The Fall of 2020 – not a headline, just a blog post.

Beam Divider - extra long - by Jayel Draco
This spring I found the remnants of a rotten pumpkin from last fall. I planted it, and now one of the vine’s many flowers is fertilized. Lil bebe pumpkin bump.

THE BREAKDOWN:

Okay, so I don’t blog very much on my site. I’ve got a lot going on between managing our flagship Oneshi Press site, our site for the PACK comicbook, our site for our beloved Tracy Queen, oh the rich and ever-expanding Children of Gaia‘s site, hey did I mention the Mr. Guy: Zombie Hunter website? Phew… I’m tired just listing them, and yeah, I made and run all of those. I’ve also got a few friends’ sites that I manage and a bunch of clients’ sites… Sooooo getting around to blogging on my own site gets pushed back pretty often. That’s something I’m hoping to change moving forward. I want to do smaller updates, more often. We’ll see how that pans out.

I’ve got a couple of things to talk about here so I’m gonna break this post down into parts. First we have the INTROSPECTIVE, which is about my own personal growth and musings about the big 2020. Then I have MR. GUY UPDATES on how that project is coming along, what it’s doing and where it’s at, etc. Then we have a nice short LIL Q&A from fellow artist and indie publisher Cammry Lapka of Pugmera Studios, who had asked me some questions for a zine she was putting out, and let me reuse the interview here. Lastly we have THE WRAP-UP, with a closing note and humble-boast. I hope you enjoy it!

Beam Divider - extra long - by Jayel Draco

INTROSPECTIVE:

Well heck, I don’t know about you but for me this whole 2020 biz has been nonsense. Normally the fall is a process of getting over denial about that fact that summer has truly ended and that I’ll have to wait till next year for all those wonderful summer activities, like camping, hiking, barbequing, floating down the river with beer in an innertube… This year however, social distancing and economic pressure stopped me from doing most of that stuff anyway. Every time you check, things seem to have gone from bad to worse with the latest headlines. I’m over it. May the fall of 2020 signal the fall of the attitudes and systems that landed us here.

I also want to take this feeling that I have toward the global state of things, my own unrest and craving for real and meaningful change, and turn it inward. I know that I can’t change the world the way I see fit. However, I also know that I am part of the world and do affect those around me, who in turn affect others, and so on. It’s with that understanding that I feel empowered by making positive changes within myself.

Somtimes to stand out, you gotta grow where the grass ain’t gettin’ mowed.

I’m sure I can get a little closer to who I want to be with each new day.

Okay, so what kind of changes can I make? Well there’s some externalized behavioral changes to start with. For example, I want to search myself more deeply to make sure that I am putting my money where my mouth is. To make sure that my works speak for my viewpoints and philosophies. To make sure I’m not just ranting them into the void to make myself feel better. To make sure I’m not shutting people out when I could be reaching them. To make sure I’m part of the human community. I don’t know about you, but for me this takes constant checking in. I know from retrospective self-examination that it’s almost always the times when I feel the most righteous that I am the most narrow-minded and least effective in my desire to have a positive impact. There’s lots of reprogramming to be done here, but if I stay in the pilot seat, I’m sure I can get a little closer to who I want to be with each new day.

Then there’s the internalized behavioral changes… Yeesh… Simple things like speaking up when someone hurts me, and helping them understand how and why it was hurtful, without waiting until I’ve taken it on the nose so long that I pop and say it in a mean way. I’m learning that dealing with things as they come up can save a lot of grief in the long run. I’m learning that it’s not selfish to love myself and that it’s okay to stick up for myself when it’s appropriate. It sounds obvious and simple, but for me that was really hard to do. We all have our own challenges in self-acceptance; mine might not resemble yours, but I’m sure you have some version of this. Maybe me talking about this can help remind you to feel good about whatever path you’re taking to overcome whatever challenges you might have.

I’m learning that it’s not selfish to love myself.

I affect the world around me by being a part of it.

So for me, I choose to recap the fall of 2020 by seeing what changes, internal and external, I’ve been able to make for myself, because again, I cannot control the world around me…but I affect the world around me by being a part of it. Personally, I want to make sure that effect is as positive and beneficial as possible. That doesn’t mean working on others…that means working on myself. That’s my biggest takeaway from this year so far; hopefully that might be of some use to you. I’d love to hear your biggest takeaway from this year in the comments, if you feel so inclined.

Beam Divider - extra long - by Jayel Draco

MR. GUY UPDATES!

Mr. Guy and the Origins Comics Anthology ReLaunch fUnDed successfully at 152% of its goal on Kickstarter, 9/10/2020.

Holy Hecking Wrecking Balls! We did it, folks!

Well, as you might have heard, we failed our first run at the Mr. Guy: Zombie Hunter and Anthology #10: Origins kickstarter at 75% funded; no cards were charged. Rather than be defeated, we relaunched with a streamlined campaign aiming for 50% of our original goal and made our funding in the first 6 hours of our relaunch campaign! After we made our initial goal, we decided to sweeten the pot for all of our backers with stretch goals. With each incremental stretch goal, we added more goodies to all of our backers’ rewards packages! It wasn’t long into our campaign till we made our first stretch goal and secured the funding to make these extra three art prints to include in everyone’s shipments!

As one of our early-bird perks to encourage people to pledge as soon as possible, we offered 5 unique zombies illustrated in honor of our first 5 backers. For Stretch Goal 1.5, we decided to get these unique zombies printed as postcards and include them in everyone’s rewards packages!

One of the hardest parts about not making our goal for the first campaign was the realization that in order to relaunch successfully, we might have to sacrifice funding a print run of our 10th comics anthology: Origins. The 120-page collection of short comics features work from dozens of creators around the world. In true 2020 style, our biggest plans became our biggest failures. This was one of our sharpest learning experiences. Through deep introspection and the incredible support of our growing community of contributors and readers, we swiftly transmuted it into one of our most positive successes. Hopefully that can be a microcosmic metaphor for the state of things in general.

While we’re still barreling forward full steam ahead to get all of the books printed and art prints made, some of the rewards will be coming out as soon as all of our backers’ cards have been charged and our surveys go out and come back to us, such as the digital rewards. We still have to wait for the surveys so we can credit our backers by the names they want to use…but we won’t have to wait for those to get printed once we have that info. They can just be sent out through backerkit as downloads. In the meantime, you can check out the video of us holding up the peeps part of our deal. #ThanksJacey

Here’s video of us fulfilling the flubulscent part of Stretch Goal #2.

Oh, and here’s a lil hint of things to come:

Also, the fulfillment of our Mr. Guy kickstarter will include some first looks at our very next super-secret, ultra-fun project that we’ll be announcing soon… HINT: It involves zombies… We got some really good feedback from a bunch of people, and we’re gonna channel that into something big… We’re gonna start out on our first spin-off from Mr. Guy: Zombie Hunter, in a self-contained and interactive narrative. That means you get to be a part of this one. Stay tuned!

Beam Divider - extra long - by Jayel Draco

A LIL Q&A:

Recently, Cammry Lapka put out a call on facebook about wanting to do a Q&A with artists and writers for a digital zine she’s put out via pugmerastudio.com. I always love doing Q&As and interviews of this sort, because for me it’s an opportunity to think about things from a different angle. The questions someone else might ask me are not necessarily the questions I ask myself. It’s an opportunity for me to understand myself a bit better and hopefully to share my journey with others and give them whatever insight I might have, paying forward some of those priceless times I’ve gleaned insight from reading about other peoples journeys.

Cammry:

Where are you from?

Jayel:

Earth, Solaris, Milkyway, Multiverse, Corporeal Existence…

Cammry:

Studio you are a part of or business name?

Jayel:

I’m a proud co-founder of Oneshi Press, an independent publishing company whose passion is creating worlds, exploring dark corners, shattering taboos, and making books that give a sh!t.

Cammry:

How long have you been drawing?

Jayel:

Since I could hold a baby crayon, so nearly 40 years ago.

Cammry:

What are some of your favorite things to draw?

Jayel:

I really do love being challenged by new things. I love getting into design for this reason. Whether it’s fashion design, architecture, biology, etc…it forces me to really understand what I’m making, and that feels like forming a bond with my art. I especially love designing intricate details of things I’ve made up, because then I’m bonding with my own invention.

Cammry:

What did you struggle with the most drawing comics specifically?

Jayel:

When I first started transitioning from strictly doing single-image illustrations to also doing sequential illustrations for comics, the biggest challenge was having to streamline my workflow and layer count to something way simpler, so I could replicate the same effects on every page and keep consistency. That sort of consistency is something that a single illustration doesn’t require of you, so you can do what you want. 

Cammry:

One useful tip or piece of advice from you

Jayel:

Remember that you wouldn’t be a creator if you didn’t love it. So always keep your love for creating as your top priority. If you create because you love it, you will keep creating, and improving, and expanding your subject matter along with your reach. Keep love as your top priority and prime motivation. Anything else coming before that will likely lead to burnout.

Cammry:

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Jayel:

When I first realized it was possible…so definitely over 30 years ago.

Cammry:

What story did you work on that was the most fun?

Jayel:

All of the stories that I work on are fun for me for different reasons. I think that Children of Gaia offers the most world building and design for me to chew on, and I’ve been working on it with Chris Covelli since the mid-90s… Now we have a group working on it with us, and it’s grown into such a vast and well-built world that it feels real to me. I’m fully invested in what happens there.

Cammry:

How do you start writing an idea?

Jayel:

At best, I just close my eyes and visit the world of the story I’m writing, then come back to my desk and record what I witnessed there. It’s in the recording that there’s a lot of hard work in structure and formatting, etc. Whereas the idea of what I’m going to write is a gift I receive by opening my mind.

Cammry:

What’s your most successful book?

Jayel:

So far our first book, Children of Gaia: The Great Nations of Rendaraia has sold the most, but that may just be because it’s been around the longest. In fact we’re gonna have to figure out funding a 2nd-edition print run soon. It’s hard to say which will be the most successful in the long run, though. I just keep creating and moving forward, really.

Beam Divider - extra long - by Jayel Draco

THE WRAP-UP:

NEW HAIR WHO DIS?!

To tie it all together, look around… Notice anything different? Like…. my entire website? It was a colossal amount of work, but I redid my site here, as you can see, along with the Oneshi Press site (oneshipress.com) & the store (oneshipress.com/store), the Mr. Guy site (mrguycomic.com), the COG site (children-of-gaia.com), Lynsey’s site (lynseyg.com), and Chris’ site (polygonpusherinc.com)… Phew, a lotta work, but now they all “new hair who dis” energy, and I’m like a proud website dad. Welp, so far it’s been a year of changes if nothing else. I think we just gotta stay the course and adapt… Thanks for sticking with me!

Beam Divider - extra long - by Jayel Draco

2 thoughts on “The Fall of 2020 – not a headline, just a blog post.

  1. rosetta mcbride says:

    I think my biggest takeaway has been to be more mindful of my feelings, to just say when I don’t feel well, and to try new things like video chatting even tho it’s still a little scary and to just be ok when being left out sometimes even when it doesn’t feel so good at first I try to do something like watch a movie I really like that seems to work very well

    Reply
  2. Mary Madsen says:

    I love this quote from your post above: “I cannot control the world around me…but I affect the world around me by being a part of it.” knowing that we affect the world around us (no matter what) feels incredibly important to me, and I notice all too many people not understanding that piece of it… The biggest thing i’ve learned in 2020 is how uneducated I am about America (unfortunately). We (George and I) are actively reading and re-educating ourselves about all that came before on this land to the best of our abilities. With that information we hope to be able to engage more aptly in conversations around race, environmental awareness, and the histories of our country…. Thanks for sharing your 2020 journey, and all the projects your woking on!!

    Reply

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