We’re almost at the end of the year?? Already??? These years are going by way too fast now. First of all–hello, welcome to my new site redesign! If you’re reading from here, anyway. I decided it was high time this website needed a good update, and in lieu of… a lot of things, I decided to try and reclaim it for my own personal space. Before it acted as a “professional” kind of site I would occasionally blog on, now I’m hoping to transform it into my own special little space on the ‘net. It’s still a WIP in that regard! But I’ve wrangled it into something I feel much more comfortable doing that with.
So, to kick off this change, I’m here making a much more personal kind of blog. I hope to maybe make a few more of those, in the new year. We’ll see!
Before we begin, let’s rewind a bit
I’ve had this site for some time, so before diving into this year’s retrospective, I wanted to touch on the last three years. I feel like a lot in my life has changed in just those three years, and I know (for several reasons) I kept to myself for much of that time. So I’d like to look at them, briefly, to bring some context for this year.
So… oh man, 2020. I’m not gonna go over each year, they’ve become a blur, but 2020 was not great. It was not great for a lot of people, and the pandemic I think has forever shaped our minds in a lot of ways. I was shaken pretty badly that year, with the pandemic and some family struggles happening at (unfortunately) the same time. Frankly it was just not a fun time, and my response to it was just to retreat into myself. I holed myself up, perhaps for protection, I don’t know–it’s something I have a tendency to do.
The side-effect of doing this, is that I easily convince myself I’m not worth coming out of that shell. I’d say 2021 and 2022 was spent there, or at least large parts of them were. I told myself that my words were not important or worth saying, especially online. And, you know, I don’t want to say that’s true, but I’m not one for sharing everything online even in the best of times. But I felt like I was suffocating myself. And I know this harms not only me, but my relationships–friends, especially.
Since all of this, I’ve been trying very hard to pull myself out of there. It hasn’t been easy, I’ll admit, but this blog is an attempt to combat this too–and prove to myself that I am worth talking about, and that it’s okay to open every once and while.
Uh, anyway! Yeah, that’s been the last few years. Now let’s talk about this year!
2023 was such a weird year, dude
If I could chose one word to describe this year, it’d be waiting. Probably for a good two-thirds of this year felt like I was just biding my time, and that was because Lost Time only came out in October!! It was finished and shipped off to the publisher in late 2022, so I had to wait that whooooole year to finally see the book myself, and have it out in the world! I felt almost paralyzed all year–like that whole “oh man, I have an appointment at 3pm, so I can’t do anything all day”–but for an entire year. Honestly, that alone was almost unbearable.
Also yeah, a published book! Wow, let’s talk about that. Honestly, I was fucking terrified. I wish I could be more excited, but this was my first work going out to a larger audience, and I had no idea how it was going to be received. I also just had no idea how it was going to go, period. I’ve posted my work for others to read for a decade now, but that usually fell within small niche places online. This one was gonna go all out there, to people who had no prior knowledge of me. So… I’d be lying if publishing this thing didn’t cause me a bunch of anxiety this year, admittedly.
If I had another word to describe 2023, it’d be whiplash. I feel like this year has jerked me around and it will not stop! For every good thing, a bad thing would rear up, and vice versa. I’m honestly just exhausted at this point. The blows this year have been rough; we were waitlisted for Otakuthon, a local anime con and our biggest earning con, and then our cat got sick and had to have his teeth removed (the same weekend as Otakuthon, too, just to rub salt in the wound!! Thanks a lot, Pepper!!!). He’s doing fine now, but oof.
This is all coming around to a bit of a downer point here: my mental health tanked pretty badly this year. Weirdly, I think it started after I turned in Lost Time in late 2022. I actually did a LOT of comics in 2022, I counted almost 400 pages of different comics? All in that year? And that was… fun (don’t do that), but once I finished them it all came crashing around me. Nothing left to distract me with, you know? All that bad self worth came rushing in at once. With this and the shift in social media, it left me really struggling with my creative output this year.
I mean, I love making stories. I don’t know if I could ever stop making them. Sharing them has been the hard part these past lately. Between just the general fear of putting my art out there (tied heavily with the feelings I mentioned earlier), and just… good places to even post art drying up left and right, I’ve felt extremely down and confused about what to do. I’ve had to start over in many places, and I didn’t have much to begin with. So creatively… I have just been a mess this year. And it sucks. So often I just feel like what I do isn’t worth it. Or that there’s not really a point. Or that my work doesn’t resonate with people anymore. Or that it’s just plain bad. I know these are very typical things every artist will go through, but they felt especially loud for me this year. At this point, I can’t even say I’m out of the woods… it comes and goes pretty hard. I’ve tried taking breaks from art, reading/writing and engaging with other works, but it still comes back. Maybe it’s burnout? Maybe it’s some weird baggage I need to sort? I guess I’ll delve into it more and hopefully get it patched up next year.
I’m on an upswing, now, so here’s hoping it’ll last. And I don’t want this post to be only a downer!! I just wanted to finally admit to myself, and the world (aka: whoever reads this) that yeah, my brain was bad this year!! It was crappy!! I’m allowed!!
But there was good, too. So hey, here’s some good things I’m proud of this year:
- I made a lot of comics! (Maybe too much. I don’t think I’ll do that again.)
- I did TWO American conventions! The last time I attempted this (for SPX, which was one of the cons I finally got to do this year), I got turned around at the border.
- I published a book?! I guess?!?!!
- I was asked to write a little guest article where I got to blab about how cool dinosaurs and pterosaurs are.
- I hung out with friends a lot this year! Both offline and online.
- Got a new tattoo!!
- I kicked a lot of my social media habits (it helps when social media is crashing and burning).
- I updated the look of both W&W sites… twice.
- I started playing with GB Studio and pixel art to toy with making a little pixel game (I need to get back to that).
- Honestly I’ve been playing a lot more with pixel art, it’s been fun!
- I ate a lot of good food (thank you, Montreal).
- I tried linocutting. I wasn’t very good, but maybe I’ll get better.
- I wrote a bit more, and almost finished a little 30k word prose story.
- Gym was a bit spotty, but I’ve been steadily going the last few weeks after finding a closer gym, so hey!
- Played a lot of games, and watched Winter play a lot of games, which for me is just as fun.
It wasn’t all bad, basically.
Another thing I’m proud of is me and Winter’s work into Windy & Wallflower. One of our big focuses this year was shifting to more local productions, and ordering less overseas. So much of the stuff we do now is made right in Canada, some of it directly from Montreal! I think that’s really cool and special, and I want to upkeep that in the new year.
As rough as this year was, I’m looking forward to next year. I have a lot of hope, and plans! And I think that’s about all you need, really.
Thanks for reading! Like I said, I hope to make a few more posts on here in the next year, too, so look forward to that.