers! and some will feature my own family. I also plan to reformat some older comics from the archive to make them more mobile-friendly and share them to social media. (To long-time readers of the comic, don't worry; I won't do more than one old chapter at a time between new chapters.) In addition, I hope to have a few guest comics to share. Which brings me to...

Guest Comics

I've hosted a number of Aww, Feathers! guest comic events over the years, and every time I'm always blown away by the creativity shown for each one. Now, we're going to do it again! If you're interested in creating a comic that takes place in the world of Aww, Feathers! featuring one or more of the characters from the comic, I'd love to see what you can do! Please take a look at the submission guidelines, and then plan to have your guest comic finished by the beginning of the new year. The soft deadline for submission is currently January 1, 2022. So you've got a few months to work on your creations! And if you need a little bit of practice or inspiration, I may have just the thing...


Yes, that's right! I'm once again participating in the Inktober daily drawing challenge, although like last year, I've put my own twist on it:

For a number of years, I've been fascinated by the simple and streamlined yet fun and endearing styles of various comics, TV shows, and games. I'd love to try a few of those styles myself, and then see what new techniques I could incorporate into my own art. If something like that tickles your fancy, feel free to join along! I didn't assign any specific cartoon style to specific days, but I did provide a list of ideas. Pick one from the list or choose from your own favorites, look up some artwork from that style, determine what makes that style unique, and then create your own drawing based on that style!

I think this will be a fun experiment! Still, I don't think I'm quite busy enough. What else can I do to kill some time...


Well, twist my arm, I guess I'll write a novel!

Joking aside, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) has been on my radar for years now. I love telling stories, and I've loved using Aww, Feathers! as one outlet for telling those stories. And not to worry, it's not going anywhere; I still have plenty more stories to tell in that universe! But, there are also stories I want to tell that don't fit with the comic. So this year I've decided to participate in NaNoWriMo to bring one of those stories to life. I've already written about my plans for NaNoWriMo in a previous news post, but the highlights are that my plan is to write the rough draft for a 30 page graphic novel that contains a complete story, start to finish. I'll share the finished draft when it's complete, but I will also be sharing the writing and creation process with my patrons, so if you'd like to follow along that journey with me and also gain access to other patron-exclusive benefits, join my Patreon at the Awwthusiast level or above!

That's all folks! Mostly...

Phew! After all that, I will finally be taking a bit of a break just in time for the holidays! I won't be completely inactive; by that time I plan to be making incremental progress on the next chapter of Aww, Feathers! and also doing a few art commissions. Mostly though, I will be taking what I'm sure will be a well-deserved rest, spending time with family, and getting myself pumped up for a new year!

That's what I've got planned for the rest of the year. I'm sure it will be a challenge, but I'm excited to experiment with some new things, push myself, and share my creations with you all!

Monday, September 13, 2021

NaNoWriMo 2021!

I'm excited to formally announce my participation in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) this year! NaNoWriMo is a yearly challenge for writers to complete a first draft of their novel in one month. Traditionally, it takes place during the month of November, and the goal is to aim for around 50,000 words. However, the most important thing is to motivate yourself to (1) form a regular writing habit, and (2) complete a story from start to finish.

As for myself, I've done a significant amount of writing for Aww, Feathers! However, my own writing habits could definitely be improved. In addition, while I've certainly written multiple chapters for the comic, many of which could be considered self-contained mini-stories, Aww, Feathers! itself does not currently have a planned ending (spoiler alert). So while I will definitely be continuing Aww, Feathers!, I would also like to try my hand at writing other things, including something that has a definite beginning and end.

While there is still time to change what I'll be working on, my plan for now is to be a little out-of-the-box and write a graphic novel during the month of November. So instead of 50,000 words, I will be aiming for a rough draft of 30 pages (or more). That includes text, panels, and rough sketches, but not necessarily finished line-work or colors. Also, the story itself could potentially be revised or changed significantly after that point. But the important thing is, it will be a complete story!

I am excited to participate in NaNoWriMo this year, and I'm also excited to share that journey with you! I plan to share the story I write once it is complete. However, I will also be sharing each step of the process on Patreon! Everyone at the Awwthusiast level or higher will get to see my progress, including weekly exercises leading up to the month of November, notes about the story and where it's headed, and best of all, access to each page as it comes out! So if you'd like to watch as this brand new story takes shape, make sure to join to get your exclusive access to this, as well as other patron benefits!

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Helping those in Afghanistan

I’ll keep this brief and as neutral as I can, as I feel this transcends politics and is something anyone can get behind.

My heart is aching for those fleeing the Taliban in Afghanistan. I don’t understand why the deadline was set for August 31st. Every news source I’ve listened to, conservative or liberal, reports that there are still many who need to be evacuated, and that there is no indication that we will have enough time. I’m asking everyone to please contact your representatives and ask them to urge President Biden to push back the deadline for leaving the country at least long enough to bring to safety all of our troops, United States citizens, Afghani citizens who aided us during the war and their families, and those fleeing the country for fear of violence or loss of freedom from Taliban rule. Ask them to make this a priority, and to set aside all other issues for the time being until this gets done. After all, there is less than a week remaining before the deadline.

It may seem like a small thing. But every voice matters, and it can be done in an afternoon.

Find and contact your House Representative:

Find and contact your Senators:

Contact the President/Vice President:

Contact the Speaker of the House:

Contact Senate Majority Leader, Chuck Schumer:

Contact Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell:

Call the White House:
(This is the comment line. When I called, I didn’t get a voicemail, but rather spoke with a live operator. So keep your comments brief and respectful. I’m not totally sure their hours, but they opened today at noon eastern time, so I assume that’s the norm for weekdays.)

If you’re not sure what to say, you’re welcome to use this as a starting point, though I encourage you to phrase it in your own words, and feel free to add, remove, or change anything you like:

Dear [Representative/Senator Name],

My name is [your name], and I’m a resident of [city, state]. I’m worried about those fleeing the Taliban in Afghanistan. I’m asking you to please urge President Biden to push back the August 31st deadline in order to give us ample time to bring to safety all U.S. troops and citizens, Afghani citizens who aided us during the war and their families, and those fleeing the country for fear of violence or loss of freedom from Taliban rule. I ask you to make this a priority.

I know there are many important issues that need to be addressed. But please, set those aside for the time being and focus on bringing those people to safety. Use all your resources and influence until this gets done. There will be time to talk about infrastructure, immigration, taxes, and even the pandemic. But there is less than a week remaining until August 31, so I believe this issue to be the most urgent and that it should take precedent.

I welcome a response, but only if you have the time. Thank you for the important work you’re doing, and thank you for taking the time to read.

[your name]

If nothing else, please pray for the safety of those in Afghanistan, that they might have peace, and that our world leaders will be able to make wise decisions.

Thanks for reading. Times may be dark, but I don't want to wallow in that darkness. I want to do whatever I possibly can to help, and then try to brighten the day. To that end, I'll see you again on Tuesday with the next Aww, Feathers! update.