2012 was a big year for me professionally – if for no other reason than my graphic novel Earthling! was released by Chronicle Books. It’s a book I worked on for many years. A story that went through massive changes and a project that I am happy with and not happy with all at the same moment. I also illustrated two more picture books that will be out in 2013.Busy year. Good busy.
But 2012 was really all about Earthling!. I have worked on all sorts of projects in my life. Usually playing a bit-part or smaller in some major branded piece of entertainment. The desire to captain the ship, so to speak, speaks as much about ego I suppose as desiring a challenge. And it has been a challenge. But now Earthling! is done. Out of my head and my arm is recovering from drawing 256 or so pages in 6 months.
High-point: getting that first set of proofs from China (receiving them only a few days after I OK’d final full color digital art files in San Francisco…crazy). High-point: Seeing the real book for the first time when my author copies arrived. Seeing it on the shelf at a bookstore and library.
Low-point: being told it would get coverage in the New York Times and spending a week worried beyond belief about what they would say.
High point: having a very positive review in the NYT’s! Low-point: after the review ran in the New York Times having the paperback be out-of-stock at Amazon for 7 or 8 weeks. I’m still not clear why. But at least it’s back in stock now.
And so my professional year ends as this project that dominated my life for so long is cast aside, set sail, free to wander the winds of recycling bins and library shelves for years. I guess 2012 will always be about Earthling! for me.
If you are waiting for me to write some sort of valuable lesson about what I learned from all this I suppose I could write a platitude like: The more things change the more they stay the same. Or: Never leave an open container of cheese in your house if you have monkeys.
I might say that writing or drawing a book, creating a story and releasing it to the world is a job fraught with unexpected outcomes and revelations. Ups and downs. Disappointments and high points. It’s never quite what you expect. It’s never as bad as you think. And in the end, most of the time, you live to try it all again.
Where have I read that before? It goes something like this: “It’s a dangerous business…going out your door. You set onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to”. And I believe that the road you take in creating something offers plenty of adventure too.