This is a story about an obsession.
Once upon a time…well, when I was in grad school, I made an animated short called The Thing with No Head. It found an audience with screenings in festivals, The Walker Art Center and on Nicktoons. I made it as my B film…I think that’s what it was called, and I drew, painted and shot it traditionally. So it was drawn on acetate, painted with cell paints and shot on a 16mm animation camera. And I did it all in about 3-4 months. Produced bout 900 cells if I remember correctly.
But the animated short wasn’t quite what I wanted because of the schedule and the amount of work it takes to make traditional animation.
So I revisited it several times. Revised and redrew. Changed the pace, the character designs and the ending until I discovered what I wanted. Then I changed the format and turned it into an ebook.
It’s available in the iBook Store for $1.99. I’m glad to see it has some nice reviews coming in and sales are steady.
It’s a book that doesn’t have an obvious home in traditional publishing. It’s a Thing that fits in no one genre and has no one audience. Part comic, part graphic novel, part kids book, it is a creature that doesn’t fit anywhere.
It’s a project that is maybe too inward looking. What I mean is it’s more about me than the audience. But sometimes a project just won’t leave your head so you have no choice but to cultivate it. I worked on it between ‘real’ projects.
After talking about the book with a friend, they wondered if I should have pushed it until it fit somewhere. They pointed out that perhaps I stopped before it was ‘something’. Before it was ready to go out to the world.
That’s an interesting thought. And as a writer and illustrator I am often struck by ideas that aren’t exactly right for any one genre. It’s often depressing to feel what I do doesn’t ‘belong’. But I have realized that about myself. The work I like best isn’t work that fits neatly in a single place, unfortunately. Hopefully, in time, I will be able to construct and communicate my more personal work clearly enough that it will find a home somewhere so it can attract people who would enjoy it. The biggest downside of being outside the normal genres is – it’s nearly impossible for people who might like the work to find it. I’m happy with the book and am confident that I created the version of this idea that I wanted to – even if it’s a story that can’t find an obvious demographic.