• Tag Archives work
  • An Elaboration of 2020 and a Career Shift

    Comics work
    Part of a print in progress on the drawing board

    An Elaboration of 2020 and a Career Shift.

    After years of putting it off, I’m stepping down from being solely an author. “Solely” being the operative word. The book publishing industry rewarded me in the ways I needed, taught me the things I wanted to learn, and helped me meet the types of people I wanted to meet, both creator and reader alike. And while true that since I’ve been back from being ill, I’ve taken on the mantle of writer/artist instead of just writer, I thought it’d be a fair thing to tell you what the current road map looks like career-wise so I don’t accidentally mislead you.

    This is the general plan:

    2020 is a year of rebuilding hence Project Rebuild. Throughout the course of the year–with the very end of the year being the ideal-but-flexible deadline–I’ll be bringing my book list into the 21st century and will release a new thing or two along the way. And it will take the whole year or potentially more because I have a lot of titles and all this takes time.

    Going forward in 2021, I have a few books that are done that need releasing so those will be tended to as well as finishing off some works-in-progress to wrap them up.

    While the above two are occuring, I’ll be spending most of my time and energy devoted to making comics. Comics are what started me on the publishing path and are a great love of mine. In short, writing books will be a secondary thing compared to the comics.

    All I want to do is finish the last bit of my book publishing life and make comics going forward.

    For Axiom-man fans, don’t worry. Lots of prose adventures coming. I’m referring to my non-superhero work.

    I also need to point out something to my readers that needs to be taken into consideration: I’m still sick. I’m much better than before, but even when I started up again at the end of last August, I was operating at around 65-70% capacity. Going hard at 1000mph has dropped me to about 50% on a good day, 40-45% on every other day. Each day I come to the keyboard, I’m not healthy on multiple levels, but I work anyway because making art and stories is what I do and it’s what helps me survive. All I’m saying is I’m changing things on various levels so I don’t keel over and die one day in the middle of a script or while drawing something. It is also important to point out that my shift to comics isn’t about accommodating for being unwell. It’s about looking ahead to my deathbed when I’m lying there and looking back. I know I’ll regret it if I don’t do comics and since time is the most valuable thing on this earth, I want to spend it doing something I love.

    Thank you.


  • Hot and Cold

    Mini heater
    New heater in the box

    I was raised that you show up for work/school despite how you feel. The only excuse to not go to work was either you are so sick you can’t get out of bed or you are dead. This lesson has stuck with me over the years, and while many out there would disagree with that stance with valid arguments, there is a work ethic that grows in you when you go to work even if your head feels two sizes too big.

    Last night, I got hit with a cold and it got progressively worse as the evening wore on. I went to bed and slept like a stone with the idea that–as is usually the case–the beginnings of this cold would be fought off while I slept and I’d wake up feeling 90%-or-better.

    I’m still sick.

    My head hurts and is foggy. My nose is running. My eyes are watering.

    But I showed up to work today and am at the desk in the bunker, using the heater I went out and got for the studio yesterday because living under a cold air mass in the Great White North means extreme cold and, like any fortress, the downstairs is cooler than the upstairs. Typically, by the end of the day, I’m cold through to my bones and my evenings are spent bringing the core temperature of this middle-aged machine back up to par.

    Mini heater in use
    New heater out of the box

    Anyway, I suspect I ran myself ragged again, which is fine (and seems to be a pattern; when things come too easily I get suspicious.)

    Today will be spent doing odds and ends and some thinking. I think the original plan was to do yet another video but, “I sowd lik dis when I dalk,” and my nose is running worse than a broken faucet.


  • The Daily Schedule of a Writer/Artist

    January 27 and 28 2020 day planner

    It’s been a long while since I wrote the daily schedule of a writer/artist (me, in this case). It might have been in one of the newsletters I sent out in the fall that I last talked about it. Might have been on the blog though I’m leaning toward the former. Anyway, regardless, a new layout of the schedule is probably due so here is what a typical day looks like for me at Axiom-man Central. Of course, like in any life, things happen that can throw a wrench into the following general workday. However, I stick to this schedule as the backbone of my whole operation and make time for it as able on days that get screwy. I’ve long advocated a schedule for creators as one of the important ingredients to making a successful career out of the arts.

    Monday to Friday:

    Wake up – Lately it’s been averaging between 8:30 and 9:30am. Next, roll around in bed for a short while to let the brain come online before checking the news.

    Coffee – Go down to the bunker and turn the computer on. Go back up to the main level and get coffee while the computer is loading (older machine so takes a bit to warm up).

    Patreon – On a day a Patreon post is scheduled, I do this first and get it done for my patrons. For example, today was the latest chapter of Gigantigator Death Machine so that was posted before writing this entry. Market Patreon entry.

    Blog – Skip previous step if a non-Patreon day. Write and/or edit blog entry. Take any required picture(s) and post. Market blog entry and set up in the broadcaster a couple of extra notices about the latest entry to air throughout the day on the social feeds.

    Break – Maybe around 15 or 20 minutes. Used to change mental gears. On the break I’ll either read something or play a game or fiddle with something around the house.

    Email – Check email and respond, if needed/able to.

    Work – Writing, drawing, editing, freelancing, book production, marketing, etc. Could be all of those or just one of them. Depends what’s on deadline and what isn’t. Work until 4 with a couple breaks thrown in there between tasks to rest the eyes and/or hands and get blood moving throughout the system. I’ve been trying to give careful attention to lunch because I get so wrapped up working I forget to eat then around 2 I start to feel real sick. A bad habit I’m working on. Back to the job: Pressing work is in my day planner so I consult it every morning so I know if I’ve set the day aside for something(s) specific. Whatever the day planner says I’m doing is priority one for the day. If the day planner shows the day as open, then I work on the next thing due. If things are due more or less around the same time, then I pick whatever I’m leaning toward at that moment.

    End of day – Around 4pm. Start shutting things down; possibly do a couple small tasks that had to wait until the end of the work day for whatever reason (i.e. a quick marketing thing or a phone call or whatever).

    Evening – Cooking is my thing so after the work day is done, I put on my chef’s hat and start thinking about what I want to make for dinner. This involves scoping out the deep freeze and scanning the pantry for ideas (though I usually start getting ideas mid-afternoonish). Then I cook dinner and let the day’s issues–if there are any–melt away. Once dinner is done, the evening is mine to do whatever with whomever (I usually hang out with author Melinda Marshall and this ranges from playing games to reading to TV to going for groceries, etc). On other nights, Melinda and I hang out with my boys.

    Bed – 10pm or thereabouts.

    Saturday:

    Wake up – Somewhere between 9:30 and close to 11am.

    Coffee – Enjoy a cup of coffee with Melinda.

    Newsletter – Head down to the bunker to send Saturday’s newsletter.

    The rest of Saturday and all of Sunday are days off, and it typically takes until late Saturday afternoon for me to put the week in my back pocket. Saturday evening and all of Sunday are used to do next to nothing and purposefully not think about work so my brain can heal from the week and be sharp for the week to come.

    And that’s what a typical week looks like here in the Great White North.

    To touch on what I said above about this schedule being the backbone on days things don’t go as planned, on such days I still let this overall schedule float in the background of my mind so that when a window of time opens up amidst that particularly goofy day, I can still do what needs doing or at least get a start on those things so the day isn’t a wash.

    Right now, this schedule works well and hasn’t changed much since I last talked about it. It will no doubt change somewhere down the line since life isn’t stagnant, but this method works for the time being.


  • On Ambition and Fatigue

    I have a lot to do.

    Lots has been done but I still have some fairly large projects that need completion.

    At the end of each day, I’m beat.

    The frustration: After a full day, I’ve hit my wall. I can’t work anymore. Technically, I could and get by, but I care enough about this stuff to ensure I carry it out to the best of my ability so I honor not only the work but, more importantly, my reader. That said, though I could work a little more or do some task a better way, I know I won’t be at my best therefore run the risk of messing up. Sure, I might still do a solid job overall but if one thing is off, well, I don’t want my reader to be the recipient of that. When you want to work because you enjoy it but you know you can’t is very irritating.

    I live and breathe books and comics. This is what I do and who I am. It’s tough when you need to step back even though you know it’s for the best.

    A character flaw I’m working on, the flaw being not always knowing when it’s time to step away when it’s a good thing to do that. This applies to both knowing when to call it quits for the day and when it’s time to declare a project done.

    Anyone know when the next workaholics meeting is?


  • Locked Up Cold – Manitoba Prairies in Winter

    Manitoba Prairies
    These are the Manitoba Prairies in winter.
    Photo taken while driving by.

    Locked Up Cold – Manitoba Prairies in Winter

    Everything is locked up in ice in Winnipeg today with, according to the weather network and the time of this writing (morning), the temperature being -33C (-43C with the windchill).

    Everything is utterly frozen solid in a giant block of ice, which means it’s time to simply hunker down and work. Lots of focus behind the scenes here at the Central. I gave you the rundown yesterday on where things are at roughly two weeks into 2020. Status is the same as of today. A good way to stay current on project statuses is via my weekly newsletter because info isn’t always shared on the blog.

    Want to see boiling water being thrown into freezing air? I made this video the other week showing that:

    There. Winter entertainment.

    Keep warm.


  • Where Projects Stand a Couple of Weeks into 2020

    January whiteboard
    Part of the whiteboard listing projects and deadlines in the studio bunker here at the Central.

    Where Projects Stand a Couple of Weeks into 2020.

    Time is flying by. It felt like it was New Year’s last week.

    It was two weeks ago.

    Pretty sure I’m stuck in an accelerated timestream.

    Anyway, I set out into 2020 with specific goals now that all my prelim work is pretty much done. (All discussed in my newsletter.)

    And so . . . here is where some projects stand a couple of weeks into 2020:

    Project Rebuild: First batch of second editions are my Undead World Trilogy. The new cover style–which looks incredible–is almost done. Layout to begin soon. Here is the original announcement.

    Patreon: New tiers and options to be added once some second editions come out. Gigantigator Death Machine is the current feature playing as a serial novel with a new installment every two weeks. This will run until May, if I counted out the installments correctly. A new serial novel will start up after this first one is done. Please go here to start reading the previous chapters so you’re ready for the next episode.

    Artwork: Putting the final touches on a commission. Have permission to share it on-line once the client receives it in the mail.

    Freelance: In the middle of a project for someone and still have my client that requires two days a week. (Which slows down my published work output but, hey, need to keep the lights on somehow.)

    New published work: This involves all the various projects I mentioned in previous blog posts and in the newsletter. As of this writing, the plan is to do a few second editions first then release something new then more second editions then new work, and so on. This plan keeps me at a pace I can manage, which in turn benefits you by giving you a pattern for 2020 and something to look forward to.

    YouTube: The channel is growing and content is going up at, on average, a video a week. Your subscription to the channel helps keep the writing and art machine running so please subscribe if you haven’t already.

    Daily blogging: Still on the Monday-to-Friday schedule. I’m doing my best to give you something each day that entertains or informs at least one person. Check back daily for new entries. If you check back and the blog hasn’t been updated, check back again later. Lately, my blogging hour has been shifting for various reasons.

    Vacation: Though I took a break over the Holidays, it wasn’t really a break. In the end, I had a few days for a breather because it took me until Boxing Day to finally slow down and just relax. Throw in some Holiday activities during that relax time and I didn’t end up having a genuine break. I was back at it on the 30th. So, things are in motion for a legit winter holiday, but by the time all is arranged, that won’t be until February sometime. Watch this space.

    Conventions and public appearances: One convention has been announced. I have irons in the fire in others and am waiting to hear back.

    Posted through my social channels this morning:

    “Hoping to find new inroads in the publishing world (books and comics) in 2020. I’m convinced the current standard system is terrible. That said, it’s up to creators to create the market, not companies. We need to get that straight first otherwise it’ll be same old, same old.”

    I stand by the idea that creators create the market. Read my essay, “Why I Quit the Publishing Industry and Opted to Just Make Books Instead,” to find out my thoughts on the current climate and my general attitude toward it. If you’re a creator reading this, please check out the essay. We’re not at the mercy of various companies to get our work out. They’re at your mercy to provide them work to distribute. They don’t have a business without you. Take that to heart. Stand strong. Make new roads. Find out new ways to share with your readers. You and your readers are the ones in control, not these companies.

    Okay. That’s all I’ve got for now. Thank you for checking in.

    See you tomorrow.


  • Quotes on Drawing – Jan1420

    Sketchbook Hands
    A page from an old sketchbook.

    Some quotes on drawing for Jan1420.

    Drawing and making comics was how I stumbled my way into the book industry. It’s a long story and one I’ll be sharing in my upcoming memoir. I’ve made it my goal to draw regularly in 2020 and get back to my comic-making roots. The picture above is from an old sketchbook, circa 1999. At this point in my life, all that mattered in terms of career aim was making comics.

    Here are some quotes for my fellow artists to ponder:

    “I cannot rest, I must draw, however poor the result, and when I have a bad time come over me it is a stronger desire than ever.” – Beatrix Potter

    This is true. I find I’m the most inspired to write or draw when I’ve hit a hard time. It’s a way to deal with what’s going on and get out on paper all that it is making me feel. This has also led to some strange, and sometimes even dark, drawings.

    “In drawing, nothing is better than the first attempt.” – Pablo Picasso

    There’s something raw about a first effort. That might go without saying, but a first try carries with it a lot of heart because if one is gung-ho about drawing a specific thing, that passionate thrust carries through into the drawing and makes it come alive in its own way, even if the drawing isn’t that great. A second attempt, as per my experience, seems to lack the same heart as the first and looks flat even if it’s technically correct. This is why I don’t agree with comic makers going back and redoing earlier work or pages. Artistic expression is a journey and there’s something to be said about looking back on earlier work and seeing where you were in that journey and what you were feeling at the time. It’s even better when someone from the outside sees it and knows where you came from and where you presently are at. This applies to early writing work, too.

    “Perspective is the rein and rudder of painting.” – Leonardo da Vinci

    This is true and, admittedly, a weaker area for me. I can do perspective when it comes to inorganic objects, but ensuring your character is 3D takes a lot of practice and is something I’m working on.

    In the end, the new 2020 art journey is going to be a good one and I look forward to sharing more art with you when it’s ready. In the meantime, please head on over to my art page to see what’s there.

    Lastly, on a side note, a new chapter of Gigantigator Death Machine was uploaded to Patreon this morning. In this chapter, those who are left desperately wish the gator will just plain go away. Head on over and get reading for just a buck. Thanks.


  • On Settling in with Your Work

    With winter in full swing and the temperature plummeting, I’m hunkered down in the bunker here at the Central getting things done. If you follow my newsletter, you know I had to do a bunch of work before I could work. This was the fall and early winter. Now I’m in a position to work on Project Rebuild and get my other ducks in a row.

    There’s something magical about settling in with your work. Something comforting, alluring, and satisfying. It’s one of those things that you could put into words if you really tried—but defining it would take away its power. Instead, I’m opting to just enjoy the feeling, revel in it, and get things done.


  • The Toughest Part About Being a Writer/Artist

    A.P. Fuchs Books
    Some books from the A.P. Fuchs library.

    Full transparency: I’ve never deliberately looked up blog topics (so far as I can recall) but for fun, this morning I decided to do that and see what’s currently out there for blogging ideas. “The Toughest Part About Being a . . .” prompt was something I came across and, maybe because I’m still groggy, resonated with me the most this fine winter morning.

    So that said, here is the toughest part about being a writer/artist as per how I feel at the moment I’m writing this:

    Getting respect.

    When people ask what I do for a living and I tell them I write stories and draw, I’m met with two general responses: “Oh man, that’s so cool!” or, “That’s nice. Maybe one day you’ll get a real job instead of playing all day.” The latter isn’t explicitly stated but is certainly implied by tone, facial expression, and body language, all with an air of disappointment.

    The first crowd is, of course, the most pleasant to deal with. Their eyes light up and they smile and are genuinely happy for me. They often become my readers and usually follow up with me the next time I see them and ask how things are going and if I’m still doing it (the “still doing it” part hinting they understand it’s an unstable job but they have my back and are in my corner even if my answer is “No”).

    The second crowd is the one I don’t understand. The general formula for a working adult is you get out of bed, go to work, come home, eat dinner, then get on with your evening, which may or may not include doing more work. That’s the formula I’ve lived by my entire working life–whether working in the arts or elsewhere–and the formula every working adult I know follows. The only difference is I work from home. So when I “go to work,” my commute is measured in hallways and staircases as I make my way down to the Central’s bunker to get started. I work all day–and get paid for it–turn the computer off, then reverse my commute and wind up back upstairs with the rest of the household. But mention you write stories and draw pictures for a living and suddenly you don’t have a real job (see the “On Freelancing for a Living (This is a Job)” blog post). Upon thinking about it, it’s not even the working from home part that seems to rub people the wrong way (though this can happen). It’s the specific what I do for a living. I’ve seen firsthand where others who work from home who don’t write stories and draw pictures are met with a metaphorical handshake. Me? It’s a metaphorical hands-in-their-pockets.

    There is a disconnect that happens–usually with the older generation(s)–where, in the old days, work was something you left the house for and something you didn’t always enjoy. Work was actual work, like a chore, or work was something that demanded such a hard effort that every day ended the same when one came home: a collapse on the couch from mental and/or physical exhaustion. I believe the disconnect also happens because a lot of people tend to forget the entertainment they consume had to be created by somebody. Those books you read? Somebody took a lot of time writing them. Those comics you love? A group of people had to spend a lot of time writing, drawing,