August 2011

08.28.11

Today is our 1st wedding anniversary. I'm really happy that we got perfect weather last year instead of this horrible hurricane.

BTW, all is well in Boston though we're getting some really strong gusts. The MFA (where I work) decided to close today and the T (public transportation) shut down at 8 am this morning.

Anyway, I guess we won't be able to go to the top of the Pru for dinner like we had planned!

Some wedding pictures that I didn't post last year:

Jen

08.27.11

As you may have heard, the east coast of the United States is bracing itself for hurricane Irene. I have been pretty nonchalant about the whole thing. This is all I've done to prepare: bought beer, three quarts of water (mainly for Chloe, the bunny), a loaf of bread, and reluctantly... a jar of peanut butter. I really hated that I was going grocery shopping again b/c I was trying to dwindle down my food supply since I'm going to be moving back to NYC next Saturday.

Anyway, Boston seems to be a lot calmer about the hurricane than New York, though I think it's because the hurricane is supposed to be turning toward western Massachussetts- a region that experienced tornadoes this spring!- before it gets here. In New York I'm seeing crazy stories and pictures from friends about people raiding the super markets, fighting in long lines to get to the cashier, and being unable to find supplies like water or Lay's potato chips. To be honest, I thought for a while that perhaps New Yorkers were overreacting until I found out that the MET is actually closing their doors this weekend.... they didn't even do that for the blizzard this past winter. So yeah, if the Met is closing then I know this hurricane means business! =P

After I heard about the Met closing I also found out that the subway system in NYC is shutting down around noon today, which means the city will essentially be paralyzed. Certain zones were evacuated last night. I learned that my new apartment back in NYC is in Zone B, which was close to being evacuated, but I think it should be fine since our unit is on the top floor and very close to the much more elevated "Zone C."

So this is all pretty exciting. Part of me wishes I was in New York to weather out the storm with friends but I'm happy to be in Boston where it doesn't seem like we'll be hit nearly as badly. Plus, I really like it here and want to make the most of the time I have left.

I'm also feeling very lucky that my wedding was last year and not this year. (Our anniversary is on Sunday- tomorrow!)

Jen

08.26.11

Sorry I've been bad about updating this blog. HOWEVER, if you join the CLV fb group or follow me on Twitter it would be like hearing news from me ALL ZE TIME. On Twitter and the fb page I also post artwork that I do not post on here- so that's another incentive to join/follow!

(BTW it's not that I'm purposely holding out on updating the blog to get you to joing my fb group or follow me on twitter... it's just that micro-blogging requires less effort! I'm still trying to update this blog at least once a week though).

I've built up my comics buffer considerably, as I've told you, but it has dwindled a bit since I visited Edouard and my in laws in France last week. I would have probably been better about keeping up with the buffer but I found out recently that it is becoming more likely that I will go to Egypt in the Fall, which means I want to spend as much quality time with Edouard as I can (this means not spending all of my free time on my laptop). The drop in my buffer is stressing me out a little, but not as much as the prospect of being away from Edouard for 9 weeks.

In other news, I think my French is improving. I'm able to have conversations with people in French (albeit limited conversations) and people don't automatically switch to English when they hear me speak anymore! In fact, when it was revealed that I am American, the two strangers I was talking to complimented me on my accent (b/c apparently, Americans are thought to have particularly bad French accents... they told me so =/ ).

Jen

08.13.11

I'm not even sure how I screwed up this one...

So the comic showing on GoComics right now (which I'm hoping will be fixed soon) is totally a comic that is supposed to air NEXT Saturday. I'm not sure how the order could have gotten that messed up, especially considering that the other times I screwed up the order, it was usually only a matter of 1 or 2 days... but there you have it.

On this site, however, you have the correct comic- so fear not!

I have a feeling that I'm struggling more with the comic order this summer is b/c I'm also working rigorously on creating a large buffer for my comic. Before, I would maybe be a week and a half ahead tops. This meant that when I found and fixed mistakes, it was easier to keep track of how it needed to be renamed.

However, now I am almost 8 weeks ahead in my comic, which means that editing older work is a lot more difficult to keep track of. Anyway, I hope I get the hang of having a large buffer soon so that I don't keep messing this up and making the narrative (loose though it may be) confusing.

FYI- the reason why I'm working on building a large buffer is to prepare for the chance that I'm going to Egypt this fall for an excavation. I was told that I would be there any time between 5 to 10 weeks, and seeing as how tiring being in the field is going to be, I figured it would be wise to have a significant buffer so that I wouldn't feel the pressure of having to make a new comic every day. I don't know what's going on with the excavation yet, because of all of the confusion with Egypt's governmental structure. I'll keep ya'll posted though.

Jen

08.3.11

So last night I watched an episode of The Wonder Years, which brought back a very painful memory for me: math class.

It is no secret that I do not like math. I can think of many reasons why math and I do not get along, but I think the primary reasons are that I don't have the natural ability for it, and because I think it's insufferably boring. Anyway, the severe lack of interest meant that I didn't always try very hard, which meant I went through numerous exams panicking. There are no short clips of The Wonder Years on YouTube, but if you click here and fast forward to about 4:05, you'll see the scene that triggered so many vivid memories of me sitting in my math class wanting to puke before an exam.

Before watching that episode, I almost forgot about the extent to which math tortured me and how bad it made me feel about myself... particularly since at the time, I- along with a lot of other sheltered youths- adopted the mindset that people who are good at math are smart and people who are bad at math are stupid. If I could go back in time and tell myself anything, I would tell myself that I am not dumb.

Jen

08.1.11

Today I'm going to share 10 cartooning/web comicking "pro tips." I'm well aware that some of these tips have been shared by others before me, but if I'm repeating them they're obviously important. So here we go:

1) Update regularly. Irregular updates will not only cause you to lose your current and potential readers, but it will also make you less motivated and throw you off in terms of your storytelling. Keeping the momentum is important!

2) If you decide to go digital, make sure you're comfortable with your new tools. Using a Wacom tablet- or any kind of tablet- is difficult to master. I drew with my Wacom every day for 2 months before I was comfortable enough to use it for CLV. I had to get used to how the stylus interacted with my tablet and more importantly, how to get used to drawing without looking at my hand.

3) Network! And by networking, I don't mean joining Twitter and pimping out your webcomic with every tweet. Networking means exchanging ideas, thoughts, and being supportive . This is the best way to meet friends and business partners who will help you improve and promote your work.

4) Don't be a dick. By that I mean: don't be cocky and don't talk behind other people's back. It's not nice and the comics industry is a lot smaller than it seems to be. Word gets around pretty fast and if you're a jerk, people are going to know it and not like you.

5) Don't be defensive! When a reader or another creator sends you constructive criticism, don't get defensive (especially if you asked for a critique). There's always room for improvement, and the writer/artist who doesn't listen will not grow and mature as a creator. This does not mean you have to follow everybody's advice on how to improve your comic- all it means is to listen to what other people have to say. Some things may not work for you, but other things may improve your comic immensely.

6) Try not to take things too personally/don't let the jerks ruin your day. I often struggle with this one. I have a lot of very supportive readers, but every once in a while somebody has to send me a nasty, unconstructive e-mail about how much I suck. This often proceeds to ruin my day... and I forget that I have thousands of other readers who enjoy the work I put out. Then I remember: "I can't possibly please everybody. Some people are just born to troll." If you draw a webcomic (or do anything on the internet, really), encountering trolls is inevitable. On the plus side, trolls will prepare you for a life in academia, should you decide to pursue that as well. Just kidding... (maybe)...

7) Draw and write because you really want to. There are going to be days when creating is just too emotionally draining. Maybe someone sent you a crappy e-mail that morning, or maybe you feel that not enough people appreciate your work. This is when you have to stop and remember that you're not creating for other people. You're doing it because you love it. This is what will keep you going. That and coffee.

8) Write/draw what you like and for no one else. It's tempting to go with whatever you think will bring in the largest audience or what your established fan base will love. However, once you start doing that, you're creating for other people and not for yourself. You risk losing your passion- your work will suffer and you will feel like a dirty dirty whore. The internet is vast. There are other people who share your unique sense of humor and perspective on life. Isn't that a comforting thought?

9) Remember that fans and haters alike will sometimes misinterpret what you intended with your various story arcs and punch lines. While this can be frustrating, don't sweat it. This is kind of related to my "dont' be defensive" mantra- it is what it is and there is something cool about being able to see your comic from somebody else's perspective (even if they are wrong =P ).

10) Read other comics, online and in print. People get inspired by other people.

Have a nice day!

Jen