2013 was a big year for me! Not to make too big a deal of it, but I turned 30 in May. More importantly, it was my first full year supporting myself with freelance work. And it kind of makes sense that those two milestones coincided with one another.
It can take a long time to build confidence and skills as an artist. And it’s an even greater struggle to make any money as one. So I’m glad to have gotten through the tumultuous years of my twenties with only a few scars, bruises, and moderate psychological trauma.
I’m also overwhelmed with gratitude to all of you for your support over the years–even when I’ve doubted myself, there’s always been such a persistent positivity from you to bolster my spirits. Plus, it’s through all your online purchases on my website, Etsy, and FAB.com that I first started making any money through my work! And seriously, I was staggered by how many holiday orders I got this year during my print sale. It’s a lot of work to print and package each order myself, but it’s so, so satisfying to have such a direct connection with my fans.
Drawing the Drag Race started out as such a simple little project, so it’s particularly mind-blowing that it’s led me in so many different directions. Besides drawing Season 5 of Rupaul’s Drag Race early in the year, I returned to the “lost” first season and drew those incredible queens, too. I also did most of the art and animation for DRAGOPOLIS, a game for iOS and Android devices, illustrated some outrageous queens for the party game DRAG BALL, and even contributed a tiny bit of animation to Alaska’s debut music video Ru Girl.
So, yeah, I’ve drawn a lot of drag queens this year. Which is amazing and totally ridiculous. But besides all the reality TV drama that’s popularized queens in pop culture, it’s been fabulous to meet and befriend some of the best drag queens in Chicago since moving here in June–seeing how they work, perform, and grow gives me a much more grounded and humane look at these artists beyond the scope of reality television.
Despite all the fun of drawing the drag world, I’ll always love/hate/struggle the most with drawing my personal comics projects. My comics are what send me to my most inspired, excited places, and then they lead to the deepest, darkest existential despair when they don’t live up to my expectations.
This year, I experimented with shorter stories to work on my writing skills, hone my process, and narrow down my technique. My two favorite comics of the year are MANTA-DAD and this crazy, animated story starring Sachiko, the PART-TIME NINJA!
I’m planning a lot more of these experimental short comics for 2014, though I’d also like to develop some longer work, too. But it’s hard to say. I’ve got a very complicated relationship with my comics–sometimes we get along so well, and sometimes we fight. But I always come crawling back for more.
Also, there’s SEASON 6 of Rupaul’s Drag Race, which is a big thing. Despite all my crazy comics ambitions, you can expect to see a lot of drag queens from me in 2014, because seriously.
Thanks again for all your support in 2013! Happy New Year, and Don’t F*ck It Up.