The webcomics blog about webcomics

It Shouldn’t Surprise You

The new year has arrived, and it with it the resumption of news, happenings, and suchlike. Forward.

  • The incredible talented hivemind known as Becky Dreistadt and Frank Gibson¹ have returned from their New Zealand sojourn and hit the ground running. You may have noticed the announcement that TKT will be back to a weekly schedule (with irregular Tigerbuttahs as time allows), following a year of many, many projects. You may have seen the blurb about the soon-to-be-released Yo Gabba Gabba! short, with an animation assist from Meredith Gran². You may have noticed a new blog wherein Dreistadt will paint and Gibson will describe a new creature every MWF until 151 of them have been painted and described, which will form the basis of a gallery show³ (for those wondering if Dreistadt can do 151 paintings in a year, last year she did 240 and in 2012 is aiming for 300).

    Would it surprise you to learn there’s more? Sources tell us that BD&FG have planned to make (or collaborate on) no fewer than four other major projects, which may or may not include:

    • book(s)
    • toy(s)
    • gallery show(s)
    • comic book cover(s)
    • a major motion picture
    • a series of wine bottle labels
    • a livery redesign for QANTAS
    • an animated series
    • sleep amounting to as much as three hours a night4

    That’s assuming that sometime during 2012, Disney/PIXAR don’t come to their senses, drive a dumptruck full of money up to BD&FG’s front door, and say, This is a retainer — just draw and write down anything that comes to mind. The Dreistadt/Gibson creative partnership has been steadily building, and this feels like the year where it blows up into a massive, sustained, public-consciousness5 success. How is such a thing possible?

  • As it turns out, the answer to that question is encoded in the Q & A session that Robert Khoo took some time from his schedule to conduct on Reddit the other day. There’s a ton of questions and answers, but the underlying current comes down to:

    How do you do what you do?

    And the answer, essentially, reduces to:

    Work harder than you ever have, longer than you ever have, and better than you ever have. Repeat forever.

    I’d submit that the most important part of that encapsulation is Repeat forever; the death of ambition to grow and improve, the lack of drive to give your audience more/better/more again will come through as indifference, which will be met by the same in your readers. Okay, yeah, sure, you could phone it in for the next couple of decades and still have people clamoring for more, but I have a feeling that’s not the kind of creator you want to be6.

    The other bit I pulled from the Khoo & A7:

    Where do you think the webcomic business will be in 5 or 10 years?
    Relying on more outside vendors that do business services specifically for independent creators.

    Word of God, folks: the future is TopatoCo.

  • Let’s tie it all together with a bit that my buddy Otter wrote today (which I will have to quote here in depth because A Girl And Her Fed — which you really should be reading — doesn’t do permalinks for blogposts):

    I have a great life.

    You guys are a huge part of it, too. I like the idea of creating something; I love the idea of creating something that exists for other people. Creating for is, to me, better than simply just creating. My life might be better because of this comic but it is also more difficult — the time I dump into this is like working a second job — and I absolutely would not pursue this if it were just me shouting across the Internet. I am not that selfless a person. [emphasis original]

    For those of you that wish to be part of the “for” group, I would be remiss were I not to point out that the first A Girl And Her Fed book, Rise Up Swearing, is now shipping. As a reminder, I wrote the foreword, but remember the sequence of events — I was thrilled to contribute because I think AGAHF is great8, not vice versa.

And that’s 2012 off to a rousing start with my footnote addiction threatening to engulf everything. Let’s do this thing.
¹ Somebody once tried to condense their names together, celebrity press style, into “Frecky”, about which the less said the better.

² Speaking with both the Gran and BD&FG halves of that equation a few months back, it sounds like a perfect mesh of talents.

³ I will be watching this one very carefully so that those creatures that I particularly like may be identified well in advance of said show, in the (perhaps vain) hope of getting in dibs when it’s time to purchase some art.

4 Obviously, some of these are red herrings, meant to throw you off the trail until announcements are made, but here’s a freebie: the sleep thing is an unachievable lie.

5 Think “Kate Beaton” for scale.

6 In nearly all cases, the only thing that your audience will pay you is their time, so you’ll have to decide if that’s a good way to make rent. But if you can you can find somebody to pay you to create in that manner, more power to you.

I mean that sincerely — ride that train as long and far as you can, as your success costs me nothing. I’ll be giving my time (and money) to creators that I can tell are stretching themselves.

7 I’m so sorry.

8 Also because Otter has threatened me, but you’ll have to read the book for the whole story.

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