Wow, it’s been a crazy year for me! As we roll into 2024 I wanted to take a moment to contemplate and thing about this last year as well as plan and look forward to the new year.
A lot has happened with me and my family in 2023. Here’s some of our highlights:
In January we finished building our home and moved in. Building was one of the most awful experiences of my life and the stress was so bad I almost ended up in the hospital. We’re talking panic attack so bad I thought I was going to die. But we made it through and we moved in. Our house is wonderful, and we cross our fingers every day that it holds up so we don’t have to contact our builder or their subs ever again. So far, so good (In general.) It’s nice to have a home of our own again and our kids back into a stable environment again.
The metal printing business I started got mismanaged into the ground. Right after the fiasco of building our home we became aware that the business partner who took over my metal printing company, Kubo, was not a good businessman. I started the little business in our basement in the summer of 2022, brought on business partners and then realized Jacob and I didn’t have the time to do it. One of the business partners took over with an air of competence and big dreams. Big dreams, yes. Competence, no. Busy with building our home and assured that things were taken care of, Jacob and I didn’t realize that Kubo was going into the hole financially every month, employees weren’t getting paid on time, and artists were being taken advantage of. Just about every aspect of the business was so badly mismanaged that it made me physically ill. When Jacob and I started stepping in trying to clean up the books and make sure we were honoring contracts and agreements we were faced with complete contempt saying we were just getting in the way.
In the end, we parted ways with Kubo back in June and are no longer associated with it. Thousands of hours and thousands of dollars were lost. We gained a lot of experience, and that’s what we tell ourselves whenever Kubo comes up as a coping mechanism. *pained laughter*. Sorry great-great grandpa Kubo for tarnishing our family name. We take those experiences with us into the future and we are hopefully a little wiser for it.
I finally got a diagnosis for my chronic illness. In April, I was finally diagnosed with CIRS – Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome. With this new knowledge, I have made significant improvements in my health. I’ve taken steps to heal from decades worth of damage, as well as learn to avoid and remove triggering substances. This is the first winter that I haven’t bedridden from anxiety and depression. Instead I have had more energy and happiness than ever and I’m looking forward to all the things I can do instead of lamenting all the things I can’t. It’s such a huge improvement it’s hard to describe. I do still have hard days here and there, but we’re talking one day out of ten instead of 8 out of ten. This Thanksgiving I actually felt the joy of gratitude, which is not something I have felt in a long, long time. I’ve felt grateful, yes. But not the joy that comes with it until this year. Life is beautiful, guys.
If you struggle with chronic illness and depression and you’re looking for a way out, please feel free to reach out to me. Maybe I can help or get you resources that might help you!
I discovered my children have my same illness. After figuring out what I have, I had a pretty strong hunch that my kids have it as well as it is genetic. In November did some tests and they exhibit a lot of the same allergies that I have. I’m working with them to improve their health, which I’m capable of doing now that I’m feeling so much better!
Eldair Book 4 Crowdfunding Campaign. I ran a campaign for the first time in 2 years and it was a huge success. We had 200 backers and raised over $12,000 between Backerkit and Kickstarter. Thanks to all my experience running and fulfilling campaigns, I got it fulfilled in record time and did it with reduced costs and higher profits. Thanks to that, I have some extra money to fund some cool projects in 2024.1.8
I started GMing TTRPgames with my kids.
I’m still not very good at it, but my kids and the cousins think I’m awesome. Maybe I’ll finally gain cool Aunt status now that I don’t just lay on the couch in a sick haze and instead take kids on epic adventures hunting dragons.
My husband and I started doing AI art.
We got a massive computer back in January to use for creating AI art. Over the last year we’ve learned to make our own models using my artwork and then used it to create backgrounds for comic panels, assist me in creating new art pieces, and create resources for comic pages like patterns, textures, and effects. I wrote a blog post on it last March which was pretty well received. I’m hoping to write a new one with all the things we’ve learned in the last 9 months soon.
I started learning Blender.
In conjunction of learning AI, I picked up some Blender skills to build backgrounds and scenes for Eldair in November. It’s helped out a lot and will (hopefully) increase my productivity for 2024.
I got the Rights to Temerity
After announcing it’s discontinuation in February of 2023, I entered negotiations with Chad to regain sole ownership of Temerity. Thanks to Chad’s generosity and kindness, I am now the sole owner of Temerity as of November 2023.
I completed Eldair chapter 24, which was a massive chapter! Eldair has also gained over three thousand subscribers with over 500,000 pageviews for 2023. Eldair also became featured on Tapas when I joined their creator reward bonus program. Noice. We also had our 4th book campaign with 200 backers and raised over $12,000 between Backerkit and Kickstarter.
Sadly, got put on the back burner with all the moving, house projects, and focus on health. I also attempted to learn a new method to complete this comic faster, but it ultimately didn’t work. Completed 10 pages and story-boarded 21 pages.
Announced its return and started working on pre-production assets such as character designs and storyboards. I posted a job listing for a new artist and got over 75 applicants. From those applicants I hired 4 different artists/studios to do test pages. While that was quite expensive, I’ve found the artist I’d like to continue the project with!
Created over 14 new full illustration pieces, which is probably more than the last 3 years combined. This is thanks to utilizing some AI in my workflow to help speed me up. Now that I don’t have to spend 30+ hours per piece, I’m no longer afraid to start a new piece cause the chances of me finishing it has gone up exponentially.
What’s coming in 2024:
With 2023 in the books, there’s a lot to look forward to in 2024! I’ve put a lot of thought and careful planning into this upcoming year. I often get over-eager and try to do too much so I’m trying to be more considerate of what I can actually accomplish. That being said. I’m still very eager, haha! So here’s my tentative plan for 2024!
Children of Eldair: Chapter 25 is scheduled to launch on Webtoons mid-January. Chapter 25 is my most ambitious chapter yet with a whopping 45 pages! Readers can expect a new page every week, but I’m hoping to give Patrons between 1-2 pages a week. Chapter 25 marks the end of book 5, so while this chapter will likely be finished before 2024 is out, I expect the crowdfunding campaign to get book 5 printed won’t be until early 2025.
Zelda’s Lullaby: After much fretting and debating on what to do with this comic, I needed to step back and reevaluate the project before continuing work on it. I seriously considered discontinuing this project because of time-restraints as well as the fact that the project can’t be monetized legally. But after much prayer and meditation, I’ve decided that the project needs to continue. It’s a story I love and the readers love. Link needs to finish his journey.
With newfound resolve, I’ve decided to get back to it and start producing pages again. However, I’ve decided to change my method and really go loose and sketchy on the comic. That was the original intention for Zelda’s Lullaby, but over time I just got more and more sucked into rendering it out. I wanted it to be beautiful and meticulous. Which in turn, made me overwhelmed and it made it hard to come back because it wasn’t that fun anymore. And it was just too much for me to handle. With this new sketchy look, it’ll make the project quicker, less stressful, and more fun. Which means more motivation for me to do it.
I plan to work up to doing 1-2 pages weekly as time and health allows.
Temerity: I have found the new artist for Temerity! It’s Light Comic Studio which is out of Vietnam and is a studio of artists. They did a great test page and I’m looking forward to seeing more from them!
With Temerity now my own and with an artist lined up, I am working on getting all the pre-production work completed! This is about 20 character sheets and storyboards for chapter 3, 4, and some bonus scenes for issue 1. I’ll also be going back through chapters 1 and 2 to do edits to remove copyright infringements as well as some edits for better character consistency. This is going to be a LOT of work and will take several months at least.
Right now I’m hoping to get Light Comic Studio everything they need to do the bonus scenes at the beginning of March. That’s about 10 pages, which will be a great chance to see how they handle a lot of different characters, actions, environments, and storytelling in general. After that, they’ll start on chapter three!
Once I start getting finished pages from them, Patrons will start getting between 2-3 pages of Temerity a week. This could be as early as April! However, Webtoons relaunch won’t be until after Chapter 3 is completely finished. I originally said December 2024 for this. I’m hesitant to say it will be earlier than that at this point as I don’t want to get people’s hopes up. I will likely update that relaunch date once the bonus scenes are completed as I will know if this studio will work out at that point. (If not, that means a new artist search which takes time.)
Cinder and Spirit: An Eldair Cinderella AU: Back in 2022 I wrote a fun little story where Koe, Prince of Vael, meets “Cinderella”, Embera in disguise. I wrote it thinking I’d never have time to do the art for it, which was a bit sad because I really like it. But while doing my artist search for Temerity, I realized that I could hire an artist to do it for me instead. My old colorist for Eldair actually applied to be the new artist for Temerity and she did a test page. Her work is super cute, so instead of having her Temerity, I’m going to have her draw Cinder and Spirit.
Because funding is limited on this project, Cinder and Spirit will likely start off as a black and white comic and as it gains more funding and followers we will move to color. I have to get Temerity up and moving first, so Cinder and Spirit is slotted to begin sometime in August at a rate of 1-2 pages a week.
A New Comic Website
This has been in the works for months. I hired a guy to make me a new comic site where all of my comics are in one place with the ability to like, comment, and bookmark where you’ve read. It would also be desktop and mobile compatible. This took a lot longer to get made than expected. But my goal is to get it done in the next few months. Of course, I’ve been saying that for years, so don’t hold your breath. But I DO want to get it done. Cause… It really needs to get done.
- Learn Unreal Engine to build backgrounds for Temerity and Eldair.
- Continue painting 1 full illustration a month for the art club.
- Selling at Salt Lake FanX in September and DragonSteel in December.
- Run the Kickstarter for Temerity 3 if production allows for it this year.
All these projects is a massive undertaking. I’m honestly not sure I can do all of this, but I really want to try! Thanks to my improved health, I feel more hopeful that I can do these things as I have more good days than bad. I’m also trying to play it smart by hiring help where I need it. Of course, hiring artists is expensive! So another goal I have is to get my Patreon to $2,000 a month by the end of the year.
If I make $2,000 monthly either between Patreon or my store, I can afford to pay artists to get these projects done and stay buoyant financially. $2,000 a month is a LOT, especially considering I make only about $400-$600 a month currently. But with producing more pages with early release on Patreon I’m hoping to draw in more subscribers to help fund these projects.
The reward for hitting this goal would be 4 different comics running simultaneously with 5-9 comic pages a week between all 4 projects (40 pages a month!). That would be so amazing!
If you’d like to help me reach this lofty goal, please consider becoming a Patron, donating to my Kofi, or buying some merch on my shop! Every dollar helps! You can also join the Discord community which is a lot of fun and subscribe to my newsletter to know when things are happening.
Thank you all SO much for supporting me as a storyteller and artist. You’re the reason I keep going and you make creating these stories so much fun!
Here’s to a fantastic 2024~! Let’s GOOOOOO~!