Two things…

First thing:

So Tamarack Lane has been online for a year now. Chapter one is probably more than half-way done and I can see how it is going to wrap up. At least I think I do. It is funny how often things will change from when you first map a story out to when you actually start drawing it. Creating comics isn’t as easy as it may look. Trying to find the time to create something of substance can be a challenge in its own right let alone trying to piece together the time to make it as good as I can. Note that I said, “as good as I can” instead of “perfect”. I’ve finally learned that there is no “perfect” panel or page. There will always be something in my drawings I can point out as “inaccurate or messy”. It’s not just obsessing over the details of how it looks but the same thing goes when it comes to the story structure. In the hours of making something that comes from the heart there is a lot of opportunity for self-doubt to creep in. I’m an expert at self-doubt. I’m an expert of being embarrassed of my work and at times of who I am. Which is really all about fear. It’s something I’ve had to struggle with all my life – battling fear. Part of what Tamarack Lane is about is just that – facing fear. It’s also about facing failure or perhaps, more accurately the risk of it. I think, however, the biggest themes you’ll find in Tamarack Lane have to do with acceptance. Acceptance of the faults inside us, accepting that we are not perfect beings and acceptance of who we are. Who we truly are. Also, accepting that there are forces out there that are stronger than you out there. Understanding that is one step. Understanding that you might not be able to change those forces is another. Acceptance of that concept is the real test, and how you deal with that test as it keeps coming at you in various forms, is just as important. That is the gateway to true growth.

The last few years in my life have been jam-packed with tests. I’ve moved (several times), started a challenging job, have gotten married, and had a beautiful baby girl who is now two years old. And… I started this comic. Lots of tests, lots of opportunities to face fear and find acceptance. Some of these tests I have failed miserably and others I have passed with flying colors. But pass or fail, I have learned from these experiences and I believe I have become a better, stronger person. Just like in comic – if you look at Sam on page 1, and then look at him on page, say, 64, you see a very different looking character. Even though the story has only taken place over a few days, the actual work involved in creating it has taken over a year. In that time, the characters have changed in appearance a bit. It couldn’t be helped. They needed to change as my drawing improved, and they had to start appearing like the characters that were growing and emerging from my mind. In other words: as their voices grew solid and more confident, so did the digital ink lines that represented them. For example, Sam went from a wiry, droopy guy with a head shaped like an olive, to a man with a decent build and a stronger jawline. Chapter one is an experiment in many ways trying to see what works best in installments, what looks best on the page, how that effects story structure, and so on. And while it continues to take on its shape and find a solid form it also mirrors my own life in ways. This comic has become, not only a way to express myself and feed my fragile ego but it has also become a document in lots of unexpected ways of my own inner growth. And that’s what Tamarack Lane is really about. Hopefully, you’ll stick around for the ride and hopefully I will never forget how to entertain you along the way!

Second thing:

What “weekly updates” means…

Since late last fall, I have had a lot on my plate (I’ve always hated that saying but I’m using it anyway)   aside from being the Director of a district library, I have a wife recovering from back surgery and a two-year old daughter who is, well, she’s two. That should say it all. And I have this comic that I love and want to continue. I forced the “twice a week” updates on myself so I could learn some discipline with timelines and make sure I could tell a story in shorter amount of time. I have a lot of stories to tell you see, and I’m not getting any younger! But for now, I need to scale it back to once a week. I thought I would bound right back after my holiday break but that’s not the reality of it. I have to work on several things at once right now and I want to make sure that Tamarack Lane doesn’t suffer because of it. I want it to keep growing in the right direction and the best way to do that is a page a week for a while. Because it isn’t going anywhere and it WILL get better and better. You can count on that.

As always, thank you for reading and if you’re a fan: thank you, thank you, thank you.

 

J.

 

New page tomorrow (Friday)